During the last weekend in February, several hundred athletes will descend on Ogden, Utah, for the 16th annual United States Snowshoe Racing National Championships. And although the race will surely be memorable, participants hope the town will be memorable, too.
We spoke to Sydnie Furton from Visit Ogden about how to make the most of a weekend in this small mountain town located on the northern end of the Wastach range. “We have so many great things to do in the area,” she says. Here are ten of her favorite events:
USA Cycling Fat Bike National Championships
The second annual USA Cycling Fat Bike National Championship is happening on the same weekend (February 27) in the same location (Powder Mountain) as Snowshoe Nationals. You don’t have to be a pro to race, but if riding a dozen miles across Hidden Lake is still outside your comfort zone, stick to the fat bike demos instead. You’ll get a feel for the sport, and if you like it, “we have hundreds of miles that are accessible to fat bikes,” Furton says. “The fat bike community has a great presence here in Ogden.”
Wasatch Yeti Bash
As if two national championship events in one week isn’t enough, Ogden hosts the Wasatch Yeti Bash from February 24–28. Essentially a celebration of all-things winter, festival goers can enjoy an arts market, a snow sports expo, and street performers. Kick off the weekend early with Warren Miller’s Streif: One Hell of a Ride at Peery’s Egyptian Theater on Thursday night. Friday’s events include a community fat bike ride, yeti yoga, and an Insta-meet, to name a few.
Shop Till You Drop
The afore-mentioned Insta-meet takes place on Ogden’s Historic 25th Street, which is an area you’ll want to visit again—this time for the locally owned restaurants and shops. Whether you’re in the market for clothing, home décor, knitting supplies, or art, the odds are good that you’ll find something on this two-block stretch that will end up going home with you (because, really, what is a trip without a souvenir?).
In addition to its retail therapy, Ogden has plenty of historic attractions definitely worth checking out. Historic Union Station, for example, is home to museums and galleries that showcase railroad history, firearms, classic cars, arts, and model trains. If you’re a fan of The Revenant, make sure to wander over to Fort Buenaventura. The former trading post that once attracted mountain men such as Hugh Glass and Jim Bridger has since been reconstructed on its original site; its modern-day trading post is open year-round on Saturdays.
For a small town, Ogden has no shortage of good breakfast food. Furton recommends the chicken and waffles at Pig and a Jelly Jar, homestyle biscuits and gravy at Karen’s Café, quiche and hot tea at Kaffe Mercantile, or a mini donut and a latte at Grounds for Coffee. Sound overwhelming? Then head over to Yelp, where these eateries (and others) each have at least four stars. There, you’ll be able to check out menus and reviews to help narrow down the choice (alternatively, you could eat breakfast for every meal, which sounds pretty delicious to us).
Utah’s oldest bar is the Shooting Star Saloon, just a 15-minute drive from the city of Ogden. If you’re looking to stay in town, belly up at Roosters Brewing Co. on Historic 25th Street, and order a Bee’s Knees Honey Wheat. Either way, don’t be bummed out by Utah’s low-alcohol beer—it’s not actually as watery as you might believe. Utah sells 3.2 percent alcohol by weight (ABW) beer. Measure that same beer by volume (ABV), and it’s really 4 percent—which is just a notch shy of non-Utah beer.
Downhill Ski and Snowboard
The 10K portion of Snowshoe Nationals take place at Powder Mountain, the largest ski area in North America with more than 7,000 acres of lift-served, cat-served, and backcountry terrain. It’s also one of three resorts in the area. Slightly smaller (3,000 skiable acres) but more luxurious Snowbasin and quaint, downhome Nordic Valley are the other two (Snowbasin will host the marathon and half-marathon snowshoe championships on February 28). With peak elevations ranging between 6,400 (Nordic Valley), 9,422 (Powder Mountain) and 9,570 (Snowbasin), the three venues offer phenomenal downhill skiing and snowboarding with plenty of vertical drop. Visitors who stay at certain hotels in town can take advantage of a $139 Ski 3 offer, which gives them one full day at each resort.
Nordic and Cross Country Skiing
We’re guessing that if you snowshoe, you might be interested in Nordic or cross-country skiing, which offers a similar outdoor experience. North Fork Park is a great place to try both, especially during the beginner and intermediate group lessons that take place each Saturday (private lessons are also available upon request). Ski rentals and trail maps are available at the Ogden Nordic Center, so once you’re geared up, you’ll be ready to hit the 20 kilometers of groomed ski trails. And if you’d rather stick to snowshoeing, that’s perfectly okay—the area also has designated snowshoe trails (you’ll have to share with fat bikers though, so watch out!).
If you’ve never enjoyed lift-assisted tubing, now is your chance—no matter how old you are. Whether you want one ride ($5) or an all-day pass ($30), Snowbasin Resort will provide the rubber tube and pull you up the tubing hill. You’ll slide into the former finish line of the 2002 Olympic downhill courses—and although we can’t promise a medal, we can guarantee you’ll be smiling.
The U.S. curling team didn’t fare too well at the 2002 Olympic Games, but tickets to see the curling events nearly sold out. See the 2,000-seat venue for yourself; the Weber County Ice Sheet is just 5-minute drive from downtown Ogden. “Guests can enjoy a Mustang hockey game, go ice skating, or can rent out the entire facility for a game of curling,” Furton explains.
Have and Adventure at the Solomon Center
The Solomon Center has it all: indoor skydiving, surfing and rock climbing, bowling, arcades, and a full Gold’s Gym. Spend as many as four minutes in flight in the tunnel at iFly, or enjoy 2,520 square feet of world-class indoor rock climbing at iRock Utah. Ride a wave in a safe and controlled environment at Flowrider, or catch a movie at Megaplex Theatres. At the end of the day, grab a meal at Sonora Grill—a smothered burrito is the perfect way to refuel after such a busy afternoon.