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Utah Travel Headlines Blog

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Temple Square is Utah's Hottest Tourist Destination

Christmas at Temple SquareThe Christmas lights are on at Temple Square, there is snow on the ground and the mood is festive. There are multi-colored lights everywhere, illuminating nativity scenes, religious and historic displays, with the temple gleaming in the background. The sight is incredibly beautiful. This is perhaps the best time of year to visit Utah’s top tourist destination.

insidebayarea.com has a very good article explaining why Temple Square is such an attractive destination, and what people can expect when they visit. Here is an excerpt:

“You will, however, encounter some of the most polite, articulate hosts imaginable. And if Utah is known for its trademark "Greatest snow on Earth," the church's grounds could qualify for "the cleanest show on Earth." From the ornate gardens to the two visitor centers, three restaurants and even the restrooms, the campus is a testimony to a Mormon sense of meticulous cleanliness and order.”

Read the entire article.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

King of the Mountain Ski Race Saturday at Snowbird

The prestigious Jeep King of the Mountain race series will begin Saturday (Dec 2) at Snowbird.

Here’s what skipressworld.com says about the competition:

"The heralded competition each year brings together a star studded line-up of Olympians, World Champions and National Champions competing for the richest cash payout in the industry on a stage before millions of television viewers on CBS Sports and spectators at top flight resorts nationwide."

The race starts at 11 am on Snowbird’s Big Emma. Finals will be at 2 pm, followed by a free concert by New Orlean's based band, Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk.

The event will obviously impact skiing at the resort this weekend, but runs will still be open to the public. Come on up and watch the action, and take a couple runs yourself. You will see and possibly bump into some of the world’s best skiers.

Watch these websites for details: jeepsports.com, snowbird.com

Monday, November 27, 2006

Major Storm Thrills Skiers, May Snarl Traffic

A large storm now over Utah is expected to dump heavy snow in mountain areas, including our ski resorts. Northern Utah valleys will see rain changing to snow tonight. Snow is expected off and on through Wednesday.

The storm is good news for skiers and snowboarders because it will dramatically improve conditions at the resorts.

Snow accumulations in the valleys will cause some traffic headaches. A rash of automobile accidents often accompanies the first significant valley snowfall, as drivers get use to slick conditions. Rush hour traffic may be slow Tuesday and Wednesday along the I-15 corridor from Provo north through Salt Lake City and into the Ogden area.

This storm is large enough that it may cause problems on major interstate highways in mountain areas. I-80 may become treacherous over Parleys Summit, between Salt Lake City and Park City, and around Evanstan WY. Conditions may be difficult over any of our mountain passes and canyon areas.

Seasonal backcountry roads will now be impassible to automobiles until late next spring. That includes the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway (Hwy 150) through the Uintas, Hwy 39 over Monte Cristo, and other similar roads.

Hwys 150 and 39 will become popular snowmobile routes later in the season, when Utah State Parks begins grooming them. Timing will depend on snow conditions; snowmobiling is usually good in these areas by Christmas.

We have weather reports for all areas in Utah.

See Utah's Winter Road Conditions report for details about routes you may want to travel.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Thanksgiving and Holiday Events

Happy Thanksgiving, from all of us at Utah.com.

Most businesses across Utah will be closed on Thanksgiving Day. Many a will be open for skiing, and gas stations, hotels/motels, restaurants and convenience stores will also be open. Emergency services will be available statewide, as they are every day of the year.

Stores will open early Friday morning, to accommodate people who are suddenly getting earnest about Christmas shopping.

Christmas light displays will be turned on Friday evening, including the spectacular display at Temple Square in downtown Salt Lake City.

Three other areas in downtown Salt Lake City will have impressive light displays, part of the Downtown Alliance Lights On! event. The displays are at Macy’s at the Downtown Malls, the Gallivan Center and The Gateway.

Thanksgiving Point, located halfway between Salt Lake City and Provo, also features an impressive light display.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Football: BYU vs Utah Saturday

This is rivalry week in Utah, with the University of Utah hosting Brigham Young University. The game is always an exciting, hard-fought battle. This year it only counts for bragging rights, since BYU has already clinched the Mountain West Conference title and earned a trip to the Las Vegas Bowl.

Still, there will be plenty of stunts around Provo and Salt Lake City this week, and traffic will be a mess Saturday afternoon on streets leading up the hill to Rice-Eccles Stadium on the U of U campus in Salt Lake.

BYU (9-2, 7-0)
at Utah (7-4, 5-2)
Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
TV: CSTV and The Mtn.
Radio: 1160AM, 102.7FM, 700AM
The Desert Morning News, usually pro BYU, published this rivalry rundown.

Salt Lake Tribune, usually pro Utah, ran this look at BYU’s conference title and invitation to the Las Vegas Bowl.

This AP story in the Seattle Post Intelligencer describes BYU’s recent success.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Sunset Magazine Features Zion in the Off-Season

"A visit to Zion National Park during its off-season affords the chance to experience a classic national park under its best conditions. And free of crowds. Its majestic beauty is illuminated under dramatic autumn skies, and countless hidden canyons and passages are yours to explore alone."

That is from a new article in Sunset Magazine, entitled Quite Zion, which offers tips and info on how to "Escape the crowds and find the hidden beauty of southern Utah's incomparable canyons."

Read the entire article.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Utah Ski Opener Makes News

Several Utah resorts are now open, and more will open lifts to skiers and boarders this weekend. Conditions are good, with new snow on the ground and more in the forecast. Comments so far indicate skiers and resort operators are all happy.

The early opening has generated a favorable buzz in the media. Here are excerpts from three interesting reports:

Park City Mountain Resort Unveils Unique Family Programs to Improve the Guest Experience
Park City Mountain Resort announces its exclusive Kids Signature 5 Program that guarantees five children or less in each ski and snowboard lesson for those ages 6-14, even during the Resort's busiest times. Park City Mountain Resort's Kids Signature 5 Program will offer unparalleled personal attention, a choice of lunches in one of the on-mountain restaurants and increased self-confidence on the slopes.

Utah is talking tunnels
The Snowbird Resort blasted a 600-foot-long tunnel through a mountaintop at the summit of the Peruvian Chairlift this summer to give skiers and snowboaders easy access to intermediate slopes in Mineral Basin.

But that tube pales in comparison to the mammoth, $400 million tunnel project Utah is considering to improve access between the four Cottonwood Canyons ski resorts of Alta, Brighton, Solitude and Snowbird and the three Park City resorts of Deer Valley, Park City Mountain and The Canyons.

Snowbird, Alta charm the masses in Tribune ski poll
Salt Lake Tribune readers decidedly expressed their devotion to Little Cottonwood Canyon, overwhelmingly selecting Alta and Snowbird as the state's premium resorts for skiing or snowboarding.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Soldier Hollow - Forbes Traveler Top Ten

Note: Olympic Parks of Utah provided this information.

Forbes Traveler has named Soldier Hollow to the top ten cross country ski areas in North America. Other areas earning a spot in the top ten include the legendary sites of Royal Gorge, CA, Trapp Family Lodge, VT, Telemark Lodge, WI, Sun Valley, ID, and Devil’s Thumb, CO.

In compiling the “Top Ten list of North America’s best – and perhaps most gnarly – cross country ski resorts”, Forbes Traveler polled six members of the U.S. Cross Country Ski Team, including athletes Andy Newell, Torin Koos, Andrew Johnson, and Kris Freeman, coach Chris Grover, and team director Luke Bodensteiner.

According to Forbes Traveler, “the panel’s picks, which ranged from mom-and-pop ski hills in Vermont to mega-resorts and Olympic venues in the Rocky Mountains, represent a geographic spread of epic destinations”.

Soldier Hollow, the 2002 site of the Cross Country, Biathlon and Nordic Combined Olympic events, is managed by the Soldier Hollow Legacy Foundation in partnership with Wasatch Mountain State Park. Several new easy and gentle trails have been added since the Olympic Winter Games, providing skiing terrain for all ability levels. The facility also includes snowshoeing, tubing, and, in the summer, Soldier Hollow hosts the Heber Valley PowWow and the Soldier Hollow Classic International Sheepdog Championships, the largest annual sheep herding event in the world.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Skiing Begins at Utah Resorts

Brighton will open for skiing at 9 am on Wed, Nov 15 - the first Utah resort to open for the season. It will offer skiing on beginner and intermediate runs from the Majestic and Explorer lifts. Lift tickets are discounted to $35 Wednesday through Friday, then discounted to $40 starting Saturday.

Here are resort opening dates (conditions permitting):

Alta Ski Area - Nov 18

Beaver Mountain - early to mid December

Brian Head Resort - Nov 22

Brighton - Nov 15

The Canyons Resort - Nov 18

Deer Valley Resort - Dec 2

Park City Mountain Resort - Nov 17

Powder Mountain - mid November

Snowbasin - Nov 23

Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort - Nov 18

Solitude Mountain Resort - Nov 17

Sundance - Dec 8

Wolf Mountain - Nov 24

Monday, November 13, 2006

USA Today: 'Resort Developers Discovering Utah's Attraction'

Today's USA Today carries an article describing luxury resorts being developed in Utah.

"A super-luxe influx of high-end resorts is springing up near Utah's accessible ski slopes and otherworldly red rock spires," the article says.

The article describes the St. Regis Resort and Residences at Deer Crest in Park City, an Amangiri resort being built in Big Water, near Lake Powell, and it says plans are underway for a $3.5 billion development with luxury homes, a Jack Nicklaus-commissioned golf course and other amenities at the old Elk Meadows ski area near Beaver.

Here are snippets from the article:

"I think that the transformation of the Park City area has clearly happened. It's a huge bargain compared to those other places, with much better access. You can get on a plane in the morning and be on the slopes by the afternoon."

"A luxury home that would cost $1.7 million in Park City would cost $2.7 million in Aspen."

"Nestled in the red rock desert near Lake Powell, the (Amangiri) resort will feature 34 luxury hotel rooms running $900 a night and 28 villas that will sell for around $6.5 million, all managed by the Singapore-based luxury brand Amanresorts."

"The resort, scheduled to open in spring 2008, is about 15 miles from the airport in Page, Ariz. It is a half-hour flight to the Grand Canyon, a short drive to red rock vistas in Utah's national parks and monuments, and a luxury houseboat will be available for guests to rent for floating around Lake Powell."

Read the entire article.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Mobile Travel Guide Recognizes Utah Hotels, Spa, Restaurant

Stein Eriksen Lodge, Park City, and The Grand American Hotel, Salt Lake City, are 4-star winners in the newly released 07 Mobile Travel Guide. They are the only Utah lodging establishments to receive the high honor.

The spa at Stein Eriksen Lodge also received 4-stars. The spa “serves as a European sanctuary with healing wraps, deep massages, and fine pedicures,” the guide says.

The Riverhorse On Main was the only Utah restaurant to receive 4-stars. It is located in Park City. The guide says the restaurant has a bustling, happening scene, is sort of urban-modern, and has an Asian-influenced menu.

See the Travel Guide website for more info.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Heber's Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Buckaroo Fair

Heber’s annual Cowboy Poetry and Buckaroo Fair is underway, with major events scheduled through this weekend.

The festival began on Nov 7 and will conclude on Sunday, Nov 12. Music and poetry are offered every day.

Some highlight events include:
Concerts Friday, with a Buckaroo dance that evening
Concerts Saturday, open mike, and Claim Jumper Jam Session
Brunch with the Bar J Wranglers on Sunday, then Cowboy Church

See the festival website for details.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Downtown remains open as construction commences at City Creek Center

Preparatory work on the massive City Creek Center redevelopment project in downtown Salt Lake City will begin next week. Businesses located directly south of Temple Square will be affected during the coming weeks.

The Salt Lake Chamber and Downtown Alliance on Monday commemorated the start of construction by proclaiming that downtown Salt Lake City remains open for business. The more than 100 restaurants, 575 ground floor businesses, 40 clubs and entertainment venues, and more than a dozen museums and cultural attractions will not be impacted by the construction of City Creek Center.

In addition, during the start of construction, all streets will remain open, parking and shopping at Crossroads Plaza and ZCMI Center will remain open, and holiday festivities such as Lights On!, Holiday Sing-Along, Messiah Sing-In, and First Night will continue unaffected.

This Salt Lake Tribune article describes the project.

See the Chamber press release and map of what’s open.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Voice of America explores Utah's Parks

Voice of America beams interesting news and features around the world, presenting America's viewpoint on a wide variety of subjects.

It recently aired a feature that describes travel to four of Utah’s National Parks: Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce and Zion.

"Millions of people from all over the world visit the state of Utah every year. One reason is the many national parks. These are areas of great natural beauty that are protected by the United States government..."

"These parks include huge colored rock formations, rivers, waterfalls, beautiful trees, other plants and many different kinds of wild animals..."

The report presents basic info that foreign travelers need to know to decide if they would like to come here.

You can read the complete report here, and also view photos of the parks. Or you can click on links to listen to it as a RealAudio file, or download it as an MP3.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Tips on Photographing Utah's Stunning Scenery

John Parkinson, an accomplished landscape/nature photographer, offers photography tips in this Deseret Morning News article.

A book by the photographer has just been published, presenting more than 100 of his favorite photos in stunning color. The book includes in-depth notes on how, when and where each image was made. The book pairs many of the photos with poems, some he has written and some by masters like Emily Bronte, Robert Service, William Shakespeare, William Wordsworth and Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

The book is titled Visual Verse: Art in Nature with Symbiotic Verse. Visit Parkinson’s website to learn more about it.

Parkinson is profiled in this Deseret Morning News article.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Utah Resorts Earn AAA 5-Diamond Award

Stein Eriksen Lodge in Park City and the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City have again received AAA’s coveted 5-Diamond Award.

Stein Eriksen Lodge has now received the award for 5 consecutive years.

This is the third consecutive year for the Grand America to receive the honor.

AAA Utah spokeswoman Rolayne Fairclough said "these properties enhance Utah's reputation as a world-class vacation destination . . . exemplifying the highest level of service in the industry."

The Salt Lake Tribune has more information.
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