Utah's beauty is found in its outdoors, and here are our favorite ways to experience that beauty in 2015.
Best ski pass
Now that Vail’s Sith Lords have taught Parkites that resistance is futile, you might as well take advantage of Vail’s Epic Ski Pass that gets you 7,000 acres of pow for $700 at Canyons/PCMR and entrance to 10 resorts across the U.S., including Vail, Beaver Creek, Arapahoe Basin, Keystone and Breckenridge in Colorado and Heavenly, Kirkwood and Northstar in Tahoe.
Best way for adults to be social
Beehive Adult Sport & Social Club offers a “fun guarantee”: If you don’t have fun, the next sport—anything from dodgeball to volleyball—is free. Off field, there are cocktails. Making friends isn’t hard after all.
Best Japan-by-way-of-Utah ancient form of fly fishing
Tenkara is the traditional Japanese method of fly-fishing, using only rod, line, and fly. Ideal for small mountain streams, Tenkara found a home in Utah when three -local enthusiasts decided to start a guide service. The simple techniques of Tenkara come across in every line they wet. Free the reel. 801-541-4762
Best place to mountain bike in the world. Officially.
It’s no secret to mountain bikers who frequent the single-track trails in Park City. But much of the world is still unaware that Park City holds the distinction of being the world’s only International Mountain Biking Association–designated Gold Ride Center. In addition to an abundance of trails for every type of rider, it means that the Park City community provides the resources required to maintain and improve trails, build new trails and host world-class competitive events.
Best prom for adults
Want a do-over for your high school prom? Bust out the cummerbunds and corsages for Bike Prom. The adult dance is a fundraiser for the Salt Lake City Bicycle Collective, a nonprofit organization that provides refurbished, fixed-up and affordable bicycles to the community, educates locals on bike maintenance and safety, and advocates for bike-friendly laws.
Best Martian weekend
An off-the-radar expanse of photographic bliss, Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park’s salmon-colored sand sees a fraction of the visitors that crowd more trafficked red-rock icons. If you go in winter, you might not see anyone except the Mars Rover. Solitude and sand.
Best bicycle shops
...for penniless revolutionaries
At Bicycle Collective you’ll find an “experienced” bike that has been rehabilitated with love and bearing lube. Or join the movement by rolling in “Ol’ Paint” for a DIY overhaul. You’ll be provided with tools and a workstation. (The Collective also offers classes in bike repair.) 2312 S. West Temple, SLC, 801-328-2453
...for zealots with funds
Sadly, you’ll never be able to afford a Tesla. But you might be able to raise the cash for a Pinarello or Cervelo that is every bit as sleek and low-carbon and cool as a Tesla. Contender Bicycles, 989 E. 900 South, SLC, 801-364-0344
Dogs are off leash in Mill Creek Canyon ($3 use fee) on odd calendar days. Fido can frolic on some spectacular trails, including Big Water, Neff’s Canyon, and Pipeline Trail. It goes without saying: Clean up after your dog!
This circular trail around (and over on a boardwalk) Silver Lake is a great place to inculcate kids with a love of hiking. They can chase butterflies, feed a mallard and even fish (adults need a license). For adventurous kids, Granite Lakes and Lake Solitude Trails branch off for a taste of adventure. 14 miles up Big Cottonwood Canyon.
The trail is short, but the payoff is solitude. Willow Heights in Big Cottonwood Canyon follows the creek to a small beaver pond and cuts through an aspen grove that opens into a meadow. Epic hikes shouldn’t be taken alone, but Willow Heights is only 1.5 miles round trip. Trail head just past Silver Fork Lodge on left.
Best fly fishing guide
Chris Chastain’s love for fishing was ignited by his grandfather at the age of two. Growing up in Southern California, Chris was a professional surfer but spent his free time trying to catch anything and everything that swam in fresh or salt water. In 2009, Chris relocated his family to Utah. Guiding fly fishermen for Trout Tales automatically followed. Chris may not think he is the best guide, but we love his extreme skill and passion for the sport.
Best bug out
Next time the ankle biters have you surrounded, bail to Antelope Island! Bridger Bay Campground gives you a view into the Big Empty. And at sunset, every thing goes all Martian as the Wasatch Mountains are bathed in alpenglow. If your karma’s good, a few bison will wander by and, as the stars come out, coyotes will begin their serenade. Seriously. 4528 W. 1700 South, Syracuse, 801-725-9263
Best island getaway
The GSL will never be mistaken for a Tahitian lagoon, but that hasn’t stopped Utah’s islander community from paddling in outriggers as if it was. Hui Paoakalani Hawaiian Outrigger Canoe Club hosts weekly paddle sessions every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., March to September. All skill levels and ages welcome. firstname.lastname@example.org
Best place to sing besides the shower
Boulder, Utah locals aptly dubbed a small slot canyon along the Burr Trail “Singing Canyon.” Singing Canyon is located 11 miles outside town on Burr Trail Road at a small, unmarked paved pullout on the north (left) side of the road. After an easy 15-minute hike, you’ll soon find out why it got its name. Strum your guitar, serenade your darling with a flute solo, or simply sing yourself silly as you celebrate the amazing acoustics bouncing off the canyon’s tall red walls.
Best sports smartphone case
The Beeline iPhone case comes equipped with a retractable 30-inch Kevlar cord and a carbiner so you can hang it on your clothing, pack or underwear. Do not, however, attempt to use it to rappel from a stalled chair lift—it will end badly. Beeline promises you’ll never lose your phone again. Yeah, right.
Best place to rent a spur-of-the-moment adventure
Outdoor recreation rules: Own the best equipment. Maintain it like your life depends on it. Plan meticulously weeks ahead. Research your adventure to the smallest detail. The reality? When the call of the wild comes, you go. That means you might have to rent a non-mildewed tent that actually has poles. At REI you can rent a tent, sleeping bag, camping stove, snowshoes, skis, even mountaineering gear. And they’re open on Sundays! (Tip: Tell someone where you’re going.) 3285 E. 3300 South, SLC, 801-486-2100
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