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Alta Ski Area
Dedicated Alta-holics around the world have noticed the pretty convincing statistics—a base elevation of 8,530 feet, more than 500 inches average annual snowfall, more than 2,000 skiable acres—that make Alta, which celebrated its 75th anniversary in January, one of the most desirable destinations for skiers looking for the best conditions. The “snowboard-free” slopes certainly appeal to a certain segment of the client base, but lift and ticketing upgrades over the past decade have made the resort even more appealing, along with the ongoing partnership with Snowbird that allows combining two great ski areas in one season pass.
210 Little Cottonwood Canyon Road, Alta, 801-359-1078, Alta.com
2. Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort
3. Brighton Resort
Best New Animal Encounter
Hogle Zoo's Rocky Shores
Utah’s Hogle Zoo took a step toward the big time with the long-awaited Rocky Shores exhibit, which debuted in 2012. Polar bears, sea lions, otters and other animal inhabitants of coastal North America populate the magnificent new enclosures, which feature naturalistic environments and exciting underwater viewing. This is an impressive new direction for exhibits at the zoo, one that makes the planned opening of the new African Savanna exhibit in 2014 a highly anticipated event.
2600 Sunnyside Ave. (800 South), Salt Lake City, 801-582-1631, HogleZoo.org
Best Stretching for a Cause
Yoga for People
In this modern day, the ancient Indian spiritual discipline and exercise of yoga has become the perfect solution to a stressful day at the office and a great way to lose holiday pounds. But yoga instruction doesn’t often reach those who could use it the most—people in homeless shelters, jails and domestic-violence shelters, and other at-risk and vulnerable populations. Now, the collective of do-gooder yoga gurus at Yoga for People are working to bring yoga to those who could use the balance and healthy benefits of the practice the most.
Best Spray of Color
Farmington Station Park Fountain Show
The new Station Park office and retail complex in Farmington upped the ante for entertaining visitors with a dazzling water, light and music show. Construction company Outside the Lines, the creative engineer behind the World of Color show at Disney California Adventure, oversaw the 5,000-square-foot area in which 58 nozzles and LED lighting spray up to 60 feet high. These hourly shows are choreographed to music by artists including Frank Sinatra, The Beatles and Puccini.
320 N. Station Parkway, Farmington, 801-451-5993, ShopAtStationPark.com
Best Excuse to Be a Zombie
SLC Zombie Walk
Utah doesn’t present a lot of opportunities to dress up and be scary, so when they do come along, mobs of horror fans show up to roam the streets, covered in fake blood, their clothes torn, their skin “decaying.” In the past few years, the August event has become an all-out gore fest for costume fans trying to one-up each other’s designs and effects. Some even pretend to be survivors on the run before being “attacked” and, with the help of makeup kits, morphing into the undead. It’s practically an interactive play.
Best New Roller-Derby League
Happy Valley Derby Darlins
When roller derby came back to life, no one really expected to see it branch farther south than Salt Lake City. But in defiant derby fashion, a group of determined Spanish Fork women started a league in the heart of Utah County in early 2011. Over the past year, the Darlins have become a credible league with the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association, had fierce battles with “rival” leagues up north and have expanded their roster to two regulars and an all-star team.
Best Secret Cycling Event
The brainchild of the dedicated staff of Velo City Bags, this two-day event secretly invaded the streets of Salt Lake City in late June 2012, bringing out the bike enthusiasts in droves. The weekend featured a high-speed alley-cat race through the city streets, fixed-gear freestyle competitions, tall-bike jousts and a dance party. The popularity of the event showed cyclists across the city that they’re not alone in this SUV-dominated town.
Best Genius Exhibit
The Leonardo's da Vinci—the Genius
From late September 2012 through January 2013, The Leonardo science & technology museum celebrated its namesake and the ultimate Renaissance man with Da Vinci—the Genius. On display were more than 200 pieces, including 75 life-size machines, all based on Da Vinci’s codices and scribbles. A scientific analysis of Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” and “The Last Supper” showed how each was created and how time has affected the works. The massive breadth of Da Vinci’s work was almost too much to fathom, and challenged viewers to consider what we each could do if we each got off the couch and started looking closely at the world around us. You know, as if the future depended upon it.
209 E. 500 South, Salt Lake City, 801-531-9800, TheLeonardo.org
Best New Memorial Trail
The newest trail added to the recreation area in the south end of the valley in the foothills above Draper is named after the late, great Ann Parr, the activist who spearheaded the campaigns to get Draper to procure and secure huge tracts of developable lands as open space. City officials recently honored Parr at the dedication ceremony of a tunnel that links Ann’s Trail with both the Bonneville Shoreline and Clark’s trails to create a beautiful 10.2-mile loop.