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Utah Travel Headlines

Friday, March 30, 2012

Raft Early For The Best Whitewater This Season

Our whitewater rafting season is now getting underway - a little earlier than normal because we are having a warm spring. Some rafting companies have already launched season inaugurating voyages. Others will do so during the next couple weeks.

Many enthusiasts try to hit the highest water possible to catch the most thrilling rapids. That will probably happen in May this year, a little early because of the warm temperatures and because we have low snowpack in many areas.

Book now if you want to get a spot on a raft during that period.

But the excitement doesn't end then. Our rivers offer excellent rafting adventures through the summer and into the fall. On some river sections the most exciting rides occur after peak runoff. During runoff the water may become so high it overpowers some rapids and you are left with just fast water. As the water level drops, the rapids come back and become thrilling again.

Cataract Canyon is considered our most intense whitewater. It has rapids that range up to Class V, which is the highest classification for rapids that are safe to navigate on professionally guided trips.

Utah whitewater trips can range from easy and relaxing to intense and thrilling. Trip lengths can range from a half day to multiple days. Talk to one of our guide services and the guys and gals there will match you with a trip that is suitable for your group.

Also consider our rafting packages, combining a river trip with lodging and other adventure activities.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Utah Valley CVB Launches New Interactive Website

The Utah Valley Convention and Visitor Bureau is charged with promoting travel to the Utah County area, which includes Provo, Orem, Brigham Young University, Utah Valley University and many other attractions.

The Valley offers several popular festivals during the course of the year and the CVB has launched a new website to promote those and other events. You can see the website here.

The Salt Lake Tribune has this article about the new website. Below are excerpts.

The website currently offers event details and registration information for four of the area’s most popular events: the Tulip Festival, the Utah Valley Marathon, the Princess Festival and the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival.

"Many of our events are growing in popularity and we wanted to provide an interactive site for those searching this spring for upcoming activities," Joel Racker, president and CEO said in a statement announcing the new online resource.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

LDS Conference Will Bring Thousands To Temple Square

The LDS (Mormon) Church will hold its annual spring General Conference, March 31 and April 1. Most events will be held in the Conference Center, across from Temple Square in downtown Salt Lake City. Some 24,000 people are expected to participate in conference-related events.

The downtown area will be bustling with activity both Saturday and Sunday. Many businesses will also see crowds on Friday, when people arrive for the conference.

Traffic will run slow in the downtown area through the weekend. Parking spaces will be hard to find. People are encouraged to take mass transit into the downtown area. More mass transit trains and buses will be available to shuttle people into and out of downtown.

The Salt Lake Tribune has this article describing how the conference will affect downtown businesses. Below are excerpts.

"It’s as busy a day as after Thanksgiving, both the Friday and Saturday," said Stuart Christensen, co-owner of the Mr. Mac men’s clothing store that opened Feb. 26 on the second level the new City Creek Center near the intersection of South Temple and State Street.

The surprise is how far some customers travel, Christensen said, naming off a far-flung list that includes African and European nations, Australia, Brazil and New Zealand.

"We get to the point that we have so many people here in such a short time that it’s hard for them to get what they need," said Neil Wilkinson, sales and marketing director for Temple Square Hospitality. "So we add a bunch of stuff."

Extra offerings include a Saturday lunch buffet at The Roof, the restaurant positioned near the top of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building.

The Nauvoo Cafe and Lion House Pantry will also sell hundreds of box lunches for attendees to enjoy outside among the flowers on Temple Square, Wilkinson said.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Watch Our Ads On TV In Regional US Markets

The Utah Office of Tourism is now launching its spring/supper ad campaign. The $2.2 million regional campaign will promote Utah’s state and national parks, and other summer attractions.

TV ads will air on stations in Denver, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Portland and San Francisco.

Digital outdoor ads will be seen in Los Angeles, Denver, Las Vegas, and San Francisco, including a San Francisco tunnel wrap. Online digital display and social media advertising and promotion will include Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Portland, San Francisco, and Seattle.

“We are using the same summer television commercials one more season because they were effective in raising the awareness of Utah as a warm weather destination with all we have to offer with outdoor recreation, state and national parks, and summer festivals,” said Leigh von der Esch, managing director of the Utah Office of Tourism.

The Office of Tourism has also just launched a new website,, designed to provide information about our state and also help people plan trips.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Utah Tourism Conference Will Be May 15-17 In Provo

Private companies and governmental agencies involved in travel and tourism will meet in the new Utah Valley Convention Center in Provo for their annual conference May 15-17. Besides providing educational information and networking to help companies, the conference will also serve as a platform for recognizing individuals and organizations in the Utah Tourism Hall of Fame.

The deadline for the Hall of Fame nominations is April 6. has this report on the upcoming conference. Here are excerpts.

“The Tourism Conference is a great opportunity for tourism industry colleagues to learn new trends, technologies, and ideas from the best in our industry,” said Sara Toliver, President and CEO of the Ogden/Weber Convention & Visitors Bureau and chairman of UTIC’s Tourism Conference Committee. “We’ve made some changes to this year’s format to allow for additional time to share best practices since the chance to network with our peers is such an invaluable component of this conference.”

The agenda includes sessions on domestic and international marketing, research trends, public relations, social media, a legislative update, and other topics.

The Marketing and Advertising Contest is accepting entries for the best of industry marketing, promotion, and advertising efforts. The deadline for the contest is Thursday, April 19, 2012. The entry fee is $25 for up to four entries in the categories of print, broadcast, web, and special promotions. For more information on the contest, visit, or contact Rebecca Katz at the Utah Office of Tourism at

Friday, March 23, 2012

Little Sahara Campgrounds Will Be Ready For Easter Weekend

One great Utah tradition is to hit the sand dunes over Easter Weekend. Thousands of people will descend on Little Sahara in Central Utah. That weekend the dunes will be crowded with people riding ATVs and dune buggies and enjoy spring weather in the out-of-doors.

BLM has just released information saying the campgrounds will be open and ready, with water turned on. Warm temperatures have allowed personnel to get a jump on work to prepare for the recreation season.

BLM provided the news release below.

Attention Little Sahara Recreation Area Visitors:
Water to be Available at Campgrounds by Easter Weekend

Fillmore, Utah¾The Bureau of Land Management Utah and the Little Sahara Recreation Area (LSRA) would like to inform the public that the water supply at the LSRA campgrounds is scheduled to be turned on Thursday, March 29, 2012, just in time for those who are planning on visiting LSRA during the Easter weekend. In the interim, visitors can get water at the Willard R. Fulmer Visitors Center year-round.

The Willard R. Fulmer Visitor Center hours are as follows:

  • Sunday: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Monday: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday: Closed
  • Wednesday: Closed
  • Thursday: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Friday: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Saturday: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The 2012 annual passes for LSRA are on sale. Annual passes are good for 12 months from the date of purchase and the cost of the first vehicle pass is $120. The second vehicle pass is available for $65. Passes may be purchased at the Willard R. Fulmer Visitor Center and two other locations between 8:00 am to 4:00 pm: the BLM Fillmore Field Office and BLM Salt Lake Field Office. Gift certificates are also available.

Fillmore Field Office
95 East 500 North
Fillmore, Utah 84631

Salt Lake Field Office
2370 South 2300 West
Salt Lake City, UT 84119
(801) 977-4300

Thursday, March 22, 2012

City Creek Center Changes Downtown Salt Lake City

Some 50,000 people converged on downtown Salt Lake City today for the opening of the new City Creek Center retail mall. Some lined up as early as 1:30 am to be first in line for the 10 am opening.

The mall is the retail portion of a bigger downtown development project that is causing quite a stir. During the past several years, when most companies and municipalities were hunkering down trying to wait out the recession, a bold partnership was investing billions to rebuild downtown Salt Lake City.

The mall is across the street from Temple Square.

Here are some of the news headlines generated by the opening.

  1. Thousands fill Utah’s City Creek Center for opening
  2. Urban style on view at City Creek Center
  3. City Creek Center opens amid fanfare and long lines

The development is the result of a partnership between the LDS Church, Salt Lake City and private businesses. It is being operated by Taubman Centers Inc. Taubman provided the news release below.

Taubman's City Creek Center Opens to Thousands, Many From Around the World

BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich., March 22, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Taubman Centers, Inc. TCO -1.22% today announced the opening of City Creek Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. Thousands of visitors from near and far attended the grand opening of the only regional shopping center to open in the United States this year. According to the International Council of Shopping Centers, City Creek Center is the first enclosed regional shopping center to open in the United States in six years.

City Creek Center is the retail component of City Creek, the 23-acre, mixed-use development on three blocks in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City.

Architects, civic leaders, businesses and journalists from around the world were among those who came to see, tour and shop the 700,000-square-foot shopping center. Designed to showcase Utah's natural beauty, the unique indoor/outdoor space features a retractable roof, a 140-foot skybridge over Main Street, a 1200-foot-long re-creation of the historic City Creek, two 18-foot waterfalls and three fountains from the creators of the famed Bellagio fountains in Las Vegas.

Nordstrom and Macy's anchor City Creek Center's world-class retail offerings. Of the 100 stores and restaurants, one-third are unique to the Salt Lake City market or the state, including Tiffany & Co., Michael Kors, Coach, Tumi and Brooks Brothers/Brooks Brothers Women.

"Of the 100 stores and restaurants, we are pleased to open with 92 retailers today, with three more opening later this year," said Robert S. Taubman, Chairman, President and CEO of Taubman Centers. "The commitment of these retailers is a confirmation of their belief in the rebirth of downtown Salt Lake City."

City Creek Center brings shoppers a variety of unique amenities, including a prehistoric-themed children's play area located in the Food Court, free wireless Internet access, a sidewalk snow-melt system, an outdoor fireplace and an airline flight monitor so travelers can check on their flights while they shop. The shopping center is also dog-friendly, as are many of its stores.

The LEED-certified shopping center integrates sustainable design with both historic structures and new buildings. City Creek was built on the site of two former shopping malls, and more than 70 percent of the material from the structures, formerly on its site, have been recycled or reused as part of an aggressive sustainability program.

City Creek Center is a 15-minute drive from the Salt Lake City International Airport, the center is located in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City, adjacent to historic Temple Square and just blocks from the intersection of Interstate 15 and Interstate 80. For information and updates, visit .

Taubman Centers is a real estate investment trust engaged in the development, leasing and management of regional and super regional shopping centers. Taubman's 27 U.S. owned, leased and/or managed properties, the most productive in the publicly held U.S. regional mall industry, serve major markets from coast to coast. Taubman Centers is headquartered in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., and its Taubman Asia subsidiary is headquartered in Hong Kong. For more information about Taubman, visit .

For ease of use, references in this press release to "Taubman Centers," "company," "Taubman" or an operating platform mean Taubman Centers, Inc. and/or one or more of a number of separate, affiliated entities. Business is actually conducted by an affiliated entity rather than Taubman Centers, Inc. itself or the named operating platform.

This press release may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. These statements reflect management's current views with respect to future events and financial performance. The forward-looking statements included in this release are made as of the date hereof. Except as required by law, we assume no obligation to update these forward-looking statements, even if new information becomes available in the future. Actual results may differ materially from those expected because of various risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to the global credit environment and the continuing impacts of the recent U.S. recession, other changes in general economic and real estate conditions, changes in the interest rate environment and the availability of financing, adverse changes in the retail industry and integration and other acquisition risks. Other risks and uncertainties are discussed in the company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission including its most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K.

SOURCE Taubman Centers, Inc.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Shuttle Service Set To Resume In Zion Park

Zion National Park has an efficient shuttle system that operates during the warm weather tourism season. The shuttle will begin operation on April 1 and continue through Oct 28.

Visitation is picking up now and Zion Canyon is becoming busy. When the shuttle is in operation private vehicles will mostly be prohibited in the canyon. Until then, parking spaces will be difficult to find in the canyon area.

Below we give a news release about the shuttle service provided by the National Park Service.

Shuttle System Resumes Operation in Zion

Date: March 20, 2012

The Zion National Park Transportation System will begin shuttle operations on Sunday, April 1, 2012 and provide daily service through Sunday, October 28, 2012. This marks the thirteenth year of operation for the shuttle system in Zion National Park and Springdale, Utah. The shuttle system is supported by park entrance fees and all shuttles are fare-free. Parks Transportation, Inc., a subsidiary of McDonald Transit of Fort Worth, Texas, operates the shuttle service.

The shuttle system services nine shuttle stops in the town of Springdale and nine shuttle stops inside the park. The Zion Canyon Shuttle provides improved access to points of interest, trailheads, the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, and facilities such as the Zion Lodge and Zion Human History Museum. While the shuttle system is in operation, the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is closed to private vehicles. Confirmed guests at the Zion Lodge may drive to the lodge, but cannot travel past the lodge or make any stops along the way. All other roads in the park are open to private vehicles, including the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway which connects to State Route 9 at the south and east entrances of the park.

This spring, daily shuttle operations begin with a shuttle departing from the Majestic View Shuttle Stop in Springdale at 6:40 am. Shuttle service in Zion Canyon starts at 7:00 am from the Zion Canyon Visitor Center Shuttle Stop. The last shuttle traveling up canyon from the visitor center will depart at 8:45 pm and the last shuttle traveling into town will depart from the Zion Canyon Theatre Shuttle Stop at 8:45 pm. Hours of operation will expand starting Sunday, May 20, 2012. Shuttles depart from designated stops every seven to ten minutes during the middle of the day and approximately every 15 to 30 minutes in the early morning and late evening.

Visitors are encouraged to park in designated parking areas in Springdale and ride the Springdale Shuttle to the park's Pedestrian Entrance. Visitors can board the Zion Canyon Shuttle at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center Shuttle Stop. Open daily, the Zion Canyon Visitor Center offers park information, backcountry permits, reservations for the Zion Lodge, and a bookstore which sells maps, books, and other items that may enhance a visit to the park.

For additional information, visit the park's website at or call 435-772-3256.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring Break Utah Style

Many families take spring break trips to Utah destinations and many students congregate at certain spots without parents. Dates for "Spring break" vary from group to group, depending on school calendars, but Easter weekend in particular attracts plenty of travelers. You should plan ahead if you want to find lodging Easter weekend in the destinations listed below.

Three particular Utah destinations attract spring break travelers. They are:

In Moab, the annual Jeep Safari happens over Easter weekend and it always draws big crowds. The St George Arts Festival runs April 6 & 7, and it is also very popular. Those two cities will be very busy Eastern weekend.

St George hosts many school baseball and soccer tournaments during the spring, because the weather is usually nice. The community's legendary golf courses are also very busy.

The Little Sahara Sand Dunes recreation area is located in central Utah, and so temperatures are not as warm as in Moab or St George. Still, people flock to the dunes to ride ATVs, dune buggies and dirt bikes. There are no motels at the dunes and so most people camp - and the campgrounds feel up every year.

If you are heading to any of these places, be aware they will be crowded.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Skiers Enjoy Two Feet Of New Spring Snow

A big storm is just leaving Utah, after dropping two feet of new snow in many spots, and more at some of our ski resorts. Temperatures are on the cold side right now. Cold + new snow = great skiing. was out in the storm and show the video below. In March ski conditions can get sloppy but, as you can see from the video, the snow is in excellent shape right now.

Warmer temperatures are sure to come. Get out and enjoy it now.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Skiing and Snowboarding Are Now Officially Utah's State Sports

The Utah State Legislature has just concluded its lawmaking session and, among other things it passed a bill making skiing and snowboarding official state sports.

Bill sponsor Rep. Steve Eliason noted the ski/snowboard industry brought $1.2 billion to Utah last year, up 67 percent since the 2002 Winter Olympics. Utah is the third most visited ski destination in the country and 40 percent of Utah homes have a skier or snowboarder, he said.

Utah has a long list of official state symbols - you can see some of them here. It is not surprising that skiing and snowboarding were added to the list.

In related news, Utah officials have launched a committee to explore the possibility of making a bid to host the 2022 or 2026 Winter Olympic Games.

Many people in Utah believe it would be incredibly good if we could get the games again.


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Great Hikes In The U.S.

The title of this post comes from this Fox News report featuring three great hikes. The hikes selected are:
The article says this:

"Zion National Park's many desert canyons and sandstone wonders make it one of the United States' greatest destinations for hiking. The gigantic canyon walls and lofty red cliffs will inspire you with their quiet dignity and colossal grandeur. You will understand why the park took its name from a synonym for heaven. The Canyon Overlook Trail is one of the park's preeminent hiking trails. It enables you to reach high points from which to appreciate the scenery without the taxing efforts required by some other trails."

I am a bit surprised the report included Canyon Overlook. Sure, it's fine if you want a short, relatively easy walk with great scenery. But there are so many others in the park that are so much better, in my option. Zion is my favorite park and I love hiking there. I think the following are world class and represent the best of Zion Park:
There are plenty of other good ones, but those are my favorites for hikes that average people can enjoy. (Some park hikes are technical canyoneering adventures that require specialized skills and equipment. The Subway is semi-technical and should only be undertaken if at least one member of your group is an experienced canyoneer.)

- Dave Webb

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Salt Lake's New City Creek Center Will Open March 22

Some 50,000 shoppers are expected to flock to the new City Creek Center in downtown Salt Lake City for its grand opening March 22-24.

The center is a $1.5 billion mixed-use development in the heart of downtown, just south of Temple Square. It is billed as one of the most innovative and progressive such developments in the country.

KSL TV has this report about the grand opening. Below are excerpts.

City and state transportation officials are teaming up with City Creek to help the influx of visitors make their way to the region's soon-to-be newest shopping and dining attraction without too much difficulty.

Robin Hutcheson, Salt Lake City's transportation director, suggests that people consider using transit — TRAX, FrontRunner and buses — or bicycles, if possible. The Utah Transit Authority will be able to carry approximately 4,000 passengers per hour into downtown, she said.

Hutcheson said on-street parking downtown has been made easier by the city's new solar-powered pay stations that have replaced traditional meters, allowing motorists to use credit cards as well as coins.

The City Creek Center website has detailed info on the development, and on the grand opening.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Spring Conditions Bring Good Fishing To Utah Waters

Some of the best trout fishing in Utah takes place as ice pulls back and open water starts to appear around our reservoir shorelines. The trout are hungry after a long winter under the ice. They often feed aggressively during ice-off.

The ice will come off many of our popular trout waters during the next few weeks. Utah’s Division of Wildlife Resources has written this new article giving tips for fishing at this time of year.

The DWR is updating a Twitter feed giving ice-off conditions. You can see it here.

We’ve had warmer-than-normal weather and so spring conditions are coming early this year. Already there is little snow around most reservoirs and streams.

Snowpack is lower than normal all around the state. Runoff is already starting on streams at lower elevations but it expected to be light and end early. This article talks about early spring fishing during runoff.

Strawberry Reservoir is perhaps our most popular fishing water and it usually fishes very well during ice-off. That usually happens in late April or early May. If we continue to have unusually warm weather the reservoir may open up in mid-April this year.

The Green River is our most popular fly fishing water and it usually offers extremely good fishing during April. The “A” section of the river flows below Flaming Gorge Dam. The reservoir usually contains runoff and so the river below is normally clear, even when the water level is high. This article provides good information about spring fishing on the Green River.

Farther down side streams bring muddy water into the river during runoff and so the “B” and “C” sections may have difficult fishing during May and June.

At Lake Powell, fishing picks up during March and become very good during April and May. Striped bass, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, walleye and other fish bite very well as spring progresses. Utah DWR Lake Powell leader Wayne Gustaveson maintains this website that provides very good information about fishing Powell.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Popular Spring Gruv And Pond Skimming At Canyons Resort

Canyons Resort will kick off its popular Spring Grüv event with a pond skimming contest on March 24. People dresses in various costumes will try to ski or snowboard across a pond of open water. It’s hilarious, as you can see from the embedded Youtube video blow.

Canyons Resort provided this information:

“Our annual Pond Skimming Contest will be the first event of Spring Grüv. It’s one of those traditions that has been wild from the start. The Pond Skimming Contest is Canyons’ most popular party and is the true indicator that spring has arrived. Contestants must dress in costume (the funkier the better) as they attempt to cross a 100-foot pond on skis or a snowboard. The pond and the excitement happen at mid-mountain just outside Red Pine Lodge. Must be 10 years of age or older to enter.”

Spectators are welcome to show up and watch. If you want to participate in the skimming contest you need to pre-register. See the Canyons website for details.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Plan Now For The Great Salt Lake Bird Festival

Tickets are now available for the Great Salt Lake Bird Festival, which will be held May 17-21, 2012. You can register online at the festival website.

The festival offers a great opportunity to learn about birds. There will be workshops and presentations, along with field trips to see birds in the wild.

The festival is centered at the Davis County Events Center in the town of Farmington. Field trips will go into Farmington Bay, the Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve and other areas where people can see a large number of birds.

The festival is billed as a great family activity. The festival provided this information:

"The 2012 Great Salt Lake Bird Festival will spotlight the many great birding areas in Northern Utah and around the world famous Great Salt Lake. The workshop programming focuses on interacting with live birds, involving youth and families in birding, and providing detailed information for serious birders."

Greg Miller will be keynote speaker.

See the festival website for complete details.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

John Carter's Mars In Actually Southern Utah

An interesting Disney movie opens nationwide tomorrow. It is based on an old science-fiction tale about a Civil War veteran who gets caught up in a war on Mars, and it is already being called a major blockbuster.

So, if you are a Hollywood producer and you want to shoot on location on Mars, where do you go?

Southern Utah, of course. The otherworldly rock formations and sand dunes in southern Utah have filled in for alien landscapes in many big-budget moves.

The Salt Lake Tribune has this article describing the Utah setting for the new John Carter move. Below are excerpts.

‘John Carter’ production finds Mars vistas in Utah landscape

Location scouts looked all over — Arizona and New Mexico, and even Argentina and Romania — to find Martian settings. Then they hit upon Utah.

The "John Carter" crew — some 275 strong, according to Collins and Moore — found Burroughs’ Martian deserts around Big Water, northwest of Glen Canyon Dam and near Kanab. They turned the slot canyons of Lake Powell into the mystical River Iss. And for an Old West horse chase, before Carter goes to Mars, a landscape near Moab fit the bill.

Stanton was familiar with Utah’s history as a setting for science-fiction movies. While filming on Lake Powell, he spotted a rock formation that was the exact spot where Charlton Heston shot the opening scene of the 1968 classic "Planet of the Apes." "There was at least half a day spent geeking out over that," Collins said.

Another draw for filmmakers, according to producer Jim Morris, was the number of top-quality film-crew members. The only problem for the "John Carter" production was that some of the best ones were already employed, filming Danny Boyle’s "127 Hours," the story of climber Aron Ralston’s survival in a Utah slot canyon, on location and in a Salt Lake City soundstage.

"Any of the scenes where I look like I’m boiling hot and about to pass out — they were shot in Utah," said Dominic West, who plays Sab Than, leader of the villainous Zodangans. "A lot of the work’s done for you if you’re on location. … You look like you’re on Mars. There’s no acting required, really."

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Holi - Festival of Colors - March 24-25

Holi – the Festival of Colors – will be held March 24-25 at the Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork. See the Temple website for complete details. The Temple provided the information below.

Holi is the Festival of Colors, a traditional Indian holiday celebrated in our own innovative fashion. By far our biggest festival of the year, during Holi 2011 50,000 revelers flooded the temple and grounds for 2 days day of brightly colored powder, mantra, music and a bit of "holi" mayhem.

This year, realizing that Holi has developed a national following especially among college festival-goers, we are preparing more parking and more colors (by far) than ever before. The music, the dance, the worship, the facilities -- everything is being upgraded for Holi 2012.

2012 Color throwings will be Saturday, March 24th, every 2 hours from 10 am - 8 pm (1st throwing approx. 11 am) and Sunday March 25th, from Noon - 4 pm (1st throwing approx 1 PM).

This year's entertainers will be Jai Uttal and the Queen of Hearts Orchestra, The Mayapuris, The Kirtaniya Vibrations, Larisa Stow & Shakti Tribe, plus TK and Nam Rock, Jai Krishna & Ananda Groove.

This Youtube video shows last year's festival:

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Could Wolves Again Be Living In Utah?

During the past couple years there have been a few reports of wolves traveling through Utah, apparently roaming south from Yellowstone as they look for suitable places to colonize. But the sightings have been fleeting, with no evidence of animals staying in our state.

Until now. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources biologists are now studying a remote area where there have been several sightings of four animals that are apparently staying put. Officials say they could be wolves, or they might be wolf hybrids.

The area is off the beaten path and inadvertent contact with humans is rare. Even in Yellowstone, where there are good numbers of established wolf packs, humans have to work hard to see them. Wolves are not a threat to humans but they do sometimes feed on domestic livestock.

Utah's DWR issued this news release about the sightings. The Salt Lake Tribune has this analysis of the subject.

The animals were sighted in a high mountain area east of Springville, which is located just south of Provo. If the animals are wolf-dog hybrids they will probably be destroyed. If they prove to be wolves they are subject to federal protection and federal biologists will decide what to do with them.

The idea of wolves re-colonizing Utah is the subject of considerable debate. Some Utah lawmakers would like to see a state law establishing a hunting season for the animals, even if a state law would be superseded by the federal protection.

Cattlemen are opposed to wolves because the predators can cause considerable damage to sheep and calves.

Whether these are hybrids or not, wildlife officials say it is only a matter of time before a resident pack of wolves is confirmed here. That is stirring considerable debate. Public input will be needed as lawmakers decide how to state will react to the animals.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Explore Grand Staircase On Horseback

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument includes a vast area of remote land in south-central Utah. With only a few roads and some 1.9 million acres of land in the monument, there are hundreds of thousands of acres that are difficult to explore.

Some of Utah’s great jeep roads and hiking trails are found here, along with countless routes that are excellent for horseback trail rides.

Salt Lake Tribune reporter Brett Prettyman has published this interesting article about horseback riding in the monument. Below are excerpts and also a video he posted on youtube.

Horsing around on Utah’s Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

There is perhaps no better way to see the monument than from the back of a horse, just like the first Europeans did.

“We get a lot of ‘wows’ and ‘oh my gods,’ ” said Norm Neilson, a wrangler leading guided horseback rides on the monument and around Bryce Canyon through Ruby’s Inn. “You really realize what a special place it is when you get to witness people seeing it for the first time on a regular basis.”

“The slot canyons are always fun to visit. There are places where you can ride in and reach out with both hands and touch walls while sitting in your saddle,” said Poe, who also volunteers as president of the Grand Staircase Escalante Partners, a friends group of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. “You need to be careful because you need more room to turn around a horse and you can quickly run out of canyon.”

Vehicles and bicycles must stay on establish roads in the monument so horseback riding or hiking are the only ways to venture off the road.

Private parties are allowed to ride the monument, but free permits are required for overnight excursions and are available at one of the visitor centers located on the edges of Grand Staircase-Escalante. They are in Big Water, Cannonville, Escalante and Kanab.

Friday, March 02, 2012

40 Inches Of New Snow Delights Skiers

During the past three days we've had two massive winter storms dump on Utah - leaving up to 40 inches of new snow at some of our ski resorts.

People flocked to the slopes today to take advantage of the great powder. Right now we have the best conditions of the season for skiing and riding, and more snow is in the forecast. Winter conditions should hold on for a few more weeks. has this good TV news report describing the storms and ski conditions. It includes video that is worth watching.

We also need to mention that avalanche conditions are high in areas away from the resorts. Avalanche control work is done to minimize the risk at developed resorts and along highways. The danger comes if you push out of bounds from the resorts or get into the backcountry.

See the Utah Avalanche Center for detailed information and current warnings.

Thankfully, Utah seldom gets tornadoes or other super-dangerous weather. Our hearts go out to those impacted by recent tornadoes in America's heartland.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Utah's Dry Powder Wins Accolades From International Skiers

John Henwood, writing for, has great things to say about the dry powder at Utah's ski resorts. He skied Canyons Resort near Park City and came away impressed.

He was a little put off by Utah's liquor laws, but said he'll return anyway because the snow is so good. Read his report here. Below are excerpts.

We’d skied British Colombia, California, Colorado, Montana and Wyoming, but there was a Utah-shaped gap in our North American skiing CV, which we thought we should put right. Deer Valley looked an appealing base particularly as it’s a ‘no boarders’ resort, but we listened to advice that Canyons might suit us better.

After a monster snow year in 2010-11 the locals were whingeing a bit about poor falls this season, but clearly they had never experienced a bad snow year in Europe. They’ve had an aggregate of 150 inches this season and mid-mountain depth was around 57 inches during our February trip – more than enough to keep all but the most curmudgeonly happy, and they look after it so well.

There are long – some very long – cruising blue runs, plenty of greens for the less ambitious and, at the other end of the scale, some double-blacks that call for max concentration. In this latter category Fear Gully is particularly well named. My main criticism is that the trails are not particularly well or consistently marked and some are not quite where they appear on the resort’s trail map.

To sum up Canyons, it can be as steep and challenging as Jackson Hole, but at the same time the long cruising runs are almost in the Big Sky league. The nursery slopes are as good as you’ll find anywhere.

Considering how much of Utah’s economy is tourism based it remains remarkably po-faced about the consumption of alcohol and perhaps it’s time some enterprising state politician proposed change.

It won’t stop me from skiing Utah again, but next time I’ll make sure I don’t arrive on the Saturday of a holiday weekend after the shops have closed.
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