The cold winter weather leaves just two options: hole up until April or get outside and enjoy it. And whether you’d consider yourself a winter enthusiast or snow sport novice, southern Utah’s annual Snow Fest is the perfect opportunity to get outside and play this Saturday.
On February 5, students, faculty, staff and community members can frolic in the snow at Dixie National Forest’s new Deer Valley Non-motorized Winter Recreation Area from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in all manner of wintertime recreation.
In addition to friendly competitions, participants will also be provided instruction on certain winter sport activities, including snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. The name says it all, and Snow Fest’s main objective is simply to provide fun and safe winter recreation for community members at all activity levels.
In only its third year, Snow Fest has already proven itself a beloved regional tradition. Cedar Mountain Nordic Ski Club President Dave Uherka said when the event first started, just a few Southern Utah University students and members from the Cedar Mountain Nordic Ski Club attended. Now, the event is “as big as available parking and transportation will allow,” Uherka said.
Its rapidly growing popularity is due, in part to its ease and accessibility. Snow Fest is a free event, as is equipment rental and instruction for the day’s activities. Transportation is also provided to and from Deer Valley through a shuttle system, since parking at the mountaintop recreation area is limited.
Though shuttles for this year’s event are currently full, SUU Outdoor Director Rob Myers has said “if there are still people who really want to join in, they should come talk to someone at the SUU Outdoor center, and we will try to work something out.” The SUU Outdoor Center, co-sponsor of Snow Fest, is located in the Sharwan Smith Student Center.
Though space is limited, the amount of experience someone has to have to attend Snow Fest is not. Myers said this event is ideal because it is designed for many levels, with the ultimate goal of advancing the region’s interest in the many recreational opportunities available in the winter months.
Cross country skiing and snowshoeing are two of the healthiest sports, according to Uherka. At a time of year when the inclination may be to hunker down on the couch to wait for a spring thaw, Snow Fest brings people back outside to get their blood pumping and showcase the enjoyment and physical benefits that come with cold weather sports.
And those who are already wintertime enthusiasts will also have the opportunity to showcase their skill in snowshoe and ski races.
All those interested in joining in the fun at this year’s Snow Fest must sign-up and complete a waiver form in advance through the SUU Outdoor Center (435-865-8704).