Mountains echo with the clicking of hooves on rocks as mountain vegetation waves in the breeze and the sun glistens on snow-dappled trails. Schools of fish scatter as a pair of slick rubber boots parts the waters—a fisher wading through thick river sediment before casting a line into the current. Rocky Mountain Outfitters' experienced outdoorsmen usher customers through all manner of seasonal wilderness adventures, including fly-fishing on the Provo River, snowmobile tours, and horseback riding along mountain trails. Many tours run through Soldier Hollow Valley, which played host to the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Visitors may encounter roving wildlife such as snow rabbits, moose, and fawns frolicking through varied landscapes for memorable photo ops or police sketch-artist renderings. Adventure packages combine more than one outdoor activity and include the Reins and Train adventure, a role-playing tour that merges a train trip with a horseback trail ride. Depending on the season, guests can board traditional wagons or horse-drawn sleighs towed by teams of clydesdales, belgians, and spotted draft, or they can lasso free-range dinner rolls during Old West–style outdoor meals.
Whether mounds of freshly fallen snow or fields of verdant grass blanket its ranges, Soldier Hollow hosts outdoor excursions that help visitors stay active year-round. The spring’s warm winds herald the opening of the resort’s championship-level golf course—whose 36 holes overlook Heber Valley and Mount Timpanogos—and the outset of scenic trail rides atop Rocky Mountain Outfitters’ trained horses. Meanwhile, mountain bikers traverse the marked trails, exploring the rugged wilderness and challenging tree stumps to races during self-guided tours.
When winter coats the slopes with fresh powder, Soldier Hollow adapts its activities for the frozen landscape. Using the mountain’s equipment, visitors hurtle down 1,200-feet of tubing lanes during two-hour sessions as wooded cross-country trails let skiers follow the tracks of deer who’ve stolen hikers’ sleds.
Last year, Oprah.com called Brent Christensen's Silverthorne Ice Castle "a cavernous, surreal-looking place that looks as if it were constructed by an army of icy elves." The original Ice Castle was much smaller than that Brent's current palatial work, though—it was an ice rink Brent built in his backyard, complete with a cave, an ice slide, and a 20-foot tower. Brent's kids affectionately nicknamed it "The Ice Castle," but it was child's play compared to the three palatial sculptures he and his team have built this year. Scattered across the country, the mazes of towers, tunnels, and caverns are all built from solid ice, one icicle at a time; Brent and his team farm their own icicles for these projects, at a rate of more than 5,000 per day.
She Runs coordinates ladies-only races across the country, and provides weekend getaways that strike a healthy balance between fitness and relaxation. The organization's events send participants galloping across scenic courses, helping women from all walks of life unite whether or not they sing the bunny song when lacing up their running shoes. More than just a one-time endurance test, She Runs folds relaxing vacations inside retreats that are combined with group fitness classes, lectures from experts, and personalized coaching leading up to race day. A portion of each event's proceeds get poured into She Runs' mission of snuffing out diabetes.
The guides at Elusive Fly Fishing lead groups of fish seekers to Utah's choicest spots for casting lines and reeling in big ones. Prime locales include points on the Provo and Weber Rivers along with a handful of smaller waterways, where clients can get their hands on Rocky Mountain whitefish and trout varieties such as brown, rainbow, and brook. Half- and full-day tours include all necessary gear and a sack lunch. Lessons are available for beginners or those who need help ironing out the kinks in their casts.
With views of surrounding evergreens, Midway City Ice Rink touts itself as Utah's most scenic outdoor skating rink and one of its largest. The glistening rink gets resurfaced every two hours, so skaters can smoothly execute their maneuvers, unless those maneuvers include using their skates to carve their own image into the ice. When skaters need a break, they can escape to the warming hut and sip hot chocolate, restoring heat to their fingers and toes.