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Published on : Saturday, November 2, 2013
The first flakes have already started to fall, meaning the winter travel season is right around the corner. Utah, home to The Greatest Snow on Earth®, has plenty to offer for both skiers and non-skiers alike. Below is a quick look at some of the state’s new happenings, amazing festivals and events, and the best winter deals and packages.
• New Hyatt Place (Salt Lake City/Cottonwood, UT): The brand new Hyatt Place, opened July 2013, is located at the base of big Cottonwood Canyon, and only minutes from Snowbird, Alta, Solitude and Brighton ski resorts.
• New Mountain Trails (Moab, UT): More than 40 miles of newly designated single track mountain bike trails were added in March 2013 in Moab, extending the total to well over 280 designated single track miles. The trails are perfect for winter mountain biking or snowshoeing.
• Brian Head Ski Resort (Brian Head, UT): Brian Head Ski Resort is undergoing $3 million in upgrades including the addition of a tubing hill, additional terrain park, and Utah’s only Bag Jump. Renovations will be complete for the 2013/2014 ski season.
• Snowbird (Snowbird, UT): For the 2013/2014 season, Snowbird is putting in the only new chairlift in Utah. Snowbird is also expanding their Cat Skiing operation, opening up more terrain without the traverse.
• Deer Valley Resort (Park City, UT): Deer Valley is building a new ski run on Little Baldy Mountain called “Gnat’s Eye” for the upcoming season. The resort is also investing $4.5 million into upgrading air water snowmaking guns, purchasing two more ultra-low energy efficient SnowLogic tower guns, 24 new EPA-approved Ski-Doo mountain snowmobiles and three new Prinoth snowcats.
• Snowbasin (Huntsville, UT): Snowbasin is adding more than 616 acres and increasing their snowmaking capacity for the 2013/2014 season. They are also partnering with Burton Snowboards to build a Dinosaur Riglet Park and Learn to Snowboard program for 3-6 year olds.
• Brighton Ski Resort (Big Cottonwood Canyon, UT): Brighton will be opening the first all-girls terrain park in the country, including girl specific lessons and workshops.
Not-To-Miss Festivals & Events
• X-Dance Action Sports Film Festival (Nov. 2013) – X-Dance is the world’s premier action sports film festival. Filmmakers and athletes from around the globe make the pilgrimage to Salt Lake City as representatives of this cutting-edge cinema.
• Eat Like a Pilgrim (Nov. 22, 23 & 25, 2013) – Recognized as a top Thanksgiving re-enactment by the New York Times in 2011, guests will be enlightened by the real-life pilgrim characters and the rare opportunity to step back in time to early America at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi.
• Heber Valley North Pole Express (Nov. 29 – Dec. 24, 2013) – The North Pole Express in Heber Valley is a 90-minute train ride that includes elves serving hot drinks and treats, carols, holiday entertainment and a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus.
• St. George Winter Bird Festival (Jan. 2014) – Activities include field trips where participants can bird watch and take photographs, a variety of presentations on bird-related topics, a bird photo contest, banquet and silent auction, local youth art contest and keynote speaker, Christopher Balmer.
• Sundance Film Festival (Jan. 16-26, 2014) – Sundance Film Festival, one of the largest independent film festivals in the world, is a showcase for new work from American and international filmmakers.
• Delta Snow Goose Festival (Feb. 2014) – Early each spring, thousands of Snow Geese begin their 3,000-mile voyage home to Canada’s Northwest Territories. Delta is privileged to be situated along their annual migration route
• Bryce Canyon Winter Festival (Feb. 15-16, 2014) – Activities include cross-country ski tours, kayaking demos, snow sculpture contest, snowshoe tours and races, waxing clinics, people-powered sled race, archery clinic, photographic clinics, kids snow boot races, ski archery competition, photo contest and entertainment.
Value-Added Deals and Packages
• Hotel Monaco “The Greatest Snow on Earth” Package: Hotel Monaco’s winter package includes deluxe accommodations in the heart of downtown in the hotel’s newly renovated guestrooms, Yoga Mat Roll-Out Service, lift tickets and more.
• Capitol Reef National Park: Capitol Reef National Park’s “Stay & Play” Package includes a one-night stay at Red Sands Hotel and either a half-day horseback trail ride or a day of hiking or guided sight seeing.
• Sundance Resort “Stay & Ski Free” Winter Package: Guests at Sundance Resort receive two free lift passes per night of stay.
• Zermatt “Ski & Soak” Package: The “Ski & Soak” package includes three nights’ accommodations, one free lift ticket to Deer Valley Resort per person and a daily 40-minute soak and swim in the therapeutic water of the geothermal Homestead Crater.
• Alta “Sleep-around” Package: Alta is offering their first sleep-around December 5-8, 2013. Guests will get three nights of lodging at a different lodge each night including daily breakfast, on-mountain lunch and dinner, three days of skiing, demo skis each day and a tour of the mountain on the first day.
Winter Story Ideas
1. Winter Off-the-Slopes – If skiing or snowboarding isn’t your thing, try one of these other off-slope winter activities.
• Geothermal Standup Paddleboard Yoga: Guests can practice yoga on a paddleboard in the mineral-rich, 90 degree water of a 10,000-year-old crater or snowshoe to a scenic area in the crisp mountain air for their yoga session.
• Winter Snowshoeing Adventures: Utah provides excellent snowshoeing conditions from early December to the end of April. Individuals or groups can take guided tours to view the sweeping views of the mountains and valleys.
• Guided Ice Fishing Trips: Utah ice fishing tour operators can guide participants to the right place, pick the right lures, put on the right bait and explain the techniques of successful ice fishing.
• Snowmobile Delivery: Double Diamond Rentals will deliver snowmobile rentals straight to your hotel. Delivery is free within 10 miles of Cedar City and $1.50 per mile outside of Cedar City.
2. The Road to Sochi – Utah’s Olympic Legacy – For those unable to make it to Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics, visit Park City to experience the winter Olympic legacy.
• Utah Olympic Park Holiday Festival (Dec. 7, 2013) – This family-friendly holiday festival includes ice skating, ice sculpting, tractor rides, a hockey game, figure skating show, crafts, and a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus.
• Olympic Qualifier for Nordic Combined & Ski Jumping Event (Dec. 28-29, 2013) – The Utah Olympic Park in Park City will play host to the 2014 U.S. Olympic Trails for Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined.
• Olympic Qualifier for Speedskating (Dec. 27 – Jan. 5, 2014) – Open to spectators, the Utah Olympic Park in Park City will be the site for the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Short and Long Track Speedskating.
• Soldier Hollow 2014 U.S. Cross Country Championships (Jan. 2-10, 2014) – Solider Hollow is the only Olympic facility in the world to host four different types of Olympics, and the open course allows participants to ski next to the Olympic athletes.
• FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup (January 8-11, 2014) – Deer Valley Resort in Park City will be hosting the world’s best skiers, some of which will be headed to Sochi, at the Freestyle Ski World Cup.
• U.S. Sprint Grand Prix (January 17-19, 2014) – Join the world as the first ever U.S. Olympic Freeskiing Team is announced at Park City Mountain Resort.
• Hyatt Escala Lodge “Gold Medal” Package (December 1 – March 1, 2014) – Package includes a three-night stay in a one-bedroom suite, two one-day passes to Olympic Legacy Park to train with the pros, two complimentary lift tickets to Canyons Resort, Premium Heli-Skiing Experience for two with Powderbird guides, Olympian buffet breakfast each morning for two, Ninety-Nine 90 Anti-Fatigue Leg Treatment & Sports Massage at Canyons Spa for two and dinner for two at EPC at Hyatt Escala Lodge.
• Olympic Activities Open to the Public
o Public Skating at the Oval (Year-round) – Skate on the same 400-meter ice oval that holds the most Olympic World Records.
o Winter Comet Bobsled – Visitors can ride d
own the 2002 Winter Olympic Track in a three-passenger bobsled. Professional pilots drive the bobsled and in less than a mile, riders will experience 15 turns, reach speed up to 80 mph, and experience up to five G’s of force. The Utah Olympic Park bobsled experience is one of the few that starts from the official Olympic start. Guests must meet age, weight and health requirements. December 21, 2013 – March 30, 2014; $200 per person
o Winter Rocket Skeleton – Skeleton is a unique experience where guests can command their own sled down the 2002 Winter Olympic Track. The ride is smooth and fast, less aggressive than the bobsled; Skeleton is a favorite amongst thrill-seekers. Must meet age, weight and health requirements. December 21, 2013 – March 30, 2014, Friday and Saturday; $50 per person
o Learn to Curl Program – Learn the basics of Curling from certified instructors in the Utah Olympic Oval. This beginner class includes all equipment and is available to guests eight and older. Fridays, September 1, 2013 – March 30, 2014; admission – $12 per person
o Cosmic Curling – Cosmic Curling takes the sport to a whole new level of fun. Using the magic of black light and neon, the dividers and rocks are lit up with bright, fun colors. This is an intermediate level class; participants must have knowledge and skill in Curling prior to participating. Saturdays, October 5, 2013 – March 29, 2014; $10 per person
o Learn-to-Skate Figure Skating – Visitors to the Olympic Oval can learn to Figure Skate with classes from the basics all the way through advanced levels. Classes are available for children and adults, and are taught by certified professional instructors. For pricing and additional information, please visit the hyperlink above.
o Venue Tours of Olympic Park – For Olympic heritage enthusiasts, the Utah Olympic Park offers one-hour guided venue tours. The Olympic Park hosted Bobsled, Skeleton, Luge, and Nordic Ski Jumping competitions during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. Today, the park is home to elite skiers and sliding sport athletes who train year-round as well as a comprehensive sport. The tour stops at the top of the Nordic Ski Jumps, Bobsled Start House, and Olympic Aerials Pool. Tours are offered year-round, daily; $10 adults/ $7 kids+seniors.
3. A New Way to Après – Hit the slopes during the day and get a taste of Salt Lake City’s culture at night.
• Temple Square – This 35-acre site has guided tours and presentations featuring historic sites, interactive exhibits, art displays, 70-mm films, parks and gardens. Also featured is the largest genealogy library of its kind in the world – open to the public – and the renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra.
• Brewery Tour – A variety of breweries are located in Salt Lake City including Uinta Brewing Co., Squatters Pub Brewery, Red Rock Brewing Co., Desert Edge Brewery and Epic Brewing Co.
Epic Brewing Co. recently opened a new restaurant, Annex, located in the heart of Sugarhouse. Annex offers a bohemian atmosphere and casual dining, serving lunch, dinner, late night fare and eventually brewing small batch house beer later this winter.
Wasatch Beers and Squatters Craft Beers came home from the 2013 Great American Beer Festival with two silver medals. Unita Beer and Red Rocks Beer received bronze medals and Hopper’s Beer took home a gold medal.
• Utah Museum of Contemporary Art – Offering innovative exhibitions and programs, the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art is a hub for visitors to explore the state’s contemporary cultural landscape.
• High West Distillery – Opened in 2007, High West Distillery & Saloon is Utah’s first legal distillery since 1870 and the world’s only ski-in Gastro-distillery located at exactly 7,000 feet in the heart of Old Town Park City. High West’s passion is crafting delicious whiskies and marrying these with contemporary Western comfort food.
• Utah Symphony Opera – After a day on the slopes be inspired by the music of Utah’s Symphony Opera. Producing year-round classical, chamber, pops, family, and opera at Abravanel Hall, Capitol Theatre, Sundance, and Deer Valley. Be Moved.
4. Access – With 11 resorts less than an hour from the Salt Lake City International Airport, visitors will spend more time enjoying the slopes and less time in the car.
• The Utah Transit Authority completed a new TRAX line from the Salt Lake City International Airport to downtown Salt Lake City last spring. The new line transfers skiers and boarders to downtown Salt Lake in less than 15 minutes, allowing them to transfer to the Intermodal Hub where they can find bus connections to the hills.
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