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Utah Travel Headlines

Monday, October 31, 2011

Top Ranked Utah Ski Resorts

Previously, we reported that Utah resorts dominated many of the categories in Ski Magazine's latest resort rankings, and that Deer Valley was named the best resort in North American for an amazing 5th consecutive year.

Ski Magazine has now posted the complete results from its reader survey, and has also posted this fun section showcasing some of Utah's top-rated resorts. The section includes photos and descriptions of the resorts.

Below is a summary of the Utah section.

# 1: Deer Valley
+The good life, base to summit. Untracked glades.

# 6: Park City Mountain Resort
+ Great family programs. Diverse terrain.

# 16: Canyons Resort, Utah
+ Immense resort that’s quickly adding amenities.

# 20: Snowbird, Utah
+ Snow. Killer terrain. More snow.

Top Ranked Food and Dining: Deer Valley, Utah

Top Ranked Skier's Mountain: Alta, Utah

Friday, October 28, 2011

Expansion Planned For Vernal Dinosaur Museum

The dinosaur museum at the Utah Field House of Natural History State Park in Vernal will be expanded, with funds coming from Uintah County.

That is the story reported in this Deseret News article, and it comes while other Utah state parks may face budget cuts. The Utah legislature is considering closing some less popular state parks.

The Vernal museum is one of our great spots to view and learn about dinosaur fossils. Below are excerpts from the news article.

The county, through its Impact Mitigation Special Service District, will spend $1.5 million to build a new repository and lab facility for the Utah Field House of Natural History Museum State Park.

The move comes as lawmakers consider whether to cut the budget for state parks across Utah, which could force some parks to close. Uintah County commissioners have opposed such cuts for the Field House, citing the role it plays in bringing tourism dollars into the region.

"The community is very positive toward dinosaurs and dinosaur bones," Uintah County Commission Chairwoman Darlene Burns said. "These are things we find locally and this has been a great tourist draw."

The new 11,000-square-foot facility that Uintah County plans to break ground on in the spring will be "state of the art, as far as the lab and all the latest and best preparation tools," Bennis-Bottomley said. It will also have climate controls to ensure that fossils and artifacts aren't degraded by the wild temperature swings that take place in the existing facility.

One unique feature of the new repository will be a glass partition that will allow museum visitors to watch as paleontologists and other experts prepare fossils and artifacts for storage or display, Bennis-Bottomley said.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Zion Park Seeks Input On Backcountry Permit System

Permits are needed before people can say overnight in the Zion National Park backcountry, and permits are also needed for day hikes through most slot canyons.

The demand for permits continues to grow year after year and the park is now considering ways to improve the permit allocation system. The park issued the news release below. See the park website for more specific information.

Seeking Comment on Wilderness Pemtitting Procedures

Zion National Park is seeking public comment on the park's wilderness permitting procedures (formerly called backcountry permitting) and the demands placed on the public by the current system. The park is exploring possible adjustments to the permitting procedures to improve visitor services and experiences. Public comments will be considered during the development of an updated permitting plan scheduled for release on February 1, 2012.

Areas and activities within the park that require wilderness permits continue to grow in popularity. Wilderness permits are required for all overnight trips, as well as day trips into many of the park's slot canyons. As the demand for the limited number of wilderness permits increases, so has the competition. Many visitors wait for hours or, in some cases, overnight to obtain wilderness permits for activities within Zion National Park. The current wilderness permitting system allows visitors to secure permits through a reservation system for roughly 75% of all areas. Reservations for permits in the most popular sections of the park are often booked two to three months in advance. The remaining permits are issued up to one day in advance on a first come-first served basis at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center. The demand for the first come-first served permits may result in long lines and significant waits. The park is seeking to resolve these issues and improve operations.

Contact Information
Ray O'Neil
Zion National Park
Wilderness Permits
Springdale, UT 84767

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Heber City's Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Buckaroo Fair

The popular Heber City Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Buckaroo Fair will run November 2-6. This is the 17th annual gathering. It will feature top names in Western music and cowboy poetry.

The gathering is held in Heber Valley every November. It has evolved to become one of America's largest Cowboy Poetry events. It draws more than 40,000 attendees and features such performers as Waddie Mitchell, Michael Martin Murphey, Riders in the Sky, the Bar J Wranglers and Brenn Hill.

See the official website for more information and a list of events. Below is an overview video provided by the gathering.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Why Visit Arches National Park During Winter?

The title of this post comes from this Chicago Tribune article, where writer Josh Noel describes a winter trip to Arches National Park. He concludes that winter may be the best time for a visit. Below are excerpts.

...I wanted to see Arches in winter. I wanted to see its roads unclogged and its red rocks glazed with snow. I had wondered if they looked different this time of year and found a resounding and rewarding answer: yes.

Topped with unsullied white, southern Utah's red rocks seem even redder. The thrill is in the contrast, especially at sunset, when the rocks turn a warm orange-red and the snow, reflecting the fading sun, becomes softly rosy. Add short, scrubby green grasses and the sky's piercing blue, and Arches National Park sings in winter — albeit to a small audience. Which makes it even better, as Chandler had long known.

In winter, Arches' trail signs directing motorists to overflow parking are laughable. No one is here but locals (that is, people from within 500 miles) and foreigners (I met Russians, Germans, Australians).

In the age of cellphones and music wherever you go, it took awhile to realize that the solitude also meant quiet. Slowly I noted bird trills. I heard a low-passing raven's wings cut through the mountain air. And I heard nothing; in the deepest reaches of Devils Garden, looking at the land unfold 100 miles in every bright direction, I heard only me: the wind in my ears, my breath, a click in my jaw. There was nothing else to hear. Only see.

"If you come in winter you'll never come again in spring or fall," (German tourist Rejina) Zollmann said. "If mankind doesn't believe in God or a higher force, they should come here with open eyes and an open heart and they can understand."

She paused.

"I'm not American," she said. "I can't explain it."

I told her she explained Arches' quiet winter beauty well - better than many Americans could.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Should Salt Lake Canyons Become One Mega Ski Resort?

Utah ski resorts continue to expand, and to offer interconnecting lifts and runs. As a result, it is becoming more practical to ski multiple resorts in one trip - sometimes even one day. The ease of access to the slopes and the variety of terrain, has long been a draw bringing skiers to Utah. Now, the possibility of skiing multiple resorts is adding to the appeal.

The four resorts in the Cottonwood Canyon east of Salt Lake City, and the three resorts in the Park City area are separated by just a few miles and a couple mountain ridges, and the trend is to build more inter-connectivity.

There is a real possibility that the area could evolve into one mega resort, and that has some people concerned. The Deseret News has this article about the prospect. Below are excerpts.

Jeff Niermeyer, director of public utilities, said adding a lift here, adding a lift there, putting in a new tram at one resort or establishing glide path to connect two resorts are among proposals under discussion. Some have been formally presented for review to government agencies — such as the U.S. Forest Service or Salt Lake County Planning — while others are in the talking stage.

"Our concern is that we have all these people right now trying to push all these individual projects and nobody is really looking at this in a holistic manner," Niermeyer said.

As the city's ultimate watchdog and caretaker of a Wasatch watershed that supplies the drinking water needs for nearly 500,000 people, Niermeyer admits he is ultra-sensitive to proposals that could threaten that supply.

Ski Utah President and Chief Executive Officer Nathan Rafferty said any of the proposals out there are designed to make sure the ski resorts can meet the needs of the future.

"They are less about making the ski resorts bigger and more about getting people from one resort to another," Rafferty said, pointing to congestion and other traffic problems that already pose headaches for skiers and snowboarders.

Gov. Gary Herbert, too, said some sort of ski resort connectivity might actually have environmental benefits — such as improvements to air quality — but such development would have to have proceed with caution and appropriate mitigation.

"Whatever we do has to be in harmony with the stewardship responsibilities we have in protecting our watersheds, our flora and our fauna," he said. "We might be able to tip-toe through the watershed with an aerial tram."

Friday, October 21, 2011

Utah Resorts Offer Innovative Programs To Help People Learn To Ski

Utah ski resorts offer some of the best snow and terrain on earth and so we attract many advanced skiers. But our resorts also offer plenty of opportunity for less experienced enthusiasts. And many resorts are reaching out to help people who have never skied or snowboarded learn to enjoy those sports.

The Salt Lake Tribune has this article about such programs. Below is a summary. Read the complete article for details.

Utah students in 5th and 6th grades can purchase a low-cost permit and ski at all Utah resorts.

A similar program allows adult residents to purchase a $499 pass and ski at all 14 Utah resorts.

Park City Mountain Resort offers the popular StartNow program. It allows people to sign up for five sessions, which includes ski or snowboard rental, lift access and an afternoon lesson.

“The resort also is making the transition for new skiers and boarders a little easier with a dedicated learning zone with two conveyor lifts.”

Deer Valley has made an effort to better serve beginners by redesigning the Wide West run and installing three conveyor lifts.

“We were trying to make it a little less intimidating for first-time and beginner skiers,” said Deer Valley spokeswoman Emily Summers. “Ski schoolers can come right out of the lodge and get on a conveyor right there.”

Snowbird offers a unique program where participants pay for low-cost lessons and, if interested, can graduate to more advanced lessons and eventually receive a season ski pass.

“Riders looking for snowboard-specific beginner lessons may want to check out Burton’s national Learn to Ride program. Canyons, Brighton, Park City Mountain and Powder Mountain resorts all offer the LTR lessons. The Utah lessons usually are reserved for adults and typically run $99 for a day of lessons, lifts and rental.”

Utah’s resorts also offer special deals during the National Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month, held in January.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Marvels Of Moab

The title above comes from this blog, posted on, where Pauline Frommer describes her first visit to Moab, Arches and Canyonlands. We found her impressions interesting. Below are excerpts.

...What is left is a desertscape that looks like something imagined by Dr Seuss. Very few destinations offer as much in the way of eyeful, natural wonders and adrenaline-pumping adventures.

The must-see is Landscape Arch, located in the Devil’s Playground area of the park.…

Another unmissable Arches experience, but one that must be signed up for several months in advance, is the ranger-led Fiery Furnace hike. It takes visitors on a sometimes strenuous trek through the beguiling, and unmarked canyons, of this fragile wilderness area. Along with guiding serious rock scrambling, the ranger gives a compelling lecture on what it takes to survive in this unforgiving ecosystem.

(In Canyonlands) I’d recommend the “Islands in the Sky” area for less-active travelers: It offers scenic overlooks just a few feet from the road, as well as easy trails to more breathtaking vistas (Murphy’s Point was a favorite, though it requires three miles of walking). More adventurous (or fit) park goers head to the Needles District, named for the sharp, vertical outcroppings of rock here. Head to Druid Arch, a massive, cathedral-like structure that’s worth the 11-mile hike it takes to visit.

Moab is best known internationally for its slick-rock bike trails, unique in the world. They offer hardcore cyclists the opportunity to zip up and down angles that would be impossible on dirt trails (where wheels would simply spin). A number of outfitters in town offer rentals and guided cycles; expect to pay $45 per day for a rental.

Read the complete blog.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Some Utah State Parks Are In Danger Of Being Closed

Utah State Legislators are working with budget numbers, and are considering slashing funding for Utah State Parks. If that happens, some parks will need to be closed.

Members of the public who appreciate Utah’s diverse state parks are encouraged to contact legislators and express support for the parks.

The Salt Lake Tribune has this article about the latest rounds of budget proposals, and how they may affect parks. Below are excerpts.

Utah State Park officials told legislators Wednesday that if a proposed $2.8 million cut in general funds for the next fiscal year occurs, parks will be closed.

"We’ve gone from lean and mean to emaciated and violent," said Department of Natural Resources Director Mike Styler, speaking before the Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Interim Committee.

State Parks Director Mary Tullius said her agency approached 21 local governments to see if they would be willing to take over park management and not one expressed interest.

The agency, whose properties hosted 4.8 million visitors last year that generated $67 million in economic benefit, has cut 43 full-time positions — about 18 percent of its workforce — since 2010. It eliminated eight law-enforcement positions July 1, and decommissioned 14 other law-enforcement positions.

Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, proposed doing away with all state park and wildlife officers and allowing county sheriffs to enforce fishing, hunting, boating and off-highway vehicle regulations within their jurisdictions.

Tullius said legislators could help increase money coming into state parks by raising camping fees, which she said are among the lowest in the West, and increasing golf course fees. She also said the Legislature should give her agency the flexibility to charge more on busy weekends and reduce them during the week or during times when parks are under-utilized.

Many of the members of the committee expressed support for state parks. Rep. Evan Vickers, R-Cedar City, expressed support for Frontier Heritage State Park, which requires a state subsidy. He wondered what would happen to the park’s collection of items illustrating the area’s history should it close.

"There are some things you just can’t put a price tag on," he said. "Some parks are in a different category. We need to figure out a way to solve the financial problem and keep parks open."

Tullius said there is a proposal to privatize the Green River State Park golf course, the facility that was tops on the list auditors said legislators should consider closing. In addition, she said that as an experiment Otter Creek State Park was operated for the past six months by a private concessionaire. The contract ended this month and officials are studying whether it was successful.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What's New At Utah Ski Resorts

Utah's ski resorts are feverishly working to be ready for ther opening days, which may be just a few weeks away. Several resorts plan to open by mid-November, and earlier if conditions permit. Most resorts will be open by Thanksgiving weekend.

Major work projects will be winding down now. The Salt Lake Tribune has this article that describes improvements at the resorts. Below are excerpts.

There aren’t as many new big-ticket items as in some past years — only two new lifts: one at Park City Mountain Resort (PCMR), the other at Beaver Mountain. But nobody stood still, either. Resorts improved base facilities, added snowmaking or grooming equipment or upgraded technological features to make it easier to enjoy a day on the slopes.

Twelve Utah resorts raised their ticket prices this season, anywhere from $1 to $5 daily. The lone exceptions are Brighton Resort and Solitude Mountain Resort in Big Cottonwood Canyon.

“We accomplished what we needed to do and didn’t need to raise money,” resort spokesman Jared Winkler said of Brighton’s offseason improvements, which focused on making the snowmaking system more efficient by pulling water out of Twin Lakes rather than Mary’s.

At Solitude, the entire base village is now Wi-Fi accessible, the Moonbeam parking lot was expanded to accommodate another 100 vehicles and the Thirsty Squirrel Bar grew to provide “additional elbow room.”

The two-seater Three Kings lift, which has been part of Park City Mountain Resort since the winter of 1971-72, was replaced by a fixed-grip triple chair that will increase capacity by 50 percent to the popular Three Kings terrain park.

Nearly 1,000 acres of skiable terrain has been added by resorts for this year. Powder Mountain added about 350 of those with the expansion of its snowcat service to more hillsides outside of its boundaries, another 200 acres were added at Eagle Point Resort outside of Beaver, and the rest are taking shape at Beaver Mountain, which installed a new Little Beaver triple chair that is 400 feet longer than its predecessor.

Read the complete article.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fall Colors Are Now Peaking In Utah Canyons

I had fun driving the Nebo Loop Scenic Byway on Saturday, enjoying the beautiful weather and the multi-colored leaves.

Fall colors are peaking right now in canyons in the Salt Lake/Ogden/Provo areas. Colors have already peaked on top of the mountains but there is still time to take in the colors at lower elevations in the canyons.

The St George/Zion Park area is a couple weeks behind northern Utah, Colors are coming on strong there and will peak during early November.

Utah is enjoying amazingly nice fall weather. Most days have been dry, sunny and warm.

For my trip, I drove up Santaquin Canyon to intersect the Nebo Loop Road just above the Payson Lakes. I’d never driven that canyon, and it was fun exploring new country. I then continued north, following the loop down to the town of Payson.

I got several nice photos. I’ve included two here.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Stunning Time-Lapse Landscape Photography

Filmmaker Dustin Farrell has created an amazing video showing time-lapse images of iconic spots in Utah and Arizona. It is embedded below. Makes me want to visit these places.

<a href='' target='_new' title='Southwestern Landscapes Time-Lapse' >Video: Southwestern Landscapes Time-Lapse</a>

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Zion Lodge Offers Fall Colors Lodging Special

Zion Lodge offers lodging inside Zion National Park. It is a very popular place to stay and so advance reservations are always needed during the tourist season.

As fall progresses, the crowds shrink and rooms are easier to find. This year the lodge is offering special rates to encourage visits during this season. has this article about the special. Below are excerpts.

The “Fall into Great Prices” rates include breakfast for two and lodging for one night. For stays Sunday through Thursday nights, rates begin at $130 per night for motel rooms, $140 for Western cabins and $150 for suites. Rates are slightly higher on Fridays and Saturdays. The rates do not include taxes and are not available Nov. 24-26.

“The fall color changes typically begin in late October and can be enjoyed throughout the month of November,” said Trina Smith, general manager of the Zion Lodge.

“November is a great month to visit Zion National Park,” she said. “Guests are often surprised to find such vibrant colors when they thought the fall leaf-watching season had already ended.”

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Deer Valley Tops Ski Rankings For Fifth Straight Year

Ski magazine is out with its ranking of top ski resorts, and Deer Valley was named the number 1 resort in North American for the 5th straight year. Other Utah ski resorts also ranked well.

The magazine surveys readers to come up with its ratings. The Salt Lake Tribune has this article that describes the results. Below are excerpts.

But Utah’s plaudits don’t end there. Three other resorts — Park City, Canyons and Snowbird — cracked the Top 20 in the publication’s annual reader survey.

And when it comes to good snow, Utah dominated.

The Beehive State captured six of the 10 spots, with Alta leading the way at No. 1. While Wolf Creek, Colo., came in second, Powder Mountain and Snowbird were third and fourth. Brighton and Solitude were ranked sixth and seventh, and Deer Valley completed the Top 10.

Greg Ditrinco, editor of the Colorado-based magazine, was not surprised by the public’s high regard for Deer Valley and all of Utah’s resorts.

“Utah does a really nice job of hosting a lot of skiers,” he said. “The resorts are close to a major airport and the state is blessed with an abundance of snow.”

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Halloween Events At Utah State Parks

Some Utah state parks have caught the Halloween spirit and will host special events during the next few weeks. The Salt Lake Tribune has this article about the events. Below is a summary.

Willard Bay State Park has a Halloween Park with activities including laser tag, a hay jump, hay rides and a hay maze.

Camp Floyd/Stagecoach Inn State Park and Museum has ghost hunting events.

Fremont Indian State Park and Museum has a Halloween Festival.

Snow Canyon State Park has “Monsters in the Desert,” a presentation on gila monsters.

Territorial Statehouse State Park Museum is hosting a candlelight museum tour.

Dead Horse Point State Park has scheduled presentations on bats.

Read the complete article for details.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Wagon Train Commemorates The Birthday Of St George City

It will take them about 8 days to travel from Parowan (located north of Cedar City) to St George. Some are traveling in horse-drawn wagons, some are pulling handcarts, some riding horseback and some simply walking. There are about 300 of them, involved in a reenactment ceremony to commemorate the 150-year anniversary of the settlement of St. George.

Parowan served as a staging area for Mormon pioneers called to settle the St George area. The original trip was made by about 900 settlers in two waves in November and December 1861.

The Salt Lake Tribune has this article about the wagon trail. Below are excerpts.

After parading down Main Street in Parowan as part of the town’s Fall Festival, Saturday’s wagon train used back roads to roll into nearby Enoch where they made their first camp.

Beginning on Monday (today) the group will head south on back highways and across public and private lands in Iron and Washington counties, hoping to arrive in Ivins, just north of St. George, on Friday.

On Saturday the wagon train will parade through Santa Clara and into St. George for a festive ending at Worthen Park.

A documentary of the journey by the modern-day pioneers is being filmed and will be included with interviews of St. George residents talking about their heritage, said Carlos Robles, special projects coordinator for St. George.

He said the wagon train experience and interviews will also be chronicled in a book that should be available to the public in January.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Massive Landslide Destroys A Section Of SR-14

State Road 14 is closed east of Cedar City because a massive landslide as destroyed a section of the road. Officials say it will take weeks to get the road rapaired, and it may actually be next spring before it is usable.

From Cedar City, SR14 runs east climbing over Cedar Mountain and then drops down to Long Valley Junction, where it terminates at US 89. It is closed from Mile Post 8 east to its junction with SR 148 (the Cedar Breaks road). Farther east, SR 14 passes Navajo Lake and provides access to Duck Creek Village. So the closure will have a huge impact on access to some popular spots.

The Salt Lake Tribune has this article about the slide and road closure. Below are excerpts.

The slide happened about 8 miles east of Cedar City sometime before 5 a.m. Saturday. Shortly after State Road 14 in Iron County was closed in both directions. The closure goes from mile post 8 on S.R. 14 east to the junction of S.R. 148 at the Cedar Breaks National Monument turnoff. The road is anticipated to be closed anywhere from several weeks or until next spring.

No injuries, evacuations or property damage was reported. Gower hadn’t heard of any reports of hunters or recreation enthusiasts being stranded in the area because of the slide, but said the detour “is going to be an inconvenience for some people.”

Kitchen said access to many popular locations will still be available, but they may take longer to get to. He said local businesses and restaurants near the mouth of Cedar Canyon remain accessible to the public.

Tourists and motorists, including those with cabins in Duck Creek Village, are urged to use U.S. 89, via Interstate 15 and S.R. 20, to go through Long Valley Junction as an alternate route.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Proposed Tram Would Link Canyons and Solitude Resort

As the crow flies, Solitude is only about 5 miles from Canyons Resort. But by car the resorts are about 45 minutes apart. In the future, the may be just a short tram ride apart.

Canyons Resort is in the Park City area, while Solitude is located at the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon, on the east side of the Salt Lake Valley. Business leaders and ski enthusiasts are proposing a tram to link the two resorts. If the proposal comes to fruition, it would certainly change the nature of Utah ski resorts.

ESPN has this report about the proposal. Below are excerpts.

The announcement resurrected a debate around the idea of Utah's major ski areas moving toward a European-style interconnected mega resort.

Solitude CEO Dave DeSeelhorst offers another take. "We have had an agreement for over a year now to study the possibility of connecting the two resorts with a lift," said DeSeelhorst in an exclusive interview with "There is a tremendous amount of work and thought that needs to go into a project of this magnitude. The genesis of this idea is simple. We both believe that our customers are looking for more of an alpine adventure than what one single resort can provide. We have an amazing diversity of resorts in the Wasatch. Each resort has a distinctive feel to it."

If a skier boards a lift at the Canyons, it will take an estimated 90 minutes to move via lifts to Solitude. And even then they will be at the bottom of Solitude. The skier who starts at Solitude, however, and heads to the top of Canyons via the new lift might even beat out skiers who started at the base of Canyons and have to ride four lifts to access the upper (read: best) terrain on the mountain. So, the lift could motivate more people to drive up Big Cottonwood, score upper Canyons laps, then come back to Solitude to finish their day. Without knowing the exact entry and exit points of the lift, this is all pure speculation, but it begs the looming question: Is this really about BCC's traffic congestion?

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Hiking During The First Snow Of The Season

It snowed today in many areas in Utah. Many mountain areas received heavy snow, and flacks collected on the ground in many valleys.

It was a big storm, and it will bring more snow tonight. In some places, enough snow collected on the ground to allow people to hike up and ski down hills. KSL TV has this news report about today's weather.

I was hiking in the snow, having a good time exploring Kolob Terrace in Zion National Park. We started out up near Lava Point. In that area roads were muddy and there was a skiff of snow. Leaves are starting to turn and the area was gorgeous.

Clouds were thickening and the weather looked ominous and so we dropped down the terrace and hiked around a couple other areas. Light rain and snow fell at times, but the weather was actually very nice for hiking.

We stumbled upon some amazing ancient Native American rock art, in a secret gallery the Park Service does not want us to tell you about. (It is in the backcountry where there is no good way to regulate visitors or protect the resource, and so Park officials do not want anyone to promote the site or describe how to get there.)

Even farther down, we hiked to a small waterfall on north creek. Normally there is a very nice swimming hole under the waterfall. Last week it would have been nice swimming there, with air temperatures climbing into the low 90s. This week the water was cold and the stream was flooding. The swimming hole was pretty much washed out by high water. It was still a fun hike in an unusual area.

Zion Park, in my opinion, is always beautiful. But it is most beautiful and most photogenic during stormy weather.

Cool fall days are perfect for hiking the dry trails. Temperatures will warm back up next week, and it may yet be pleasant to swim into the pool under the waterfall.

This is a great time to visit Zion Park.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Utah Ski Resorts Project Opening Dates

We’ve been enjoying marvelous warm, dry fall weather, but that is expected to change tonight as a cold storm moves over the area. Utah mountains could get several inches of snow during the next few days.

It will melt in most areas, of course, and we will yet have nice, warm days. But winter is coming and with it, the ski season. Last year we set records for amount of snow and number of ski days. This year, nobody knows what Mother Nature will present.

Utah ski resorts are now projecting their opening dates, hoping for an early and long season. This news report from ABC4 provides details. Below are excerpts.

Salt Lake area resorts, Alta, Brighton and Snowbird are projecting their opening dates in mid-November. Solitude opens on November 1st.

Park City ski resorts have varying dates, depending on snow accumulation.

The Canyons Resort plans on a Thanksgiving weekend opener, with Park City Mountain beginning a week earlier. Sundance and Deer Valley are waiting until the first weekend in December.

Some resorts will open earlier if conditions permit. Some years we have offered skiing in early November. Most of our resorts will be open by Thanksgiving Day.

Watch this blog for updates.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Good, Cheap Utah Restaurants

During the past few years, several Utah restaurants have been recognized as outstanding, comparable to the better establishments on America's east and west coasts. Places like Park City, Deer Valley and Sundance have many good restaurants, and a few that are great.

This article is not about those world-class eateries. It's about small, neighborhood restaurants that are outstanding, and inexpensive.

This Salt Lake Tribune has this interesting article: Dining review: Top 10 cheap eats in Utah. It toutes the restaurants listed below.
  • Cottonwood Heights Cafe - Cottonwood Heights
  • The Other Place Cafe - Salt Lake City
  • Vertical Diner - Salt Lake City
  • Sunshine Cafe - North Salt Lake
  • Tasty Thai - Salt Lake City
  • Nachos Libre - Salt Lake City
  • Cinegrill - Salt Lake City
  • Big Ed’s - Salt Lake City
  • Koko Kitchen - Salt Lake City
Read the complete article for details.

Monday, October 03, 2011

24 Hours of Moab Mtn Bike Race This Weekend

Moab will be busy this weekend as mountain bikers participate in the big 24 Hours of Moab race, which is scheduled for Oct 8-9.

The race website has this good synopsis of the race:

In sixteen years time this race has become one of the single greatest mountain bike races in the history of the sport. Each year, four thousand racers, support crew, and spectators make the pilgrimage to Moab. Twelve miles south of Moab, a mountain bike city grows up out of a desert graze-land area known locally as "Behind-the-Rocks". It's a completely remote and stunningly beautiful venue.

The course is world-class; high-desert racing at its finest, as scenic as it is challenging.

Race activity is centered outside of town, but motels, campgrounds and restaurants will all be crowded.

It is great fun to participate in the race. It is also fun to just be in town during the event and catch some of the excitement. If you enjoy mountain bikes and bikers, this is the place to be.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

New Feathered Raptor Dinosaur Fossils Discovered In Utah

Paleontologists in Utah have unearthed fossils from a new dinosaur species, and have now published detailed information about their findings.

The fossils will soon be on display in the Utah Museum of Natural History, in Salt Lake City. The museum is one of several Utah attractions that have great dinosaurs exhibits.

Called Talos sampsonsi, the creature lived in the rainy, "hothouse world" of late-Cretaceous North America, according to this report in National Geographic. The finding is significant for many reasons, some of which are described in the article excerpts below.

Talk about a lucky break—paleontologists have found "incredibly rare" fossils of a new species of raptor dinosaur that severely fractured its giant-clawed foot about 76 million years ago, paleontologists say.

It's one of the few troodontid theropods—small, birdlike predators—ever discovered in North America, said study leader Lindsay Zanno, a vertebrate paleontologist at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.

Perhaps most exciting about Talos is its injured second toe, which has added to an existing debate on what troodontids did with the giant, sickle-like claw on that toe, study leader Zanno said.

... Instead, Talos may have wielded its claw like a puncturing device when hunting, for example by getting a foothold as the raptor scrambled up a larger animal's back, Zanno said. Or, like some modern-day birds, the dinosaur may have used the claw as a weapon while fighting with other dinosaur rivals.

It's "giving us a window into the biology of the animal that we don't get from your average, everyday specimen," Zanno said.
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