The Wasatch is populated by scores of elite athletes, serious outdoor industry types and obsessively-committed weekend warriors, so you’d be forgiven for thinking Utah’s mountain culture is all about businesslike training and epic achievements. Relax! Football’s back on television, so we’re officially in shoulder season territory. Every once in a while, we’re best off slowing things down with some crisp high-altitude air, a sweeping vista and a beverage or two.

 Snowbird OktoberfestWhat kind of bootleg Oktoberfest is Snowbird trying to run before the start of the namesake month? Turns out the authentic edition also takes place predominantly in September, so they’re doing it the Bavarian way in the central Wasatch. Strap on those lederhosen.

Labor Day Weekend in UtahThis year, Oktoberfest will feature scenic helicopter tours of Little Cottonwood Canyon from Powderbird. Make reservations 801-933-2222. Tickets are $250 per person and available for all ages. The flights will run on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The biergarten offers more than 50 varieties of beer from local breweries like Squatters, Uinta, Bohemian and Moab Brewery in addition to traditional German-style classics. No frothy stein is complete without a sauerkraut-covered bratwurst or Weisswurst, some spaetzle and apple strudel.

Oktoberfest is a free event running every Saturday and Sunday from noon until 6:00 p.m. through October 20. Snowbird charges for parking during the event, so carpool whenever possible and purchase a reusable Snowbird Oktoberfest beer stein to save a few bucks on your beer purchases.

Snowbird’s been hosting the wildly-popular annual beer festival since 1973. Oktoberfest’s a great spot to come bend an elbow whether it’s the day’s primary activity or an après stop after a hike on the Mount Superior ridge line or a ride on the Snowbird Tram.

 Park City Wine Festival

A slightly-more refined gathering awaits in the Wasatch Back. The Park City Wine Festival is an over-21 event with more than 500 wine, beer and spirit varieties available throughout the weekend. The festival takes place at a variety of venues around Park City from October 3-6.

A bevy of events including the Walk of Wine with unique wine pairings to Main Street galleries and The Grand Tasting featuring hundreds of domestic and international wines at Canyons Village are perfect for the amateur sommeliers out there. The Park City Uncorked Wine and Dinner Series celebrates local cuisine and wine with pairings at High West Distillery, Waldorf Astoria, The Farm and Montage Deer Valley. The active set can enjoy the Nine and Wine Golf Outing or the Trails and Tannins event that combine libations with Park City’s mountainous scenery.

Visit the Park City Wine Festival website for a full listing of the festival events and to purchase tickets online. Lodging packages are available for those who want to enjoy fall in Park City.

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