Zane Stephens gets his kicks in sinks.
Middle and Peter sinks up Logan Canyon, to be precise.The Utah State University weatherman puts on three layers of everything to make the trek 30 miles northeast of Logan to the sinks, a limestone area at the summit.
The limestone allowed water to pass through the layers of earth, creating caves that collapsed over the years. It's a prime site for frigid fun.
Stephens is on a mission of sorts to see Utah claim the lowest temperature ever recorded in the continental United States. The Lower 48 record is 70 degrees below zero.
Stephens this past week made daily trips up Logan Canyon for posterity. Now that the really cold air has subsided, the amusing blurbs on the nightly news also are over for the season. At least until the next icebox season comes. Once every four years, Stephens estimates.
"We basically wait for a really cold air mass like the one we've had and we head on up before sunrise" to record the low on the thermometer parked in Middle Sink, just off U.S. 89 before Bear Lake, he said.
"We'd go up at 6 in the morning and see a snowmobile going 30 mph. And we thought we were dumb."
Stephens and fellow weather watcher Mike Boman about seven years ago began wondering whether Utah could beat the record.
"We started it for fun," he said, adding, "We're both weather nuts, and we figured there had to be some place colder than Rogers Pass, Mont."
Aided with $400 from USU to set up a reading station, the pair first went to Dry Lake in Sardine Canyon between Wellsville and Mantua. That first year the pair recorded minus 30 on the thermometer perched on a fence.
"Mike came up with the idea of Middle Sink." The first year, they recorded 35 degrees below zero at a fence right at the top of the sink. "The next year, we stuck a shelter down there and got some readings," including minus 60.
Stephens hikes across the meadow below the highway in snowshoes each winter just for fun.
"I agree no one lives there, but I also agree a lot of people ski and snowmobile there," Stephens said as he thawed from his Tuesday morning trip that recorded a balmy 50 below.
The sinks are similar to Jackson Hole, Cache Valley and Stanley, Idaho, in that inversions allow cold air to flow into the communities and come up with record-breaking temperatures.
"We've had newspapers from all over the U.S. call us" about the temperature treks.