Why This February is For…

Words by John Caldwell 


February is the quintessential month of real winter in our mountain towns. The snow is piling up, the temps are low, and the winter spirit is alive and kicking. Options for recreating in the snow and on the ice await. We thought we’d give you a list of where to experience winter in February in all its glory in some of our favorite mountain towns. It’s time to get after it.

Where to ice skate…

Sun Valley, ID – America’s first ski resort offers a classic outdoor ice skating experience at the iconic (and newly refurbished) Sun Valley Lodge. Olympic and world-class skaters are known to often share the ice with the common folk while practicing. The rink is open daily from 11 am to 7 pm and is closed Fridays from 4 pm to 5 pm for Learn to Skate classes hosted by the Sun Valley Figure Skating Club. sunvalley.com

Jackson Hole, WY – World-famous Jackson Hole serves up several locations for the ultimate winter ice skating excursion in a beautiful mountain setting. If you and your crew are in the town of Jackson, head to Snow King Sports and Event Center for a perfectly maintained indoor rink that is open to the public daily from 12 to 2 pm. If outdoor skating is more your style, go to Town Square and glide on smooth ice maintained by Grand Teton Skating Association with gleaming lights and music. Skating is free if you bring your own skates. And if you’re in Teton Village be sure to check out the spectacular outdoor Village Rink on the Commons, which is open daily from 3 to 9 pm. snowkingsec.comgtsa.usjacksonhole.com

Park City, UT – Historic Park City gives ice skating enthusiasts some excellent options. Head to the base of Park City Mountain Resort for the only outdoor rink in the area. It’s open daily to all ages for public skating with no time limits. Looking for something indoors? The Park City Ice Arena is your ticket with an Olympic-size ice sheet offering open skate sessions, private lessons, learn-to-play hockey classes, and more. parkcityicerink.comparkcity.org

Aspen, CO – A little place called Aspen knows a thing or two about superior ice skating venues. The Aspen Ice Garden is located in the downtown core of Aspen and was renovated in 2013.  As one of the best-maintained surfaces in the region, this classic indoor rink has been part of the historical fabric of the area for the past 55 years. Lewis Ice Arena, located just up the hill on Maroon Creek Road at the Aspen Recreation Center, is the go-to option for skating on an official NHL-size rink. aspenrecreation.com

Where to snowmobile…

Sun Valley, ID – The Sun Valley area offers five converging mountain ranges and hundreds of miles of groomed trails and backcountry located within an hour radius of town. Ryan’s Mountain Rentals in Bellevue is the place to go in the Wood River Valley for all of your rental needs. If you’re heading north of town over Galena Pass to the majestic Sawtooth Valley, Smiley Creek Lodge in Sawtooth City and Sawtooth Traxx in Stanley have you covered with equipment rentals and guided tours galore. ryansmountainrentals.comsawtoothtraxx.comsmileycreeklodge.com

Jackson Hole, WY – Whether you prefer groomed trails or deep backcountry snow, the Jackson area is a dreamland for all snowmobilers. Scenic Safaris offers guided tours all winter in the vast winter wonderlands of the Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Fly over the snow to iconic spots without the summer crowds such as Old Faithful, Gros Ventre, and Turpin Meadows. Togwotee Adventures also serves up the goods with a new rental fleet and guided tours of amazing locales such as Togwotee Pass, Bridger-Teton, and Continental Divide. scenic-safaris.comtogwoteelodge.com

Park City, UT – The vast backcountry terrain that surrounds the town of Park City gives ample opportunities for those looking for the ultimate snowmobiling experience. Thousand Peaks Snowmobiling, located in Oakley just 20 minutes away from Main Street, is located on a 60,000-acre private ranch for pristine excursions in isolated territory where the opportunities to see wildlife are widespread. Backcountry Snowmobiling is another option close to town that has all of the gear and offers tours in private, rural canyons. powderutah.combackcountrysnow.com

Aspen, CO – The Roaring Fork Valley and beyond give snowmobilers all kinds of fantastic options for ripping it up in scenic mountain areas. T-Lazy-7 Snowmobiles are Aspen’s premier snowmobile tour operators with tours to the world-famous Maroon Bells peaks. This 50-year old company will give you a truly unforgettable adventure in the White River National Forest. tlazy7.com

Where to Nordic ski…

Sun Valley, ID – Known as Nordic Town USA, Sun Valley has some of the best cross-country skiing in all of North America with unmatched trail quality, training programs, clinics, and rentals. Sun Valley Nordic & Snowshoe Center has over 40 km of daily-maintained skate and classic trails that are located right outside of town. Grab a Nordic pass at any of the local sports shops and head to the sublime groomed trails north off of Highway 75 for pure bliss, a head-clearing workout, and views of the looming Boulder Mountains. sunvalley.com

Jackson Hole, WY – Jackson boasts an impressive Nordic scene of its own with multiple areas offering immaculately groomed trails, frequent wildlife sightings, and jaw-dropping vistas. Shooting Star Nordic Track gives you a fun, sloping trail that spans 15 km and is just minutes away from Teton Village. Head to Teton Pines Cross Country Ski Center for 16 km of pristine groomed trails for both skate and classic skiers, gear rentals, personalized instruction, and waxing services. JH Nordic is the place to go for trail guides, grooming reports, and more. jhnordic.com

Park City, UT – Park City has been a haven for Nordic skiers for many decades and offers an excellent variety of everything from groomed trails to more rustic touring trails in the nearby mountains. White Pine Nordic Center, located on the scenic McPolin Farm, sits right outside of town and offers 25 km of groomed trails with loops of different lengths and ability ratings. Basin Recreation grooms 25 km of free-to-the-public multipurpose trails that connect the Utah Olympic Park area with Willow Creek Park. And these are just a few of the options in Park City. whitepinetouring.combasinrecreation.org

Aspen, CO – Cross-country skiing in Aspen and its surrounding areas is indeed a gift to behold. With a massive 90 km of free groomed trails between the Aspen, Snowmass, and Basalt areas, the life of a Nordie in this area is undeniably good. Looking for that one-stop, full-service Nordic experience? Head to Aspen Cross Country Center at the Aspen Golf Course for gear demos, lessons, guided tours, a lounge, and ski tuning services. aspennordic.com

Where to fat bike…

Sun Valley, ID – Sun Valley is definitely attuned to the growing popularity of fat biking on snow. The Sun Valley Nordic & Snowshoe Center offers five fat bike trails that total 16 km. Head north of Ketchum on Highway 75 and into the Sawtooth National Recreation Area for the Durrance Loop which starts at the SNRA headquarters building. Other options in the valley include Quigley Nordic in Hailey with a perfect beginner’s loop as well as the 32 km Wood River Trail. sunvalley.combcrd.org

Jackson Hole, WY – Dreaming of fat biking through majestic national parklands? Jackson is your answer. Teton Mountain Bike Tours offers guided winter tours in Grand Teton National Park and the National Elk Refuge. They also have an impressive fleet of rentals for those wanting to explore the groomed trails around Jackson Hole at their own pace. tetonmtbike.com

Park City, UT – With Park City being one of the best mountain biking destinations in the entire world, it’s no surprise that this area presents some killer options for biking on snow as well. Some excellent places for winter fat biking include Round Valley, McLeod and Willow Creek, the Historic Rail Trail, and Glenwild. White Pine Touring is the best place to go for all rental, gear, and guiding needs. whitepinetouring.com

Aspen, CO – Aspen is also no stranger to spinning the fat tires on snow during the winter season. Started in 2016, the Aspen Fat Bike Loop is a convenient, 6.1-mile option located right outside of town that flows through the Aspen Golf Course and Maroon Creek Trail. For those looking for more adventure, try Independence Pass and its stunning views and high altitudes. Four Mountain Sports has you covered for all rental and gear needs. aspensnowmass.com