BYU-Idaho students recommend traveling to five different places during the winter semester to get out and discover the joy of snow.

1) Island Park

Island Park is full of exploration through trails and history.

Madison McMurray, a freshman studying psychology, has a cabin in Island Park and goes there with her family on occasion.

There are opportunities to ride snowmobiles or snow coaches to tour Yellowstone. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are available in the winter. There are also museums to visit, which are also available in the summer.

“Even in the winter, it’s just so beautiful up there,” McMurray said.

When planning for a day at Island Park, keep in mind the cost and the hour’s distance north.

“So it’s probably not something you do every week,” McMurray said. “And it’s something I would definitely plan for, to make a day at Island Park.”

2) 17 Mile Cave

This cave does not cost anything to explore and is 17 miles from Idaho Falls.

Porter Newman, a freshman studying computer science, has explored these caves with his friends.

Snow surrounds the opening of the 17 Mile Cave.

Snow surrounds the opening of the 17 Mile Cave. Photo credit: Rosemary Jones

“You just have so much fun there,” said Newman. “It’s kind of creepy at the same time, but it’s also really fun when you’re with a bunch of friends.”

He explained that it’s creepy because the cave is dark and there is graffiti all over the walls.

Anyone going to the cave should bring a headlamp, friends and warm clothes.

3) Ice Palace

BYU-I students mentioned that the Ice Palace is a must-go destination this winter semester.

Upcoming events include fire shows, lightsaber duels, the winter festival, the royal coronation day and meeting reindeer.

A team of builders, operators and management build the Ice Palace each year.

Bring warm clothes and prepare to explore hand-sculpted ice tunnels with friends.

4) Grand Teton Mall

Not all winter activities have to include diving into the snow.

Sara Smith, a junior studying marriage and family studies, often visits the Grand Teton Mall in Idaho Falls.

“I’m from Arizona, and we don’t get, like, any snow there,” Smith said.

However, the snow does not limit Smith to where she is willing to travel.

“I typically just go to the mall, or my husband and I will typically just go out to eat at places like Chipotle,” Smith said.

This is the outside of the Grand Teton Mall.

Entrance of the Grand Teton Mall. Photo credit: Rosemary Jones

The mall allows friends to walk together, whether to look or to buy. Smith explained how she loves going to Barnes & Noble and seeing the latest books on display.

“I don’t love to go outside all the time, but I do love to read books when it’s snowing,” Smith said.

5) Sand Dunes

The sand dunes in St. Anthony are about 30 minutes away from Rexburg and topped with snow. The opportunities are endless for free ways to enjoy the winter.

One student pushes another student on an inner tube down the snowy hills of the dunes in St. Anthony, Idaho.

BYU-I students sled down the steep hills of the sand dunes. Photo credit: Rosemary Jones

Samuel-David Imo, a freshman studying computer engineering, visited the sand dunes at night with a large group of friends.

“It was so dark, so you can see the stars, and you can see the constellations,” Imo said. “I just love that.”

Other activities to consider at the dunes are roasting marshmallows, sledding and building snowmen.

Make sure to dress warm and use waterproof pants when visiting. The snow builds up to knee-level and higher on some of the hills.

Visitors recommend bringing firewood, marshmallows, inner tubes and plastic sleds to enjoy.