When it comes to snowboarding, I have proven myself to be so utterly useless that small children in Breckenridge still, to this day, laugh at the memories of my exploits on their slopes. It must have resembled the Louis and Clark expedition as they trudged and stumbled through the snow looking for the Snake River. By the time I collapsed into the ski-lodge in the late afternoon, the denim was so frozen to my cheeks, and I was so worn out, I failed to realize that I was the only one in the lodge still carrying a snowboard. So tacky. But that’s what happens when you let rednecks play in the snow.
This time would prove to be different.
Cedar City, Utah welcomed in a novice/useless snowboarder and helped carve out a world class athlete. This hidden oasis is a multigenerational travel destination and a virtual hub of adventure for people looking to have some serious fun in the snow. Located smack dab in the middle of southern Utah’s national parks, Cedar City is a perfect place to set up headquarters when exploring the surrounding region. Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks are both about an hour and a half drive, Cedar Breaks National Monument is just up the canyon, and Dixie National Forest and BLM lands are not far away. Winter activities include downhill and cross country skiing, snow tubing, snow shoeing, snowmobiling, ice skating and my favorite way to carve the pow pow, snowboarding. With so much to do, you can only imagine what’s going on in the summer. Cedar City will take you into her bosom and make you feel like an old friend. I hope to come back when everything’s green and break my collar bone on a mountain bike.
Things To Do In Cedar City, Utah
- Cedar Breaks National Monument: Cedar Breaks National Monument: This giant amphitheater becomes a unique fantasy-land of red rocks and sparkling white snow every winter. Adventures include snowshoeing, cross country skiing and snowmobiling.
Highway 143 is kept open all winter with access to the winter ranger station and don’t forget your snow chains from December until March. Really…it will result in unexpected excitement.
- The Glacier: Have a date night or some family fun at Cedar City’s Community Ice Skating Rink. Its perch just above the city allows for magnificent views of the surrounding hills at sunset. The ice is really no easier than the snow, but the speeds and impacts are not as great as with snowboarding. Helmets for beginners should be mandatory with both activities. “Wait! There’s blood on the ground. Everybody check yourself. Oh, wait. It’s me.”
- Brian Head Ski Resort: This is one of Utah’s best kept secrets because they offer the lowest lift ticket prices of any full service ski resort in Utah. That’s right. These things matter to folks traveling on a shoestring budget. Brian Head offers some amazing runs with an annual average snowfall of over 360 inches and Utah’s highest base elevation. Covering over 650 acres, the resort has two connected mountains, Giant Steps and Navajo, offering eight chair lifts and seventy-one downhill runs. It’s more than you need.
Brian Head Resort recently teamed up with SNOW Operating and Snow Park Technologies to adopt the Terrain Based Learning Program for beginner ski and snowboard lessons. They made it easier to learn, in spite of my obvious lack of skill. Thank ye gods. They use purpose-built snow features to intuitively help newbies pick up the movements and skills needed to make real turns. Turns? I always thought the trees were there to help you slow down or stop.
Some of the learning features at Brian Head Resort include the mini-pipe, the rollers and return walls, banked turns, the pump track and the perfect slope. Each feature is designed to help learn fundamental skills needed for skiing or snowboarding, and eliminates the biggest fear and the worst enemy…gravity.
Visit the Cedar City/Brian Head Tourism Bureau website for a full list of activities such as hiking, mountain/road biking, camping, fishing, golfing, local festivals, art galleries, museums, and more. You’ll ask yourself how you never heard of this place. How has it managed to stay off your radar? Again, Nail Travels swoops in and saves the day. No need for thanks. It’s what we do.
Visit Cedar City when the leaves are changing color and mountain bike to the base of the canyon. Take a night hike and enjoy some of the most famous star gazing in the country. Your pictures will all be fantastic, but they’ll never compare to the view in person. It’s both your responsibility and right as an American to visit and appreciate this precious natural recourse.
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