Utah Travel Headlines Blog

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Enjoy Zion National Park's Season of Solitude

This newspaper article gives good tips on visiting Zion National Park in winter. Below are some tidbits.

Since the average high temperature in Zion Park is in the mid-50s in January and February, it's possible to find blue-sky days when the air is crisp and the trails relatively uncrowded.

"It's like a vacation," said Stephen Foltz, who stays on through the winter as a waiter at the Zion Lodge restaurant. "Things are a whole lot slower. I like it better from a guest perspective. You can relax and not be surrounded by people."

Read the entire article.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Utah Continues to Attract Outdoors Companies

Three outdoor products companies plan to expand or relocate operations to Utah, according to news reports yesterday. State officials say the announcement “solidifies the state as a premiere location for outdoor-related businesses.”

"Our unique environment and unparalleled quality of life, coupled with our state's great location, incredible work force and friendly business environment make Utah a perfect fit for outdoor related business," Economic Development Corporation of Utah President and CEO Jeff Edwards said in a statement.

Representatives from Backcountry.com, Peregrine Outfitters and Smith Sport Optics made their announcements on the third day of the annual Outdoor Retailers Winter Market Expo, a trade show that annually brings more than 14,000 outdoor industry manufacturers, retailers, distributors and wholesalers.

The information above comes from an article published in the Daily Herald newspaper. Read the complete article.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Winter Bridge Hunting in the San Rafael Swell

Hurst BridgeI’ve got spring fever - got it bad. In Provo, where I live, weak sunshine has been penetrating the daytime haze and warming things up enough to get me thinking about hiking and camping and fishing.

Last Friday the weatherman said temperatures would warm into the mid 40s across southern Utah’s red rock country. That was too much of a temptation to resist and so I ditched work and made a very enjoyable day hike to Hurst Bridge, in the San Rafael Swell.

The weather was perfect: warm sunshine and a deep blue sky. We quickly shed our jackets and hiked in T-shirts. There was snow in shady spots, and that slowed us down a bit as we scrambled up and down cliffs, but didn’t keep us from having a very enjoyable hike.

Some of Utah’s arches and natural bridges are famous tourist attractions, but the state offers hundreds more that are off the beaten path and seldom seen by visitors.

As you can see from my photo, Hurst Bridge is beautiful. It is located in a remote, rugged area on the edge of Ernie Canyon. It is a bit difficult to find because you’ve got to hike through a literal maze or narrow canyons. The entire area is very scenic – national park-like terrain in an area that is virtually unknown and seldom visited.

San Rafael SwellI was drawn to the area by Hurst, and by another bridge located even deeper in the maze. Exclamation Bridge is so well hidden that it wasn’t even discovered until 2004. It is said to be a stunning triple bridge, one of the most amazing sights in the region, but is difficult to reach because of steep, rugged terrain.

I searched diligently but could only find vague directions to Hurst, and just a tidbit of detail about Exclamation. Still, being an intrepid hiker, I figured I could march right to them.

Wrong! I should have spent more time preparing, studying maps and programming waypoints into my GPS. We wandered a bit trying to identify the right slot and then finding Hurst. It is only about 1/4 mile from Hurst to Exclamation, as the crow flies, but we looked at the deep chasm in front of us, saw the sun sinking toward the horizon, and decided we would never make it out before dark.

Hurst alone was well worth the hike and I will return another day to find Exclamation. I’ll wait a few weeks, until days are longer and the ice has melted from the slickrock.

Meanwhile, I recommend Hurst as a great winter adventure hike, with the following cautions. The hike requires intense scrambling up steep ridges and cliffs, some with loose rocks. You need to carry a 7.5 minute topo map, and know how to use it. Larger scale maps are not sufficient. You need a GPS, and you need the wisdom not to follow GPS directions right off a cliff.

It took us 4 hours to reach Hurst and just one hour to hike back. Even now, I don’t think I could hike directly to the bridge. The maze is that confusing. If you go, plan on wandering.

Carry water because there isn’t any in that drainage. And you’ll need a high-clearance 4X4 to get to the Ernie Canyon Trailhead.

So, where are the hiking instructions? I’m not going to give any. I’ll give the latitude and longitude of Hurst Bridge (N 38º 44’ 10”, W 110º 34’ 16”), but that’s all.

With that, if you know what you are doing, you can study your map and plan a route. If you don’t know what you’re doing then you have no business hiking in that country.

- Dave

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Final Weekend at Sundance

There is still time to see some of this year’s best productions at the Sundance Film Festival, which wraps up on Feb 28.

Check the festival’s official website for the latest events and schedules.

This Salt Lake Tribune article has good info on some of the better films offered this year.

Or, do a Google news search and you can find hundreds of articles offering advice.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Salt Lake Will Host Deaflympics Feb 1-10

The 16th Winter Deaflympics will bring some 584 athletes and officials to the Salt Lake City/Park City area. The games will run Feb 1-10.

Salt Lake has previously hosted the 2002 XIX Olympic Winter Games and 8th Paralympic Winter Games. It becomes the first city in the world to host all three IOC sanctioned events.

Here is the latest news release from the games"

16th Winter Deaflympics: 24 countries with 584 athletes & officials

It is with great pleasure to share with members and readers about what will take place during the 16th Winter Deaflympics in Salt Lake City.

According to the final entry forms received on 19 January 2007, a total of 584 athletes and officials from 24 countries have confirmed their participation in the 16th Winter Deaflympics, from the 1st to 10th of February.

The 40th edition of ICSD Congress, to be held on 1-2 February prior to the opening of the Winter Deaflympics, will have the largest number of delegation ever to attend the winter edition with 63 countries expected.

Daily results and highlights can be viewed at http://www.deaflympics.tv/, starting on 1 February.

Let us all enjoy the Games!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Dew Action Sports Tour Coming to Utah

Dew Action Sports Tour will bring its popular competition to Salt Lake City for a Sept 20-23 extravaganza featuring some of the world's best skateboarding, BMX and freestyle motocross athletes.

"State officials and tour organizers estimated that 100,000 people will be drawn to EnergySolutions Arena and surrounding streets to watch 150 athletes compete in six disciplines - skateboarding (park and vert), BMX (park, vert and dirt) and freestyle motocross," according to this Salt Lake Tribune news article.

Additionally, at least four hours of competition from Salt Lake City will be broadcast around the country on the NBC and USA television networks.
Read the complete article.

Monday, January 22, 2007

AP News Article Touts Utah Fry Sauce

One of Utah’s modest success stories is a condiment known as fry sauce, according to this AP news article carried in the South Bend IN Tribune.

Fry sauce exists in many variations, all based on a blend of ketchup and mayonnaise. Locally, it is the thing to eat with French fries.

Now, AP says fry sauce is spreading throughout the region. Here’s a quote from the article:

"The result is that fry sauce is as much a part of Utah's popular culture as skiing and the Mormon Church. There are fry sauce souvenir T-shirts, a local band called 'Fry Sauce,' even an Olympic fry sauce pin that was wildly popular during the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City. (Collectors note, the pin has been spotted on eBay for $45.)"

If you travel here, try some fry sauce. But beware, you may become a convert and you’ll have to import it to enjoy it back home.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Article Profiles Winter Recreation at Bryce Canyon

The Salt Lake Tribune has this new article summarizing winter recreational activities at Bryce Canyon National Park.

Under the headline, Bryce On Ice, the article says: For anyone looking to enjoy winter activities far away from the maddening crowds, Bryce Canyon National Park and nearby Ruby's Inn are gateways to seventh heaven.

The article quotes Brent McGinn, the park's chief ranger: "It's very quiet, but people who come in the winter often say it's their favorite time to visit."

Writer Lya Wodraska describes recreational opportunities, and also talks about the upcoming Bryce Canyon Winter Festival (Feb 17-19 at Ruby’s Inn).

It’s a good article, complete with maps and photos.

Read it here.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Desert Pearl Inn Named 'Best Hidden Gem in US'

TripAdvisor.com, which bills itself as the world's largest travel community, has announced its 2006 Travelers' Choice awards.

Desert Pearl Inn, located in Springdale, just outside Zion National Park, was named "Best Hidden Gem in the US" by TripAdvisor.com users.

"The 2006 Travelers' Choice winners are once again singled out for their spectacular service and extraordinary value," said Michele Perry, director of communications for TripAdvisor. "Most hotel awards programs honor the most luxurious and opulent hotels, but because Travelers' Choice awards are determined by millions of real travelers from around the world, the winners tend to be outstanding properties that are within reach for the average traveler."

Read the news entire release.

The people got this one right – Desert Pearl is a great place to stay in the Zion area. I stay their myself and recommend it to others.

Also on the list:

La Quinta Inn and Suites at Salt Lake International Airport ranked #9 for "Best Bargains in the US."

- Dave Webb

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Sundance Festival Previewed By Enthusiast Bloggers

Bloggers are spreading Sundance razzle-dazzle, talking about the films they plan to see, the ironies of an independent festival that has become a big Hollywood event, the hike in ticket prices...

You name it, bloggers are buzzing about it.

At cinematical.com, Jette Kernion has a list of interesting Sundance-related blogs. Some tout insider information. Some may even have practical insights that help the public.

Anyway, they are fun to read.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Dangerous Cold Will Continue Into Weekend

Weather forecasts say bitter cold weather will continue over Utah for the next few days, until a weak storm pushes temperatures back toward normal this weekend.

Record cold temperatures have been recorded all around Utah during the past couple days. This ScrippsNews article gives a synopsis.

All major roads are in good shape, but weekend travelers should monitor conditions. The approaching storm is not expected to be major, but it is still too early to really know what it will do. Check weather forecasts and road conditions.

Salt Lake has had low temperatures near 0 F, and daytime highs in the low 20s F. Clouds coming in for the weekend will hold in some heat, so overnight temps will hover around 20 F and days may actually warm to 30 F.

Even normally balmy St George has been cold, albeit not nearly as cold as other areas of the state. Daytime highs are expected to climb into the upper 40s in St George this weekend. Oh, that sounds nice.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Promontory Named One of America's Best Golf Communities

Promontory, an exclusive community in Park City, has been named America's sixth best golf community by Travel + Leisure Golf magazine.

Deep snow covers area courses right now, but that's part of the charm. Here's how the magazine summarized this community:

"6. PROMONTORY Park City, Utah
One of the mountain time zone's premier addresses. This summer, Promontory doubles its golf complement with the etching of a Jack Nicklaus Signature course. To take full advantage of residency here, you should know how to ride a horse, cast a fly, ski the glades, break ninety and hit a passing shot. Kids have their own hideaway: a five-thousand-square-foot clubhouse equipped with waterslides, lookout towers, a trapper's cabin and a climbing wall."

Here’s the magazine's top 10 list.

Glenwild in Park City also was also mentioned: "The service and facilities here have a resort feel, especially in the massive clubhouse and spa. The Glenwild fitness/treatment facility and extensive hiking trails are key highlights."

The article noted that recent home listings in Promontory and Glenwild range from $1.8 million to $5.2 million.

Last Chance to Get Sundance Tickets

The Sundance Film Festival has extended the time allocated for on-line ticket purchases. This is from the festival website:

"Individual ticket sales via our website have been extended through Sunday, January 14 at 11:59 p.m. MST. Phone sales will conclude at 6:00 p.m. MST on Friday, January 12 and sales through Sunday will be online only."

So, get those tickets now!

Free "Best Of" Tickets for Locals
Meanwhile, locals have a chance to get free tickets to the festival's "Best of the Fest" screenings, which are held after the festival closes. These screenings allow Utah moviegoers to see some of the festival's award winners. Those tickets will be handed out Saturday and Sunday.

This is from the festival website's locals page:

"Sundance Institute presents complimentary screenings of award-winning films following the Festival to locals in Salt Lake, Park City, Sundance Resort, and Ogden as a thank you for their support. Screenings are FREE, although patrons must pick up tickets on a first-come first-served basis. Each Festival Box Office (Park City, Salt Lake City, Sundance Resort, and Ogden) will hand out tickets for their local Best of Fest screenings on January 13-14 (Best of Fest tickets will not be distributed during the Festival). On day of show ONLY, any remaining Best of Fest tickets will be distributed at the actual theatre locations (Broadway, Ogden, Eccles, and Sundance Resort). There is a limit of two tickets person. Check back at this site for the posting of the Best of Fest schedule."

Go to the local’s page and scroll down to get more info.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Strawberry Reservoir Lauded as Outstanding Fishery

The American Fisheries Society (AFS) recently named Strawberry Reservoir as the Sport Fishery Development and Management Outstanding Sport Fish Restoration Project of the Year for 2006.

This newspaper article gives details.

Strawberry is Utah’s most popular fishery and it usually offers good to outstanding action for cutthroat and rainbow trout. Ice fishing is good there right now.

Utah’s Division of Wildlife Resources manages the fish in a conservation-friendly manner, utilizing native Bonneville cutthroat trout to control the number of Utah chubs.

Here’s more info about the fishery management program at Strawberry

Here are good articles about how to fish Strawberry.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Snow, Skis And Screenings: Do Sundance Like The Stars

Resident magazine has an interesting new article about Utah winter vacations, offering a skimpy smattering of facts and some entertaining misinformation.

The New York publication has the article under this heading:
5-Star Travel: Utah

And this subheading:
Snow, Skis And Screenings: Do Sundance Like The Stars

It talks about Sundance, briefly, but gives no tips on how to do Sundance. Its only relevant advice is to book early because hotel rooms are almost impossible to come by during the festival.

Writer Heather Corcoran gave us a new national park – which we appreciate:
"For families, cultural sites like This Is the Place National Park are a way to distract kids too little for skis and to sneak in a lesson in the history of the “Crossroads of the West."

This is the Place is a fun cultural site, but not a national park. It’s not even a state park.

And I’ll have to stop by Temple Square again because I've apparently never found the right tour:

"The hotel is less than a mile away from the sprawling 35 acre Temple Square, the center of the Mormon faith, if you want to pick up an extra wife or two."

All in all, it's a fun read.

- Dave Webb

Monday, January 08, 2007

Utah's National Ability Center Profiled

Washington Post writer Gary Lee penned an excellent article profiling Utah’s National Ability Center. The article has been picked up and is being published by various papers. Below are some excerpts.

You can read the entire article here.

“A cluster of timber buildings perched on a hill near Park City, about 30 miles east of Salt Lake City, the center trains all manner and age of disabled sports enthusiasts in skiing and other recreational activities, including mountain biking and horseback riding. From its scrappy start in the mid-1980s as a small school teaching locals with disabilities how to maneuver the slopes, the complex has grown into one of the country's broadest-reaching nonprofit organizations (most of the funding comes from foundations or private donors) specializing in sports and therapy for the physically and mentally challenged.”

“I watched as some horseback riders were blindfolded, while skiers had an arm tied to one side. The center recommends the exercise for anyone who wants to experience the viewpoint of the physically or mentally challenged. Relatives or friends of the disabled are especially encouraged to try it. ‘As a learning tool, it's invaluable,’ explained Meeche White, the NAC's co-founder and chief executive officer.”

“As she stood in Park City's Olympic Park cheering on the NAC's bobsled team, White summed up the center's mission: ‘We take whoever comes in the door and give them whatever it takes to engage in a sport on their own or with their families without our assistance.’”

You can get more info about the center here.

Friday, January 05, 2007

DreamCatcher, the New Lift and Terrain, Opens at The Canyons

The Canyons resort officially opened the newest area in the 3700 total acres of terrain at the resort. Over 200 acres of never skied before runs, and the newest lift on the mountain, DreamCatcher, came on line this morning at approximately 10 am.

Todd Burnette, vice president of marketing for The Canyons, commented, "It's going to be mostly upper intermediate to expert terrain. We did some glading in order to open up some paths for some serious tree skiing. It's all north-facing so the snow will hold there very well."

DreamCatcher is on the southern end of the resort directly adjacent to veteran lift DreamScape. It is one of the best options for tree skiing at any of the resorts in Utah. The brnd new quad lift services 8 new runs.

The Canyons received over 8 inches of fresh snow last night.

(Info from skiutah.com)

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Consumer Home and Sports Shows Slated for Salt Lake Area

Three large consumer shows will be held in the Salt Lake area during the next few weeks. These shows draw exhibitors from throughout the country and are attended by people from all around the Intermountain West.

If you are in town, consider dropping in. The shows offer good information, exhibits, clinics and sale prices.

The Home Remodeling and Decorating Show will be held Jan 5-7 in the South Towne Expo Center in Sandy.

The Western Hunting and Conservation Expo will be Jan 17-20 in the Salt Palace Convention Center, Salt Lake City.

The Crossroads of the West Gun Show will be Jan 20-21 in the South Town Expo Center.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Freestyle International World Cup Coming to Deer Valley

Another Freestyle International World Cup will be held at Deer Valley January 11-13. Competitors from around the world will challenge each other and themselves on Deer Valley's 2002 Olympic runs.

Thursday’s event features men's and women's moguls. Qualification runs begins at 9:15 am for women and 10:40 for men. Finals begin at 12:30 pm.

General admission to all events is free. The events will be aired on NBC January 20 beginning at 4:30 EST.

Here's a complete schedule and information on Freestyle Feast VIP tickets. For more information please call 800-424-DEER (3337) or 435-649-1000.

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