Salt Lake City sits at a unique geological and geographic point in the country and for this has four very distinct, sometimes extreme seasons. The average yearly temperature is 52 degrees and as this would suggest, the valley enjoys a mostly mild climate. The snow starts to fall in November (with the earliest on record in September) and continues into April, often with overnight snow showers into the spring as the temperatures fluctuate. This snow has made the Salt Lake valley famous, and with good reason. The city sees 63 inches on average per year, with much more falling and settling in the Wasatch Mountains. This Lake Effect snow occurs from mid-fall to mid-winter and produces localized, heavy snowfalls. Mid-winter also brings sweeps of high pressure and temperature inversions, which cause fog, pollutants, and haze to get trapped in the valley and the clean, cooler air to comfort the skiers in the mountains above. There are often days of inversion where you can ski in the morning and come into the valley after lunch to play a round of golf. Inversions aside, there are many days in spring where the golf/ski combo lures locals and visitors alike. Through most of the winter, the sun is shining and the skies burn deep blue; the area is said to get 300+ days of sun a year.

Spring brings the storms in the Salt Lake valley, though the average yearly precipitation in the valley is only 16.5 inches. Spring lasts a few short months before summer sets in and it's characterized by a dry, often extreme heat. The canyons and Park City (30 miles east of SLC) provide much-needed, cool respite from the valley's warmth, which is magnified by lots of wide streets, extensive sidewalks, and little shade. In any given year, you can expect 5 days above 100 degrees, at least 23 above 95, and 56 days at 90 degrees. Fall begins in late August when the temperatures begin to drop and the leaves change, though it's not long before the snow begins to fall again. Temperatures in fall are the most variable; the average high temperature drop is 50 degrees.

When to go depends on what you want to do. Fall and spring tend to be the mildest seasons, though storms are a constant threat (but are also quite stunning, characterized by dry lightning and flash rains). Ski season begins early and ends late, with the most crowds around spring break--late February into March. Spring skiing, characterized by slushy snow and bright sun, is a huge possibility the later into the season one goes. For hiking, biking, and other outdoor activities, practically any time in the spring, summer or fall is possible, depending on one's own personal preferences. Summer in the valley remains frustratingly hot. Locals spend most of their time in the canyons for barbeques, rock climbing, hiking, and concerts. Tourists will probably want to follow suit.