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bear lake + beaver mountain Ski Retreat


Explore southern utah Brian Head + Moab




S I N C E 19 3 8

5th and 6th Grade


Experience the joy of

With the Ski Utah Passport, fifth graders ski three days at each Utah resort and sixth graders ski one day at each Utah resort.


(The only charge is a one-time activation fee of $45.)



Sign up at MARRIOTT Daughters Foundation






Richard E. and Nancy P. Marriott Foundation

presented by:

8 PUBLISHER/EDITOR Monique Beeley COPY EDITOR Katie Mullaly ART DIRECTOR Michelle Rayner CONTRIBUTORS Adam Barker, Arika Bauer, Janel McInnes, Greg Scothern and Sharon Stubbs


Bear Lake State Park – Garden City PHOTO BY Monique Beeley

We want to hear from you. Send your rants, raves, and story ideas to Advertising inquires for Discover Utah Kids and can be sent to SUBSCRIPTIONS - Never miss an issue again. Get this quarterly magazine delivered directly to your mailbox for $15 annually. Go to to sign up!! Connect with us @DiscoverUtahKids Discover Utah Kids is published quarterly by Discover Utah Magazine, LLC. P.O. Box 2336, Park City, UT. 435-640-6549 © 2019 by Discover Utah Magazine LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without permission from the publisher.






contents WINTER




Road Trippin’

22 Explore Your Backyard

Beaver Mountain

Brian Head

14 Nonprofit

24 Guided Adventure


15 Events

26 Educational

16 Insider’s Guide

Heber Valley

21 Map

Brian Head Snow Safety 101

30 A Red Rock New Year’s Eve Celebration

I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than trees. - henry david thoreau




It’s late November and I’m sitting at my desk

looking out through the window at the big white fluffy flakes floating from the sky, fully embracing the gratitude that is flowing through me because…winter has finally arrived! Over the past few weeks of watching the weather, I have been trying not to get discouraged thinking we may not have the abundant (to some it might have been overly abundant) winter we were blessed with last season, and feeling a bit out of sorts, because the date on the calendar didn’t match the warm temps we were currently experiencing. Fast forward a couple days and the brown mountainsides have been replaced with a magical white blanket of snow – and just like that the seasons changed and so did my gloominess. Ok, now it’s game on, bring on the snow, and with that, comes an entirely different contingency of adventures to experience in our great state. If winter camping has been on your bucket list but you’re not sure the family will be up for it, consider yurtin’ as a way to test the waters. Check out page 30, for my

Adventures 2019–2020


Discovery Classes Family STEAM Family Yoga Family Late Night Birthday Parties



mother-daughter yurtin adventure at Dead Horse Point State Park. Before you head out on your next snowshoe or cross-country ski be sure to read Snow Safety 101 (page 26) for a few “know before you go” tips for winter adventuring. Raise your hand if you remember time spent with your grandparents? Now raise your other hand…lol…if you make it a priority for your kids to spend time with their grandparents? Now with both hands raised, give me a nod……if a multigenerational trip is on your calendar for 2020? My hands are raised and I’m nodding like a bobble-head doll because we love these kinds of trips, especially when they involve skiing at Beaver Mountain, which is the perfect locale for a family ski vacy. Read all about it on page 8. Ok, now that we all have had a little chuckle, and I’m out of space on this page, I better sign off, and say…hope to see y’all out on the slopes this winter.


BEAR LAKE EPIC STYLE winter activities

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family ski retreat

road tripPin’





DID YOU KNOW THAT UTAH IS HOME TO 15 MOUNTAIN RESORTS, AND THAT THEY COME IN ALL DIFFERENT SHAPES AND SIZES? Everything can be found – from the largest resort in U.S., aka Park City Mountain, to the longest family-owned and operated ski resort in North America, Beaver Mountain, along with everything in-between. As a lifelong Utah skier, I have spent thousands of days partaking in The Greatest Snow on Earth®, and I have made many visits to all of our resorts. But the mountain resort that brings things full circle for me is Beaver Mountain, aka, The Beav. This is where I learned to ski, learned to race, and fell head-over-heels in love with skiing and being in the mountains. The stars aligned this past winter. I was able to return to my beloved home mountain with my daughter, Kya, and my parents for a grand multigenerational adventure. Ok, so actually we all ski together often, and Kya’s favorite ski buddy is my mom, but this was the first time we had the opportunity to Ski the Beav together as a family. Before we get into our ski adventure, let’s back up to get a lay of the land. Beaver Mountain is located in the heart of the Uinta-Wasatch Cache National Forest. It can be found on the Logan Canyon National Scenic Byway, 110 miles north of Salt Lake City, 27 miles northeast of Logan City, and 12 miles east of Garden City/Bear Lake. Given these specifics on the mileage, you could make a day of it or spend the night for a quick local family ski-vaca. Overnight options in both Logan City and Bear Lake are plentiful. For this trip we opted for the closest lodging to the mountain, and found a great condo from Epic Getaways at Harbor Village near the shores of the beautiful Bear Lake. This area is hopping with action during the warm weather months, but this time of year, the off-season, it is a place to find solitude. It’s also a great place to benefit from the off-season lodging rates, making this locale one of the best values in Utah for a family ski vacation. That being said, if you are seeking more of the hustle, bustle, and dining options of a city, then Logan City is the best option for you since many local businesses in Bear Lake may be operating minimal hours or closed this time of year. Arriving mid-day on Saturday gave us time to do a bit of sledding at The Sinks in Logan Canyon. The Sinks are natural limestone sinkholes that have created large wide-open bowls, perfect for sledding. In addition to this location being popular for recreational opportunities, it’s also a meteorological phenomenon, due to temperature inversions



The resort was started by Harold Seeholzer who, as a father, wanted to create a place in the


mountains for his family to play outside and have fun.

that trap cold air. This area has the distinction of being the coldest spot in Utah producing a record low of -69.3 degrees Fahrenheit. Thankfully, the temps were in the mid 20s when we visited, but I suggest packing a few extra layers, a thermos of hot cocoa, and check the weather. Beaver Mountain is the quintessential family resort. It is a family-owned and operated resort and it is the ideal destination for a family-friendly ski day. It’s small enough that you can let the older kids venture out on their own – the terrain is 75% beginner/intermediate. The ticket prices are some of the lowest in Utah (Adult-$50 / Kids 11 and under-$40). They even offer a $25 day-pass or a 12-ride pass for $30 on the Little Beaver lift, which is perfect for beginning skiers. Our day at Beaver Mountain began with a warm welcome from Marge Seeholzer, the resort’s matriarch,


who is usually the first one greeting guests at the ticket window. At this point my childhood nostalgia was running rampant and I felt like I just stepped into a “way back machine.” The ticket office, which has not changed much since the 80s, is filled with the same exhilarating energy of being in a place where fun happens. The resort was started by Harold Seeholzer who, as a father, wanted to create a place in the mountains for his family to play outside and have fun. That same intention, energy, and vibe are still present today. Beaver Mountain is truly a place where many, many families (including Harold Seeholzer’s great, great grandchildren) have come over the last 80 years to have fun, laugh, and play outside. That morning we made our way around the resort, starting with the Little Beaver lift, which is where I first slid around the snow on my skis more than 40 years ago. After one lap on each of the four chairlifts, we decided

that the intermediate/advanced terrain off Marge’s Triple chairlift were perfect for our group. Being a Sunday, both the lift lines and ski runs were uncrowded. And as usual, we ate lunch early, around 11, so we could beat the lunch rush and then get back out on the slopes, to continue enjoying some true solitude on the mountain. By midafternoon, we were all ready to call it a day. We said our good-byes to each other and then Kya and I headed for the truck. As I was putting our skis in the back, I looked up for a minute, my eyes going from the sun-lit slopes under the Beaver Face Lift to the ticket office, which was now in the late afternoon shadows, to the parking lot, where many families were loading gear into their cars. In that moment, feeling content from

another great day on the mountain with my daughter, I whispered a little thank you to the Seeholzer family for creating this truly magical place. A place that will forever be in my heart and hopefully in my daughter’s as well.

Here are some helpful links for planning next family retreat.





UNIVERSITY OF UTAH HEALTH’S ORTHOPAEDIC INJURY CLINIC IS THERE WHEN YOU NEED IT If there’s one thing that all Utah youth have in common, it’s a love of the outdoors. From skiing and skateboarding to mountain biking and hiking to horseback riding and team sports, for most active kids, life is “Go, go, go!” Until, that is, an injury slows them down or takes them out of the game. When that happens, the Orthopaedic Injury Clinic at University of Utah Health’s University Orthopaedic Center is ready to help. The after-hours walk-in clinic sees patients aged 5 and older. Orthopaedic and sports medicine specialists offer expert treatment for any number of common injuries: sprains, strains, dislocations, muscle tears, fractures, lacerations, and joint pain. Best of all, this world-class care is offered on the kind of terms that work for today’s busy families: without an appointment, during extended hours, with minimum wait times, and at the affordable cost of an office visit co-payment versus the astronomical payment required for a trip to the ER. Before the Orthopaedic Injury Clinic opened in September 2016, parents dealing with a kid’s minor injury might wait days or even weeks to see how things heal before visiting urgent care or seeing a primary care physician. The problem with that situation is that those kinds of delays can often lead to unnecessary pain for growing kids, incorrect diagnoses that miss the underlying injury, or delays in finding the right orthopaedic specialist. Now, everyone from young skiers in training to avid extreme sports enthusiasts to dedicated high school athletes can get the treatment they need, when and where they need it. U of U Health’s Orthopaedic Injury Clinic is conveniently located near the intersection of Foothill Drive and Wakara Way in Salt Lake City, only minutes away from some of the Wasatch Front’s most popular ski slopes and most crowded canyons, along with the playing fields of several high schools and colleges. Open on Monday-Thursday from 4-8 p.m. and on Friday from 12-6 p.m., the Orthopaedic Injury Clinic meets the after-school, after-work, and extracurricular needs of Utah’s young patients and their busy parents. Beyond that level of convenience, the clinic’s specialists can help coordinate care that treats the patient long after their initial visit. Trained staff can schedule


and perform X-rays and MRIs, call parents with results, discuss treatment options, and schedule follow-up visits to make sure every patient enjoys a full recovery from their injury. Dr. Joy English, who co-founded the Orthopaedic Injury Clinic in 2016 after joining U of U Health, draws on her own past as an athlete and her training in sports and emergency medicine. Along with the other expert specialists at Orthopaedic Injury Clinic, Dr. English is committed to delivering compassionate same-day care to young patients who might be grappling with an injury that takes them away from their happy place—all while helping their parents achieve peace of mind. “Sports injuries are emotional,” Dr. English says. “My team makes patients comfortable, treats their pain, and establishes follow-up care in a timely manner.” The Orthopaedic Injury Clinic pairs realistic wait times with a commitment to treating every patient that walks in the door. “We will see everyone, no matter what time they show up,” Dr. English says. “If 15 people are waiting when the doors open at 4:00 PM, it might take three hours to see everyone; if 25 people show up at 8:00 PM, every patient will eventually receive an examination.” That kind of service is unmatched anywhere in Utah, making the Orthopaedic Injury Clinic the number-one destination for young patients and their parents. Dr. English also emphasizes the full suite of services offered by the Orthopaedic Injury Clinic. “What we do is not urgent care or triage,” she says. “I actually give people the exact same evaluation I would during a regular appointment.” Patients and their parents also walk out of the Orthopaedic Injury Clinic with a clear understanding of next steps: “If a patient needs further evaluation by a surgeon, they are fast-tracked to the appropriate one,” Dr. English says. At some point, every kid suffers a bump, bruise, or break on the slopes, on the trail, or on the playing field. When that happens, don’t panic—remember that the Orthopaedic Injury Clinic is here to help. Skip the wait and see an orthopaedic specialist immediately, with same-day walk-in appointments and after-hours care that’s dedicated to getting Utah kids back in the game. For more information please visit


B U M P S , B R U I S ES , O R B R E A KS ? Skip the wait and see an orthopaedic specialist immediately. Now seeing patients 5 and older at times when top notch care just can’t wait. + Same Day + Walk-Ins + After Hours Monday–Thursday: 4 p.m.–8 p.m. Friday: Noon–6 p.m. 590 Wakara Way Salt Lake City, Utah 84108

8 01 . 5 87. 7 1 0 9






Our mission is to increase the participation of women and girls in outdoor activities and to foster confidence, leadership, and connection to nature and community. We do this by providing free and low-cost outdoor education to girls and women of all backgrounds. By stepping out of their comfort zones in a fun, non-threatening, and inclusive environment, we help women and girls bridge the divide between intimidating experience and confidence-building empowerment. Whether skiing, climbing, biking, or fly fishing, SheJumps celebrates the accomplishments of women and girls from beginners to pro athletes, and provides them with a support system where they feel confident taking jumps (risks) and try something new. Everything we do is mission-based and designed to create opportunities to jump in, jump up, and jump out.



Our logo and spirit animal is the Girafficorn: half giraffe, half unicorn - all magic! The Girafficorn exists to remind us to play outside with our feet firmly planted on the ground and eyes focused where we want to go. We have a variety of programs available across the United States, as well as Canada, which include: • SheJumps Outdoor Education Program: Partnering with organizations like the Utah Avalanche Center to promote Know Before You Go lectures, Backcountry 101, and beacon clinics. • Get the Girls Out: Events that connect girls and women in our communities with inspiring and dedicated female outdoor enthusiasts. • Wild Skills: Outdoor education that focuses on girls ages 8 to 17. The curriculum includes shelter building, leave no trace, 10 essentials, first aid, and navigation. • Junior Ski Patrol: Clinics that give girls the opportunity to learn from other female patrollers about their job, as well as some avalanche safety

and first aid. Of course, with all of this learning going on, there’s plenty of high fives and hot cocoa breaks!

Here are a few of our upcoming events in Utah:

MAR 1, 2020 - SheJumps Wild Skills Junior Ski Patrol Day Camp • Deer Valley: Girls ages 9 to 16 get to spend a day with female professional ski patrollers, learning about what is included in their daily routine, as well as developing avalanche safety and first aid skills.

DEC 16, 2019 - Women’s Only Beacon Clinic at Alta: Hosted by Utah Avalanche Center and Alta Community Enrichment, this clinic is designed for all ability levels to get out on the snow and gain experience using your beacon, probe, and shovel through realistic scenarios created by instructors.


JAN 23 & 25, 2020 - Women's Intro to Avalanches (Backcountry 101) in Salt Lake: Hosted by the Utah Avalanche Center, women have the opportunity to spend an evening in the classroom and a day on the snow with the pros to learn how to get out in the backcountry, develop an understanding of avalanche hazards, and how to move through the mountains safely.

January 17-19

BLUFF BALLOON FESTIVAL Balloons fly over Bluff on Friday and Saturday and then the Valley of the Gods on Sunday. Saturday night is the balloon glow and the chili and ice cream social.

January 24-25

BEAR LAKE MONSTER FESTIVAL This is a great family-friendly event, featuring a chili cook-off, fishing tournament, outdoor expo, 5k run, and the of course the Monster Plunge for those daring enough to plunge themselves into the icy waters. New for 2020, Monster Winter Sport On-Mountain Demo in Logan Canyon with free fat bikes, snowshoes, and snow tubes demos.

February 14-16

KANAB BALLOONS AND TUNES Come to Kanab for a beautiful red rock balloon festival. The festival includes 40+ balloonists launching all three days, a twoday battle of the bands competition, street fair, balloon glow and a lantern launch. The Balloon Glow and Lantern festival take place on Center Street in Kanab on Saturday night!

Check out for our entire winter event roundup!

Classes and Workshops February 14-16

BRYCE CANYON WINTERFEST Winter is perhaps the most beautiful time at Bryce! This three-day event includes cross-country ski races, kids races, archery clinic, archery biathlon competition, free snowshoe tours, free clinics in photography and snow sculpture, kid-friendly events, food, music, and much more.

The Natural History Museum of Utah offers a variety of workshops and classes throughout the winter. The Discovery Classes are STEAM-based and for kids Kindergarten-5th grade. These two-hour classes are held monthly on Saturdays - Dec 14th, Jan 11th, Feb 22nd, and March 7th. Family STEAM Events are for the entire family. These events are designed to foster communication and collaboration between adults and kids through hands-on STEAM-based learning. Themes include The Art of Family, Creative Upcycling, and Girl-Powered Engineering. DISCOVERUTAHMAGAZINE.COM 15




... geothermal spring-fed Homestead Crater


Photo: Adam Barker

THE MYSTICAL MAGIC OF THE HEBER VALLEY is extra extraordinary in the winter. Where else in Utah can you: swim in a geothermal crater; visit an ice castle; take a ride on a holiday-themed historic railroad; enjoy an old-fashioned horse-drawn carriage ride; take a zipline tour; go tubing at a 2002 Olympic venue; enjoy 200 miles of snow-covered groomed trails; meet the cows on a local dairy farm tour; take a snowmobile tour; go ice fishing; go ice skating; shop along the streets of a Swiss village; and then enjoy dinner at locally-owned farm-to-table restaurant? Wow, that’s a lot of options…way more than you can do in one trip. And the best part is that this destination is just a short drive (45 miles) from Salt Lake City. STAY WARM - One of the most unique experiences in the Heber Valley is the geothermal spring-fed Homestead Crater. The mineral rich waters of this 55-foot tall, beehive-shaped, limestone formation maintains a consistent temperature of around 95 degrees Fahrenheit. WORK UP A SWEAT - Wasatch Mountain State Park is the perfect family cross-country ski venue. They groom a 1.3-mile section of the golf course and provide inexpensive onsite gear rentals at the Visitor Center. Rentals are $12/adults, $6/kids for cross-country ski packages (skis, boots, poles), and snowshoe rentals are $6/adults and $3/kids. TEST YOUR SPEED on the longest tubing lanes in Utah. Solider Hollow, a 2002 Winter Olympic Venue, offers 1,200-foot-long tubing lanes. Tubing sessions are scheduled in two-hour blocks and reservations are recommended.

Photo: Adam Barker

TAKE A GUIDED TOUR - Get your adrenaline pumping on a fully-guided snowmobile tour through the pristine backcountry of Wasatch Mountain State Park with Wasatch Excursions. Or take in the winter sights at a much slower pace with a guided horseback ride. KB Horses is locally-owned and operated offering one to four-hour private custom tours. FOR THE PRINCESS…OR PRINCE IN THE FAMILY - May we suggest a horse-drawn carriage ride to the magical ice castle. This, straight out of a fairy tale, adventure is made possible by Rocky Mountain Outfitters and Midway Ice Castles, and is sure to be one of those extra-special memorable childhood experiences. DINNER IS SERVED - Dining options are plentiful in the Heber Valley, and the best way to get a true taste of an area is to keep it local. The Back 40 Ranch House Grill is a locally-owned and operated, family-friendly farm-to-table restaurant. For the sweet tooth in the family, be sure to check out the gooey cinnamon rolls at Midway Bakery on Main Street. A few other not-to-miss local favorites are Lola’s Street Kitchen and Dairy Keen – Home of the Train. NIGHTY-NIGHT - Overnight opportunities abound – everything from hotels to condos to log cabins. Zermatt Resort located in Midway, is a Swiss-inspired 300-room resort, featuring a full-service spa, indoor swimming pool, family-friendly restaurant, and a European bakery. If a cozy log cabin is more your style, the cabins at Wasatch Mountain State Park are available year-round.


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Bear Lake







30 Golden Spike National Historice Site

1. Beaver Mountain - Page 8 2. Heber - Page 16 3. Brian Head - Page 22 & 24 4. Dead Horse Point State Park - Page 30







OGDEN Great Salt Lake




MANILA Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area






KAMAS Dinosaur National Monument





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Utah Lake





Timpanogos Cave National Monument












Arches National Park





25 Capitol Reef National Park

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211 ve r Ri or ad



Cedar Breaks National Monument



Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

Bryce Canyon National Park

Natural Bridges National Monument

276 261 San J uan R iver

Lake Powell



Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument







Co l


Zion National Park 89


95 12








Canyonlands National Park


Rainbow Bridge National Monument

MEXICAN HAT Monument Valley

Bears Ear National Monument


Hovenweep National Monument


Four Corners Area






BRIAN HEAD IS UTAH’S HIGHEST RESORT TOWN, sitting at 9,600 feet in elevation. This tiny southern Utah town, with a population of less than 100 full-time residents, “packs a punch” when it comes to winter adventures, especially the family-friendly variety. Whether you are a mountain resort skiing/snowboarding family, or you prefer the solitude of Nordic skiing, or the fast-paced action of snowmobiling is more your speed, this winter destination has something for everyone. And, the best part of all, it is surrounded by the iconic red rock vistas of southern Utah, making this a winter destination like no other. > BRIAN HEAD RESORT (Elevation: Base 9,600 / Summit 10,920 feet). New for the 19/20 season is the Navajo Express high-speed detachable quad chair lift that replaced the 30-year-old triple chair from the base of Navajo Mountain. The resort also relocated and expanded the Navajo Snow Tubing Park, adding more lanes and longer runs. The terrain at Brain Head is 65% beginner/intermediate, they have three terrain parks, and offer night skiing. Ticket prices range from $45-$83 for adults and $32-$60 for kids 6-12 years old.


> CEDAR BREAKS NATIONAL MONUMENT (Elevation 10,000 feet) is a spectacular red rock amphitheater located 3 miles south of Brian Head on UT 143. During the winter months, access is limited to cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling due to the seasonal road closure (Nov-May) of UT 148. The road closes at the junction of UT 143 and UT 148. This is the best place to park so you can explore the area. From this point, you can follow the snow-covered road by snowshoes or cross-county skis. The North View Overlook located a half mile from the park entrance is a great place to view the amphitheater. Throughout the winter, Cedar Breaks offers guided snowshoe tours and Winter Star Parties. Be sure to check the online calendar for specific dates ( In 2017, Cedar Breaks was the first National Park Service unit in Utah to be designated as an International Dark Sky Park. This is one of the largest regions of natural darkness in the lower 48 states. Snowshoe and ski rental gear is available at Georg’s Ski Shop. > WINTER TRAILS The town of Brian Head has some great winter trail options as well: Burt’s Road, Munoz Meadows, and the Town Trail. Burt’s Road starts just

north of the Town Hall on the east side of UT 143, and you will head north along the snow-packed road. Munoz Meadows is just south of the Town Hall, accessed from the end Steam Engine Drive. The Town Trail, on the west side of UT 143, is paved and plowed throughout the winter. This non-motorized trail is 2 miles in length and can be accessed at various points along the route, with trailheads at Bear Flats Campground and the intersection of Aspen Drive and UT 143. > FOOD + LODGING Trade in the sights and sounds of the busy city for the quiet and picturesque vibe of this high-elevation authentic mountain town. Lodging options range from two full-service hotels (swimming pools and spa services): Cedar Breaks Lodge and The Grand Lodge, to a variety of reasonably-priced condos

and cabins. The town is home to seven restaurants; Pizano’s Pizzeria is a must for the pizza loving family. > APRÈS SKI & NIGHTLIFE The Last Chance Saloon at Giant Steps Lodge is a great family-friendly Après spot for music (live music every Saturday), food, and drinks (full bar menu plus kid options). Looking for a family-friendly guided snowmobile tour? Flip to page 24 for all the details in our Guided Adventure section. DISCOVERUTAHMAGAZINE.COM 23


brian head BY ARIKA BAUER

GROWING UP IN SOUTHERN UTAH, BRIAN HEAD RESORT IS WHERE I LEARNED TO SKI AS A CHILD. Even though I haven't continued that tradition with my kids just quite yet, I still wanted them to experience the winter wonderland and adventure that Brian Head has to offer.

What could we do in Brian Head that didn't involve teaching three children how to ski/snowboard? A quick google search of winter activities lead me to a guided snowmobiling tour. This popular winter sport seemed like an activity that the whole family would enjoy, and since we weren't experienced in all the ins and outs of snowmobiling, a guided tour seemed like the perfect option. 24


We planned our 1.5-hour snowmobile tour with Thunder Mountain Motor Sports for 11 am. As soon as we checked in, we got suited up from head to toe in gear to keep us warm and dry. All the equipment that we didn't have we were able to borrow from Thunder Mountain. Getting a family of five suited up is no small task, and during all the chaos that ensued, I had serious doubts about whether or not all this work was going to be worth it. Luckily, our tour guide, Mike, was super patient with us while we dealt with tantrums and missing clothes. Phoenix, my three-year-old did not want to wear his helmet. But as soon as we went outside and he got to sit on one of the snowmobiles, he was good to go. It

One of our favorite stops was at an old, abandoned yellow school bus that was sitting in the middle of a grove of aspen trees. We were able to hike to the bus through the mounds of snow and explore the inside. Another highlight was the beautiful overlook, Bear Canyon. The views stretched out for miles and we felt like we were on top of the world. The kids loved every minute of the adventure. Our guided tour with Thunder Mountain Sports was the perfect adventure to introduce my kids to the winter in Brian Head. Next up, introducing my kids to skiing at Brian Head. Arika Bauer is a Southern Utah local, born and raised, and the owner of Zion Adventure Photog, a photography business dedicated to photographing outdoor lovers in one of the most beautiful settings in the world. She has made it her mission to explore all of the hidden, and not-so-hidden gems of Southern Utah, with her three kids. @ZionAdventurePhotog

turned out that all the work paid off‌big time. Mike was so good with the kids, and driving the snowmobile was more fun than I ever could have imagined. (Except for the time that I didn't make my turn, and I got stuck in a snowbank‌whoops!) Our snowmobile ride through the backcountry of Brian Head, Dixie National Forest, and Cedar Breaks National Monument was the perfect mix of beautiful sights, exploration, and adventure. Mike had us stop regularly to let the kids get off the snowmobiles and play in the snow. In the backcountry, the snow was so high that I wondered a few times if we might lose a child in it, but the kids didn't mind one little bit. DISCOVERUTAHMAGAZINE.COM



Snow Safety 101 for the Family BY GREG SCOTHERN

When most people think about winter recreation in Utah, skiing will likely be the first

thing that comes to mind…and for good reason. Quick, easy access to The Greatest Snow on Earth® makes Utah one of the best ski destinations on the planet. But skiing isn’t the only way to enjoy Utah’s mountains in winter. Snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and sledding have always been popular wintertime activities, and more families are catching on to these outstanding, cost-effective winter sports that don’t require pricey lift tickets or as hefty of an investment in gear. These activities are excellent ways to keep your family active in the outdoors during winter, and they allow for a more intimate, quiet interaction with the incredible peace and beauty that makes winter in the mountains so magical. Backcountry travel in the mountains can be incredibly rewarding, but there are manageable risks that every family needs to consider before venturing out for a day of backcountry recreation. Avalanches and sudden weather changes are always possible, and a little bit of knowledge and preparation will go a long way to keep your family safe while traveling through the backcountry. You don’t need to be an expert in avalanche safety to make good decisions in the backcountry. Backcountry skiers and snowmobilers expose themselves to far more risk by traveling directly on avalanche terrain, making avalanche rescue gear (shovel, beacon, and probe) an absolute necessity. But for the


purposes of this article, we will focus on snowshoers and cross-country skiers who rarely find themselves on slopes with the potential to avalanche. They do often travel adjacent to avalanche terrain, however, and avalanche fatalities have occurred from snowshoers who’ve triggered slides from below a slope, so some basic understanding of the snowpack, general avalanche conditions, and safe route-finding is a must.

Keeping your family safe in the backcountry is neither difficult nor complicated, but there are three basic things you want to be sure you understand before heading out for your backcountry adventure: 1. Know how to read and interpret the avalanche advisory.

2. Know how to recognize and avoid avalanche terrain.

3. Know how changing weather can impact avalanche conditions. First and foremost, the simplest and most critical thing you should do before every outing is read the local avalanche advisory. Advisories are found on the Utah Avalanche Center’s website at www.utahavalanchecenter. org, and are broken down by each mountain region (Logan, Ogden, Salt Lake, Provo, Skyline, Moab, and Abajo Mountains). Be sure to read the advisory for the area you will be playing in, as conditions can vary from one region to the next. The advisory will list the current avalanche danger based on a five-point danger rating, as well as detailed avalanche concerns for specific slopes, elevations, and aspects. It’s a good idea to get familiar with what each of the five danger ratings means: Low Danger: Generally safe avalanche f conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated

terrain features.

Moderate Danger: Heightened avalanche f conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.

Considerable Danger: Dangerous avalanche f conditions. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious

route-finding and conservative decision making essential. Natural avalanches are possible; human-triggered avalanches likely.

High Danger: Very dangerous avalanche f conditions. Travel in avalanche terrain not

recommended; natural and human-triggered avalanches very likely.

Extreme Danger: Avoid all avalanche terrain; f natural and human-triggered avalanches certain. Understanding this danger scale is the first step in your decision-making process, and should heavily influence where you decide to play for the day. Historically, nearly half (47%) of all avalanche fatalities occur during periods of considerable danger. Does this mean you should scrap your plans because the danger rating is at or above considerable? No…but it should absolutely determine where you decide to go. Regardless of the danger rating, you can always find safe terrain for snowshoeing or cross-country skiing because you don’t need steep slopes for these activities. Simply stated, avalanche terrain is any terrain that is on or immediately adjacent to a slope of 30 degrees or more. The simplest way to determine a slope’s angle is to use one of the many free level or inclinometer apps available for your smartphone. Simply sight the slope along the edge of your phone with the app running, or lay a trekking/ski pole on the slope and set your phone on the pole. If it’s 30 degrees or steeper, it’s best to take a wide approach crossing beneath the slope. Even on low-danger-rated days, always try to avoid travelling directly below a slope greater than 30 degrees just to be safe. If it cannot be avoided, it’s always best to space your group out and cross the area one at a time to minimize the risk of triggering a slide from below the slope. On days with considerable or higher danger ratings, avoid terrain directly adjacent to steeper slopes DISCOVERUTAHMAGAZINE.COM 27


altogether. There are many areas that have great snowshoeing and XC skiing terrain that do not interact with avalanche terrain, like the Nordic trails at ski areas where there is avalanche control, designated winter sports parks like North Fork Park or Soldier Hollow, or the many mountain valleys or foothill areas with large expanses of trees, meadows, and gently rolling terrain. These are fantastic options on days with elevated avalanche danger. Another important feature to avoid near avalanche terrain is a “terrain trap.” Terrain traps are gullies, stream beds, depressions, etc. that a nearby avalanche would likely flow into. Even a slide triggered some distance away can run for long distances in a terrain trap. A basic rule of thumb is if water will flow into it, it’s a terrain trap, and should be avoided if possible. Crossing terrain traps is unavoidable sometimes, so just be sure to cross them quickly and not linger. Choose terrain that water would flow off of, like broad, gently sloping shoulders and ridges, or low-angle hillsides away from avalanche terrain. Weather can play a significant role in avalanche danger as well, so it’s important to know what the weather is expected to do throughout the day, and actively observe changing weather while you are out. Wind can transport incredible amounts of snow in a very short time, piling snow on leeward slopes, which can in turn change avalanche conditions dramatically. A slope with a low danger rating in the morning when you start, could change to a considerable danger rating a short time later when you are returning. If the wind kicks up while you are out, it’s always safe to assume that the danger level will be rising as a result, so steer clear of avalanche terrain. Sun and rapid warming will also impact avalanche danger. As the sun heats the snow, it can become saturated with water, raising the risk for a wet slide. Wet slides are much slower than other avalanches, but can be extremely destructive. This typically occurs in the afternoon on southeast to southwest facing slopes, and is especially common in the spring when overnight temps may not dip below freezing

and the sun’s energy is more concentrated. But rapid warming can occur anytime the sun is out, and it’s not uncommon even in the colder months, especially during inversions. Signs that the snow is warming and becoming unstable include large horizontal cracks in the snow, snowballing, and pinwheels running down the slope. Again, steer clear of terrain that could avalanche when you observe warming snow. Another useful strategy is to pay attention to how the snow feels underfoot. Listen to the sounds it makes as you travel. If the snow feels supportive at first, but when weighted gives way or collapses, that can be a sign of a weak layer beneath the surface snow and is a sign of instability in the snowpack. Also listen for occasional “whumpf” sounds. This is the sound of a weak layer collapsing somewhere in the snowpack. Cracks that propagate or jut out from your steps are another sign of instability. If you are observing any of these events on level terrain, they are signs of instability and heightened avalanche danger, so be aware of your surroundings and avoid avalanche terrain. One last thing to consider: always be prepared to survive the night. Quick moving storms, injuries, or getting lost have stranded even some of the most experienced backcountry travelers. Regardless of how nice the weather is or how short the planned trip is, each member of your party should carry a day pack with extra layers, food, survival blanket, first aid, and fire-starting gear. Most outdoor retailers sell affordable, lightweight survival packages with just about everything you need to survive a night in the cold. Taking a few minutes to plan and educate yourself on the current conditions before you walk out the door is really the simplest way to ensure your family travels safely in the backcountry. It only takes a few minutes, and it saves lives. Now get online, get the report, and get your family out there! IMPORTANT LINKS: DISCOVERUTAHMAGAZINE.COM 29

A Red Rock New Year’s Eve Celebration BY MONIQUE BEELEY


Moab in the winter is nothing short of spectacular. The blanket of white snow covering the

red rock landscapes is an epic sight that every Utahan needs to witness at least few times. The weather in red rock country this time of year can be temperamental, like your two-year old, so be sure to pack your sense of adventure along with a few extra layers of clothing for the family. Depending on the year, the winter temps in Moab can range from below zero at night to the 40-50s during the day, and can change at the drop of a hat, so be sure to plan and pack accordingly. Now that we have addressed the one thing (wink, wink) that could make or break your red rock winter family vacy, let’s shift gears to the many, many benefits of Moabing in the off-season. Topping the list is the cost. Hotels this time of year are very affordable. Coming in at a close second is the solitude you will find on the trails, especially in Arches National Park. My plan was to ring in the new year in this red rock wonderland. Winter camping has been on my list and as a way of easing into camping in the colder months, and a yurtin' seemed like a step in the right direction. Dead Horse Point State Park, located 30 miles west of Moab, has nine yurts that are open year-round, and each one sleeps six (full-size bunk beds plus a futon). So with our

destination set we decided to enlist another mother/ daughter duo, Jamie and Olive, to join us for our New Year’s celebration. We arrived at the yurt after dark. I was thankful we had a couple headlamps to find our way into the yurt so we could flip on the interior lights. The cool winter night sky was epic and filled with sparkles in every direction. Dead Horse Point is an official International Dark Sky Park and is one of the best areas to stargaze in the Moab area. The combination of the high plateau, mountains in the distance, and city lights out of sight make this destination perfect for a nearly-full view of the celestial sphere. The park offers many night sky ranger-led programs throughout the year for those wanting to learn more. We quickly hauled our bags into the yurt and the girls were excited to see the bunkbed. As it came into view, they both quickly called “top bunk” as they both tossed their sleeping bags onto the top bunk. We spent the remaining hours before bedtime playing a few different card games while sipping on wine and hot cocoa. The next morning was pretty chilly out so we had a lazy morning in the yurt and then headed into Moab for a late breakfast. Not all the restaurants and shops are open in the winter, but many are, and we had plenty to choose from. Once fully fueled, we headed out to the


Potash Road (HWY 279) where there are a couple great arch hikes – Corona Arch and Longbow Arch. We decided on the Longbow hike which starts from Dinosaur Tracks parking lot. It was sunny and the temperature was around 25 degrees so we started the hike in full winter attire. Once we started hiking the girls ditched their gloves and hats, along with the whininess, and we all enjoyed our beautiful surroundings and the warm sunshine. After the hike, we headed back to our yurt for more board games. Hoping we could all make it to midnight (as the clock approached 11 pm) we all gave up on trying to stay awake for the final hour. So we gave a Happy New Year shout out and cheers because it was the New Year somewhere. We were all super exhausted and in full rem sleep by the time our clock officially hit the New Year. I had prepared to make a special New Year’s morning breakfast which entailed using my camp stove on the front porch of the yurt…. burr….as there is a “no cooking” allowed in the yurt rule. There is electricity, so prior to this morning’s meal, we had just relied on the electric tea kettle for hot water. Again, the morning was cold, even colder than the previous morning, single digit cold…double burr. On the menu was eggs, bacon, and pancake — the pancakes I premade and just needed to heat up. The last time I had used this stove, the right burner didn’t stay lit, and I didn’t really think much of it. Just used the left one…no big deal. Now, I planned/needed to use both burners and the right one, once again, would not



stay lit. Then suddenly, without warning, flames started shooting out from the temperature dial. I looked at Jamie, who was as surprised as I was. I quickly turned the dial to off and the flames continued. The only thing I could think to do in that moment was to remove the fuel tank: no fuel = no flames. I quickly tried to unscrew the small propane tank from the stove. Not the best choice. More flames burst out until the propane was fully detached. At this point, in a panic, I quickly tossed the stove into the snowbank. WOW…we both just stood there in shock for a minute. And then the adrenaline from the incident was momentarily replaced with a feeling of gratitude, knowing that this situation’s could have been far far worse. At this point, the girls had heard the screams and were peering through the door, wide-eyed and unsure of what they had just witnessed. I said don’t worry we can still make breakfast...which was not at all what they were worried about. As I walked into the yurt, Kya gave me a hug and asked if I was alright. I kissed the top of her head and was overwhelmed with emotion. What a way to start off the New Year. For the rest of the morning there was a sense of gratitude and love that filled the yurt. The outcome could have been worse, resulting in someone, most likely me, really being injured. More than just a bit of singed hair, eye brows, and eye lashes could have been damaged. Life throws many lessons in our path and reflecting back on this experience months later, I’m not 100 percent sure

what this experience on New Year’s Day was teaching me. One thought is that maybe if things are not working properly you should fix them. Which, if I’m being honest, is a tiny theme in some areas of my life. But I feel the bigger message here is to be grateful for the people in your life and the experiences you get to share together.

Here are a few DO IT LIKE A LOCAL cold weather tips for Moabing in the winter. STAY OFF MUDDY TRAILS – If the mud is sticking to your shoes and leaving divots in the trail, it’s best to turn around and find another trail to explore – think slickrock and sand, not mud. If you are not sure what locations are best for the current conditions, make a stop at the Moab Information Center (25 E. Center Street).


HIKING BOOTS – Good, insulated, waterproof boots will ensure happy and dry feet on the trails. Microspikes or Yaktrax are also great options for icy trail conditions. DRESS IN LAYERS – Layering is one of the best ways to stay warm and comfortable, and also allows for flexibility as the temps change throughout a hike. Have a synthetic base layer, an insulating layer, and a shell.

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Utah State Parks Plan your next family adventure at Utah State Parks




The I AM s that you use can be highly effective. They’ll shape what you see, so be very selective . So choose only I AM s that you truly deserve , And they can become what the world will observe . DISCOVERUTAHMAGAZINE.COM




Profile for Discover Utah Magazine

Discover Utah Kids - winter 2019/2020  

In this issue...Family ski retreat to Bear Lake and Beaver Mountain, Snow safety for families, Guided adventure in Brian Head and Winter Yur...

Discover Utah Kids - winter 2019/2020  

In this issue...Family ski retreat to Bear Lake and Beaver Mountain, Snow safety for families, Guided adventure in Brian Head and Winter Yur...