Gurus to Gonzos: the Utah Event Round-Up
Zion's best parties, clinics, and competitions (you’ve never heard of)by
Think there's nothing to do in the Beehive State other than ski and snowboard bottomless powder snow? Guess again. From quiet journeys of self-discovery (Ski to Live) to misguided meat-hucking (U.S. Freeskiing Nationals), our lovely state plays host to some of the most eclectic, fun, educational, and occasionally stupid events in the outdoor world. Come check 'em out, a bunch are just around the corner.
Backcountry Awareness Week
January 23-25, Snowbird, Utah
Backcountry users of all types will come together as part of a new Backcountry Awareness Week that will include seminars, on-snow demonstrations, discussions and a Black Hat fundraiser for the Friends of Utah Avalanche Center. An all day tram ticket, lunch, two classes, an 8:30 a.m. pre-public tram ride, and a chance to win a free day of heli-skiing for a backcountry course attendee is $49.
Backcountry classes and on-snow participation include the following presenters:
· Bruce Tremper, Director Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center: The Avalanche Basics: route selection, transceiver use, snow pits and snow pack analysis.
· Craig Gordon, Avalanche Forecaster/Educator, Utah Avalanche Center: Safe backcountry snowmobile travel.
· Bob Merrill, BackcountryStore.com: Ultralight backcountry travel and equipment.
· Snowbird Ski Patrol: Avalanche rescue and resort backcountry access.
Ski Like a Girl: Wasatch Women's Telemark Days
Babes in the Backcountry: Backcountry Skills Day
January 24-25, The Canyons, Utah
This year, Wasatch Women's Telemark Days has teamed up with Leslie Ross' Babes in the Backcountry to create a comprehensive weekend focused on improving both technique and knowledge specifically for women. Saturday's clinic is designed for all levels of telemark skiers. If you've never telemarked before, instructors will teach you the fundamentals of the sport. If you're an advanced skier, an upper level clinic on steeps and chutes is available.
On Sunday, Leslie will offer a backcountry skills clinic for all abilities. This clinic is a great complement to Women's Day for those who want to get out into the backcountry and practice the skills they learned on Saturday.
U.S. Freeskiing Nationals
February 2-6, Snowbird, Utah
Yes, he's skiing backwards.
"Next up, bib number 62. Thirty seconds…ready? Three…two…one…rider on course!" The skier launches herself downhill at 1,500 vertical feet of ridiculously steep terrain littered with rocks, trees, and cliff bands; by the first turn she's forgotten about the unbearably anxious moments spent in the start gate. She effortlessly links turns through the no-fall zone, putting together an invisible puzzle of technical rock drops, straightlines, and a massive 40-foot air at the bottom-all without stopping, hesitating, or exploding out of her skis doing 50mph. Oh, and the guys put on quite a show, too.
This is the scene at the annual U.S. Freeskiing Nationals-a 4-day competition and ongoing celebration of the most technical, progressive skiing on the planet. Skiers from as far as Europe, Asia, and New Zealand converge on Utah's stop of the Freeskiing World Tour to compete for a healthy $27,500 in prize money. Whether you're ready to try your hand against the best skiers in the world, or just want to come check out the insanity, it's an event not to be missed.
2002 Winter Olympics, Midway, Utah
Two years after the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, the single busiest venue of the Games continues to operate in relative obscurity. Having hosted 23 events in biathlon, cross-country skiing, and the skiing portion of the Nordic combined, Soldier Hollow earned rave reviews from competitors and officials for its challenging terrain and from the spectators for its commanding viewpoints of the action. New trails have recently been added to accommodate recreational skiers, but the original Olympic loops are still in place for experts to try their hand.
Soldier Hollow is nestled below the dramatic slopes of Mt. Timpanogos in Wasatch Mountain State Park. With 600 acres and 31 kilometers of trails, the Olympic venue continues to lead the West as one the region's top Nordic skiing centers. This year, the facility will host the FIS Under 23 Cross-Country Skiing Championships, February 11-15. Come check out the action, or simply enjoy the park for yourself on any of its operating days.
More Great Options:
Ski To Live
January 22-26, Snowbird, Utah, and April 1-5, Alta, Utah
Alaska Mountain Guides & Climbing School: Backcountry Skiing, Mountaineering, & Ice/Rock Climbing
Ongoing. Alta, Utah