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BEST OUTDOOR PAINTBALL FIELD
Pegleg Paintball Ogden
For the weekend warrior, nothing helps vent the workweek worries like all-out paintball combat. Thankfully, Utah’s own Pegleg Paintball has created a sprawling outdoor “woodball” field at its Ogden location. Owner Dale Price is the original “Pegleg” and tells his story online. The massive 8-acre field has numerous hills, bunkers and even a forest spreading over half of it for that jungle-warfare feel. The field also has a replica small town so you can experience a CO2-charged re-enactment of the gunfight at the OK Corral if you’re up for it. For the fan of shorter speed games—“hyperball,” as the aficionados call it—the field also boasts two smaller fields with hyper tubes and bunkers set up for intense, high-speed games. The outdoor field (open only on Saturdays) is very accommodating, since it is located right next to the Ogden Pegleg shop, making it easy to rent guns, buy more paint, refill air and even get small technical problems fixed quickly before getting right back into the action.
291 W. 33rd St., Ogden, 801-866-1122, PeglegPaintball.com
||BEST SOCCER COACH
Jason Kreis, Real Salt Lake
Real Salt Lake soccer coach Jason Kreis had the last laugh at the end of the 2008 season when his team made the playoffs. He gutted the roster, imported some South American and European talent and some top-notch U.S. players, and built a team with heart. By the last games of 2008, his boys were playing the European-style soccer he so admires, passing the ball around in midfield, building up attacks and scoring goals. First, Kreis made a believer of his teammates. This season, no doubt, he hopes to do the same with spectators. And he doesn’t take “no” for an answer.
Even while you’re shanking your ball into the golfer next to you, you can at least enjoy the spectacular scenery surrounding Bonneville. The course on the East Bench offers views of the mountains and the Salt Lake Valley. Actually, you don’t even need to look up to be inspired, particularly when faced with teeing off into a ravine on the hilly course that follows the natural contours of the foothills. Bonneville opened in 1929 and is one of the most mature courses in the valley. At 6,834 yards from the back tees, it’s also very challenging. Just think of it as a nature walk when hunting for a ball in the wooded areas.
954 Connor St., Salt Lake City, 801-583-9513
2. Mountain Dell
3. Old Mill
BEST GARDEN TOUR ACCESSORIES
Red Butte Gardens
Red Butte Garden isn’t just a lovely place to spend a spring day; it’s an educational opportunity, too. Kids visiting the gardens can get a special backpack of goodies to enhance the experience, including fun facts about flora and fauna and a magnifying glass for close-up study. Come for the beauty—the kids will leave without even realizing that you sneaked an educational field trip into their day.
300 Wakara Way, Salt Lake City, 801-581-4747, RedButteGarden.org
Alta might be for skiers, but Brighton is for snowboarders. Brighton doesn’t release its snowboarder-vs.-skier numbers, but a glance around the lift line confirms snowboarders outnumber skiers. So, if camaraderie is your thing, this is the place to feel at home. Brighton also has four well-maintained and -designed terrain parks, plus a half pipe. Park director Jared Winkler creates some of the best lines and utilizes diverse features such as wall rides, jumps, boxes and even lift-tower jibs. With the parks open until 9 p.m., Brighton provides the opportunity to hone your skills while others are already getting their apres-ski on.
12601 E. Big Cottonwood Canyon Road, Brighton, 801-532-4731, BrightonResort.com
BEST SUMMER SKIING
This global warming ain’t all bad. Sure, climate trends eventually mean that the only skiing in Utah will be by helicopter—and the Salt Lake Valley will turn into a dust bowl—but, for now, messed-up weather patterns mean the greatest snow on earth starts before Thanskgiving and keeps going well into summer. It was snowing in the mountains last June, with the tops of Big and Little Cottonwood canyons getting 2 feet in a day. Snowbird was open on Father’s Day. The resort’s late-season skiing is made possible by the tram, which carries skiers directly to the top at nearly 11,000 feet. Skiers were able to take runs all day on the Little Cloud lifts, then ride the tram back down to the bottom. The only problem was that the resort’s traditional summer activities, such as its zip line, had to delay opening because of the snowpack.
Highway 210, Little Cottonwood Canyon, Snowbird, 801-933-2222, Snowbird.com
BEST HALLOWEEN PARADE
It’s hard to imagine a more fitting Halloween parade for Park City than Howl-a-Ween. Dedicated to the local dog-loving population, the sight of owners and their dressed-up mutts strutting their stuff down a cordoned-off Main Street will bring a smile to the most hardened of cynics. Along with the more obvious witches and princesses, there were mummies, astronauts and some poor dog even had to sport a tutu. The only question is where all the children come from who go trick or treating in the stores on Main Street before the parade. Given the local inhabitants’ obvious overweening passion for our four-footed friends, it’s hard to imagine anyone up there has time or interest for kids in the first place.
Main Street, Park City
BEST 2008 HALLOWEEN HAUNT
Body Worlds 3
The bodies, all 200 of them, were dead ... and yet these skinless, naked plastinated specimens seemed eerily alive, illuminated in intimate black-box galleries, about to lunge at you at any moment, eyes bulging, organs protruding, one with a bow and arrow, another about to throw a javelin, while the sound of a heartbeat rhythm pulsed in the background. Even a chicken, a lamb and a camel come at you in various dissected states. What better Halloween setting could there be? Little wonder that, by the end of October 2008, The Leonardo marked its 100,000th visitor during the run of Dr. Gunther von Hagens’ traveling science extravaganza, which continued through January 2009. Beats the hell of a cold, muddy corn maze.
The Leonardo at Library Square, 209 E. 500 South, Salt Lake City, TheLeonardo.org
Little Cottonwood Canyon
Everyone calls it granite, but most of it is actually quartz monzonite—the same stuff they used to build the LDS Salt Lake Temple. But, in Little Cottonwood Canyon, it’s still raw. And it’s those rugged outcroppings that climbers cannot wait to get their hands on. Here, they’ll find dozens of buttresses and gullies to be climbed, mostly on the sunnier north side of the canyon, including favorites such as The Fin, Gate Buttress and the Schoolroom. With its multi-pitch traditional routes, shorter sport routes, bouldering and even ice-climbing routes, LCC offers a lifetime of killer climbs ... and it’s right here, as they say, in our own backyard.
2. The Front
BEST SPORT FISHING
Flaming Gorge Reservoir
Nothing beats the Mack—that infamous silvery beast skulking in the waters of the Flaming Gorge Reservoir straddling Utah and Wyoming. The Mackinaw, or lake trout, is the fiercest challenge a Utah angler stands to match bait and hook against, and for sheer size, there are no better waters for these incredible sport fish than at Flaming Gorge. At 91 miles long, the reservoir offers a vast habitat full of nutrients for a variety of trophy fish to survive and thrive. The lake trout are the major monsters in these waters, with anglers regularly pulling in 30-pound-plus Macks every year (the Utah record is held by a 50-plus pounder out of Flaming Gorge). Big fish like the Mackinaw and German browns reach such enormous sizes by feasting off the Gorge’s buffet of “smaller” fish, including Kokanee salmon (which still come in at 5 or 6 pounds). Even in winter months, anglers reported pulling out Macks up to 2 feet long. If you’re ready to match rod, reel and willpower against these beasts, then plan your next aquatic safari at the Gorge.
BEST RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT
Falcon’s Ledge, Altamont
It isn’t easy to become an Orvis-endorsed fly-fishing lodge, but Falcon’s Ledge was named Orvis’ Fly Fishing Lodge of the Year in 2001. That’s why fly-fishing aficionados flock from around the world to Altamont during fly-fishing season: to let the river run through them. From first-time rookies to top-notch pros, the angling instructors at Altamont can teach everyone a thing or two about the intricacies of fly fishing at the private trophy stillwaters of Falcon’s Ledge. Oh, and in season, bird shooting prevails.
SR-87, Altamont, 435-454-3737, FalconsLedge.com
BEST HIPPIE HOOTENANNY
Desert Rocks Festival
Moab was made for a jam-band festival; it must be the very spot God was talking about when He looked down from the heavens and said, “Let there be rock!” Oh, sure, the downtown types, with their three-minute songs and permanently harshed mellows might scoff at 12-minute guitar solos—but where else can you camp out in the desert for four days, get growler refills for $6, and trip out on the Mother Hips, ALO and Hot Buttered Rum?
BEST WAY TO GET LOST
Outdated City Maps
The “You Are Here”-type signboards went up everywhere before the 2002 Olympics and, no doubt, helped many an out-of-towner find his or her way around. They’ve remained there ever since and now pose a trap for unwary travelers who, following the signs’ suggested “walking tour,” are likely as not to end up wandering around among construction zones and empty lots in search of pleasures and attractions that no longer exist. It’s time either to update the maps or take them down entirely before some tourist falls in a hole.