Stuart Johnson, Deseret Morning News
In a few hours from now the official Easter weekend will begin.
Those planning extended stays away have, no doubt, finalized their travel plans.
Skiing: Utah resorts are currently offering some of the best skiing in the entire country. Base depths at most resorts are well over 100 inches, and new snow early in the week has left ski conditions, as one visiting Californian said, "truly excellent."
Cross-country skiing is another option. It can be as easy as a walk around the block or as challenging as a skier wishes to make it. There are groomed tracks at Alta, Soldier Hollow (final weekend), Solitude, Sundance and Park City. Rental equipment is also available.
Snowbasin will hold an Easter egg hunt on Sunday, starting at 9 a.m., on Little Cat for kids 5 to 10, as well as one in Wildflower Meadows for kids 4 and under.
The Easter bunny will visit Deer Valley's Snow Park Lodge on Sunday from 9 to 11 a.m., distributing goodies and greeting kids.
The Canyons will hold an Easter egg hunt for kids on the mountain. One area will be for infants to age 4 and another for ages 5 to 10.
Snowbird will offer a unique twist to the Easter egg hunt with a "beacon hunt" on Saturday. To promote avalanche awareness, five avalanche beacons will be buried in a one-acre area of Gad Valley. Prizes will be awarded to those who find the beacons, which will be buried in packs under the snow. The event is open to anyone with a beacon, probe and shovel. Registration is from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m.Snowbird will also hold an egg hunt for kids ages 4 to 11 on Chickadee Hill, starting at 9 a.m. Sunday.
Snowmobiling: There are a number of nearby areas where people can go riding, and they need not tow machines along with them. Snowbird (877-810-0060) and Deer Valley (435-649-1000) offer riding opportunities. Riding and rentals are also available at the Thousand Peaks Ranch in Weber Canyon (888-304-7669) and at Daniels Summit, northeast of Heber (800-519-9969). Along with lodging, Daniels also features good food. Guided rides and rentals can range from one hour to all day.
Biking: There are a number of great family biking opportunities, weather permitting. One of the more popular is riding the seven-mile causeway to Antelope Island. The road is flat with little traffic. A number of riding opportunities also are available on the island along paved roads and dirt trails.
Another is a ride around Farmington Bay Bird Refuge. The ride can start at the Davis County Courthouse (State and Main) in Farmington. Riders can then head west to the edge of Farmington Bay Bird Refuge and then on to the refuge. Great wildlife viewing opportunities abound.Another option would be to start at the Weather Bureau building east of the airport ride west along the airport bike path, and then connect to the frontage road that parallels I-80 to the Great Salt Lake (25 miles round trip). Again, the road is flat with not much traffic.
Tubing: Two areas offer lift-served tubing: Gorgoza Park (800-678-9915), just east of Parleys Summit, and Soldier Hollow Park (435-654-2002), west of Heber and site of the 2002 Olympic Nordic events. This is the final weekend for tubing and cross-country skiing at Soldier Hollow.
Heber: Besides tubing at Soldier Hollow, a short distance away is the Homestead, which offers swimming in pools but also in the famed crater, where water temperatures remain consistent and comfortable, even in the winter. There will be a traditional Easter egg hunt and a visit from the Easter bunny, along with the resort's famous brunch on Sunday (435-654-1102).