John Clark
Proposed Utah license plate would depict skiing along the Wasatch Mountains and petroglyphs on red rocks.

Utah may soon be trading in its decades-old "Ski Utah" license plate for one featuring the state's new slogan, "Life Elevated," as well as red rocks and petroglyphs along with mountains and a skier.

A bill requiring the 2007 Legislature to approve the new design was introduced Thursday.

"I think people will like it. The plate depicts the state, north and south," said Senate Majority Whip Dan Eastman, R-Bountiful, the sponsor of SB73, which also makes changes to other state license plates.

Starting in about a year, the largely white "Ski Utah" plate issued since 1985 would be replaced with the new design chosen from about 10 proposals by Eastman and other state officials.

Petroglyph-decorated red rocks are splashed across the top of the new plate along with the state's name and "Life Elevated." The rest of the plate is a blue-tinted photographic image of the Wasatch Mountains with a skier below.

About the only controversy that could surface about the new design, Eastman joked, is that the skier depicted on the new plate is swooshing across a groomed slope rather than the state's famous powder.

The familiar slogan, "Greatest Snow on Earth," will stay on the new plate.

"We think that's an important part of the branding for the state of Utah," said Jason Perry, executive director of the Governor's Office of Economic Development. "Greatest Snow on Earth" has been used by the state since the early 1960s.

So, economic development officials hope, is "Life Elevated," announced a year ago to mixed reviews as the slogan for a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign for the state. Eastman said the new license plate design is part of the branding effort.

It's the addition of southern Utah's red rocks that's attracting the most enthusiasm from tourism officials. Although Nanette Groves Anderson, executive director of the Utah Tourism Industry Coalition, hasn't seen the new plate design, she said she's excited.

"I really like that it's pulling it together," Anderson said of the state's two top attractions. Plus, the Torrey-based tourism official said, the new plates will focus positive attention on the industry.

Eastman's bill also calls for changes in the colorful Utah Centennial plate featuring Delicate Arch that was first issued in 1992 to promote and help pay for the state's 1996 centennial celebration. The centennial will be removed and "Life Elevated" will be added.

Also, the bill would eliminate the Olympic plate issued to mark Salt Lake City's hosting of the 2002 Winter Games. The new plates would be issued once the state's supply of existing plates is used up, Eastman said.

Count Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. among those who are ready for a change. "Utah needs updated license plates," the governor's spokesman, Mike Mower, said. "Now is a good time to promote Utah as, 'Life Elevated."'

E-mail: [email protected]