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Utah Travel Headlines Blog

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Get Our National Parks Map & Guide

national parks mapWe have updated and improved our popular Canyon Country National Parks Map & Guide, and had it published on water-resistant, tear-resistant paper. It is hot off the press, in stock and ready to help you plan your national park adventures. Order it here. Also watch this video that describes the map.

It is a driving map - it shows the routes between the parks and provides information about what to see and do. It focuses on the Canyon Country in southern Utah, northern Arizona, western Colorado and eastern Nevada. It includes beautiful, full-color photos showing key attractions.

The map and guide provide detailed information about these areas:
- Arches National Park
- Bryce Canyon National Park
- Canyonlands National Park
- Capitol Reef National Park
- Grand Canyon National Park
- Great Basin National Park
- Mesa Verde National Park
- Zion National Park
- Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park
- Lake Powell/Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
- All-American Scenic Highway 12

One side is a large road map, making it easy to see where these parks are located and the best routes to reach them. The other side has text descriptions of key attractions, color photos, and detailed maps of each park.

This really is the single best source for information to help you plan a national parks vacation.

We first published this map a couple years ago, and we've had many, many positive comments about it. The only negative feedback was that the map wore out because it got so much use. That prompted us to print this edition on almost-indestructible tear-resistant, water-resistant paper. You can't tear it even if you try.

We've also added a little more information, making it more accurate and comprehensive.

Several of us worked together to create this map and guide. We love the parks and visit them often. We've spent years hiking the trails and photographing the scenery. We've combined our insights and expertise to create a product that is beautiful, informative and easy to read.

It is a great map. We encourage you to order it today.

- Dave Webb

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Farewell to Larry H Miller

We express our condolences to the family of Larry H. Miller, a prominent citizen who worked tirelessly to promote Utah on many levels. Miller passed away Friday at age 64 due to complications related to diabetes. He owned the Utah Jazz NBA team, a large network of auto dealerships and many other businesses. Tributes to Miller have been pouring in from around the country.

Funeral services will bring a large number of people to downtown Salt Lake City on both Friday and Saturday. People are encouraged to ride TRAX or UTA buses downtown as much as possible to minimize traffic congestion.

A viewing service will be held Friday, February 27, from 4-8 p.m. in the VIP room at EnergySolutions Arena. This viewing is open to the public and attendees should enter the building through the main entrance on the plaza level where they will then be directed to the VIP room. The family asks that those in attendance please refrain from bringing cameras or recording devices to the viewing.

The funeral will be Saturday, February 28 is at noon in the arena bowl at EnergySolutions Arena. The funeral is a religious service and the public is welcome to attend. The family asks that those in attendance please refrain from bringing cameras or recording devices to the funeral.

The family requests that the internment remain private and only open to the family itself and very close friends. They ask that no public or media attend the internment, which will take place in Salt Lake City Cemetery shortly after the funeral ends.

Return to Little Hollywood

Documentary looks at movie history in southern Utah

This Salt Lake Tribune article describes a documentary film being made to chronicle the history of moviemaking around Kanab, in southern Utah. Below are excerpts.

Southern Utah's redrock landscape and sage-dotted hills define the Western movie, and a pair of documentary filmmakers in St. George think it's time the movie and television industries rediscover the area.

They said they hope their documentary will revitalize interest in the region where more than 200 movies and television series, mainly Westerns, have been made since the 1920s, hence Kanab's nickname, "Little Hollywood."

The film -- a brief 10 minutes of the work-in-progress were shown during Tuesday's presentation -- includes a history of movies made in southern Utah and interviews with area residents who offer stories about what it was like when production companies and movie stars descended on the area.

Kelly Stowell, CEBA's executive director, is lobbying for a bill introduced this year by Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, that would increase filmmaker incentives.

"Right now, we're one of the lowest [states] in the country as far as offering incentives, with states like New Mexico and Louisiana having much bigger budgets. This bill will put us in the middle and make us strategically more important," Stowell said.

Read the entire article.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Park City, Utah: What's not to like?

The Denver Post has this great article on the three Park City ski resorts. Below are excerpts.

But not long after the town's founding in 1870 by miners, residents discovered that above the mine shafts and underground train passageways sat mounds and mounds of fluffy white stuff, and it kept on coming, offering prime skiing real estate that they started taking advantage of as early as the 1920s.

Add to the appeal a relatively carefree drive from Salt Lake. In good weather, which is most of the time, and during nonpeak times — which is any time that is not rush hour or just before or after the lifts open and close — the drive takes about 30 to 40 minutes.

The folks in Park City even like to brag that it's just as fast — or faster — to get from their mountain resorts to Denver than it is from Aspen to Denver any day, or to Denver from most resorts along the Interstate 70 corridor on those late Sunday afternoons in mid-February after a powder day.

"I started coming to Deer Valley in 1998," says David Adamson. "I used to go to Colorado every year, but the snow in Utah is the best in the world, and the travel to and from L.A. is so easy."

Read the entire article.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Ski Writer Touts Snowbasin, Powder Mountain

Snowbasin and Powder Mountain are not as well known as some other Utah ski resorts, but they offer great skiing and unique charms, according to this new article from the Boston Globe. Below are excerpts.

Without much on-mountain lodging and no resort community at the lifts, Snowbasin and Powder have been overlooked by vacationers seeking more après-ski action and ski-on, ski-off accommodations. However, these resorts are becoming increasingly popular for those looking for untracked powder and some of the best deals on lift tickets.

One of the nation's oldest ski resorts, Snowbasin was purchased in 1984 by oil magnate Earl Holding, who also owns Sun Valley. In the mid-1990s, Holding played a big role in Salt Lake City's bid to win the 2002 Winter Games, promising a $100 million investment in the area that would host the downhill and combined competitions. Salt Lake City got the games, and Holding made good on his promise.

Improvements included Utah's most extensive snowmaking system as well as two high-speed gondolas that each travel almost 2,400 vertical feet. The terrain includes radical steep chutes from DeMoisy Peak, endless snowfields, and top-to-bottom groomers.

With only one high-speed lift, a quad, double, and triple chair, Powder lacks the uphill capability of Snowbasin. But its terrain sprawls from several ridges, and we were able to find fresh powder more than a week after the last snowfall.

Read the complete article.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Ski Prices Plummet as Snow Totals Climb

"It appears as the snow totals rise in Utah, vacation prices fall," commented Ski Utah President Nathan Rafferty in this news report. "Incredible airfares, resorts deals and prime snow conditions are the perfect ingredients to a satisfying spring break which won’t break the bank."

This week's winter storm has brought more than 50 inches of snow in the last five days bringing Utah’s year-to-date snow total as high as 359 inches. The current average base depth of ski resorts in Utah's Wasatch Range is estimated at 90 inches, more than twice the average base depth in neighboring states. Weather forecasts are calling for more snow throughout the holiday weekend.

A skier vacationing from New York City in 2008 would have paid $450 for a round-trip flight to Salt Lake City International Airport the first weekend in March. In 2009, that same traveler could snag a round-trip non-stop fare as low as $260.* In addition to discounted airfare from markets around the country, many resorts are practically giving lodging, lift tickets and other amenities away...

Read the entire report.

Comprehensive Park City Ski Guide

The UK Telegraph has published, "A comprehensive guide to the ski resort of Park City, Utah, from arrival and equipment hire to the best ski schools, hotels, bars and restaurants." See it here.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Highway 50 - The Loneliest Road in America

Below we share a couple interesting questions submitted via our website questions/comments link.

Question: Hi there, I'm driving from New York to San Francisco and taking the Interste 50 which takes me through here. I was hoping you might have a map with locations of gas stations and motels along the US 50? Any help would be great. Many thanks.

Simple question, but the answer is somewhat involved.

US Highway 50 is a major east-west route across the US. In most places it is a regular highway, not a part of the Interstate System. However, in some spots (including eastern Utah) it merges with Interstate highways.

Our request information form allows people to request a Utah road map and other travel info. The map shows highways and towns. In most towns you will find gas stations and motels. Hwy 50 cuts through some of the most remote parts of Utah, where there are long stretches with no towns or services.

From the east, Hwy 50 enters Utah merged with I-70. The interstate passes through the town of Green River and then plunges across the rugged San Rafael Swell - where there is a 110-mile stretch between gas stations. (There are no towns, no restaurants or motels, not even drinking water along that stretch).

Hwy 50 separates from the interstate at the town of Salina. It heads northwest across mountains to the town of Scipio, where it merges with I-15 for a short distance, traveling south to the town of Holden. From there, Hwy 50 heads west to Delta and then crosses the desert to the Nevada border.

The section of Hwy 50 west of Delta has been called the "Loneliest Road in America." There is a 100-mile stretch between towns, which means 100 miles between gas stations, restaurants and motels. The terrain in that area is dry, remote, rugged Great Basin desert.

In all areas the highway is paved and maintained, and it is patrolled by the Utah Highway Patrol and by county sheriff deputies. It is a beautiful, unusual, interesting drive that can be made year-round. Just be prepared for long stretches between services.

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Question: What is the highest mountain in a Utah National Park? How tall and what park?

The highest point in a Utah national park is in Bryce Canyon, where the rim climbs to over 9,100 feet. A road follows the rim and so you can drive - you don't need to hike. Nearby, there are points a little bit higher that you would have to hike to see.

But the top of Bryce is a plateau, more than a mountain.

Horse Ranch Mountain is the highest point in Zion Park, at an elevation of 8,726 ft. Not all that high, as mountains go. But it is steep and rugged, with sheer cliffs. Can you climb it? You would need technical rock climbing skills and equipment.

Hike the Taylor Creek trails in Zion's Kolob Canyons section for views of the mountain. No maintained trails approach the mountain. If you hike much in Zion you know the trails are spectacular. Off the established trails the terrain can become extremely treacherous. Go at your own risk.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

High Avalanche Danger After N Utah Gets Heavy Snow

The mountain town of Liberty is digging out after receiving a whopping 34 inches of new snow. Other northern Utah communities also received impressive amounts of snowfall.

The storm has now moved away from Utah. The current forecast should give us a few days to recover before the weekend brings another chance for snow.

As I write this, many areas have sunshine and spring-like temperatures.

Avalanche danger is now extreme in some northern Utah backcountry areas. An avalanche warning remains in effect for the Wasatch Mountains north of I-80 to include the Bear River Range. The danger is rated as considerable in other Wasatch and Uinta mountain areas.

Developed ski resorts and highways are exempt from the warning because avalanche control work is done to minimize danger in those areas.

The Utah Avalanche Center advises people to avoid steep slopes in backcountry areas. See the Center's website for more information.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

When Is The Best Time To View Desert Wildflowers?

Below is an interesting question that came via the submit comments link on our website.

Question: I would like to know the location of spring desert cactus blooming and dates when this might occur.

In Utah, various cacti and other desert flowers begin blooming in April in the low areas around St George. At higher elevations the bloom continues through May and into June.

Where is the best area to view blossoms, and when is the peak? That's subjective. In my opinion, Zion National Park is prime during April and May.

The Zion Field Institute sponsors field trips to view wildflowers on April 10 & 25, going into the lowest areas in Zion Park (where blossoms appear the earliest).

As spring progresses, the bloom moves to higher elevations. On May 15 the Institute has a field trip to see blossoms in the Kolob Canyons area, which is a mid-elevation area in the park.

In May, blossoms will be great throughout southern Utah desert areas, including Capitol Reef, Grand Staircase, Lake Powell/Glen Canyon, Canyonlands, Arches and other areas.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Watch Thousands of Snow Geese Near Delta

Thousands of beautiful snow geese migrate through Utah during the last half of February every year. The migration is so predictable, a Snow Goose Festival is held to welcome the birds. It has become a popular wildlife-watching event. This year it will run February 20-21; it is held in and around Delta, in west-central Utah.

The Millard County Travel website has good info on the festival, complete with two video clips that capture the excitement of seeing huge flocks of the birds. Go to this page for festival info, and links to the videos.

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources participates in the festival. Biologists will be on hand to present info about the birds, and about other wildlife. The division also shares spotting scopes and binoculars with people who don't bring their own. The DWR website has this good info about the festival.

It is an amazing sight, when thousands of big, white birds come zooming in right over you. It is worth the trip to Delta.

- Dave

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Ski Instructors' Misadventures in Moab

Skitown Journal has this amusing article about a couple of ski instructors escaping to Moab for a mid-winter break. Below are excerpts.

One of my absolute favorite places to get away from valley fever (our version of the cabin type) is Moab, Utah. Only four hours from my home resort, Moab offers red sandstone arches, bridges, sheer rock walls thousands of feet high, and plenty of warm desert air and sun.

As you may have figured out already, the Moab we arrived in that day was not the sunny, warm, dry place I had described. But being an optimist, I explained that we were probably lucky because a little bad weather might scare off the weak campers, and, of course as I had described previously, the weather always clears and dries quickly in the area.

As we came around the corner to our campsite we saw the tent, floating. Literally bobbing like a boat moored to a buoy. Ever the optimist, Tom skipped over puddles to the tent, unzipped the tentfly and looked inside. He came back to the jeep, where I stayed huddled by the heater vent with a big smile and thumbs up-everything inside had stayed dry!

He then asked me if it was okay if we could get a hotel room for just this one night because he had a sudden urge to share a hot tub together. And he said he was sure the storm would blow over and we'd be able to experience this amazing place as I (and others) had described it later on during the trip.

Read the entire article.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Western Stars Cowboy Poetry Gathering

If you are into cowboy poetry and Western festivities, you'll want to be in Moab February 13 to 15.

The event will feature cowboy poetry, storytelling, live music, fine art, crafts and a Dutch oven cooking contest.

Here's the official event intro:

The Moab Arts and Recreation Center would like to welcome you to the Western Stars Cowboy Poetry Gathering. This year the gathering features a cutting horse clinic with James Dixon and horseman and artist Don Weller, and a buckaroo clinic demonstrating vaquero techniques from fundamentals through straight-up in the bridle, and ranch roping with Bill Boswell. We've invited the cream of the crop of Utah and western states cowboy poets and musicians, and we are headlining musical artists Suzy Bogguss and Don Edwards!

See the festival website for more details.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Ski Into Spring--Save At Utah Resorts

(Ski Utah provided this news release.)

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH- Spring is just around the corner and many Utah ski resorts are offering great savings for savvy spring snowriders. Enjoy impeccable snow conditions, sunny skies and entertaining après with the following package deals and events:

THE ALTA LODGE
-Kids ages 18 and under stay free April 12-19, 2009 at the Alta Lodge. With a reservation for a minimum of four nights, two kids stay in their parents’ room at no additional charge. Full breakfast and four-course dinner are also included daily at no charge. With two kids, this is a savings of over $200 per night. In addition to this value for families, Alta Lodge offers a free supervised Kids’ Program with activities after skiing, a special kids’ dinner, after dinner activities and shuttle service to and from the Alta Ski Area Children’s Ski School, which also has a full-time day care service for non-skiing children. For more information, visit www.altalodge.com, or call 800-707-2582 for reservations.

BRIGHTON SKI RESORT
-Brighton has a new deal with Maverik convenience stores. Pick up a Maverik Adventure Card, bring it to the Brighton ticket window any Thursday and receive a HALF PRICE Twilight ticket (12:30 p.m.-9 p.m.). That's eight hours of skiing for just $29! Limit one Maverik card per ticket. Valid for Twilight tickets only. Brighton is open for night skiing mid December through the end of March. Call (801) 532-4731 for details.

THE CANYONS RESORT SECOND ANNUAL SPRING GRUV
-Join The Canyons for a week of events, concerts, and contests! Spring Gruv kicks-off March 28 with the ever hilarious Pond Skimming event. Contestants in elaborate costumes attempt to ski or snowboard across a 100-foot pond much to the enjoyment of spectators.

In addition, The Canyons will host the Canis Lupus Challenge a 1/2 mile-long gulley that serves up banked walls and whoop-de-doos which often throw racers out of the track. Contestants tackle the difficult course for the best time in their division.

On April Fool’s Day visitors are invited to don their best ‘80s apparel and enjoy a host of free outdoor concerts. Spring Grüv will run from March 27 to April 5, 2009. Check out www.springgruv.com for more details.

DEER VALLEY RESORT
Goldener Hirsch Inn
-Stay two nights (or more) at the Goldener Hirsch Inn and receive two single day lift passes to Deer Valley Resort per person. Daily European breakfast buffet included. Valid March 29 to April 12, 2009. Two person minimum charge per room required.

Lobby Bedroom from $209 per person
Deluxe Bedroom from $258 per person
Suite from $303 per person
Deluxe Suite from $333 per person
Grand Suite from $363 per person
For more information visit www.goldenerhirschinn.com.

Stein Eriksen Lodge
-Stay three nights and enjoy the fourth night free: The special offer is valid when you stay at Stein’s beginning February 22, 2009 and check-out by Friday, March 6, 2009. Rate includes full buffet breakfast and a coupon for 20 percent off any treatment at The Spa at Stein Eriksen Lodge. Not available for all room types. Limited number of rooms available on this special promotion, especially over weekends. Prices do not include taxes or service charges. May not be combined with any other offer or applied to existing reservations. Not offered to groups of 10 or more rooms. Other restrictions may apply.

-Bronze Ski Package: Cut through freshly fallen powder or bask in the warm spring sun while enjoying significant savings with the Bronze Ski Package. The package includes deluxe room accommodations, daily buffet breakfast, taxes and one adult lift ticket per person to Deer Valley Resort. Additional nights may be purchased and a two-night minimum stay is required. The package is valid from March 29 through April 11, 2009 for $276 per person, per night, based on double occupancy. A two-night minimum stay is required and lift tickets are non-refundable. This winter package at Stein Eriksen Lodge is subject to availability and prices are per person, per night, based on double occupancy, and include all applicable taxes.
To book reservations online visit www.steinlodge.com or call 800-453-1302.

SNOWBIRD SKI & SUMMER RESORT
-Ski Free at Snowbird this spring from $135/day, based on double occupancy. This includes two free lift tickets with lodging purchase. In addition to fabulous spring conditions, Snowbird will also host a series of entertaining events including the U.S. Freeskiing Nationals (big mountain skiing competition), March 11-14, and the North American Gelande Championships, April 17-19. For more information visit www.snowbird.com.

SOLITUDE MOUNTAIN RESORT
Stay 3 nights & get the 4th free!
-Book 3 nights in a quaint Solitude condo and get the fourth night free. The deal gets even sweeter with 15 percent off of a massage treatment at the Spa at Solitude and 20 percent off adult lift passes!

Available March 1- April 12. All promotions subject to availability, some restrictions may apply. This promotion is only valid on NEW bookings.

Spring Skiing Bed & Breakfast Special
-Enjoy three nights at the Inn at Solitude and two days on the mountain, plus a hearty breakfast at St. Bernard’s before heading out on the hill. The Inn offers ski-in/ski-out convenience, plus all the amenities of the Solitude Village, starting at $287/per night/double occupancy/ three night minimum.

Valid April 1-12, 2009. Based on availability and double occupancy. Some restrictions may apply. Village View Room, upgrades available. For more information visit www.skisolitude.com

PARK CITY MOUNTAIN RESORT
Book NOW and receive a free night's lodging!
-For a limited time, selected lodging properties can be booked with a free night. Third night free is applicable Jan.25 through Feb. 28 and Mar. 22 - April 12, 2009. Fourth night free is applicable Mar. 1-21, 2009. Discounted lift tickets, ski rentals, airport transportation and even airfare available. Call 800-331-3178 for more information.

THE UTAH OLYMPIC PARK
Purchase any Utah Olympic Park Winter Activity Package, Xtreme zipline ride or Olympic Tour, and receive a $50 discount off a SAME DAY Comet Bobsled ride.

Race up to 80 miles per hour on the Comet Winter Bobsled. Passengers will experience five G's of force and the equivalent of a 40-story drop in just under a minute in a real bobsled. Our experienced pilots take three passengers on a thrilling ride down the entire length of the 2002 Olympic bobsled track. Ages 16 and older, no exceptions. All riders should be in good health to ride. Advance reservations for the Comet are required. Please visit www.olyparks.com or call (435) 658-4200 for more information.

Spa Resort Raises Funds For Disabled Children

The Dream-On Foundation has a simple mission: to bring love, hope, care and support to under-privileged children, kids in foster care, disabled youngsters, homeless and ill children, as well as those caught in traumatic situations.

The foundation has offices in Heber City, Utah, and Seahurst, Washington.

Zermatt Resort & Spa has partnered with the Dream-On Foundation to raise funds to benefit children. Zeermatt is offering a special package at a discounted rate, and will donate proceeds to the fundraiser.

The package costs just $235 and includes:

• Two nights in an Alpine Room (regular price for two nights is $518)
• Breakfast for two, for both mornings (value of $60)
• Dinner Buffet (get two for the price of one) at Schneitter's restaurant (value of $29.95)
• 60-minute massage treatment at the Zermatt European Spa (get two for the price of one--value of $95)

Zermatt has pledged 100 of these packages. They need to be used within one year of the time they are booked.

Zermatt is located in Midway, just minutes from the Park City-area ski resorts. Zermatt is a year-round, luxury resort.

See the Dream-On Foundation website for details.

See zermattresort.com for information about the resort.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Utah's Outdoor Expos Begin This Week

Several big consumer outdoor expos are held in Utah during late-winter. They bring great opportunity to learn about outdoor activities, see product demonstration and buy things at discounted show prices.

The action kicks off this week at the Expo Center (located in Sandy) and the Salt Palace (located in downtown Salt Lake City). The shows draw big crowds, with people coming from around the region. Come join the fun.

Utah Boat Show & Watersports Expo, Feb 4-8, South Towne Expo Center. See all the latest boats, other watercraft and accessories.

Utah Hunting and Conservation Expo, Feb 5-8, Salt Palace, 100 South West Temple, Salt Lake City. Exhibits, seminars, auctions, exhibits, apply for trophy hunts.

Utah RV Show, February 19-22, 2009, South Towne Expo Center. This is a one-stop marketplace for every kind of outdoor recreational vehicle. You'll see motor homes, tent trailers, custom vans, 5th wheels, campers, SUVs.

Salt Lake International Sportsmen's Exposition, Mar 12-15, South Towne Exposition Center. Presented by KUTV2. Displays, seminars and lots of booths full of everything related to the outdoors.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Bald Eagle Day is Feb 7 and Feb 14

Many bald eagles spend the winter in Utah and the big birds are easy to see at key spots around the state. The eagles attract considerable public interest and so Utah's Division of Wildlife Resources sponsors viewing events to help people observe and learn about them.

People who want to see eagles are encouraged to bring binoculars or spotting scopes to viewing events. Biologists will be on hand to answer questions and point people in the right direction, and they will have optical equipment for use by people who don't bring their own.

Bald Eagle Day is Utah DWR's most popular viewing event. There is no cost to participate. Viewing times are 9 am to 4 pm, except at the Salt Creek Waterfowl Management Area site, where viewing will take place from 10 am to 3 pm.

Feb 7 locations:
Fountain Green State Fish Hatchery in Central Utah
Split Mountain/Green River in NE Utah
Rush Lake Ranch in southern Utah

Feb 14 locations:
Salt Creek Waterfowl Management Area (Compton's Knoll) in northern Utah
Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area in northern Utah

Read details about these events.
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