The Best Après-Ski Activities in Utah

By Kit Bernardi Jan. 10, 2020
(Credit: DisobeyArt/Shutterstock)

Utah’s 15 ski resorts offer plenty of opportunities to shred, party, repeat. But for those who want to do unconventional après-ski activities, there’s scuba diving, cheese tastings, whiskey-pie pairings, stargazing and more.

According to Anelise Bergin, director of communications for Ski Utah , “Utah has evolved over the last decade. We continue to break records in snowfall and ski tourism with 5.1 million visits in the 2019-20 season. Some of the state’s alcohol laws have changed, as has our après ski culture appealing to families and visitors of all ages with varied interests.”

With that in mind, here are some of the best après-ski activities in Utah:

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Distilleries, Olympics & Action Sports

The nation’s largest ski area, Park City in the Wasatch Mountains has pioneered après-ski concepts.

High West Saloon next to Quit ’N’ Time ski run is the world’s first ski-in gastro-distillery. Meanwhile Alpine Distilling facility’s Alpine Pie Bar claims an après first pairing its gins, vodkas, whiskeys and liqueurs with local bake shop’s Auntie Em’s Pies .

Thirty minutes from town in Wanship, visitors take free tours of the High West Distillery & Tasting Room making award-winning whiskeys and vodkas, then dine at the Supper Club. Nearby, luxurious Blue Ski Ranch ’s restaurant Yuta features James Beard Award-winning Executive Chef Galen Zamarra’s creative Western cuisine. Non-resort guests can book ranch experiences including hikes, art classes, yoga and shooting sporting clays.

Just opened in Park City, Woodward Park City is the world’s first year-round action sports training campus in a ski resort. Families love the indoor facility’s skateboard courses, trampolines and gymnastics tumbling floors. The outdoor terrain parks for skateboarding, BMX bikes and scooters are adjacent to lifts taking guests up to tubing, ski and snowboarding runs.

The free, biodiesel-powered Park City Transit System’s trolley transports riders around the historic district and the Utah Olympic Park , where visitors can tour two free museums commemorating Park City’s 2002 Olympic games, zipline off a Nordic ski jump and ride the Comet Bobsled track. Bus routes go to Park City Mountain Resort , Deer Valley and Sundance Mountain Resort . Outlaw Butch Cassidy drank at Sundance’s restored 1890s Owl Bar , a favorite après-ski hangout.

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Scuba, Cheese & Ice Caves

You’ll find unexpected après activities in Midway. The small, Swiss alpine-style town in Herber Valley is 20 miles from Deer Valley and Sundance ski resorts.

The Homestead Crater at the Homestead Resort is a 65-foot-deep geothermal hot spring inside a natural 12,000-year-old, beehive-shaped limestone formation. Visitors soak, swim, snorkel and scuba in the mineral-rich pool (reservations required; equipment rentals available ), or take self-guided, geology-focused crater tours.

Also on the resort’s property are the walk-through Midway Ice Castles . These 25-million-ton towers, hand-built by ice artist-architects using 12,000 icicles, house neon-lit tunnels and giant ice sculptures.

Herber Valley’s Kohler Creamery dairy farm hosts evening artisan cheese tastings, afternoon mozzarella-making classes, creamery tours and cow pasture snowshoeing excursions.

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Stargazing, Trains & Art

According to the International Dark-Sky Association , Utah is one of the darkest places in the nation. A ski area and astro-tourism destination, Ogden Valley is within 15 miles or less of Snowbasin , Powder Mountain and Nordic Valley .

The Huntsville Astronomic and Lunar Observatory located at new boutique hotel Compass Rose Lodge , hosts nightly guided galactic viewing sessions (reservations required) to see elusive nebulae and distant galaxies through Hubble Space Telescope-quality equipment. North Fork Park , one of Utah’s International Dark Sky Parks , schedules Moonlight Glide cross-country ski excursions (ski rentals available).

In downtown Ogden , visit Nine Rails Creative District during the monthly First Friday Art Stroll . Join locals at The Monarch coffee-wine bar and its Art Box studio offering candle-making all day. Inside the restored 1924 Union Station , tour art galleries and train, car and gun museums.

Ogden après-ski hangouts include the New World Distillery and the divey Shooting Star Saloon , famous for its burgers and claim as the oldest, continuously operating saloon west of the Mississippi River (serving since 1879).

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Ski Days & Urban Nights

Ten Utah ski resorts are under an hour from the expanding Salt Lake City International Airport. Transportation options to ski areas include Uber Ski vehicles, Canyon Transportation ’s services and Utah Transit Authority’s public Ski Bus Routes .

Salt Lake City , known as Ski City, is an ideal base for skiing the Cottonwood Canyons resorts of Snowbird , Alta , Brighton and Solitude , all located roughly 30 minutes from the city. Ski during the day, après and overnight back in the metropolitan city’s entertainment venues. Downtown skier spots are Copper Common for the onion burger and Beer Bar featuring 170-plus beers.

If après-ing in Alta, go to classic Goldminer’s Daughter Saloon for pizza. At Solitude Mountain snowshoe under the moonlight to a Mongolian yurt for chef-prepared, four-course dinners.

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