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Utah Travel Headlines

Friday, November 29, 2013

Shop Small In Utah Saturday

Tomorrow is “Small Business Saturday,” when people are encouraged to patronize America's small businesses. Utah offers many local businesses selling charming products for the holidays – and other times of year.

If you are traveling in Utah, we encourage you to give our local shops a chance. You will see them on main streets in communities throughout Utah. Often they are rustic, without banners and neon lights. If you venture inside you may just find unique treasures.

Buy Local First Utah has an extensive list of businesses. Some offer convenient online shopping while other are strictly brick and mortar. Here are links to lists of businesses we think may be of interest to travelers and local folks alike.
If you are looking for gifts, consider this items:
Happy holidays.

- Dave Webb

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Enjoy Thanksgiving And The Coming Weekend

Happy Thanksgiving. We wish you all the best this holiday season.

The weather should be very nice throughout Utah tomorrow and through the weekend. It will be perfect for skiing but also for hiking, biking, Jeeping and many other outdoor activities.

Remember, the Christmas lights will come on Friday evening at Temple Square and many other spots around Utah.

Now's a perfect time to hike in Capitol Reef National Park, and the park just released this news release, saying the Hickman Bridge trail has reopened after being closed because of a rock slide. Here's an excerpt:

Because of the size of the rockfall, additional precautions were taken before the trailhead could be reopened. The trailhead has been delineated and the trail has been realigned around the debris pile... A portion of a retaining wall just beyond the rockfall was washed out during this seasons flooding in September. Please use caution when hiking through this area. Masonry work will be performed in the spring as warmer temperatures allow. has this interesting article with with the headline below. After the headline we give excerpts.

Looking for Something to Do Over the Thanksgiving Break?

For those looking to spend a fun, memorable holiday in our great state, the Utah Office of Tourism has some suggestions on top places to visit over the long holiday weekend ─ some traditional, some a little more off the beaten path.

Starting November 30, the City of Ogden will kick off the Christmas season with the sixth annual Santa Fun Run (5K) at 4:30 p.m. Participants dress up as Santa and receive milk and cookies following the race. Following the race, head over to the annual Christmas Village and Electric Light Parade. The parade is filled with elaborate floats, sensational themes and performers. Fireworks will fill the sky following the parade to announce the opening of the Christmas Village ─ one of Utah's largest holiday celebrations.

For that once-in-a-lifetime experience, spend a day (or more) at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary ─ the nation's largest no-kill animal sanctuary located in the breathtaking Angel Canyon. Best Friends offers daily tours, volunteer opportunities, and you may even find a furry friend to adopt.

Read the entire article.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Utah Ski Season Off To Strong Start - More Resorts To Open This Week

Snowbasin will open on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 28) and Canyons Resort will open Nov. 29. In total, eight Utah ski resorts will be open as we close out November.

Early storms dumped abundant snow at the resorts and so many were able to open early. As a result, conditions are better than normal right now. All of the pieces are falling into place to make this one of our best seasons ever.

Here's the list of resorts now open, or opening this week:
Here are announced opening dates for other resorts:
The Deseret News has this excellent article reporting on the early ski season. Below is the headline and then a couple excerpts:

Ski season off to strong, early start in Utah

Utah's ski industry is getting an early-season intravenous shot. Ski-pass sales and lodging reservations are up as resorts reap the benefit of an improving economy. Even the weather is cooperating, with November building up snow equity on the slopes.

The early bookings come as Park City Mountain Resorts prepares to celebrate its storied 50-year history with a season-long series of live music, fireworks and giveaways.

"The early-season snowfall helped calm fears," said Nathan Rafferty, president of the trade group Ski Utah. After a pair of lackluster winters, Utah was itching for a comeback and appears to be getting it, he said.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Winter Storm In Canyon Country

Canyonlands - Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Storms last week dumped new powder in our high country, to the delight of skiers, and created amazing scenery in the national parks of southern Utah. Clouds and fog in our red rock canyons delighted photographers.

The Deseret News has this beautiful photo essay showing Canyonlands National Park, with features glazed by snow and obscured by low clouds.

The photo at right was taken from the essay, by Scott G Winterton.

Lake Powell is a favorite subject for photographer David O Rankin, who has this gallery of remarkable photos including a new one showing fog obscuring Lone Rock.

Here's another interesting blog post, with this title:
Backpacking Utah’s Mighty 5

The blog has some good general information and travel ideas. Unfortunately, it provides no real information about backpacking the parks. Here's an excerpt:

Utah boasts 5 National Parks within its borders that will take you to breathtaking heights as you ascend 1500 feet from the canyon floor to the top of Angels Landing in Zion National Park, or to heart pounding depths as you walk through red rock hoodoos that look like they are from Mars in Bryce Canyon...

The last stop on Utah’s Mighty 5 is Arches National Park. With more arches, hoodoos and towers than anyone can count Arches National Park is a favorite for locals and tourists alike. Most people start by hiking to Delicate Arch, probably the most famous arch in the world. If you want to try something a bit different try heading to Landscape, Double O Arch, or get permits and hike the Fiery Furnace.

Friday, November 22, 2013

More Ski Resorts Open: Alta Today, Park City Tomorrow

There is fresh snow in the mountains and more ski resorts opening their gates. Alta Ski Area opened today and Park City will open tomorrow. More Utah resorts will open next week.

We've already had several cold storms and ski conditions are very good considering how early it is in the season. Alta reports a 30-inch base. Many resorts are offering early bird discounts on passes and lodging.

This season is Park City's 50th anniversary and the resort is kicking it off in style. The resort provided this information:

We’re kicking off our 50th anniversary in style and you’re invited to join us! The party begins with a ribbon cutting ceremony commemorating half a century of fun since we first opened in 1963 as Treasure Mountains resort. Keep an eye out for our one-of-a-kind 50th anniversary mementos we’ll be giving guests throughout the day, and wrap it all up with an après concert presented by Miller Lite on the PayDay Deck. Die hards in line early enough for First Chair will be rewarded with special 50th anniversary First Chair souvenir shirts good for bragging rights that will last the next half century. It’s a season 50 years in the making, and we’re celebrating right out of the gate with our biggest Opening Day yet.

9 am sharp: The lifts begin turning! Each person on the "First Chair" at all lifts open on Opening Day will receive a commerative 50th Anniversary t-shirt. We'll also have hot beverages and snacks available in the Plaza.

2 pm: Aprés Concert on the PayDay Deck with the Motherlode Canyons Band, part of the Miller Lite Après Concert Series. Join us for some great music, beer and a fun afternoon after your first day on the slopes!

Make sure you're here for the first turns of the 2013-2014 winter season in Park City! Will you be on first chair???

More Info:
Park City Mountain Resort

The Park Record newspaper has this interesting article about Park City's history, appropriate for a different 50-year milestone. Below are exceprts:

The story behind the loan that launched PCMR

The Park Record ran the story without a headline on Oct. 17, 1963. It was buried on the third page.

"Treasure Mountains recreation center at Park City, Utah's new year-round resort, will open its first facilities in December," the story began, "and no one could be happier about this news than the President of the United States."

A photograph with the story showed President John F. Kennedy and Utah Sen. Frank E. Moss studying what appears to be an artist's rendition of the base area of Park City's new tourist attraction. The photo may have been taken during a visit that Kennedy made to Salt Lake City the previous month.

"The President expressed satisfaction that it was a $1,232,000 loan from the Area Redevelopment Administration, a Kennedy administration program, that helped financially to launch the new Park City resort development," the story continued.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

From Israel To Salt Lake City: Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibit Opens Tomorrow

Photo courtesy of KSL TV
A major exhibit opens tomorrow at The Leonardo in Salt Lake City, giving the public a rare chance to see some of the actual Dead Sea Scrolls. It is being called the opportunity of a lifetime by people interested in ancient history.

The exhibit opens tomorrow and continues through April 27.

The Deseret News and KSL TV both have detailed reports on the exhibit. Below are excerpts from the News article.
The Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Ancient Times exhibit at The Leonardo will give visitors the chance to see the largest collection of scrolls and Holy Land artifacts ever assembled outside of Israel.

When the exhibit was announced in April, Israeli Consul General David Siegel told the Deseret News the exhibit would be a reflection of Utah’s long-standing relationship with Israel, a “hugely significant moment for Israel, for Utah, for our shared past, for our shared faith and our shared future.”

Ten scrolls will be displayed at a time during the Leonardo museum. The IAA will come back in February with a new set of 10. Two scrolls in each session have never before been seen by the public.

“I think people in Utah will be delighted to see these. There is something about the actual fragment, no matter what fragment it is,” said Seely. “They all have a little history.”
The KSL report includes these concise details:
Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Ancient Times
at The Leonardo museum
209 East 500 South
Salt Lake City, UT 84111

Ticket Information:
Adults (ages 18 - 64): $23.95
Youth (ages 12 - 17): $14.95
Children (ages 6 - 11): $9.95
Seniors 65+, Students and Military with ID: $19.95
Leonardo Members: $13.95
Children ages 5 and under: Free

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Plan Now For The Hardware Ranch Elk Festival

Photo courtesy Hardware Ranch
The annual Hardware Ranch Elk Festival will be held Dec. 14 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. It offers a great opportunity to view wild elk while enjoying sleigh rides and other winter activities.

Hardware Ranch Wildlife Management Area is an important elk refuge operated by the Utah Department of Wildlife Resources. It is located in the mountains southeast of Logan. During winter, elk gather in the meadow at the ranch. Biologists feed them to motivate them to stay in the mountains and now migrate down into the valleys, where they could cause damage to farms and yards.

Hay is carried to the wintering animals on horse-drawn sleighs. The wild elk have become accustomed to the horses and allow them to come quite close. Visitors to the ranch are allowed to ride on the sleighs through the cold season, beginning Dec. 13. Often, several large bulls are among the herd. Photographers can often get close-up shots of the magnificent animals.

The DWR provided the information below.

It's time to celebrate the return of the elk to Hardware Ranch Wildlife Management Area with the annual Elk Festival. This year's festival will be held at Hardware Ranch WMA on Saturday Dec. 14, from 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. There will be many fun and free family activities in addition to the regular sleigh rides and visitor center.

Activities will include fish printing, wildlife Christmas ornament crafting, and more. Sleigh rides (open till 4:30 p.m.) will be at the regular price: $5 for adults (ages 9 and above), $3 for kids (ages 4#-8), and free for toddlers and infants (ages 3 and younger). The visitor center and activities/crafts will be free while supplies last. See the Hardware Ranch WMA website for directions and details on the rest of the elk-viewing season.

Location : Hardware Ranch WMA
Contact : Marni Lee, 435-753-6206 and Brad Hunt, 435-753-6168

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Thanksgiving And Then Christmas Lights

Thanksgiving is a quiet family holiday in Utah. Many businesses will be closed and many families will spend the day together.

Our National Parks and many recreation areas are open year-round and offer the chance for a memorable outing.

Businesses that provide services for travelers will be open. That includes motels/.hotels/resorts, restaurants, fuel stations and convenience stores. Many restaurants will offer special dinners.

Some major merchants plan to get a jump on the Christmas season and will be open on Thanksgiving Day, and will offer early specials.

Temple Square offers a fabulous light display,.
After Thanksgiving, Christmas lights will be turned on around the state. The famous Temple Square light display and special performances will begin Friday, Nov. 29.

Many communities and businesses offer popular holiday displays and festivities. Here are some others of note:
  • In Davis County, the communities of Kaysville, Centerville, Bountiful and Layton host tree-lighting and other ceremonies. Details.
  • Ogden's Electric Light Parade will be held on Nov 30.
  • The annual Festival of Trees fundraiser will run Dec. 4-7. It is a popular event that benefits the Primary Children’s Hospital Foundation.
Check our events database and inquire locally for other activities.

Monday, November 18, 2013

More Ski Resorts To Open, More Accolades For Deer Valley

Three more Utah ski resorts will open this week. They are:
They join Brighton, Solitude and Brian Head, which are already open.

Other resorts have announced these opening dates:
Enthusiasts are reminded they will soon be able to ride public transportation to many resorts. The Utah Transit Authority has released this information.

Deer Valley Honored
Deer Valley Resort was named the best ski resort in the United States at the World Ski Awards recently held in Kitzbuhel, Austria.

Alta/Snowbird Ski Deal
This interesting post, The Best Deals for Ski Season 2013-14, has Alta/Snowbird at the top of the list. Here's their introductory paragraph:

Known for epic powder and deliciously long runs, these Utah resorts are also offering out-of-state visitors a killer deal this year: half off lift tickets within 24 hours of arrival at Salt Lake City International Airport. The offer is good throughout the 2013-14 ski season, Monday through Friday, and saves $39.50.

Friday, November 15, 2013

High Elevation Seasonal Roads Close For The Year

Utah's Department of Transportation plows some mountain roads during the winter to keep them open. Other high elevation roads are closed as they become snowpacked and impossible. UDOT has released this closure schedule:
  • SR 39 Monte Cristo - East of Ogden – Milepost 37 to 55.5. Will close Monday at 12 am, November 18.
  • SR 65 East Canyon - Northeast of Salt Lake City – Milepost 3 to 13.2. Will Close at 8 am, Monday, November 18.
  • SR 92 American Fork/Alpine Loop - Milepost 14 to milepost 22.5 - CLOSED.
  • SR 150 Mirror Lake Highway - OPEN now but will close soon.
  • SR-153 Mt. Holly Junction Road - CLOSED.
  • SR 224 Guardsman Pass - Park City to Midway. Closes 6 am Saturday, November 16th.
  • SR 190 Guardsman Pass - Big Cottonwood Canyon (SR-190/Brighton) to Park City. (Junction with SR 224). CLOSED
The above roads are generally closed between November and May each year. Some roads may remain closed until June.

The following routes are normally plowed during daytime hours only:
  • SR 14 between MP 0 and 5, and MP 27 to US 89 Junction
  • SR 35 from SR 32 to Seasonal Closure at Milepost 12.
  • SR 150 from Kamas to Seasonal Closure at Milepost 14.
  • SR 65 from Henefer to Morgan County line.
  • SR 36 from Vernon to Utah County line.
  • SR 199 from SR 36 to Dugway (Johnson's Pass).
  • SR 196 from I-80 to Dugway (Skull Valley Road).
  • SR 202 from SR 201 to I-80.
  • SR 153 from Beaver to Seasonal Closure at Milepost 22.
  • SR 21 between MP 11 and MP 76
  • SR 12 between MP 110.5 to 122.8
  • SR 25 between MP 0 and MP 10
  • SR 72 between MP 0 and MP 35.3
  • SR 29 between MP 0 and MP 15
  • SR 57 between MP 5 and MP 10.691
  • SR 124 between MP 0 and MP 5.5
  • SR 122 between MP 0 and MP 8.75

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Brian Head Opens Friday, Nov 15

Brian Head Ski Resort will open its lifts tomorrow, Nov. 15. It becomes the third Utah resort to open for the season (Brighton and Solitude have already opened).

Other resorts will follow shortly. Here are the most recent projected opening dates:
A big, cold storm is expected to move over Utah Friday, dropping rain in valleys and snow at higher elevations. The snow level will drop over the weekend and northern Utah valleys will probably see snow on the ground before the storm ends.

Take care traveling. If you plan recreation in mountain areas, you now need to start being concerned about avalanche danger. Avalanche control work is performed regularly at developed ski resorts and along major highways. Backcountry areas may become dangerous. Watch the Utah Avalanche Center website for information and current conditions.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

2014 Scenic Utah Calendar Now Available For Purchase

The 2014 edition of the award-winning official Utah scenic calendar is now available. You can buy it online here.

The calendar is published by the Utah Office of Tourism and features stunning photos of Utah locations. The Office of Tourism provided the information below:
Salt Lake City, UT - November 13, 2013 - The award-winning Utah Life Elevated® Official Scenic Calendar is now available. In its 42nd year, the 2014 calendar highlights Utah's iconic destinations, outdoor activities and events through captivating photography, innovative graphic design and inspiring words.

Photographer Tom Till's compelling photograph of the Needles District in Canyonlands National Park graces the calendar cover. More than 40 additional images throughout the calendar showcase Utah's diverse destinations, from The MightyTM 5 national parks to the state's national forests, monuments and recreation areas. Additional inset photos capture the best of Utah's state parks, ski resorts, metropolitan attractions, annual events and outdoor recreation opportunities.

"The calendar is breathtaking. We worked with 21 photographers to showcase the very best of Utah's landscapes, outdoor recreation and culture and arts," said Vicki Varela, managing director of Tourism, Film and Global Branding at the Utah Office of Tourism, an agency of the Governor's Office of Economic Development. "It simply compels you to get out and celebrate our spectacular state."

The Utah Scenic Calendar is recognized annually for design and photography by the National and World Calendar Awards hosted by the Calendar Marketing Association. The last three editions have received two dozen awards, including Gold Awards in 2013 for Best Subject, Best Scenic Photography, Best Printing and Most Informative.

The calendars, which make for the perfect holiday gift, are sold individually for $10, plus tax and shipping. Bulk orders of 25+ are sold at a reduced cost of $8 per calendar.

The 2014 Utah Scenic Calendar can be purchased online at or at the Zion Natural History Association Bookstore located at Council Hall, 300 North State Street, Salt Lake City, UT, 84114. For questions, or more information on visiting Utah, contact the Utah Office of Tourism at (801) 538-1900.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Lake Powell Makes List Of World's Most Beautiful Lakes

Lake Powell - Photo by Dave Webb
Fodors and team up to publish travel articles and they've produce and interesting one that features the 20 most beautiful lakes in the world. Below we list the lakes featured in the article. You'll note Lake Powell is included.

We do need to clear up one little issue. The article puts Powell in Arizona. It is true that Glen Canyon Dam is in Arizona, but the vast majority of the lake is in Utah. is considered a left-leaning, pro-environmentalist publication and many environmentalists are in favor of draining Lake Powell. It's fun to see the website say the lake is well worth visiting. Regardless of your environmental views, everyone agrees the lake is incredibly beautiful.

Here's an excerpt from the article:
Lined with beaches and popular with houseboat owners and sport fisherman, it photographs like a dream—a sublime mélange of swirling red-rock canyons and vivid sapphire-hued water. To enjoy the area take a boat tour to impressive Rainbow Bridge National Monument.

Here's their list:
  • Lake Como, Lombardy, Italy
  • Maligne Lake, Alberta, Canada
  • Lake Pichola, Udaipur, India
  • West Lake, Hangzhou, China
  • Dove Lake, Tasmania
  • Lake Lucerne, Switzerland
  • Lake Powell, Arizona
  • Lake Titicaca, Bolivia & Peru
  • Derwentwater, Keswick, England
  • Lake Tahoe, California & Nevada
  • Pehoe Lake, Patagonia, Chile
  • Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
  • Lake Superior, Michigan
  • Lake Wakatipu, New Zealand
  • Crater Lake, South Central Oregon
  • Loch Duich, Scotland
  • Plitvice Lakes, Croatia
  • Lakes of Killarney, Ireland
  • Lake Kawaguchi, Japan
  • Lake Bratan, Bali
On a personal note, I've swam in Powell, Tahoe and Atitlan. I've flown over Superior but I've never touched the water there. They are all beautiful but it's Powell I return to again and again.

- Dave Webb

Monday, November 11, 2013

Celebrate Native American Heritage Month

National Park Service Photo
November is National Native American Heritage Month and special events are being held around the U.S.

Here's general info about the month.

Here's stories and educational material related to the month.

Grand Canyon National Park will host events on Thursday, Nov 14, as described in the news release below.

Pipe Springs National Monument, located near the Arizona/Utah border SE of St. George, will host a series of events including those listed below. See details here.
  • Nov. 10, 9-11 a.m. Pah – Water in Paiute
  • Nov. 15, 1-4 p.m. Paiute Skills and Heritage
  • Nov. 17, 9-11 a.m. Mu’uputs Canyon Hike
  • Nov. 24, 9-11 a.m. Powell and the Paiutes
Here's the Grand Canyon news release:
2013 Native American Heritage Month Celebration

Grand Canyon, Ariz. -- On, Thursday, November 14, Grand Canyon National Park will be celebrating National Native American Heritage Month with special presentations and demonstrations.

Each year, November is recognized as National Native American Heritage Month. American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians are a special part of the tapestry of our Nation's history. As keepers of a rich and ancient cultural heritage, Native Americans share with all of us the beauty of their art, power of their songs and grace of their people.

Grand Canyon's Native American Heritage Month celebration includes a special presentation on a new publication American Indians and the Civil War published by Eastern National, American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association, National Park Service and the Bureau of Indian Education. This 30 minute program will take place at 10:00 a.m. in the Shrine of the Ages.

All are invited to attend the 7:00 p.m. evening program at Shrine of the Ages for an evening filled with cultural dancing and demonstrations. The Guardians of the Canyon Ram Dancers, Dishchii'bikoh Apache Crown Dancers, and the Hopi Warriors of Grand Canyon are scheduled to perform. Grand Canyon visitors and residents are invited to participate in this special day as we recognize and celebrate the many accomplishments, contributions, and sacrifices made by First Americans.

To learn more about Grand Canyon's Native American Heritage Month celebration, please call the park's Diversity Program Coordinator Mariah Cisse at 928-638-7375, or Tina Yazzi, Vice-Chair of Grand Canyon's Diversity Council at 928-638-7761.

Friday, November 08, 2013

You Can Ski And Golf Right Now In Salt Lake City

The weather today was beautiful - sunny and delightfully warm - at least down in our valleys. Perfect golf weather, and most of most Utah courses are still open with good conditions.

Two of our ski resorts opened today and more will open during the next couple weeks. Brighton and Solitude opened their gates and started up their lifts, officially opening our ski season. That comes after a series of cold, winter-like storms dumped on the high country.

That's fall for you in Utah.

You can ski in the morning and golf in the afternoon during the deal of winter in southern Utah, with Brian Head offering very good downhill skiing, just a short distance away from the famous St. George-area golf courses. But having good ski and golf conditions simultaneously is a rare treat in northern Utah. We'll enjoy it while we can.

This is the perfect time of year for all kinds of adveventures. Most of our national parks are located at lower elevations where the weather is mild. Conditions are very good for hiking, biking, camping and other adventures.

Fishing is also exceptionally good right now at Lake Powell, Strawberry Reservoir and many other waters.

Conditions will change drastically during the next few weeks, as cold weather sets in. For now, I'm loving it.

- Dave Webb

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Brighton Is Now Open For Skiing, Solitude Opens Friday

Brighton Ski Resort will start up its lifts this afternoon and allow people to ski from 2-4 pm. It will officially open on Friday.

Ski Utah provided this new information:
"Just got off the phone with Brighton Resort and they confirmed that they ARE opening today from 2p.m.-4p.m. free to the public."

The resort offered these details:
"Brighton Resort will open for the 2013/2014 season on Friday November 8th. The Explorer and Majestic chairlifts will open at 9:00 AM accessing 3 trails and a mini terrain park. Snake Creek and Crest lift are expected to open soon. Opening day lift tickets will be $37.00."

Solitude will also open for the season this Friday. It provided this information:

"Solitude Mountain Resort has moved up its opening day to Friday November 8th, 2013. 3 lifts and 4 groomed runs will be open with a special opening weekend ticket price of only $39 for adults and $24 for children. All resort services will be provided at the Moonbeam base area. The 2013/14 Utah ski season is only days away!"

So far, other Utah resorts are sticking to previously announced schedules. The next resorts to open will be:
Those dates could be adjusted, depending on what these next storms do, so stay tuned.

- Dave Webb

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

New 'King of Gore' Dinosaur Discovered In Grand Staircase-Escalante

The new King of Gore dinosaur.
Another week, another new dinosaur species discovered in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. It's becoming a regular occurrence.

Grand Staircase has recently become one of Utah's best dinosaur spots. Other spots, like Dinosaur National Monument and Cleveland-Lloyd Query have been studied for so many years, it is rare for them to yield something totally new. But Grand Staircase came on paleontologists' radar just a few years ago. It's a huge area that will take decades to fully explore.

A new species was announced today at the Natural History Museum of Utah. The Deseret News has this article about the find. Below are excerpts.
Weighing in at more than 2 tons and at least 2 dozen feet long, a new species of dinosaur related to Tyrannosaurus Rex was fierce enough to be dubbed "King of Gore."

The discovery of "Lythronax argestes" at the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah was announced Wednesday at the Natural History Museum of Utah and coincides with the publication of a study in PLOS ONE, an open access scientific journal.

Scientists say the discovery of Lythronax is particularly noteworthy because of what it reveals about the tyrannosaur family, which is a group of small- to large-bodied bipedal carnivorous dinosaurs. Previously, paleontologists believed this type of wide-skulled tyrannosaurid only appeared 70 million years ago, whereas Lythronax shows it had evolved at least 10 million years earlier.
Read the full article.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Solitude Will Open For Skiing On Friday

Our mountains received a good blanket of snow yesterday and this morning, prompting Solitude Mountain Resort to push up its opening day. It now plans to open this Friday, Nov. 8.

Solitude says it will open with 4 runs and 3 lifts in operation, and will offer a special opening weekend ticket price of only $39 for adults and $24 for children. This early activity will take place at the Moonbeam base area.

Some other Utah resorts are checking conditions to see if they can open early. At this writing, here are projected opening days:

Nov 8 - Solitude
Nov 15 - Brian Head
Nov 20 - Snowbird
Nov 22 - Alta
Nov 23 - Park City Mountain Resort
Nov 27 - Powder Mountain
Nov 28 - Snowbasin
Nov 29 - Canyons Resort
Dec 5 - Wolf Mountain
Dec 6 - Sundance
Dec 7 - Deer Valley
Dec 19 - Eagle Point
TBA - Brighton
TBA - Beaver Mountain

So far, we are getting above average snowfall this fall. If that contunues, we could have a banner ski season. The Deseret News has this article detailing our weather conditions.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Great Fall Hikes In Utah and both have interesting articles about hiking in Utah. has this article focusing on backpacking/hiking in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument while provides this information about hiking to lakes in the ski canyons east of the Salt Lake Valley.

Both articles describe wonderful adventures in areas with stunning scenery. However, we are getting late in the season for some hikes and so people need to take care before lacing up the hiking boots.

Below I list the recommended hikes and give some of my own insights.'s recommendations:
  • Coyote Gulch: This is an incredible backpack destination that can be enjoyed year-round but is best when hikes in spring or fall. It descends a narrow desert canyon, past arches and small waterfalls. It ranks with the best fall hikes in the world.
  • Escalante River, from Escalante to Utah Highway 12 bridge: This is a grand hike that requires considerable wading. Similar to the famous Narrows in Zion Park, the river is the trail and you spend considerable time in the water. Unless you have appropriate gear, it may be too late in the season to try this year, but it is well worth putting this route on your schedule for warm weather.
  • Boulder Mail Trail: The small town of Boulder was the last town in the continental U.S. to have mail delivered by pack mule. The trail was used from 1902 to 1924 - until a reliable road was pushed into the remote community. The old Mail Trail now makes a great backpack route that can be hiked year-round (but be wary of winter storms).
  • Hackberry Canyon: This is a great backpack route, with many variations possible. The route as described requires considerable wading, so be cautious as cold weather sets in.
  • Paria River to Willis Creek: This is another wonderful, long, scenic route that requires wading in the Willis Creek slow. It is best done during warm weather. recommends the hikes listed below. All go to small lakes in the high country in the Cottonwood Canyons SE of Salt Lake City. All are great hikes but can be treacherous this time of year. It snowed today in the high country. Most of the snow will probably melt – note I said most because some may stick in shady areas. A month ago I would have recommended these as wonderful hikes where you can see spectacular fall colors. In the coming months some brave people will snowshoe in. Right now you may be able to hike in, but be careful.
  • Cecret Lake [Secret Lake]
  • Desolation Lake
  • Lake Blanche
  • Red Pine Lake
  • White Pine Lake
- Dave Webb

Friday, November 01, 2013

Dinosaur National Monument Launches Online Lottery For River Permits

The Green and Yampa rivers in Dinosaur National Monument offer exciting whitewater rafting opportunities. The monument is now launching a new online lottery system that should make it more fair and convenient for people competing for the limited number of permits.

The monument provided the news release below.
Online Lottery Applications Coming for River Permits in Dinosaur National Monument

Changes are coming to the river permit lottery at Dinosaur National Monument. Starting with the 2014 season, if you want to participate in the lottery for a high season permit to take a multi-day float trip on the Yampa or Green Rivers, you can apply online through for your permit. This change is part of our effort to better serve our visitors and to go "green" by incorporating a paperless online system.

From December 1, 2013 to January 31, 2014, applicants can apply online instead of filling out a form and mailing it in with a check to the monument's river office. Through the online system, applicants can also pay using a credit or debit card. does require each applicant to register and create a profile with their unique email address and a password so that they can process payments.

Previously, a potential river user could file only one application for only one possible launch date on one river. For the 2014 season, applicants can still file only one application, but they may choose up to four possible launch date/river choices on the application. The Yampa and Green Rivers are still combined in one drawing system.

"This quadruples the number of launches you can ask for," stated Kelly Kager, Dinosaur National Monument's River Office Manager. "That's a real plus for putting the lottery online. You also won't have to write a check or rummage around for a stamp. A similar lottery has been run successfully online for the Four Rivers in Idaho for several years. With the new system, we anticipate that we will be able to let people know the lottery results much faster. Lottery applicants will receive a notification by email."

During the open period, applications can be submitted online any time of day, and the fee remains the same as previous years at $15 per application. Permit fees are also the same as last year: $185 for a multi-day permit and $20 for a single day permit.

The Dinosaur National Monument lottery for 2014 permits opens December 1 at and closes on January 31, 2014. This year, only the lottery application process is moving online. Dinosaur National Monument's River Office will continue the processing of all permits for successful lottery applicants. Reservations for the pre/post season launches or one day permits in Dinosaur National Monument will be also processed through the river office beginning March 1, 2014 at 8:00 am Mountain time, as they have been in the past.

For more information, go to or call the Dinosaur National Monument river office at (970) 374-2468 Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to Noon.
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