Once, chairlifts remained still and ski slopes were unoccupied in the summer. Then, Park City Mountain Resort introduced the Alpine Slide back in the 1970s, and the movement was on.
Today, several Utah ski resorts restart lifts and open slopes to hiking, biking and, in some cases, horseback riding, as soon as weather permits.
The mountain slopes and the higher, cooler temperatures make for ideal day-use outings.
The list of activities available is both unique and, in most cases, very family-friendly.
The alpine slides at Park City and Snowbird allow drivers, often with smaller family members onboard, to negotiate the winding track at their own pace.
The new Alpine Coaster at Park City, one of only three in the United States, not only allows riders complete control but a roller-coaster-type experience.
Hiking and biking, of course, remain the most popular of the summer opportunities. Lift-served biking and hiking take a lot of the work out trying to negotiate the slopes. Once at the top of the lift, everything is downhill from there.
Consensus among several of the resorts contacted is that summer business is good. High fuel prices and the opportunity to spend time in cooler temperatures are attracting people to the resorts.
Even at those resorts that are not open for summer activities, like Alta and Brighton, there is the opportunity to do some hiking or biking.
Following is a list of those resorts offering summer activities:
The resort is well-known for its mountain biking opportunities, not only at the resort itself but also trails, both back-country roads and single track, winding through the Dixie National Forest.
Lift-served trails within resort boundaries range from the six-mile Lightning Point route for intermediates to the Malicious Woods Freestyle Park, with a series of man-made features, like drops, jumps, teeter-totter and S-boxes, for experts only.
What attracts many is the fact that the drop-off point comes in at an elevation of nearly 11,000 feet, and from there it's all downhill. The resort offers shuttle service from locations at lower elevations. Other summer activities include disc golf, hiking and scenic chairlift rides.
Facts: Biking hours 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., all-day adult rental $30, maps and guides available. The disc golf 18-hole, par-3 course is the longest and highest in Utah. Course free to hikers or with lift pass. Disc rentals available. Lift runs Friday through Sunday. Pass is $24 all day, $10 single ride. Phone: 435-677-2035. Web: www.brianhead.com.
Many of the summer activities here start with a gondola ride on Flight of The Canyons, which tends to set the mood for high-country and scenic adventure. The gondola is open Wednesday though Sunday.
Among the offerings, along with the gondola ride, are disc golf, hiking and mountain biking.
The disc golf course is the only one offered at the Park City area and is free. To access the course, however, requires a long hike to the midmountain course or a gondola ride.
Hiking is, of course, a popular way of enjoying the cooler temperatures and summer mountain beauty. There are a number of trails that lead up or down from the gondola drop-off point.
Facts: The 9-hole disc golf course is free but is best accessed by the gondola. Disc rentals are available. Mid-mountain access for mountain biking is available Wednesday through Sunday, 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Adult bike rentals $40 a day. Gondola hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets $15 adults, $10 kids 7-12, under 6 free. Phone: 435-615-3440. Web: www.thecanyons.com.
Deer Valley was among the first resorts in the country to offer lift-served access to its mountain slopes in the summer. It first turned on a lift in the summer of 1992. And it has, over the years, been considered to have some of the best summer biking/hiking trails in the country.
Today, it offers more than 55 miles of single and double track on its slopes, all served by chairlifts.
Bikers and scenic riders have access to two lifts Silver Lake Express at the base, and the Sterling Express located midmountain. From there, bikers and hikers have access to more than 55 miles of mountain trails both single and double track. The resort has also set aside a number of hiking-only trails. There is a short quarter-mile hike, with very little elevation change, that offers views of Jordanelle Reservoir and the Uinta Mountains.
Facts: Lifts open daily for scenic rides and mountain biking. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. All-day bike pass is $28 and single ride is $19. Scenic ride is $15. Bike rentals available. Also has Summer Adventure Camps for children 1 to 12 offering an array of activities. Phone: 435-649-1000. Web: www.deervalley.com.
There is no shortage of activities at Park City Mountain Resort, some among the first to hit the summer recreation scene here in Utah, including the Alpine Slide, Alpine Coaster and ZipRider.
The newest ride is the Alpine Coaster, one of only three in the country. This elevated roller-coaster-like ride consists of more than a mile of loops and high-speed curves. Unlike the slide, the cars can't leave the track, so speed is not a problem.
The resort's Alpine Slide, at 3,000 feet, is one of the world's longest and was introduced in the 1970s and was the first summer attraction at the resort.
The next high-thrill adventure ride is the ZipRider. Here again, Park City was the first to have the cable ride. Riders, at times, are up to 110 feet off the ground and reach speeds approaching 45 miles per hour.
There are two lifts open to bikers, hikers and scenic riders the Town Lifts that begin on the town's Main Street, and the PayDay lift located at the base of the resort. Hiking and biking maps are available.
Facts: A single lift ride for biking or hiking or scenic viewing is $11, and an all-day pass is $18. Single Alpine Coaster ride is $18. A passenger under 54 inches tall is $6. Single Alpine Slide ride is $11, and a passenger under 48 inches tall is $3. A single ride on the ZipRider is $19. The climbing wall is $7 for two climbs; a trip in the maze is $4; a session on the trampoline is $7; and a round on the 18-hole miniature golf course is $6. There are also three children's rides merry-go-round, airplane and minitrain, and a ride on any of the three is $3. Phone: 435-649-8111.Web: www.parkcitymountain.com.
For a long time, consensus was that Snowbasin had the potential of becoming one of Utah's premier mountain biking and hiking areas because of its natural terrain. And, it has become just that.
This year the resort added a little flavoring to the package. It now offers shuttle service to its hikers and bikers. Shuttles go to Pineview Dam, the old road and Middle Fork. The benefit is that hikers and bikers can use the resort's lifts and take longer trips. And, as an added bonus, it's all downhill.
There are 25 miles of trails open to riders and hikers. The vertical drop is 2,959 vertical feet. There are also maintained trails on the adjacent U.S. Forest land.
There are two 9-hole disc golf courses. One is located near the base and the second is near the summit. The lower course offers both novice and advanced "tee pads" to accommodate all levels of play.
Facts: Lifts and rental shop open Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Single ride biking $16, all day $20. Single ride sight-seeing $14. All-day bike rental $50 for adult. Phone: 801-620-1013. Web: www.snowbasin.com.
Snowbird is another resort that offers variety for summer visitors, ranging from hiking to riding the ZipRider to bouncing on the trampoline.
Introduced last year, and proving popular this year, is the chairlift/tunnel experience. This involves a scenic ride up the Peruvian chair to a saddle below the Tram where America's only skier tunnel is located a 600-foot passage between two valleys.
Another popular family activity is a ride to the top of the mountain by Tram, followed by a hike back to the base.
The Tram rises nearly 3,000 feet along a 1.60-mile-long cable. Riders can go the top of the 11,000 -foot Hidden Peak.
There's also a small pond open to fishing for children 12 and under.
Facts: Tram and Peruvian chair open daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Adult Tram ride $12, children 7-16 is $10. Family pass two adults, four children is $45 for single ride, $55 all day. Alpine Slide pass is $8 for single ride for adults, $3 for children 2-6. Peruvian chair is $12 for single ride, children 7-16 is $10. Single ride on ZipRider is $12. Trampoline is $8 for 5 minutes, bull ride is $8 per ride, climbing wall is $8 for two climbs, horseback trips range from $59 (one hour) to $149 (3 hours), and ATV rides are $59 for single rider, $79 for two. Unlimited all-day pass is $32. Phone: 801-933-2222. Web: www.snowbird.com.
Hiking and biking are among the more popular activities, with things like fishing, throwing a Frisbee or riding a scooter making choosing an activity difficult.
The resort offers more than 20 miles of single-track riding and hiking on its forested mountain slopes.
For a change, there are the big-wheeled Digglers or scooters that offer a new twist to riding down the mountain slopes.
Kids 12 and under are allowed to fish in the Solitude pond for large rainbow trout. All those fish caught, however, must be released back into the pond. The resort also has an 18-hole disc golf course.
Facts: Lifts at the resort operate Wednesday through Friday 1 to 6 p.m. and weekends 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. A single ride is $6 and all-day pass is $15. Children under 6 free. Full-day bike rental $35 and scooter rentals $25. Phone: 801-534-1400. Web: www.skisolitude.com.
What better backdrop to a high-country experience can there be than Mount Timpanogos.
Lift-served hiking remains one of the more popular activities. There are 10 miles of alpine trails. One of the more popular hikes is to Stewart Falls, which involved a lift ride and a two-hour hike through stands of trees and across meadows to the falls and back.
The resort also offers guided hikes.
There are more than 25 miles of lift-served single-track biking at the resort, ranging from beginner to expert routes.
Facts: A one-ride lift pass is $8 for adults, $7 for those 6 to 12. Hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Aug. 17, then its 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. An all-day trail pass is $10 and does not include lift access. Horseback riding available at Sundance Stables. Phone: 801-536-4071. Web: sundanceresort.com.
The resort opened its mountain to mountain biking for the first time last summer, as well as access to its Wolf Lair's Mountain Bike Terrain Park, which includes earthen features, four cross, board walk jibs and trails.
The mountain trails offer riders everything from expert to beginning trails.
Visitors can also hike the mountainside or simply take a scenic lift ride.
Facts: Open Saturday and Sunday. Biking hours 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. All-day lift pass is $20 and $12 for children. Scenic chair ride if $5. Bike rentals available. Phone: 801-745-3737. Web: www.wolfmountaineden.com.
Utah Olympic Park
When thinking ski resorts and summer activities, not to be left out is the Utah Olympic Park in Park City.
Opportunities there range from an aerial freestyle show to a Zipline to a stainless-steel slide. The Quicksilver slide, opened in 2005, is 3,116-feet long, and riders can hit speeds of 25 mph.
During the summer there is the Comet Bobsled ride. The sled reaches speeds of 60 miles per hour and riders pull 4Gs in the turns.
It's Xtreme Zipline is the steepest in the world. It starts from the top of the 120-meter ski jump.
During the week there is aerial training in the park's pool. On Saturday, however, there is the Flying Ace All-Stars Freestyle Show.Facts: Park admission is free, except on Saturday between 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., the day of the aerial show, when it's $10 for adults, $7 for children. A ride on the Xtreme Zipline is $20 and on the Ultra Zipline it's $15. A ride on the Quicksilver slide is $15. The Comet Bobsled ride is $60. Phone: 435-658-4200. Web: www.olyparks.com.