The days have lengthened, the sun is higher in the sky and the wildflowers are out, as Utah’s winter resorts put on their summer best and welcome the offseason.
All manner of entertainment awaits locals and visitors to Utah’s high country – from mountain biking to thrill rides to just plain settin’ and inhaling the cool mountain air. Foodies can get their jones satisfied at dozens of culinary events – like mountaintop Sunday farm-to-table meals at Powder Mountain -- while music junkies will have to hustle to make it through a crowded calendar of outdoor concerts and festivals, including Sundance’s new concert series.
Many of Utah’s 14 ski and snowboard resorts reopen a lift or two for scenic rides and both hiking and biking access. They also focus on keeping the kids occupied with adventure parks, thrill rides and challenges like the new WreckTangle obstacle course at Snowbird.
Up the canyon at Alta, alpine lovers finally can get into wildflower-haven Albion Basin via a chairlift. The Little Cottonwood Canyon mountain will run the Albion lift on weekends and holidays to not only give visitors a taste of above-treeline terrain but also to protect that terrain from too much foot and vehicle travel. And, the Albion Grill will be open seven days a week to slake appetites and thirsts.
Over the ridge, Brighton doesn’t run its lifts in the summer but improved access has put Brighton Lakes within hikers’ reach. Start out at the base of the mountain and choose from more than a dozen routes into four high alpine lakes. Later in the summer, there’s no better place to see wildflowers.
Up north, Utah’s newest ski and snowboard mountain Cherry Peak touts its “redneck water slide” aka Little Bear Bottoms Slide, which has no website or publicity and is merely a backyard sheet laid down a steep slope. On top of that, you have to GPS “5000 S, Hwy 89-91” to find the general location.
Deer Valley has upped its mountain biking game this summer, with a major trail overhaul and a mountain biking school that teaches basic techniques and conducts tours around the mountain.
Next door at Park City Mountain, longer is better with a 3,000-foot alpine slide – reputed to be the longest in U.S. – and 4,000-foot mountain coaster curls down the mountain in the active base area.
A biking trail overhaul also has occurred at Brian Head, which is building a reputation for top-class trail and competitions. Access is both via chairlift and daily shuttle service that begins at the base of the southern Utah mountain.