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Utah Travel Headlines

Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year

The new year will dawn cold, with deep snow on the ground in northern Utah. Many Utah ski resorts received close to 100 inches of snow during the past series of storms. Ski conditions are excellent as we move toward the peak of our winter season. This may very well go down as the best Utah ski season ever.

So, get up here and enjoy the white stuff.

During the next several days we will experience a unique winter phenomenon where our mountain resorts may be warmer during the day than adjacent valley locations. Valleys will be hazy and cold; the mountains will probably have sunshine and may warm up a bit.

Snow has fallen over most of Utah during the past few days. That includes Zion Park as you can see from the photo illustrating this post. The photo was provided by the Park Service. It shows Zion Canyon and was taken at sunrise this morning. Zion and our other national parks radiate an exotic beauty when dusted with snow.

But the snow won't last long in our low-elevation desert areas. In the St. George/Zion Park area daytime temperatures are excepted to push up to 50 F by this weekend. That will feel mighty nice compared to the 20s and 30s in northern Utah.

I love to hike in our red rock deserts on a mild winter days. I particularly enjoy the trails around Zion Canyon and Snow Canyon, but I also do many winter treks in the Moab/Canyonlands/Arches areas.

Come ski our world-class resorts and enjoy winter sunshine. Or, get away from the snow and ice and hike our amazing desert trails.

- Dave Webb

Friday, December 28, 2012

Courts Will Decide Access And Best Use Of Pristine BLM Land In Utah

The fight over development of "wilderness quality" BLM land in southern Utah is heating up again, with several groups suing in an effort to prevent BLM from allowing off-road vehicle travel and energy development on iconic lands in south-central Utah.

Members of the public are involved on both sides of the fight, which could have profound impact on future recreational opportunities.

The Deseret News has this article about the battle, which centers on federal land between Capitol Reef National Park and the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. The area in question includes landmarks like the Factory Butte, portions of the Henry Mountains and some of the Dirty Devil River Canyon.

Below are excerpts from the article:

Environmental groups assert the plan allows off-highway vehicle use on 1.9 million of those acres, routes detailed only in “cryptic spreadsheets,” with discussion of the harmful effects ranging from “skeletal to nonexistent.”

Routes include 400 stream crossings, yet the federal agency did not detail any impacts to water quality, ignored soil erosion that can result or the air pollution caused the machines, the environmental groups contend.

First adopted in 2008, the plan is one of several in Utah under assault by the groups in litigation that will finally get its day in court with a hearing set for July before Judge Dale Kimball.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Salt Lake's EVE Celebration Will Feature National Acts

There will be parties galore in Salt Lake City and other Utah communities Monday evening, to ring in the new year. Check our events database and inquire locally to find celebrations where you will be visiting.

Salt Lake offers a coordinated celebration called EVE, with activities at multiple venues, with many kinds of entertainment chosen specifically so there will be something that appeals to virtually everyone. New this year will be the addition of nationally renowned performing groups.

The Salt Lake Tribune has this article previewing the EVE celebration. Below are excerpts.

Last year’s EVE celebration ended with record attendance — there were packed houses from the Tabernacle on Temple Square to the Salt Palace Convention Center.

The biggest change is the addition of nationally touring acts. The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Nick Waterhouse, Blind Pilot and !!! (Chk Chk Chk) will grace the outdoor stage at The Gallivan Center.

Besides the national acts, EVE will continue to have local acts, which this year include David Williams, the Joshua Payne Orchestra, the No Nation Orchestra and Night Sweats.

See the EVE website for complete information including schedules of activities at various locations.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Salt Lake City Named A Top Spot For New Year's Eve, Park City For Winter Family Vacations

Looking for a great place to ring in the new year?

Salt Lake City is included in this new list of the top 10 New Year's Eve destinations in the U.S., according to, a news publication for people involved in the travel and hospitality industries. They offer the customary details about New York, Las Vegas and other entertainment centers and then offer this about our capital city:

Salt Lake City - The sights and sounds of this mountain town are turned up a notch on New Year’s Eve with three full days of exhibitions, concerts and celebrations. For families or single travelers, there’s something for everyone. Don’t miss live music at Gallivan and cool shows at the Clark Planetarium that the kids will love.

Ok, we don't mind being mentioned as a great place to party with your children.

Park City is also being touted as a great destination for families, this time for winter vacations. has this list of the "25 best family vacations this winter." The list is international in scope and includes places in the Caribbean, Australia, Canada and several famous U.S. destinations. About Park City it says:

With three massive resorts, just 35 minutes from Salt Lake City International Airport, families are spoilt for choice at this winter wonderland. Boarders can shred the slopes hoping to catch up to the Park City All-Stars, an elite group of freeriders that tear up the terrain park and pipe everyday. Not a powder hound? Snuggle up on a horse drawn sleigh ride, hit the outlet mall or wander historic Main Street, home to hundreds of shops and family-friendly restaurants. also likes Park City for winter fun, especially for skiing. Writer Andrea Guthmann has this article describing her family vacation there. Below are excerpts.

Park City is perfect for a long ski weekend with plenty of direct flights to Salt Lake City from Chicago and an easy 35-minute drive to the slopes. To show just how easy, Park City came up with the Quick Start promotion-trade in your boarding pass for a lift ticket, good for that day at any of the major ski resorts. You can fly in the morning and be on the slopes in the afternoon.

World-class restaurants are on the menu as well. You can ski into downtown Park City, leave your skis at a rack and march into the High West Distillery wearing your ski pants and boots. After finishing what was, by unanimous vote, the best burger of our lives, we took the Town Lift back up the mountain.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

Zion National Park - Photo by Dave Webb
Snow fell over much of Utah today, including our red rock desert country. A dusting of snow turns the red rock into an exotic wonderland of incredible beauty. Some of the most iconic shots from Arches, Canyonlands and Zion are taken at this time of year, when storm clouds shroud the rock monuments and a delicate drapery of snowflakes spill over the cliffs.

When snow if falling, the desert often becomes profoundly silent. The flakes muffle sound and, if you are quiet, you will hear nothing except the breathing of those in your immediate group.

As the storm clouds clear and night falls, starlight bathes the lonesome landscape. In many areas the stars are incredibly bright - far brighter than those that shine above city lights.

To me, solitude in the silent desert brings a wonderful spirit of peace.

And, at this time of year, the beauty of the scene reminds me of a silent, star-filled night in a different desert, long ago, when a baby brought peace into hearts - and the promise of peace on earth, if we could but learn to love as He loved and serve as He served.

Merry Christmas,
Dave Webb

P.S., Utah State Parks will conduct two guided hikes into beautiful desert locations on Jan. 1. One will take place at Coral Pink State Park, near Kanab in southern Utah, and one will be held on Antelope Island near Salt Lake City. State Parks personnel provided this information:

Greet 2013 on a guided First Day Hike, Tuesday, January 1 at either Coral Pink or Antelope Island state parks.

Coral Pink: Join us for a two-mile GPS hike on the History Hike Trail. This hike is rated moderate as we'll be walking on sand. Dogs are welcome, but must be on leash at all times. Meet in the Visitor Center at 10 a.m., and please bring water, snacks, and weather-appropriate clothing. RSVP requested at 435-648-2800.

Antelope Island: Enjoy this guided two-mile hike on Buffalo Point Loop. This hike is rated as moderate with an elevation gain of 600 feet within one mile. Dogs are welcome, but must be on leash at all times. Meet at 1:30 p.m. at Bridger Bay Campground Site #8. Please bring water, snacks, and weather-appropriate clothing. RSVP requested at 801-721-9569.

Snow Canyon State Park is perhaps Utah's best winter hiking destination and rangers there also conduct guided hikes open to the public.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Santa Skis Free At Canyons Resort

If you don a Santa suite you can ski for free tomorrow (Dec. 22) at Canyons Resort. The resort provided this information:

Join us for the 8th annual Santa Skis Free Day! On Saturday, December 22nd, the first 50 guests that don St. Nick’s attire (or Mrs. Claus, reindeer or elves) will ski or ride for free. Guests must be in FULL costume, no partial costumes will count. Registration will be at the top of the Cabriolet in the Resort Village from 8:00 am – 9:00 am.

From Saturday through Tuesday, Christmas Day, Santa will shred the slopes at Canyons, delivering candy and treats to all the good boys and girls around. Look for Santa at the Ski Beach and throughout the entire resort from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm.

Utah restaurants serving Christmas dinner

The Salt Lake Tribune has this article listing some of the more popular restaurants in the Salt Lake area that will be open for Christmas dinner. Make reservations now if you would like to enjoy a memorable meal without any of the work.

UTA will not be running trains, buses on Christmas, New Year's

Utah's mass transit bus and rail service will not operate on Christmas Day or New Years day, with the exception of the ski bus service to some ski resorts. The Daily Herald has this article explaining the schedule changes. Below are excerpts.

"This will be one of the few days of the year that we don't operate anything but the ski buses," UTA spokesman Gerry Carpenter said.

Carpenter noted that while the ski buses in other areas of the state will run on the holidays, the ski bus to Sundance won't be in operation as UTA has found that there isn't a high demand for the Sundance service on those days.

FrontRunner and the buses will run regular schedules on Christmas Eve and return to regular operation the day after Christmas.

On New Year's Eve there will be extended late night service for those hoping to catch FrontRunner from Salt Lake City back to Utah County. One train is set to leave Salt Lake headed south at 12:16 a.m. New Year's Day, while another will depart at 1:21 a.m., and then the service will shut down for the day.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Winter Solstice Activities Around Utah

We wish you all a happy apocalypse. There will be parties and special events in some locations around Utah to mark the end of the Mayan calendar. Check locally to see what is happening in areas you will be visiting.

And there will be Winter Solstice activities at many of our state and national parks, and in other locations around the state.

Bryce Canyon has this on the schedule:
Friday, December 21st, 2012 7:00 PM - Midnight
Location: The Bryce Canyon Visitor Center

Join the Dark Rangers of Bryce Canyon for a special Winter Solstice Astronomy Event at the Bryce Canyon Visitor Center. Enjoy educational and entertaining "End of the World" themed presentations punctuated by stargazing with telescopes.

One of the most unusual activities will be held in the town of Bluff, near Monument Valley:
Utah town burns 16-foot mammoth effigy for solstice

"What's really gonna be fun is they're gonna set it on fire with primitive Native American technology, meaning they're either going to use bows and arrows or they're going to use atlatl spears," Gulliford said. "It'll be fun to see if they can even hit the thing with a flaming atlatl dart."
The mammoth is meant to represent the discovery of mammoth petroglyphs near Bluff, a town of a few hundred people located on the San Juan River. Rock expert and local artist Joe Pachak first discovered the petroglyphs in 1987, but they have been a source of controversy ever since.

Edge of the Cedars State Park will host a "Return of the Sun" celebration on Saturday:

Celebrate the Winter Solstice, the shortest day and the longest night of the year, on Saturday the 22nd with two events at the Edge of the Cedars Museum:

1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Families will enjoy Navajo Star stories in the Starlab - a portable planetarium.

4:30 to 5:30 p.m. (Weather Permitting) Gather at the Solar Marker Sculpture with Artist Joe Pachak to observe the play of light and shadow as the sun sets just before sundown. The Solar Marker is a modern re-creation and living laboratory for the study of archaeoastronomy. It represents numerous rock art sites where ancient people marked the movement of the stars and changing seasons.

Following the sundown program at the Solstice Marker sculpture, join us in the auditorium for a talk by the artist, Joe Pachak of Bluff, Utah. He will discuss "Solstice Markers and the Landscape" looking not just at the markers themselves but their place in the landscape and use of horizons and other features in creating archaeoastronomy sites. Refreshments will be srerved. Free to the public.

Please call Edge of the Cedars at: (435)678-2238 for more information.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Miller Motorsports Park Announces 2013 Schedule

The popular Miller Motorsports Park has and impressive lineup of races and events scheduled for 2013. The park is located in Tooele, just west of Salt Lake City. Today Miller announced its schedule via the news release given below.

Season tickets on sale now

With the recent announcement that the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, will be coming to Miller Motorsports Park on August 17, 2013, the remainder of the track’s 2013 schedule has now been finalized and season passes are now on sale at a substantial discount.

The 2013 schedule will be quite a bit different from recent years, with the first major event of the season not taking place until late June and a jam-packed schedule throughout August and September, but track officials are pleased with the number and variety of events planned.

“Our 2013 schedule of events provides our fans with an interesting variety of competition, including sports cars, stock cars, motorcycles and off-road racing,” said John Larson, General Manager of Miller Motorsports Park. “We had a tremendous season in 2012, and we’re looking forward to a bigger and better season in 2013. We are happy to be able to offer our fans a great opportunity to purchase season tickets for a limited time at a significantly discounted rate.”

The first major event of 2013 will be the fourth annual visit by the popular Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, which will return on the weekend of June 22-23. The series will compete on the high-speed Off Road Short Course, and its high-flying, door-banging excitement has proven to be extremely popular with Utah fans.

August will be the big month for motorcycle racing enthusiasts, kicking off with the GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing series on August 3-4, featuring four different championships – the National Guard SuperBike Championship, GoPro Daytona SportBike Championship, SuperSport Championship and the Vance & Hines XR1200 Championship. Unlike in recent years, when the AMA Pro Road Racing groups supported the FIM Superbike World Championship, this year will be a full double-header weekend, with two races for all four classes.

Two weeks later, on August 17, the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship will make its first appearance in Utah since 1973, racing on a brand-new, purpose-built, national-caliber track located in the infield of the main road racing track at Miller Motorsports Park. This exciting event will bring the same household-name action-sports stars such as Ryan Dungey, James Stewart and Ryan Villopoto who have packed the house at the Salt Lake City AMA Supercross event in recent years.

The final major event of the season will take place over the weekend of September 14-15, as the Utah Grand Prix returns with the seventh annual appearance by the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West. The thundering stock cars will be joined by the Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy West and other series to be named in the near future.

In addition to the major events, there is a wide selection of other mid-level events to attract fans in 2013. These include the Ultra4 American Rock Sports Challenge off-road event on July 13, WERA Motorcycle Road Racing on July 27-28, the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah bicycle race in early August (exact dates not yet determined), the Sports Car Club of America Utah Region’s annual “Great Salt Race” on August 10-11, the Utah Fast Pass on August 19, the American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association’s Bonneville Vintage Grand Prix on August 31 – September 1, the return of the National Auto Sport Association (NASA) National Championships after a two-year absence on September 7-8, CruiserFest ’13 as a standalone event on September 21-22 and the Million Miles at Miller charity bicycle event on September 28.

Miller Motorsports Park’s four amateur racing championships will continue in 2013 as well. The sports cars of the NASA Utah Region presented by Sunoco Race Fuels will contest a seven-round championship, while the Masters of the Mountains motorcycle racing series organized by the Utah Sport Bike Association will run a six-race title chase. The ever-growing Utah Kart Championship presented by Sunoco Race Fuels will have a 10-round championship in 2013, and the Lucas Oil Off Road Regional Series – Utah will return for its second full season with a five-race schedule of events.

Fans can take advantage of the track’s season announcement now by purchasing a 2013 Season Ticket. With the Early Bird offer of only $125 until January 31, fans can obtain General Admission tickets to every event held at Miller Motorsports Park in 2013; that is a savings of 50 percent over regular ticket prices. The Early Bird deal also includes unlimited Zipline rides during major events, a pit pass for the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship event and an exclusive MMP lanyard. This is a limited-time offer at this drastically discounted rate, so fans are urged to act quickly.

To purchase tickets or obtain information regarding Miller Motorsports Park, click here or call 435-277-RACE (7223).

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Powder Awards Will Be Presented In Park City On Jan 17

The annual Powder Awards will be presented in Park City on Jan 17, timed to coincide with the start of the Sundance Film Festival. provided this information about the awards:

The Powder Awards presented by Icelandic Glacial has been hosted in Las Vegas and Aspen over the years, and this year is heading to Park City Live in Park City, Utah, on January 17, 2013. Home to three resorts—Canyons, Park City Mountain Resort, and Deer Valley—skiing is at the heart of the small mountain town’s allure and the ideal venue for the 13th annual Powder Awards.

“The Awards has been hosted in Aspen for the last nine years and with the celebration of the 13th annual event this season we’re looking forward to starting a new chapter in Utah,” said Powder Publisher Ashley Otte. “The focus has always been to recognize the best in cinematography through the lens of both producers and athletes. With Park City playing host to the Sundance Film Festival, it’s a perfect match to continue this tradition.”

One of the biggest nights in skiing, the Powder Awards attracts a who’s who of the industry—professional skiers, ski legends, ski film production crews, industry brands, media, celebrities (who may not even ski) and even the odd ski bum. With the move to Park City on the opening night of the Sundance Film Festival, the red carpet is likely to include an even broader mix of athletes and celebrities.

While the Powder Awards primarily highlights the best of the year’s ski films—like Movie of the Year and Best Male and Female Performance—the ceremonies also acknowledge readers’ favorites with the annual Reader Poll. Voting is currently under way at through December 31, 2012 or via Twitter and Instagram by naming or picturing the vote-worthy skier and including the hashtag #PowderAwardsVote.

Log-on to for more information, follow Powder on Facebook and Twitter @PowderMagazine and start the conversation with #PowderAwards.

Special thanks to presenting sponsor Icelandic Glacial, as well as, supporting sponsors GoPro, Kru82 Vodka, Paradigm Audio and Red Bull.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Big Snowstorm Smacks Utah

Skiing will be great but travel conditions will become difficult this evening and Tuesday as a major winter storm pushes through the area.

A winter storm warning is in effect for many areas in Utah. In the densely populated Salt Lake/Tooele/Provo areas the warning is in effect through 9 am Wednesday. Forecasters expect about 5 inches of snow to  accumulate in some valley areas. Mountains may receive much higher amounts. Snowfall is expected to be heaviest this evening and Tuesday morning in the southern Wasatch Front area. Very cold temperatures are expected after the storm moves past.

All of Utah's high-elevation seasonal roads are now closed. (The Wolf Creek Pass road closed today.)

Southern Utah will also be battling snow. In the mountainous Kolob Canyons area in Zion Park, snow threatened to close the road today but, at this writing, the road remains open.

Utah's ski canyons will probably be restricted to vehicles with chains or 4-wheel drive during this period, and roads may be closed at times while crews perform avalanche control work.

Always check weather and road conditions locally to get the latest information for areas you plan to visit.

It will now be easier to get to Powder Mountain and Snowbasin ski resorts, thanks to the new “Ogden Ski Bus” public transportation service.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Lone Ranger On Dead Horse Point

Our hearts go out to the people in Newtown, Conn. This is a good day to hug your children and say, “I love you.”

Last night on Conan, on late night TV, Armie Hammer talked about the new move, The Lone Ranger, which was shot in Utah. One sequence was shot at Dead Horse Point, one of Utah's most popular state parks, on a tower set on the edge of the cliff. It is included in the trailer and it is impressive.

Conan asked if the scene was computer-generated and Hammer talked about the challenges presented because they shot it live. Then they had a short discussion about Dead Horse Point. Here's a transcript of that part, and then we present video from Conan below.

Conan: “I'm stunned by that shot where you're on this giant structure. Is that CGI?”

Hammer: “No, that's real.”

Conan: “That looks crazy...”

Hammer: “That is a point called Dead Horse Point. You know if anything in nature is named after an animal it is pretty intense, and a dead animal specifically...”

Conan: “Right, never a good sign. No one says, let's go have a hamburger at Dead Horse Point.”

Hammer: “Right. You couldn't if you wanted to because you can't even get water on Dead Horse Point... ”

Well, actually there is water at the Visitor Center. But no hamburgers. Here's the video:

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Volunteers Needed For Christmas Bird Count Around Zion and Kanab

The National Audubon Society hosts a scientific bird count ever winter. This season marks the 113th anniversary of the event.

In Utah, counts will be conducted on conducted on Dec. 14 and 15 in the Kanab area and on Dec. 15 near the Kolob Canyons section of Zion Park, near Cedar City. Volunteers are needed in both locations.

The counts will be held on BLM land. The BLM provided the news release below:

Come One Come All to the Christmas Bird Count

Cedar City, Utah—Do you enjoy watching birds? Would you call yourself a birder? Or would you like to learn more about birds? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you should join the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on Dec. 14 and 15, 2012, for the annual Christmas Bird Count.

Hosted by the National Audubon Society, the Christmas Bird Count is a yearly bird census conducted nationwide during the holiday season. This year marks the 113th Christmas Bird Count, and everyone—families, students, volunteers, birders, biologists and scientists—is invited to participate. During the counts, bird species are identified and information is recorded on a checklist that provides data crucial to the study of the long-term health and status of bird populations across North America.

On Dec. 14 and 15, you can help BLM-Utah wildlife biologists identify and record counts of bird species on your public lands in southern Utah. On Friday, Dec. 14, Wildlife Biologist Lisa Church from the Kanab Field Office will be counting birds in the Kanab area; anyone interested in helping Lisa should meet at 8 a.m. at the Kanab Field Office, 669 South Highway 89A, Kanab, Utah. On Saturday, Dec. 15, Wildlife biologist Sheri Whitfield from the Cedar City Field Office will be counting birds near Zion National Park; anyone interested in helping Sheri, should meet at 7:45 a.m. in the parking lot immediately outside the Zion National Park west entrance.

Don’t miss out on your chance to participate in the longest-running wildlife census in the United States and to contribute to the scientific study of bird populations living in your backyard. Please contact Sheri at (435)865-3065 or Lisa at (435)644-1273 for additional information on the Christmas Bird Count and how you can get involved.


The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2011, recreational and other activities on BLM-managed land contributed more than $130 billion to the U.S. economy and supported more than 600,000 American jobs. The Bureau is also one of a handful of agencies that collects more revenue than it spends. In FY 2012, nearly $5.7 billion will be generated on lands managed by the BLM, which operates on a $1.1 billion budget. The BLM's multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Bureau accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on public lands.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Save Big With Salt Lake Connect Pass

You can save 45-80% if you buy the Salt Lake Connect Pass before visiting some of the most popular attractions in the Salt Lake area. offers a connect pass that provides discounted admission to the attractions:

“The Visit Salt Lake Connect Pass is an all-in-one ticket that allows you to be your own personal tour guide of everything Salt Lake has to offer — just take your pass and go to 13 of Salt Lake's best attractions!”

See the website for complete details.

As we count them, only 12 attractions are included, but it is still a great value. The attractions are listed below.

1 - Discovery Gateway
2 - Natural History Museum of Utah at the Rio Tinto Center
3 - Clark Planetarium
4 - Utah Museum of Fine Arts
5 - Thanksgiving Point
6 - Utah's Hogle Zoo
7 - Red Butte Garden
8 - The Leonardo at Library Square
9 - The Lion House Pantry Restaurant
10 - This Is The Place Heritage Park
11 - Tracy Aviary
12 - Utah Olympic Park

Utah's Hogle Zoo is a key attraction covered by the Connect Pass. The zoo's Rocky Shores
Exhibit is very popular and is shown in the video below.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Great Snow Conditions At Utah Resorts

A series of storms over the past few days dropped new powder on Utah's mountains, creating very good early season conditions conditions at Utah ski resorts. Another storm late Thursday and early Friday may add to the snow accumulation.

Our season is off to a great start. The video below shows what conditions have been like at Snowbird over the past 3 days. It is a fun video, well worth watching.

We noticed The Guardian out of the UK has this interesting article about skiing Utah's Interconnect. Here's one quote:

"Highway to Heaven? More like bloody Highway to Hell," gasped James as he sucked in the mountain air. He had reason to be out of breath: the highway is a glorious but demanding traverse 3,000m up in Utah's Wasatch mountains. It forms the most testing part of the Utah Interconnect, a 27-mile ski route between the state's six best resorts.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Motocross Racing Coming To Miller Motorsports Park

Miller Motorsports Park has been named a venue for the 2013 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship tour.The park is located near Tooele, west of Salt Lake City.

Miller has a very popular road racing that is open for public when it is not being used for pro races. The park hosts top international races in many classifications. But it does not have a motocross track – yet. A permanent facility will be constructed in time for the Lucas Championship tour stop on Aug. 17.

The Deseret News has this article about the announcement. Below are excerpts.

The size of the facility and the use the permanent garages, grandstands and suites at Miller Motorsports Park will be a first for this series, which normally hosts its events on rural motocross tracks rather than at established racing facilities.

"The Utah National is going to be a milestone event," said Davey Coombs, President of MX Sports Pro Racing. "Miller Motorsports Park is an amazing facility, with incredible amenities that our teams and fans will love, in a market where action sports are everywhere. It is a different sort of venue than we are accustomed to visiting, but it is ideal in light of the rapid growth our series is enjoying. We think it's a perfect fit for us, and we can't wait to show the great fans in Utah what the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship is all about."

The addition of this event give the state two major dirt-bike race events, with Salt Lake City's Rice-Eccles Stadium hosting one of AMA Supercross' 17 events on April 27.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Get Lost In The Beauty Of 'The Wave'

The Wave” is a famously photogenic spot on the Utah/Arizona border, where swirls of color and strangely eroded sandstone create an environment that looks like it should be found on some exotic alien world.

Photographers and nature lovers flock to the area, which is found in the Coyote Buttes area of Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, southeast of Kanab, Utah. Permits are needed to hike there and only 20 are issued per day, to preserve the wilderness setting. We have extensive information about The Wave here.

The San Francisco Chronicle has this interesting article about hiking The Wave. The article includes gorgeous photos that are worth viewing. It starts by describing a hiker who was briefly lost in the area. Below are excerpts.

"I went up the wrong wash," he gasped, visibly calmed as we showed him the path back to the parking lot. "There's no trail. ... The maps they give you are !@$#% worthless. ... I've been lost for an hour and a half."

At least he didn't die out there. Some people do. The Wave may be one of the most visually stunning, ardently photographed features in the Southwest desert, but the Bureau of Land Management doesn't make it easy to find (or to find your way back).

The Wave is a tangible hallucination, a convoluted corridor of multicolored, brilliantly striped sandstone. Its history dates back to Pangaea: the single, giant continent that once covered the Earth.

The Wave sneaked onto every landscape photographer's bucket list in 2004, when it was featured in a German documentary called "Faszination Natur - Seven Seasons." Today, about a third of the visitors are from Europe (with a recent influx from China and Japan).

(BLM Monument Manager) Kevin Wright has also turned down multiple requests - from the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition to representatives of the Occupy movement (who wanted to hold a candlelight vigil at the Wave).

"Even National Geographic had to get a permit," he says reverently.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Deer Valley Will Open For Skiing Saturday (Dec. 8)

Deer Valley Resort will open for the season on Saturday, December 8, with nine chairlifts and 18 ski runs on three mountains.

Deer Valley consistently ranks as one of the top resorts in North American because it pays attention to every detail. It opens later than many Utah resorts, taking time to ensure that the snow and everything else is ready.

Deer Valley provided the information below as part of a news release.

Chairlifts Scheduled to Open:
  • Burns
  • Carpenter Express
  • Silver Lake Express
  • Homestake
  • Sterling Express
  • Wasatch Express
  • Viking
  • Quincy Express
  • Northside Express
2012 - 2013 Early Season Lift Ticket Rates
Full Day Half Day
Adult $80 $67
Senior $57 $48
Child $50 $42

To celebrate The Mariposa's new small plate menu, the restaurant will feature a limited special throughout the first two weeks of the resort’s 2012-13 winter season. Diners will receive one small plate free with the purchase of three or more small plates from December 7 to 19, 2012. No coupons are necessary. Reservations required; please call 435-645-6715 or visit

Deer Valley will be hosting the Deer Valley Celebrity Skifest on Birdseye ski run at noon on Saturday, December 8 and Sunday, December 9. The annual event benefits the Waterkeeper Alliance. Come cheer on your favorite stars and Olympic athletes.

Restaurant Opening Dates
Deer Valley Grocery ~ Café
Open Year- Round, 7:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
The Mariposa
Friday, December 7
Open Tuesday through Sunday, dinner only,
5:45 – 9 p.m.

Silver Lake Restaurant
Saturday, December 8
Open daily for breakfast and lunch
Snow Park Restaurant
Saturday, December 8
Open daily for breakfast and lunch

Empire Canyon Grill TBD

Seafood Buffet
Thursday, December 13
Dinner only, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays

Royal Street Café
Wednesday, December 14 for lunch
Wednesday, December 19 for dinner
Open daily for lunch, après ski and dinner
11:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Fireside Dining
Wednesday, December 12
Wednesday through Saturday, dinner only, 6 – 9 p.m.

EBS Lounge
Saturday, December 8 for wine, beer, cocktails
and appetizers.
Live music on the weekends
Monday through Friday, 2:30 – 6 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday, noon – 6 p.m.

Snowshoe Tommy's
Saturday, December 8 for Turkey Chili, sweets,
espresso drinks, and hot and cold beverages.
Open daily, conditions permitting, 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

For more information about Deer Valley Resort's opening weekend, please contact resort Communications Manager Emily Summers at 800-424-DEER (3337), 435-645-6522 or view the resort website at

Deer Valley Resort revolutionized the ski industry by providing the first-class service one would receive at a five-star hotel. The resort offers 21 chairlifts, 100 ski runs, six bowls, 11 restaurants, 300 annual inches of powder, three elegant day lodges, 2,026 acres of alpine skiing, hundreds of luxury accommodations and a renowned Ski School and Children's Center.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Forbes Ranks Utah Resorts 'A' For Awesome has an innovative ranking system for US ski resorts based on only one criteria: Pure Awesomeness Factor (PAF). The respected publication ranks 7 Utah ski resorts among the top 10 in the U.S.

Actually, in several instances Forbes grouped adjacent resorts together and gave the combination a single score. For example, Alta and Snowbird were ranked together because skiers move pretty freely between them.

Jackson Hole received the top ranking in the Forbes report (PAF = 98.5).

Alta/Snowbird was second (PAF = 97).

Other Utah resorts making the ranking include:
Park City, Deer Valley and The Canyons (PAF = 86):
Brighton/Solitude (PAF: 83)

See the full report here. Here are excerpts:

There’s nothing east of the Rockies on the list because no resort east of the Rockies has the snow or terrain to crack our awesomeness rankings–something that matters for both beginners and experts (soft western snow >> eastern ice). Not that there isn’t fun to be had in the East or even the Midwest. Ski wherever you can.

The terrain at Alta and Snowbird is the terrain against which all others are measured. Snowbird’s tram, which, like Jackson’s, also traverses from the base of the resort to the top, is the only lift that compares with the tram at Jackson Hole. The lift line for the Snowbird tram on a prime powder day can get ugly—one of the drawbacks of being on top of a greater metropolitan area of 2 million people.

The good news is that not all of those people ski and, even better, this place has a lot of powder days—it gets 600 inches a year—more than anywhere outside of Alaska. The snow is dependable and comes in a density that’s user friendly, like a stiff dollop of whipped milk on a cappuccino. If you’re going on a trip for three days or less, it’s hard to go anywhere but Utah. We can’t stress enough how awesome the skiing is here. If you haven’t been, just go.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Powder Mountain Opens For Skiing Under New Ownership

Powder Mountain Ski Resort will open for skiing tomorrow, Dec. 5, offering skiing from 3 pm – 9 pm. The resort is expected to move to its regular, full-day schedule with a week or so.

And the resort has new owners. It was announced yesterday that a group called Summit has purchased the resort and will preserve its unique atmosphere. The group takes over management of the resort immediately, and will complete acquisition of the property early next year.

The Ogden-area resort is famous for, well, for deep powder and runs that appeal to serious skiers and snowboarders.

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

Powder Mountain’s new owners are young, hip, idealistic, accomplished and confident they have a business model that can preserve the throwback character of the upper Ogden Valley ski resort.

"We think we can do something great here," said Summit’s 27-year-old founder and CEO, Elliott Bisnow, noting the new owners have jettisoned previous plans to transform Powder Mountain with close to 4,000 dwelling units.

"We’re not trying to shake things up but enhance what’s here," said Thayer Walker, a Summit partner. "If we do things in a smart, incremental, sustainable fashion, we can preserve Powder Mountain’s character for years."

That’s because Summit’s mission is different than most companies, said co-founder Jeff Rosenthal. "We’re looking for a return on community rather than a return on investment."

Monday, December 03, 2012

Should Utah Bid To Host The Olympic Games – Again?

Utah hosted the 2002 Winter Games, considered one of the most successful Olympics ever. Most Utahn's think the games had a lasting positive effect on our state. Venues built or expanded to accommodate the Olympics are being used today by Utah citizens and vistors.

Ready to do it again?

Utah government and business leaders are ready, and are getting ready to make a bid. Utah Governor Gary Herbert posted these Twitter messages today:

The Olympic Games brought many benefits to Utah and would do so again. $5 billion in economic activity from last Olympics.+

Utah has become the winter sports capital of the USA. 40% of winter Olympians train or live in Utah.

The Deseret News has this article about the potential bid. Below is the headline and then excerpts.

Utah 'ready, willing, able' to host 2026 Olympics

"It's not a matter of can we do it. We've proven we can do it, and we can do it better than anybody in the world. We've got a great foundation to build upon," Herbert said.

The Salt Lake Games were widely heralded by the International Olympic Committee and the rest of the sports world as the best-ever Winter Olympics after overcoming both the impact of an international bribery scandal and 9/11.

A future bid would be "open and transparent in every aspect," Herbert said.

The state and city are well-positioned financially and otherwise, the leaders said. Existing venues and infrastructure would need minimal updates, and the transportation system and hotel lodging has been expanded since Salt Lake City successfully hosted the 2002 Games, officials said.
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