Before the weather starts to warm up this semester, check out these winter activities worth trying in southern Utah.
Snowboarding has been a passion for Brad Griffith, a store manager at Zumiez, who has been doing it professionally for 15 years.
“I call myself a park junkie because I’ll be in the park pretty much the whole day,” Griffith said. “I love cruising through snow, flying through trees [and] throwing big powder clouds when it’s all snowy.”
Griffith said snowboarding is a winter activity that is really hard to describe until one actually tries it. There’s not a lot of places in southern Utah for snow, but students can travel to Brain Head, which is about an hour and 15 minutes away. Students can also visit Eagle Point, which is two hours away, and League Canyon, which is two and a half hours away.
For those interested in visiting before the snow melts, Brian Head is offering college nights, where students can ride at night for only $15 with a student ID. Students can also rent a snowboard, boots and bindings for $15 as well.
“It’s an awesome, cheap way to get out on a mountain and have some fun,” Griffith said.
For incoming freshman Ashlyn Puzey, an employee at Red Rock Bicycle Company, mountain biking is a winter activity that she has done for almost nine years.
“I almost prefer mountain biking during the winter time,” Puzey said. “Because it’s in the 50s and it’s perfect biking weather, so I’m out all the time all throughout the day versus July where it’s like 110 degrees, and I don’t want to be biking in that weather.”
Joey Dye, Marketing Director for Red Rock Bicycle Company, said people can ride their bikes in St. George 365 days a year as long as there is no rain.
“We have people who travel here from all over the world to ride our trails, especially during the winter because our town is just below the snowline.” Dye said. “We do a lot of group rides, even at Red Rock Bicycle Company, and we have a lot of events that students can get involved there,” Puzey said.
Puzey is also in the process of starting a new Mountain Bike Club at DSU where students can learn how to mountain bike.
“Hopefully we can start a team that will travel all around Utah,” Puzey said.
Puzey’s mountain bike cost around $4,000; however, students can rent a mountain bike for $50 – $100 for 24 hours at Red Rock Bicycle Company. Helmets are $5 and car racks are $35.
Weston Hargis and Nick Nootbaar are both seniors at DSU and both work at Desert Rat, which sells anything pertaining to rock climbing to backpacking, and camping. For Hargis, who is majoring in exercise secience and has been rock climbing for 3 years, said winters in southern Utah are nothing compared to the Midwest of Wisconsin or Minnesota.
“Rock climbing is more of a winter sport because you can go all day, whereas in the summertime you can start at 5 a.m. but by 9 a.m. the rock gets so hot,” Hargis said.“There are places to climb in the summer, but if you want to climb Chuckwalla like we did today, you can’t really do it in the summertime.”
Nootbaar, a business major from California, started the Rock Climbing Club after he took the rock climbing course at DSU. Students can rent a crash pad at the Desert Rat for only $15 for bouldering and rent rock climbing equipment from the ORAC.
“It’s definitely a life sport you can do it from just being a little a kid all away up until retirement.” Hargis said. “It’s nice because it’s a full body workout.”
If students want to try rock climbing as a winter activity, sign up for Rock climbing II – 1528 – Section 02 at Dixie. It is a two-credit course with two sections that will teach students how to set up, proper techniques and lessons.
“Getting instruction from somebody else is probably the best thing because if you are making a mistake they can see it right away and fix it,” Hargis said. “DSU does a really good job instructing how to set up tied ropes, how to belay properly and how to climb safe up a wall.”