Category Archives: Winter

Trip Report: Winter Conditions in The Subway

For all those hardy folk interested in the Bottom-Up Subway hike in January, we had two customers try it yesterday. They mentioned a LOT of rockfall out there and they had to climb over boulders to get down to the river. They reported about 10″ of snow along the river banks, as well as ice, some of which is “black ice”. They also mentioned plentiful pine trees in the drainage, which looked like they had come down recently. It is slow-going out there; they said in order to have any time at the pools, they suggest an 8 am start time. Jesse

Posted in Canyoneering, Seasonal, Trip Reports, Winter, Zion National Park | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

Hiking Crampons Help Hikers Enjoy Zion’s Winter Majesty

Zion is so beautiful in the winter. We typically enjoy mild temperatures (daytime highs in the 50s or 60s) and sunny skies throughout the “cold” months, with an occasional rain or snowstorm to keep us on our toes. Even those storms deliver wonderful gifts, though, leaving snow-capped peaks, glistening icicles, and white accents on the millions of Zion’s orange sandstone ledges. The one drawback of our winter weather, perhaps, is the myriad trail conditions it creates. With all the melting and thawing and shade and sun, Zion’s trails host a smorgasbord of terrain for the unprepared hiker. It’s easy to underestimate the trouble icy trails can cause, but it’s just as easy to be prepared with a little forethought and the right equipment. I hiked the Upper Emerald Pool via the Kayenta trail yesterday; while the sunny part of the trail was soft and muddy, the shaded portion was a field of snow and ice. To deal with the frozen section of trail, I slipped on my hiking crampons, lightweight traction systems that dig into the ice and make for stable walking. There are many different types of slip-on snow and ice traction products on the market these days. Many … Continue reading

Posted in Gear, Hiking, Safety, Seasonal, Weather & Climate, Winter | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

3rd Annual Snow Fest in Cedar Canyon, Saturday, Feb. 5th

Zion Adventure Company is excited to sponsor the 3rd Annual Snow Fest Event in Cedar Canyon, Utah. Whether you are a seasoned winter warrior or a snowbird who’s never done a snowsport, Snow Fest is a fantastic way to experience local winter activities and learn about new sports in the outdoor community. All events are beginner-friendly, with a focus on introducing more people to the fantastic winter activities we have in Southern Utah. Saturday, February 5th, 2011, 10am-2pm FREE (registration required for equipment and transportation) Deer Valley Cross Country Ski Area, Dixie National Forest, Utah Registration is now open for participation in Snow Fest 2011. This will be the event’s third season and organizers are expecting more skiers and snowshoers than last year. The day will have snowshoe races, cross country ski lessons, a sledding hill for kids, and hot chocolate for all. And all of this is free, thanks to the sponsorship of Southern Utah University, the Dixie National Forest, Cedar Breaks National Monument, Topher Mason and Cedar Mountain Ski Club. To register and reserve snowshoe or ski gear, you must call SUU Outdoors at 435-865-8704 Snow Fest takes place in the Deer Valley Non-Motorized Winter Recreation Area. This … Continue reading

Posted in Seasonal, Snowshoeing, Winter, Winter Sports, XC Skiing | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

Wildflower Fans Predict Bountiful Desert Blooms This Spring

I once heard Navajo culture characterizes summer’s thunderous, pounding, here-and-gone summer rains as the “male” rains, while winter’s softer, longer, more consistent rains are the “female” rains. I don’t know whether Navajos actually do talk or think about rain this way, but such characterizations make a lot of sense to me. While summer rains get all the press, with their ominous cumulus clouds and their brash flash-flood inducing comings and goings, winter rain is what nurtures and propogates our plants, animals (including homo sapiens). Just like a real momma. Winter in the desert carries a big question mark, and that question mark belongs to precipitation. How much will fall? When will it fall? Will it fall as water, or as snow? How much water we receive, and the quality of that receipt, is perhaps the most significant factor in the desert year. While the hot, hard, baked earth of summer can’t hope to absorb the torrential blasts of the monsoon season, winter’s supple, porous soils soak up the water it receives to feed the plants, animals, and water table for the remainder of the year. One of many special interest groups focused on winter precipitation is the “wildflower lobby”. These … Continue reading

Posted in Natural History, Plants, Seasonal, Weather & Climate, Wildflowers, Winter, Zion National Park | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

Learn How to Layer for Warmth in Cold Weather

For the last so-many years, a group of die-hard canyoneers has converged in North Wash  for “FreezeFest”, a canyoneering rendezvous anchored around a New Year’s Day descent of the Black Hole. This troupe of crazies camps out during this entire endeavor, enduring cold, long nights around campfires and REALLY cold, dark nights huddled within “festive party tents,” battling the dark and cold with food, stories, and laughter. With highs in the 20s over the last week, it takes some good preparation to take part in FreezeFest, especially in the clothing category. But what if you don’t know how to dress for cold conditions? How does a canyoneer stay warm over 2 – 10 days of sub-freezing conditions? If you can’t stay warm, you won’t have fun at FreezeFest, or anywhere else in the outdoors under cold conditions. In honor of winter and our comrades’ festive shenanigans, I offer a great no-nonsense video on cold weather layering from the NOLS folks. I used to live in the Teton Valley, where snow can easily be on the ground any month of the year. Since these cats outfit thousands of students for outdoor greatness each year, we can trust them to know a … Continue reading

Posted in Gear, Seasonal, Techniques, Winter | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

Awesome Winter Activities in Zion National Park

“Is Zion open year-round? You mean people come here in the winter?” Yes! While the vast majority of Zion’s 2.8 million annual visitors come between March and October, the Park is open year-round, with many of the same, and some novel, outdoor activities to pursue. Here are a few “local secrets” for visiting in the “off season”… Take in the solitude.Want to hike the Emerald Pools trail alone? Or have the summit of Angels Landing all to yourself? Try these hikes in the winter, and you can probably have your wish! On any summer day, these trails are packed with visitors, but in the winter, they provide a serene and wild experience for brave hikers. And even if you have enjoyed these trail before in warmer conditions, the low light and snow accents of winter create some wonderfully different and really beautiful perspectives on the “old classics”. Plus, you won’t catch yourself avoiding the sun, like July hikers do, but rather enjoying it immensely. Be flexible: Mother nature is in charge in the Winter. As our past week’s wet weather attests, winter weather in Zion is a bit unpredictable and can be fierce. Winter days can be 60 degrees and … Continue reading

Posted in Seasonal, Skiing, Snowshoeing, Winter, Zion National Park | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off

Travel Journal: My New Year’s Resolution

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! As one year ends and a new one begins, I find myself reflecting on my habits and reevaluating how I spend my time. The religious and cultural symbols of the new year, the changing seasons, and all the time spent indoors lately have prompted me to mull over all the possibilities for the coming year. For many, this is a time to distill lessons from the previous twelve months, to devote oneself to new disciplines, and to set new goals. I find myself doing the same. As I take stock of the past year,  I find so many moments committed indelibly to my memory, places and people that have impacted who I am, and my intention is to find even more in 2011. Having just finished touring the East Coast for the first time, I have a special perspective through which I am processing all this. When traveling, I feel a sense of urgency; I do not want to miss an opportunity to experience something, because I may not have the opportunity again. This makes me think of a class I took on improvisation. The rule in improv comedy is, “Say YES”. No matter … Continue reading

Posted in Reflections, Seasonal, Seasons, Winter | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Zion: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Today, I received many gifts. Gifts I was not expecting, nor even thinking of asking for. These gifts came from a place I often forget about, a place that gives to me everyday. Today, a very rainy day, I found gifts that brought sunshine into & out of every part of my being. After a morning meeting, I decided to do something I always recommend to visitors on a rainy day, something I always say I’m going to do, but rarely actually do: I jumped in the car and headed into the canyon looking for waterfalls. Since today was the third day of steady rain, I figured my goal would be easily met. Little did I know what awaited me… Driving through the fee gate, the ranger asked we would be hiking today. Planning only on spectating, I assured him we’d be in our car for the duration of our visit. As we headed up the State Route 9, I got my first glimpse of the Virgin River. At 2050 cfs (cubic feet per second)… wow, that’s a lot of water! A giggle of glee escaped as I watched the raging current. As we turned north up the Zion Canyon … Continue reading

Posted in Hiking, Reflections, Seasonal, Weather & Climate, Winter, Zion National Park | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

‘Tis the Season for Winter Canyoneering Photos

ZAC Guide Scott Williams snapped these pics whilst enjoying an exciting day of white canyoneering with clients over Thanksgiving weekend. As the pictures show, we had a healthy helping of fluffy flakes last weekend, which made for some incredible canyon experiences. Guide Sarah Stratton reported 18″ of snow in Cave Valley on 11/24, with icy rappels and refrigerator temperatures in the canyons. To prepare for conditions, Scott and his crews donned drysuits, which kept them super cozy, not to mention easy to spot, in the canyon snow globe. Scott promised to report all the details next week… check in to read about the wintery action.

Posted in Canyoneering, Guided Events, Seasonal, Trip Reports, Winter, ZAC Events | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

1st Annual Zion: Joy to the World Festival, 11/26 thru 12/24

First Annual Zion: Joy to the World Winter Festival Scheduled in Springdale, Utah The Town of Springdale, Zion Canyon Visitor’s Bureau and Zion Canyon Arts and Humanities Council (Z-Arts!) have combined forces for the first time to host a winter festival in Zion Canyon. Local businesses and local musicians have been enjoined to fill the weekends of the holiday season with fun and – you guessed it – joy. Kicking off the festival is the 21st Annual Z-Arts! Arts and Crafts Fair on Thanksgiving weekend, Friday and Saturday November 26 and 27 at the Canyon Community Center, 126 Lion Boulevard, in Springdale. This popular fair features handmade arts and crafts by regional artists. An added feature this year is the opportunity to have your pet’s photo taken by a professional photographer. The Downtown Christmas Tree will be illuminated at 5:00 pm on November 27th. The tree is located at Under the Eaves Bed and Breakfast, 980 Zion Park Boulevard. Our first “Music at the Mart” performance, featuring the Kate Godfrey Ensemble, begins at 4:00 and after an intermission for the tree lighting, will continue until 6:30. Throughout the festival, free outdoor performances are scheduled on Saturdays from 3pm-5pm at the … Continue reading

Posted in Local Events, Winter | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment