Denver, Tahoe, Phoenix, and Portland have nothing on Salt Lake in terms of it's exposure to a wide range of outdoor activities so easily accessible from the city's center. Thirty to forty-five minutes outside downtown, travelers have access to a Great Salt Lake, seven world-class ski resorts, endless trailheads, and adventure on horseback into the expansive wilderness. The freeway system is set up so all of these activities are a straight shot from downtown, which means you'll be able to be back to your hotel in time for cocktails before a show.
Cowboy for a Day - Blue Sky Ranch Utah 32, Wanship, UT 84017 (435) 336-2646 https://www.bluesky-adventures.com Blue Sky Ranch is located to the east of Salt Lake and is my new favorite find. It's true, I may have a crush on one of the ranch hands, but it's really the tie to the illustrious High West Whiskey Distillery(www.highwest.com) that won my heart. If you've ever longed to be a cowboy, here is your chance. Your morning schedule is dedicated to acquainting you to your horse which is followed by an afternoon hearding cattle over pristine grass lands. Evening makes way for a soft landing home, home on the range for whiskey.
Gay Ski Week - Elevation https://www.utahgayski.com Utah welcomes Elevation and Tom Whitman, who hosts a sexy gay ski week in Park City, at the end of February. The great thing about this ski week is how accessible lifts are from the airport. Fly in to Salt Lake International, drive 30 minutes eastward up Parley's Canyon to lofty Park City, and access lifts directly from Main Street.
Out in the Wild - Antelope Island Park 4528 W 1700 S, Syracuse, UT 84075 (801) 773-2941 https://stateparks.utah.gov/park/antelope-island-state-park With spectacular views of The Great Salt Lake, Antelope Island is home to wild, free-range bison, deer, and sheep. The backcountry is host to many campsites perfect for star gazing. Oh, but bring bug spray to protect against bitting gnats...unless, that is, you don't mind being nibbled all over.
The Bird - Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort 9600 Little Cottonwood Canyon Rd, Snowbird, UT 84092 (801) 933-2222 https://www.snowbird.com Perched in the granite cliffs of Little Cottonwood Canyon, Snowbird is my top pick for snow sports in Utah. With a variety of trails and unparalleled views of cascading mountain ranges, this resort is the only one to have an iconic Tram. Another unprecedented feature is a large tunnel for snow sports enthusiasts to ski through for access to the whole backside of the mountain. It's also host to Oktoberfest in the fall: beer, the tastes of Bavaria and, naturally, yodelers.
A Night at the Ballet - Ballet West 304 Trolley Square, Salt Lake City UT 84102 (801) 869-6900 https://www.balletwest.org Having been raised in Salt Lake City, my heart lives with Ballet West and it's company. My Grandma used to take me to the Nutcracker every year as a child; over the years, I've watched this company grow to be one of the best in the nation, which is now in it's 50th season. It's even the topic of the reality show Breaking Point, a look into the lives of a competitive ballet company and it's members. Housed in the historic and beautiful Capitol Theatre, it's one of this city's most valuable gems that can't be missed. Artistic Director Adam Sklute and his husband Christopher live in Salt Lake and are the driving forces behind the company, pushing the limits of what is expected out of ballet. This season they are producing cutting-edge work to historical masterpieces. "A misconception about Salt Lake is that it's a homogeneous, Caucasian, heterosexual, and one religion town," says Adam. "Our city is remarkably diverse--something my husband (who has been my partner for 21 years) and I didn't anticipate when we moved here seven years ago. We have people of all walks of life here from multiple ethnic, religious, and cultural backgrounds. We have a large and growing LGBT community. In truth, my husband and I have felt more embraced here than in many major cities in America."
And Adam is right: beyond the ballet, downtown has an array of cool cultural experiences you really shouldn't miss. From outdoor concerts to galleries featuring local artists and internationally acclaimed exhibits, you're sure to enlighten your artsy-fartsy side.