Why we love winter in southwest Utah (and you should too!)

"Powder Alert!" In the days leading up to our trip, I am obsessively watching the Visit Cedar City Instagram account, and grinning every time I see this post. Snow has graced southwest Utah beautifully this year and in just a few days we'll be shredding the pow (please, excuse this overused phrase). Finally it's Friday, and we're boarding our flight to St. George for a long weekend of Utah winter adventures.
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This article was created in partnership with the Cedar City – Brian Head Tourism Bureau.

Wow, this is just beautiful.

We hop in our rental car and cruise north from St. George, Utah into the tall mountains of southwest Utah. My husband mocks me for not coming up with more synonyms for “beautiful”, as I have declared the scenery to be just that for the entire drive. Red rock sits strikingly amidst white mountains, and it’s hard keep my jaw up.

First stop, Cedar City.

Before we travel too far, we grab lunch at a great sandwich spot downtown–Pastry Pub–which is conveniently around the block from The Grind Coffeehouse. Once we’re properly caffeinated, we mosey across the street to Cedar Sports and fit into some cross-country ski gear.

We twist our way up the mountains, and land in the gorgeous snowscape that is Brian Head. A little further we stop at a gate leading to Cedar Breaks National Monument. While this gate is normally open to traffic en route to Panguitch, it’s closed currently due to too much snow. No problem though, we strap on our skis and glide along, gazing out toward the red rock formations in the monument, giving space to the cliff’s edge as the winds howl in a really-pretty-sort-of-way.

Exhausted, we retreat to our cozy quarters for the weekend at Cedar Breaks Lodge… but only after an authentic indulgence at Sook Jai Thai at the base of the ski mountain. We kick back at the table in our room and play a few hands of cards before finally calling it a night.


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Punch it, cookie!

I’m on the back of the snowmobile, urging my husband to go faster! We’re following our guide from Thunder Mountain Motorsports through the trees, kicking powder at every turn. I had no idea snowmobiling could be so fun! Finally we reach a view over Black Bear Canyon at the edge of Cedar Breaks National Monument, and I am awestruck at this snowy Utah winter wonderland.


Seeking a more relaxing afternoon, we roll down the hill back to Cedar City. We scarf down wood-fired pizzas in the hip Centro Pizzeria downtown, then walk off our full bellies by visiting the array of shops and art galleries downtown. Finally we land at the Southern Utah Museum of Art (SUMA), currently featuring works of the University’s alum. The mix of art is captivating, and we leave giddy with the new souvenirs from the gift shop. Before the evening sets in, we sample wines at IG Winery and belly up to ribeye steaks at Rusty’s Ranch House.

The stars guide us back to Brian Head. We finally lay our heads down as the snow falls quietly outside.

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It’s not first chair, but it doesn’t matter.

Many others have already whizzed down the trails at Brian Head Resort, but there is more than enough powder to go around! We mostly stick to the runs at Giant Steps, zipping through chutes, around trees and on wide open terrain. Even for a holiday weekend, we are amazed at how quiet this resort feels. Until last chair at 4:30pm, we find powder and ski until our legs scream for mercy.


The hot tub at Cedar Breaks Lodge rejuvenates our bodies and our spirits, but we are just too tired to venture out for dinner. The restaurant in the Lodge is exactly what we need; a beet salad, fish and chips, and a couple of cocktails. I may have lost at pool that night, but I definitely won overall on the weekend. Brian Head and Cedar City, Utah offer a perfect winter retreat for anyone seeking snow, solitude, and great outdoor action.
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With more time, we could have explored the area’s nearby national parks, Zion and Bryce Canyon, though there was still more to explore just in the Cedar City and Brian Head areas. Sigh, until next time, Utah!

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