m.mensinger Author

Spend the holidays outdoors

It’s the most wonderful time of year, and what could be more wonderful than spending it the great outdoors? Whether you’re looking for an escape from the crowds of Christmas shoppers in the backcountry or join them singing carols on the slopes, we’ve got a few options for you.

Santa and Sunsets at Deer Valley

The man with the cherry red nose andeight reindeer will make a special appearance at Deer Valley on Dec. 24, for photos and wish lists at the Snow Park Lodge area in the morning and Silver Lake Lodge area until 1:30 p.m. There will be a sunset ski down the Homeward Bound run on Bald Mountain from the Sterling Express lift.

Snowbird Traditions

Throughout December, Snowbird is popping with holiday traditions. From Dec. 6-13 Hanukkah candle lighting will take place every night at sundown. On Dec. 18 and 19, there will be a Torchlight Parade and fireworks as well as a ceremony on the Plaza Deck in remembrance of Dick Bass, the former owner of Snowbird Ski resort and also a man who summited the seven peaks. A tree lighting ceremony in honor of veterans will also take place on Dec 19. Christmas Eve will be filled with skiing Santas, as the first 100 Santas enter for free. There will be another Torchlight Parade followed by fireworks, a candlelight service, and Christmas Eve dinner prepared by Snowbird’s finest dining from 5-10 p.m. for those who join. On Christmas, Mr. and Mrs. Claus will ride the ‘Bird and attend a Christmas dinner.

Stay in a Yurt

Adventure like the nomads, go off the grid for a few days and enjoy a getaway with your family in a cozy yurt for the holidays. A yurt is a circular tent made up of thick skins or other various materials that has a collapsible frame. These were once used by nomads in Siberia, Mongolia, and Turkey. They are available all over the Wasatch, but the top rated ones are in Goblin Valley, Blue Sky Antelope, and Castle Peak. Yurts are an ideal way to escape the distractions of the world and enjoy a peaceful time with family and friends this holiday.


Photo by Carolyn Webber


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Campfire Tales to Terrify

Imagine yourself sitting around a campfire with friends, and there’s a lull in the conversation. “Does anyone know a scary story?” someone says. We’ve all been in that sticky spot – so we’ve given you some stories to take on your next adventure that will make everyone’s skin crawl.


Maria was a caring woman full of life and love, who married a wealthy man who lavished her with gifts and attention. However, after she bore him two sons, he began to change, returning to a life of womanizing and alcohol. He seemingly no longer cared for the beautiful Maria, even talking about leaving her to marry a woman of his own wealthy class. When he did return home, it was only to visit his children and the devastated Maria began to feel resentment toward the boys.

One evening, as Maria was strolling with her two children on a shady pathway near the river, her husband came by in a carriage with an elegant lady beside him. He stopped and spoke to his children, but ignored Maria, and then drove the carriage down the road without looking back.

After seeing this, Maria went into a terrible rage and turned against her children. She seized them and threw them into the river. As they disappeared downstream, she realized what she had done and ran down the bank to save them, but it was too late. Maria broke down into inconsolable grief, running down the streets screaming and wailing.

The beautiful Maria mourned them day and night. During this time, she would not eat and walked along the river in her white gown searching for her boys – hoping they would come back to her. She cried endlessly as she roamed the riverbanks and her gown became soiled and torn. When she continued to refuse to eat, she grew thinner and appeared taller until she looked like a walking skeleton. Still a young woman, she finally died on the banks of the river.

Not long after her death, her restless spirit began to appear, walking the banks of the Santa Fe River when darkness fell. She was said to have been seen drifting between the trees along the shoreline or floating on the current with her long white gown spread out upon the waters. On many a dark night, people would see her walking along the riverbank and crying for her children.


The Interlakes area was a busy place 100 years ago due to the goldrush. Miners turned this whole region upside down in a quest for gold.

Greed can be a dangerous thing, especially where gold is involved. To find more gold meant faster production and digging deeper underground. It also meant sacrificing safety, but that was O.K. because there were a lot of foolish men around looking to make a quick buck.

Well, one day an underground mine collapsed with 16 men still waiting to come up from a full day’s work. Hour after hour went by as they awaited their rescue. The conditions were terrible. It was pitch-black, hot and dusty down deep in that shaft. The men collected droplets of water that seeped down the tunnel walls in an attempt to satisfy their dying thirst. Days went by and still no rescue. To stave off hunger, they ate rats, mushrooms, and eventually… Their dead co-workers.

Despite their hopelessness, they scraped away at the rock and debris to try and dig their way out, confident that others would be digging from the surface as part of the rescue attempt. They dug and they dug, day after day, frantically hoping to see daylight from the surface. The days stretched into weeks, and then from there, the few men left alive lost track of time and started losing their minds.

At last, the survivors broke through and made two very surprising discoveries. The mining company had abandoned the mine and simply walked away.  Being underground all that time had affected the survivor’s eyes. Their eyeballs were all white, except for an itty bitty black pupil. And they could no longer tolerate sunlight.

In their rage, they made a pact to hunt down every man who abandoned them in that old mine. Soon after, mysterious instances of men being killed in the mountains around here started.

The locals at first thought it was a bear or a cougar doing all the killing. The victims were usually found mauled, bloody and torn. But, closer examination showed the teeth marks on the bodies… Were from human teeth.


(adapted from http://www.lovetheoutdoors.com/camping/stories3.htm )


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Dress for Your Adventure

As the crisp autumn breeze blows in along the Wasatch, nature lovers will be in search of their fall layering formula. Utah’s dramatic changes in temperature throughout the day, coupled with high elevation, make layering a necessity when out adventuring.

The base layer lies next to the skin and manages the moisture of the body. It can either lock in sweat or wick it away, so the fabric of choice depends on activity level. It’s usually preferrable to find something that keeps you dry, but in extremely cold temperatures (sub-zero), a layer that holds in moisture can trick your body into sweating less, as it adjusts for the excess of sweat. The base layer should be made of merino wool, synthetic fabrics or a silky material. This layer should be tight enough to fit two to three more layers on top.

The insulating layer does just that— insulate.  This is the second layer and is the main protector from the cold. The insulator should be made up of natural fibers such as wool and goose, and the thickness is determined by the amount of activity. For an expedition with low activity levels and lower temperatures, a heavy-weight product is suggested.

Moderate activities and climates require a mid-weight material, while in mild climates with aerobic activity, a lightweight insulator is recommended. The classic fleece with a breathable but warm fabric is the most common insulator.

The shell is the outer layer with the vital function to protect from the wind and rain. This is the most important layer in rough weather conditions. It should be roomy and not constrict movement or the other layers. Fleeces do well in dry conditions, but it’s best to have a waterproof and windproof fabric to shield you from the elements. A breathable, water-resistant material is suggested for highly athletic activities and a waterproof material for damp and wet conditions.

As layers come in all shapes, sizes and materials, they can also provide a solid sense of fashion. The layer slayers additionally add vests, hoods, scarves and hats. Adding length to layers can class up an outfit, with the shortest layer on top. Layers conveniently provide quick adjustments and comfort for moisture, warmth and protection.



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First Chair Festival: Block Party Kickoff to Utah’s Ski Season this Saturday at The Complex

By: McKayla Mensinger

To all those ski bums waiting to take a ride on the first chair of the season, you’ll find your snow salvation at First Chair Festival this Saturday at The Complex, by POWDER Mag and Newschoolers. Crowds of hyped skiers and snowboarders, live music blaring, delicious scents of food vendors, and perfect visuals of professional ski films await you there. First Chair Fest, which begins at 2 p.m. and costs $20 for general admission ($45 for VIP), is the first event of the season celebrating all things ski and mountain in Utah. There will be a legendary music lineup featuring rapper Too $hort and electronic duo BoomBox, but the highlight of this festival will be five premieres of radical ski films, including Level 1’sPleasure”, Good Company’s “Vice Versa”, Inspired Media Concept’s “Ring the Alarm”, 4FRNT’sHere and Now” and Eric Iberg’s “Be Inspired.” Also, ski and outdoor apparel companies will showcase their newest gear while food trucks cook up delicious refreshments. The sun may still be shining, but ski bums always find a way to get their next winter fix.

Check out the ski movie trailers over at POWDER’s announcement to the festival: http://www.powder.com/stories/news/see-you-at-first-chair-fest/#olSjojc5FVeuYWpx.97

Also, find tickets and and more info at http://firstchairfestival.com/


Photo Credit: “Here and Now”


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