• Winter Education programs

Winter isn't cold when you're having fun

In the winter, the canyons change. Nestled under a deep blanket of the snow the Wasatch Range is so famous for, it has a whole new personality. Animals migrate or hibernate, the flowers sleep and the phrase “winter wonderland” is very accurate.

During our programs, we track animals in the snow, listen for owls at night under a full moon on snowshoes and learn about the role of snow in the watershed and water supply.

Our free winter programs take place on snowshoes, skis and snowboards. They are in avalanche-safe terrain, in areas suitable for beginners.

Here’s a look at our winter programs:

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Tour With a Ranger

Winter 2016-17

Join Volunteer Naturalist “Rangers” on the ski slopes at Alta, Snowbird, Brighton and Solitude to learn about Cottonwood Canyon’s geology, history, winter ecology, watershed, wildlife, and more!

Weekends and Holidays all season, December 17th through March 26th.

Free, guided, naturalist-led tour, down an easy or intermediate ski run.
Tours meet at 1:30 PM, and last approximately 45 minutes.

Meeting places:

  • Alta 1:30 PM, Top of Sunnyside Lift.
  • Snowbird 1:30 PM, Mid-Gad Restaurant, outside near trail map sign.
  • Brighton 1:30 PM, Base of Snake Creek Chair.
  • Solitude 1:30 PM, Top of Moonbeam Chair.

Rangers are also on the mountain throughout the day, roving, to answer questions and provide great information.

Come see us and say hello!

Lift ticket or pass at ski area required.

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Full Moon Snowshoe Tours

Join us for a free, naturalist-led snowshoe tour under the full winter moon! Look for animal tracks and learn about the wildlife that left them, all while surrounded by some of Utah’s most beautiful mountains. Naturalist guides talk about everything from animal adaptations and trees to the history and geology of Big Cottonwood Canyon!

Where:
Spruces Campground: Located 9.7 miles up Big Cottonwood Canyon, on the right hand side of State Highway 190.

When:
Thursday, January 12, 2017 at 6:00pm
Friday, February 10, 2017 at 6:00pm
Sunday, March 12, 2017 at 8:00pm

Tours last approximately 1.5 — 2 hours.

Weather Conditions Permitting. Participants must bring their own snowshoes, snow boots, and winter gear.

Pre-Registration is Required: Register Here

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Snowshoe Tours at Alta

Cottonwood Canyons Foundation is proud to partner with Alta to offer free, guided snowshoe tours through Alta’s famous powder! Look for animal tracks and learn about the wildlife that left them. Naturalist guides talk about everything from animal adaptations and trees to the history of Little Cottonwood Canyon and Alta!

Dates:
Wednesday, December 28, 2016 at 10:00am
Saturday, January 21, 2017 at 10:00am
Saturday, February 18, 2017 at 10:00am
Saturday, March 18, 2017 at 10:00am
Saturday, April 15, 2017 at 11:00am– Alta Earth Day

Times:
Tours leave at 10:00am (except for Alta Earth Day), starting outside the east end of the Albion Day Lodge.
Tours last approximately 1.5 — 2 hours.

Weather Conditions Permitting. Participants must bring their own snowshoes, snow boots, and winter gear. Snowshoe rentals are available at the Alta Ski Shop and Alta Sports.

Pre-Registration is Required: Register Here

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Snowshoe field trips for schools and groups

A powerful learning experience out of the classroom, these field trips are designed for 4th and 5th grade students, or small groups. We have tailored the content of these field trips to reinforce what the students are learning in the classroom. Over the last ten years, we have lead over 12,000 students on snowshoes during these learning expeditions in their mountain backyard.

Led by both experienced staff and our fantastic volunteers, these programs seek to connect participants with the basic science of their watershed and the natural history of the Wasatch Mountains. Field trips are free of charge to schools.

Participants learn about winter wildlife adaptations, how to track animals in the snow, where their water comes from, and about Utah’s public lands. On past field trips, we’ve watched moose (from a safe distance!), listened to coyotes, been surprised by a grouse, watched a mink swim through the water and an ermine on a hunting expedition.

The snowshoes for the field trips are free of charge, generously provided by REI, who allows us free rental for the field trips. We’re grateful for their support and partnership of this program. We also have a bus scholarship program, where schools in need can apply for support in covering transportation expenses. This year’s bus scholarships were generously funded by the Big Cottonwood Marathon and its runners! We’re also grateful for Salt Lake City Watershed and the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest staff for their help in leading these amazing field trips.

The field trips take place in avalanche-safe, rolling terrain that makes it a great opportunity for those who have never been on snowshoes before. Additionally, the curriculum for these field trips ties into our fall and summer field trips, creating a larger impact for those repeat visitors! Here are some further details:

  • Trips run January through March
  • Free of charge!
  • Snowshoe rentals provided courtesy REI
  • Reservations accepted beginning mid-November.
  • Email volunteer@cottonwoodcanyons.org to make reservations.
  • Group size limited to 60, if you have larger class please clear with us first.
  • All trips in avalanche safe terrain

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For more information on these programs, please call (801) 930-5010 ext.100 or email volunteer@cottonwoodcanyons.org. See you this winter!