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Winter fun in Utah — From slopes to streams, plenty of 'things to do'

By Ray Grass

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, Jan. 13 2011 8:47 a.m. MST

Scott Berry skis fresh powder at Snow Basin, Utah. Snowbasin is also one of four resorts offering gates and timing equipment for the exhilarating thrill side-by-side racing. Brian Head, Deer Valley, Park City Mountain Resort are the other three.

Tom Smart, Deseret News

Cold weather is here — and lots of it — along with the early signs of cabin fever brought on by the feeling that there's nothing to do when temperatures drop.

Actually, Utahns and visiting guests are lucky in that there is a whole list of "things to do," many available only in a winter wonderland — among them skiing, snowmobiling and ice fishing.

So, for those looking for ideas, here are a few:

Olympic experience

This card is full. Individuals can do one or several activities, all with Olympic ties.

Among them are running ski gates, surfing in a halfpipe, racing the bobsled course, pushing a puck in hockey, sliding on the

belly for skeleton, throwing a stone on curling ice, sliding on skis on a cross-country course, and for a twist, shooting a rifle to make it a biathlon event.

There are four ski resorts in Utah offering gates and timing equipment for side-by-side racing. They are Brian Head, Deer Valley, Park City Mountain Resort and Snowbasin.

Individuals pay a fee, slide into the start gate and race for bronze, silver, gold or platinum medals.

Several resorts have halfpipes, but some skill on a snowboard is required.

There are a number of cross-country centers in Utah, but to add shooting, the only site is the Soldier Hollow Olympic venue in Midway. There are also tracks at Solitude, Bryce Canyon and in Park City, as well as a number of other ski areas.

The Utah Division of Parks and Recreation grooms hundreds of miles of packed tracks that are ideal routes for cross-country skiers.

The Ski Utah website gives information on conditions at cross-country centers, and the Division of State Parks and Recreation offers free maps and information on the location of groomed trails.

The track at the Utah Olympic Park offers bobsled rides and skeleton training throughout the winter. Reservation are required.

Skating rinks around the state offer everything from learn to skate or playing hockey lessons. The Utah Olympic Oval, once called "The Fastest Ice on Earth," gives skaters a chance to try speed skating. A number of rinks also offer curling instruction.

For information visit: www.skiutah.com, www.olyparks.com, www.utah.com, www.stateparks.utah.gov, and www.utah.travel

Snowmobiling

Utah is said to offer some of the best snowmobiling in the country because of its heavy snowfall and light snow.

The Utah Division of Parks and Recreation grooms more than 1,200 miles of trails throughout Utah. All of the trails lead to large expanses of open play fields as well as take riders into some incredibly beautiful country.

For those who don't own a machine, there are a number of rental operations scattered around the state. Some even offer guide service to novice riders and those unfamiliar with the area. The yellow pages are a great place to start looking for snowmobile operations.

Those going into the backcountry should check with the Utah Avalanche Forecast Center and should at all times carry avalanche safety equipment. Numbers for updated forecast conditions are 888-999-4019 for Utah areas and 800-648-7433 for the snowmobile hotline.

For information call 800-OHV-RIDE or visit www.stateparks.utah.gov

Fishing

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