by Michael Lowe | July 05, 2016
Utah ski resorts were the hot ticket this winter, posting a 10-year high for visitors. However, while the destination may garner fame from its wintery wonderlands, Utah's outdoor escapes are as diverse as they are spectacular. From its world-class white powder to red-rock canyons, outdoors enthusiasts will have plenty of choices regardless of season. For those who lean towards city life, Salt Lake City's burgeoning foodscape and vibrant, growing downtown may be just the ticket.

Whatever the preference, groups visiting Utah will find an increasingly sophisticated scene set among one of nature's most perfect playgrounds.

Park City
The high-altitude hot spot is known for its winter sports, but it has much to offer year round. In 2012, Park City became the first destination to be awarded a Gold Level Ride Center by the International Mountain Bicycling Association for its more than 400 miles of mountain bike trails, in addition to the quality and quantity of lodging and restaurants in the area. More than $1 million is budgeted annually for bike trail maintenance, and groups can take advantage of the spectacular trail views through resort bike rentals and bike tours for all levels.

For a more edible experience, Food Tours Park City and Gourmand Tours both offer food tours along Main Street as local guides share stories of the city's pioneering and mining past.  

Following a long day of mountain biking, taste testing, or both, visitors can rest easy at one of the area's world-class properties. Vail Resorts recently spent $50 million to combine its Park City Mountain Resort with the neighboring Canyons Resort. Now called Park City, the hotel is the largest ski resort in the country, spanning 7,300 acres, 185 trails, and 41 lifts. Last June, the property also unveiled its 18-hole Canyons Golf Course.

Nearby Deer Valley Resorts was recently named the Best Ski Resort in the U.S. by the World Ski Awards and the Stein Eriksen Lodge Dear Valley was named the World's Best Ski Hotel by the same organization.

Salt Lake City and Beyond
With its influx of chef-owned restaurants, craft breweries, and urban wineries, it's no wonder Salt Lake City was named's fifth-best downtown and ranked number 55 on its 2016 list of most livable U.S. cities. A proposed convention center hotel is currently in the works and is expected to add some 800 guest rooms to the city's skyline.

For an unforgettable side trip or post-meeting jaunt, look no further than Utah's national parks. Known for its steep red-rock cliffs, Zion National Park is easily accessible from Salt Lake City by a one-hour flight to St. George Regional Airport and then a one-hour drive from there. The state's four other national parks are Bryce Canyon, Arches, Canyonlands, and Capitol Reef.  

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This article appears in the July 2016 issue of Successful Meetings.