Winter to Spring

Spring officially returns to Utah and all of the northern hemisphere on Monday, March 20 at 11:26 a.m. MST. Known as the vernal or March equinox, the arrival of spring in the northern hemisphere marks that moment when the Sun moves northward through the celestial equator.

The celestial equator is an imaginary line in space above the Earth's equator.

As NASA Solar System Ambassador to Utah Patrick Wiggins explains it, "One way to think of the equinox is that day when the periods of darkness and light are pretty much equal and the Sun rises due east and sets due west."

The next such event, known as the autumnal or September equinox, will occur when the Sun passes southward through the celestial equator next September, marking the start of fall in the northern hemisphere.

Similarly, there are two times a year when the Sun is furthest from the sky's equator. One is at the start of our summer, when it's furthest north, and the other is at the start of our winter, when it 's farthest south. These events are known as the June and December solstices.

Wiggins adds that while Utahns and others who reside in the northern hemisphere mark this month's equinox as the start of the longer, warmer days of spring, those in the southern hemisphere, where the seasons are reversed, see this event as the start of the shorter, cooler days of autumn."

When asked about reports of people being able to balance eggs on their ends on the equinox Wiggins said that it's true and that if one uses enough eggs and tries hard enough some eggs will stand upright on the equinox.

But then he grinned and added that the same is true any day of the year. "There is no demonstrated link between Sun positions and balancing eggs," he said.

For further astronomical information log onto Wiggins' Solar System Ambassador web site at


Park City, Utah (March 11, 2006) -Olympic athletes Torah Bright (AUS) and Mason Aguirre (USA) threw down huge first runs to win the snowboard division at the fourth annual World Superpipe Championships at Park City Mountain Resort. Eight women and 11 men competed for a piece of the $90,000 prize purse in a best of three-run format.

Bright's first run score of 93.0 points was good enough to give her the win over second place finisher Soko Yamaoka of Japan by 7.3 points. Meg Pugh, who secured a spot here by competing at the World Superpipe Qualifiers in Mt. Bachelor and Boreal, came in third.

Aguirre separated himself from the field on his first run by scoring 90.0, which bested second place finisher Kevin Pierce by 8.3 points. Jack Mitrani came in third with 76.0 points.

On Sunday, March 12 a strong field of skiers will have their chance to become the World Superpipe Champions. The field includes X-Games winners Tanner Hall, Simon Dumont and Frenchman Laurent Favre. The competition begins at 12:00 pm. The event is free to the public and will include live music, food, and giveaways.

For a complete list of results visit .

Park City Mountain Resort encompasses 3,300 acres, 3,100 vertical feet, nine bowls and eight peaks offering Signature groomed runs, bumps, powder, trees, terrain parks and the Eagle Superpipe, North America's largest superpipe. The Resort is conveniently located 36 miles away from the Salt Lake International Airport, offering more than 500 non-stop flights daily. For more information about Park City Mountain Resort visit our blog at or our website at .


The Utah Geothermal Working Group is sponsoring a two-day workshop on direct-use of geothermal resources and ground-source heat pump (GHP) applications. The first day will be devoted to ground-source heat pumps and will include their utilization history, current installations, and case studies in the western U.S. Area GHP developers will also provide local perspectives on operational experience. The second day will be devoted to direct-use application of geothermal resources and will include the nature of the resource, geothermal well completion, economics of direct-use projects, and case studies of various direct-use applications in the western U.S. Afternoon field trips to GHP and geothermal direct-use sites will follow each of the morning technical sessions. Transportation to sites will be provided. The International Ground Source Heat Pump Association will grant continuing education credits to their members who attend this workshop.
Registration: $20 single day attendees, $30 for those who plan to attend both days. (This registration includes lunch.) A registration form is included with this mailing. Registration will be available at the door at a cost of $25 for a single day and $35 for two days. For more information contact Robert Blackett, Utah Geological Survey, at (435) 865-9035 or

For those considering an overnight stay at the conference site, the Quality Inn may be reached at (801) 533-9000. Ask for Erin Allred to get the conference rate of $58 / night.

This workshop is co-sponsored by the Utah Geothermal Working Group, U.S. Department of Energy GeoPowering the West, Sound Geothermal, Oregon Institute of Technology Geo-Heat Center, Washington State University. Energy Program, University of Utah Energy & Geoscience Institute, and the Utah Geological Survey State Energy Program.

Planned Agenda

Day 1 (March 22) - Geothermal Heat Pumps
· 8:00 a.m. Registration - 30 min.
· 8:30 a.m. Welcome and Introductions - 15 min.
· 8:45 a.m. Ground-source heat pumps (GHPs), concepts and practices - Cary Smith,
Sound Geothermal - 30 min.
· 9:15 a.m. History of GHPs, industry status -Cary Smith, Sound Geothermal - 30 min.
· 9:45 a.m. Break -15 min.
· 10:00 a.m. GHP case studies in the western U.S. - Gordon Bloomquist, WSUEP; Andrew
Chiasson, OIT; local developer - 1 hr. (four presentations ~ 15 - 20 min. each)
· 11:00 a.m. Operation and maintenance experience of GHPs - local perspective - Duane
Devey, Fort Herriman Middle School; regional perspective - Gordon Bloomquist, WSUEP - 30 min.
· 11:30 a.m. Technical aspects of GHP design: thermal-conductivity, sizing, etc. - Andrew
Chiasson, OIT; - 1 hr.
· 12:30 p.m. Working Lunch (provided) background for field trip - 30 min.
· 1:00 p.m. Field trip to GHP facility (Herriman School) - 2 to 3 hrs. (transport provided)

Day 2 (March 23) - Geothermal Direct Use
· 8:00 a.m. Registration - 30 min.
· 8:30 a.m. Welcome and Introductions - 15 min.
· 8:45 a.m. Nature and occurrence of geothermal resources - Joe Moore, EGI - 15 min.
· 9:00 a.m. Exploration for geothermal resources - Rick Allis, UGS - 15 min.
· 9:15 a.m. Geothermal drilling - Jim Witcher, Witcher and Associates - 30 min.
· 9:45 a.m. Geothermal resources in Utah - Bob Blackett, UGS - 15 min.
· 10:00 a.m. Break - 15 min.
· 10:15 a.m. Economic factors affecting direct-use development - Gordon Bloomquist,
WSUEP - 30 min.
· 10:45 a.m. Geothermal Direct-Use Applications - Gordon Bloomquist WSUEP;
John Lund, OIT; Toni Boyd, OIT - 1 hr. 20 min.
- Industrial uses
- Agribusiness
- Aquaculture
- District heating
- Retrofit
· 12:05 p.m. USDA Farm Bill Section 9006 Grant and Loan Program -
Richard Carrig, USDA; also a Working Lunch (provided) - 1 hr.
· 1:00 p.m. Geothermal Template for USDA Farm Bill Section 9006 - Andrew Chiasson,
OIT 15 min.
· 1:15 p.m. Facilitating geothermal direct-use startups in agriculture through business
incubators. - Jim Witcher - 15 min.
· 1:30 p.m. Geothermal websites - Toni Boyd, OIT - 15 min.
· 2:00 p.m. Field Trip to Crystal-Bluffdale area (Utah State Prison project) -
2 to 3 hrs. (transport provided)

March 22 and 23, 2006

Name: _______________________________ Organization: ______________________

Phone: ______________________________ E-Mail: __________________________

I will attend the following day(s): March 22 (Ground Source Heat Pumps) ______
March 23 (Direct-Use Geothermal) ______

Please make payment via check with this registration form. (Please note that we are not equipped to accept credit cards.) Please make checks out to "Utah Geological Survey".
Please include $20 if you plan to attend only one day; $30 if you plan to attend both days.
NOTE: Registration fees will increase by $5 for registrations at the door.

Please send this form along with your check to:
Denise Beaudoin
Utah Geological Survey
1594 West North Temple, Suite 3110
Salt Lake City, UT 84114
Admission: $20 one day $30 two days
Hours: March 22 and 23, 2006 8:00-5:00
Contact: Denise Beaudoin
Phone: 801-538-4798
Venue: Quality Inn Airport,
Location: 1659 W North Temple, Salt Lake City
Accessible to those with Disabilities


SALT LAKE CITY, March 13, 2006 - For the second year in a row, 26 Utah hotels and restaurants have received AAA's prestigious Four Diamond Award. The AAA Four Diamond Awards recognize properties that are a cut above the competition in service and quality.

"Every Four Diamond establishment on this year's list is a repeat winner," said Rolayne Fairclough, AAA Utah spokesperson. "That shows the high level of service that these hotels and restaurants continue to provide to the customer."

Five hotels received the Four Diamond Award for the second consecutive year. They include Invited Inn in Midway, Red Cliffs Adventure Lodge in Moab, and Hotel Park City in Park City. Restaurants recognized for the second year in a row are Goldener Hirsch Restaurant in Park City and Simon's Restaurant in Midway. The record for most consecutive Four Diamond Awards goes to the Salt Lake City Marriott Downtown which received its 25th Four Diamond Award.

"Competition for the Four Diamond Award is heavy," said Fairclough. "Each year AAA inspects over 50,000 establishments throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. Only 3 percent of the lodgings and fewer than 4 percent of the restaurants receive a Four Diamond Award."

Only a small fraction of the thousands of hotels, resorts, and restaurants meet AAA's demanding criteria for high levels of service and luxurious surroundings. AAA's rating system is the only one that covers all of North America, including Mexico and the Caribbean, as well as Canada and all 50 states. To be considered for AAA approval and rating, lodgings and restaurants undergo a thorough inspection by one of AAA's full time professional evaluators.

AAA's rating system of one to five diamonds is published in the AAA TourBooks and is designed to help members know what to expect from restaurants and lodgings, from range of services to price.


Homestead Resort, Midway

Blue Boar Inn, Midway

Johnson Mill Bed & Breakfast, Midway

Invited Inn, Midway

Sunflower Hill Luxury Inn, Moab

Sorrel River Ranch Resort & Spa, Moab

Red Cliffs Adventure Lodge, Moab

Silver King Hotel, Park City

The Grand Summit Resort Hotel, Park City

Hotel Park City, Park City

Little America Hotel, Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City Marriot Hotel, Salt Lake City

Hilton Salt Lake City Center, Salt Lake City

The Inn at Temple Square, Salt Lake City

Hotel Monaco, Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City Marriott City Center, Salt Lake City

Coyote Inn at Green Valley Resort & Spa, St. George

Skyridge Inn Bed & Breakfast, Torrey


Simons at The Homestead Restaurant, Midway

Blue Boar Restaurant, Midway

Goldener Hirsch Restaurant, Park City

The Glitretind, Park City

The Tree Room, Provo

Log Haven, Salt Lake City

La Caille, Salt Lake City

Metropolitan, Salt Lake City

AAA Utah offers a wide array of automotive, travel, insurance and financial services to more than 135,000 members. AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers since it was founded more than 100 years ago.

Fishing and Hunting License Fees Will Not Go Up in 2007

Utah Legislature Gives DWR $2.2 Million in Additional Funding

You won't have to pay more to fish and hunt in Utah in 2007.

During the recent Utah legislative session, state legislators voted to give the Division of Wildlife Resources an additional $2.2 million to cover a budget shortfall the division was facing. Without the extra money, the DWR faced two choices: raise fishing and hunting license fees or make substantial budget cuts that would include reducing employees.

"Legislators were very generous to Utah's wildlife this past legislative session," says Jim Karpowitz, director of the DWR. "If you enjoy the state's wildlife, you should thank your local representative and senator for the support they gave it. Without that support, we would have needed an increase in fishing and hunting license fees."

Karpowitz says legislators recognize that wildlife is valuable to everyone in Utah. "They understand that wildlife adds a lot to the quality of life for everyone in Utah," he said. "They also realize that the financial burden for managing the state's wildlife shouldn't be placed only on the shoulders of hunters and anglers."

Even with the ongoing funding, the DWR could face another shortfall in 2008 if the agency doesn't find a way to obtain additional revenue. "We're looking at several new options to attract more people to fishing and hunting," Karpowitz said. New license sales could offset the need for license fee increases in 2008.

In addition to the $2.2 million added to the DWR's budget, state legislators approved $5 million to rebuild the Midway State Fish Hatchery and $2.5 million to improve watersheds in Utah. "These additional dollars will be a great investment for the future of fish and wildlife in Utah," Karpowitz said.

A Note from the NWRA:

Dear Friends,

Calls are urgently needed to your Senators to reject a new bid to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge!!! Please take a moment of your time to contact your senators today at the number listed below!


Similar to last year, the Senate Budget Committee has included provisions to open this pristine wild area to oil and gas drilling. Your calls, emails and letters last year convinced Congress that oil drilling shouldn't occur on such a remarkable national treasure. Yet, drilling advocates are at it again! So again, we ask that you take action to protect one of the Refuge System's most majestic and pristine areas.

Please take a moment to call your two U.S. senators. Urge them to vote NO on the FY 2007 Budget Resolution when it comes to the Senate floor for a vote later this week.

103 years ago today, President Theodore Roosevelt created the first national wildlife refuge that launched a unique wildlife system dedicated to the preservation of our spectacular wildlife heritage. Please tell Congress to support Roosevelt's vision and leadership and keep our Arctic Refuge free from oil and gas drilling! Call your Senators today! Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121.


SALT LAKE CITY, March 14, 2006 - Gasoline prices in Utah remain steady while the national price increased, reports AAA Utah. The current national average price for a gallon of regular self-serve is $2.36, a 7-cent increase from February. Utah's current average price is $2.30, only a 2-cent increase from February. Only 18 states have fuel prices lower than Utah.

"As refineries begin their seasonal switchover to producing summer grade fuels, gasoline prices fluctuate as the process temporarily reduces output," said Rolayne Fairclough, AAA Utah spokesperson. "If inventories were robust, prices would drop, explaining the rise and fall of prices throughout the country."

According to AAA Utah, which tracks gasoline prices as a service to consumers, prices in the Intermountain West have remained relatively steady with the exception of Colorado. After dropping 6 cents in February, Colorado's average price increased a whopping 11 cents to the current average of $2.35. Motorists in the rest of the Intermountain West have not experienced such irksome price fluctuations. The current price for regular, self-serve in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming increased 3 cents this past month. The current price in Idaho is $2.32. Montana's motorists are now paying $2.23 and Wyoming's price is $2.23. Arizona's price dropped 3 cents to the current average, $2.37. Nevada's price is $2.45, a 4-cent drop from last month. California's price increased 1 cent to the current average, $2.57.

Most of the Utah cities surveyed by AAA saw average prices for regular, self-serve gasoline remain constant this past month. Moab, Ogden, Provo, and St. George prices have remained the same. The price in Moab is $2.41; in Ogden, $2.24; in Provo, $2.25; in St. George, $2.35. The average price in Logan increased 3 cents to $2.33. Salt Lake City's average price dropped 1 cent to $2.24. Vernal's price increased 4 cents to $2.36.

As the weather changes, tire pressure can also change. Motorists can increase their fuel efficiency by making sure their tires are properly inflated. Consumers can also take advantage of the current fluctuation in prices by shopping aggressively for gasoline. AAA Utah has a tool that can help. Located online at , the AAA Fuel Finder has real time information on gas prices at more than 85,000 gas stations throughout the United States.

AAA's Fuel Gauge Report is the most comprehensive retail gasoline survey available, with over 85,000 self-serve stations surveyed everyday nationwide. Data is provided in cooperation with OPIS Energy Group and Wright Express, LLC.

AAA Utah offers a wide array of automotive, travel, insurance and financial services to more than 135,000 members. AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers since it was founded more than 100 years ago.


PRICE, UTAH--Hey kids! How would you like a 3-day fishing trip with a conservation officer at one of Utah's best fishing holes? Think about it. You'll learn all the fishing secrets that only a game warden knows. That's not all. Receive $150 worth of free fishing gear from the Sportsman's Warehouse! What's more, the game warden provides food and lodging for you and your parent(s). You'll sleep in a cozy cabin or bunkhouse, catch lots of fish, and have loads of fun!

What's the catch? Write an essay entitled, "The Best Fishing Trip I Ever Had." The essay must be typed, double-spaced and be 300-500 words long. Two separate age categories will be judged: 7th through 9th grade, and 10th through 12th grade. The entry deadline is April 21, 2006. Second and third prize winners in each age group receive $50 and $25 gift certificates respectively from the Sportsman's Warehouse. For additional information, visit the Division of Wildlife Resources homepage:

There's still more! You just might become a celebrity. You'll fish alongside KUTV's Doug Miller, who plans to go along and tape his weekly show, Outdoors with Doug Miller. Just imagine seeing yourself on TV. It's sure to impress your friends and annoy your enemies!. It doesn't get much better than that. But there's a price to pay, so stop day dreaming. Remember the essay. It's not a big deal. You do it for your English class all the time. Only in this case, there's a big pay-off! So give the video games a rest for one night. Double click on Microsoft Word and blaze away on that keyboard. By the way, if it's any comfort to you, this ad is more than 300 words.

Winners Announced in Annual STEP OUTSIDE Photo, Story Contests

NEWTOWN, Conn.--Hundreds of photos and stories about newcomers in the outdoors again poured into the National Shooting Sports Foundation's (NSSF) headquarters for the latest STEP OUTSIDE® annual photo and story contests.

From that extensive field of entries, judges selected one first-place winner, two second-place and five third-place winners in each category. Those 16 lucky photographers and writers range from young newcomers to experienced outdoor communicators from across the country.

All of the entries were judged on how well they reflected the STEP OUTSIDE theme of introducing new participants to target shooting, archery, hunting and fishing.

"The 16 winners have shown that sharing a day outdoors with family and friends is not only a rewarding experience, but that sharing those stories with countless others has its own rewards. Their efforts have earned them top honors in our annual STEP OUTSIDE photo and story contests," said Melissa Schilling, NSSF's national coordinator for the STEP OUTSIDE program.

First-place winners will receive a $1,000 gift certificate to an outdoor retail store, while second-place winners will receive a $500 gift certificate and third-place winners will receive a $100 gift certificate.

The winners of the 2005 photo contest are:

First place: Margie Anderson, 50, Phoenix, Ariz.
Second place: Vincent Bourke, 38, Gainesville, Fla.; Jake Bramlet, 10, Texas.
Third place: Marc Murrell, 40, Newton, Kansas; Jason Housley, 35, Hot Springs, Ark.; Joseph Byers, 59, Hagerstown, Md.; Garry Walters, 57, Highland Heights, Ky.; Jill Bramlet, 13, Texas.

The winners of the 2005 story contest are:

First place: Kendall Hemphill, 44, Mason, Texas, for "First Hunt"
Second place: Berdette Zastrow, 63, of Columbia, S.D., for "The Lady More Than Stepped Outside--She Leaped;" Rick Fitzpatrick, Redding, Calif., for "Pass It On"
Third place: Deb Padden, 48, Andover, N.Y., for "My Dad: Rifle Instructor;" Brian Musgrave, 11, Lewis Center, Ohio; Marc Murrell, 40, Newton, Kansas, for "Full Circle;" David Barus, 57, East Aurora, N.Y., for "A Grandson and His 'Dziadzia;'" Andrew Price, 15, Visalia, Calif., for "My STEP OUTSIDE Experience"

STEP OUTSIDE, a program of NSSF, developed the story and photo contests to draw attention to its call to outdoor enthusiasts, encouraging them to introduce newcomers to target shooting, archery, hunting or fishing. The program has introduced thousands to these outdoor pastimes.

To view 2005's winning entries, visit .

Peter Breinholt Performs at Tuacahn

Saturday, April 15 at 8 pm--Peter Breinholt & Big Parade will be in concert at the amazing Tuacahn Amphitheater, near St. George, UT. If you haven't been to this outdoor red rock theater, you're in for an absolute treat. And, the event is in the middle of Spring and Easter break for most people, which we hope helps the travelers. Tickets are available now by calling 1-800-SHOW UTAH (1-800-746-9882), or online at . Opening the show will be the great Sam Payne.


PRAGELATO PLAN, Italy (March 15) - Steve Cook (LW-4; Salt Lake City), the 5K champion in free technique three days earlier, tore through the 10K classic technique race Wednesday to earn his second gold medal of the IX Paralympic Winter Games.

Cook, arguably the strongest skater among standup skiers on the disabled World Cup - but who struggled earlier in the winter after a preseaon heavy workout on his classic technique (both skis in prepared tracks), had an adjusted time of 27:22.8. That brought him home more than a half-minute ahead of Russian Alfis Makamedinov (LW-2) in the middle distance race.

"I can't believe it," said Cook, who lost his right leg below the knee in a 1988 farm accident "After winning my first race here, I feel like I relieved a little bit of the pressure that I had put on myself. Now I am able to concentrate on just skiing and competing to the best of my ability.

"This is amazing, it's icing on the cake." And the cherry on top may have come a couple of days ago when his wife, Lauren, arrived to help lead the cheering for the Americans.

Coach: "Good things for good people..."
"For two races now, 'Cookie' has flat-out skied his heart out," said Head Coach Jon Kreamelmeyer. "He has just put the pedal down and gone; he doesn't second-guess himself and he doesn't over-think these races - he knows he has to ski fast, so he simply turns it on. And I'll tell ya - he was cranking! He was gonna stay together and win or he was gonna explode out there, because he was moving like pistons in a high-powered engine..."

He paused and added, "I was heading out of the waxing area when Cookie came back after the race and he yelled at me, 'Hey...' and we shared a hug and he just said, 'Thanks...thanks.' He's so modest, so humble and he works for everything he gets. There's no entitlement there - Cookie's like Daron Rahlves, just a wonderful mix of talent and hard work and great humility. It's just so good to see good things happen to good people."

Kreamelmeyer also was excited about Mike Crenshaw (LW-4; Boulder, CO), 51 and competing in his fourth Paralympics, who finished seventh in the standup category, less than two minutes behind Cook. "At this point in his career, for 'Crenny' to come up with that great a race...well, that's a medal for him," the coach said. "He laid it on the line and for a large part of the race, he and Steve were 1-2; there were 29 skiers and Crenny skied ninth and Cookie went 12th, so they had a while to wait to see what would happen."

Cook, who turned to cross country skiing as a way to help boost his cycling after his injury, started the race slowly. He was ninth at the first kilometer, but then he gathered steam and had the fastest second lap.

"It's great to see the team out here doing well," Cook said. "We have great skis, great wax techs, great coaches…our team is so supportive of each other and it's fun to see what we're capable of."

Picking the right wax was, as always, crucial
Kreamelmeyer echoed Cook's praise for what his staff went through to prepare the skis on a tricky waxing day where temperatures were about 40 F. in bright sunshine. "We were on soft snow and all the teams sere trying to figure out whether to go with hard wax or klister. We went with hard wax and had great glide."

Said Crenshaw, who is sronger in classic than skating, "That was a much better race for me. I knew Cook would be coming up on me, so when he did I just latched on and tried to hang with him."

Perkins, who competed Tuesday in the 7.5K biathlon, said, "It was a good race. There are a lot of really fast guys competing in this class. I definitely left it all out there."

In the sit-skier category, Monica Bascio (LW-11; Evergreen, CO) was seventh with Candace Cable (LW-11; Truckee, CA) 10th in the women's 5K. In the men's sit-skier 10K, Chris Klebl (LW-11; Heber City, UT) had the top U.S. result, finishing 18th. Kelly Underkofler (LW-8; St. Paul, MN) was 11th among standup women in their 10K.

The cross country schedule resumes Friday with relays and concludes Saturday with the long distance events.

Pragelato Plan, ITA - March 15, 2006
Cross Country Middle Distance Races
(All times adjusted)
Men's 10K - standups
1. Steve Cook, LW-4, Salt Lake City, 27:22.8
2. Alfis Makamedinov, LW-2, Russia, 27:59.8
3. Kirill Mikhaylov, LW-4; Russia, 28:06.5
7. Mike Crenshaw, LW-4, Boulder, Colo., 29:18.0
16. Dan Perkins, LW-4, North Syracuse, N.Y., 30:33.7
Men's 10K - Sit-skiers
1. Taras Kryjanovski, LW-11.5, Russia, 26:43.6
2. Sergei Shilov, LW-10, Russia, 26:52.1
3. Iurii Kostiuk, LW-10.5, Ukraine, 27:10.9
18. Chris Klebl, LW-11, Heber City, Utah, 29:24.3
20. Bob Balk, LW-1l.5, Long Beach, Calif., 29:38.2
22. Greg Mallory, LW-11, Portland, Ore., 30:21.1

(No U.S. blind skiers)

Women's 5K - Sit-skiers
1. Olena Iurkovska, LW-12, Ukraine, 16:39.7
2. Liudmilla Vauchok, LW-11, Belarus, 17:12.8
3. Colette Bourgonje, LW-10, Canada, 17:18.7
7. Monica Bascio, LW-11, Evergreen, Colo., 18:29.8
10. Candace Cable, LW-11, Truckee, Calif., 19:15.1
Women's 10K - Standups
1. Anna Burmistrova, LW-8, Russia, 34:12.2
2. Yukiya Batenkova, LW-6, Ukraine, 34:30.8
3. Anne Floriet, France, LW-9, 34:39.3
11. Kelly Underkofler, LW-8, St. Paul, Minn., 40:24.8
(No U.S. blind skiers)

Ozone Crew Hits Two Unique Events

The Ozone crew recently hit two unique snowkite events. With the "Mille Lacs Kite Xing" pioneering distance snowkite racing and "The Therapy Sessions" demonstrating park-style snowkiting, both events exhibited the future of our sport.

Mille Lacs Kite Xing

My lines made crunching noises as I wound them up Sunday. Having returned from an attempted crossing of Mille Lacs Lake, each flyline was shelled over with ice. It was 1:30 PM and I was done. Normally I would kite until sunset, but this weekend had exhausted me. Saturday had given us steady winds. Although light, they provided enough mojo to jib the snowkite rails repeatedly. I rode unhooked most of the time, so my shoulders were burning when the race began the next day.

About forty kites had filed between two green flags before me. "Eighty seven!" I yelled as I passed the starting gate, ensuring that they took my time in the off chance that I placed. Looking up at my ten meter kite, I was reminded how few my chances were. Everyone else had rigged bigger. But that was alright, my goal was to experience my first distance race, not win a trophy. Tacking upwind, we rounded the first flag. From there we headed into an abyss of whiteness; moist fog erased the horizon as it touched the lake of snow.

Some completed the 23 mile course, but others didn't. One athlete with a GPS turned it on midway to find himself 8 miles off course. Others returned after ice had built on their equipment, rendering their kites "not-so-fast."

Everyone gathered at the Y-Café for the awards ceremony that afternoon. Smiles were bright as competitors were handed trophies made of wooden stick figures on snowboards and skis. The event left me pensive over races to come in the future.

There were over fifty racers that competed in the crossing. The event was organized by Michael and his crew from Fleet 8.

Colorado Kiteforce Therapy Sessions

The Therapy Sessions assuaged my troubled mind; my curiosity had boiled for months while I waited to see the world's premier snowkite park.

Ready for a session Thursday, the locals, several out-of-towners, and myself parked beside Sanitarium. With winds switching from north to south, east to west, (all within five minutes) we decided that gravity boarding might be the better option. Four guys caught the last chairlift up Breckenridge, while I meandered the town. I realized that Breckenridge is just one mountain town among dozens that has been built by the ski industry. Coming from North Dakota, I wonder if snowkiting could ever bring such energy to our treeless state (ok, we have trees, but there are certainly less of them).

On Friday, Sanitarium met us with equally eclectic winds. So we headed to Silverthorn to snowkite the other shore. Ryan, a kitesurfer from North Carolina, made his first snowkite cuts---reaching the middle of the reservoir just in time for the wind to die. Once again we decided to hit the hills. Copper Mountain had the best terrain park. As a group of ten of us jibbed our way down the mountain, I had a few realizations: snowkiting had improved my snowboarding skills… and Nathan Borer, who had learned to snowboard in Minneapolis and had build a snowkite park in the his back yard, was kicking everyone else's tail on the rails.

Saturday gave us better winds. Rob Whittall flew off the jumps with accuracy honed in the French Alps, exposing iron cross after iron cross to a half dozen photographers below. Motz, Nathan, and myself jibed the variety of rails while others played on the terrain.

The next day we were met with snow showers and limited visibility, but a few die-hard riders made it out. We departed, feeling much better after our therapy sessions.

Thanks goes out to Anton of Colorado Kiteforce, James Brown, and the entire Colorado Crew for putting on an incredible event. Also, special thanks goes to Nick & Patrick for great borsch and a warm place to crash.

NRA's Annual Meetings & Exhibits 2006: Moving on to Milwaukee

Several Acres of Top Manufacturers, Outfitters & Vendors

Fairfax, VA - The National Rifle Association is pleased to announce this year's Annual Meetings and Exhibits will be held at the Midwest Airlines Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin from May 19-21, 2006.

With an estimated 40-50,000 attendees and about 350 exhibits, this year's Annual Meetings and Exhibits promises to be among the best in NRA history. The exhibit hall will contain one of the largest and best displays of firearms, guides and outfitters in the country; featuring new firearm models, various hunting and shooting accessories, and an extensive private firearms collection displayed by NRA affiliated gun collector clubs.

In addition, NRA offers a diverse array of activities throughout the three-day convention. These include the Opening Celebration, with live music by surprise musical guests; the popular Ladies Luncheon; the NRA Silent Auction; Members Banquet; and a variety of informational presentations, such as methods of concealed carry, women's personal protection and power politics, America's greatest battle rifle, whitetail hunting and firearms law. In addition, the popular air gun range provides a safe, family-friendly activity - fun for participants and observers.


THURSDAY, MAY 18 Member Registration, Information & Services: 2 pm - 6 pm

6:00 pm National NRA Foundation Banquet - TICKET REQUIRED

FRIDAY, MAY 19 Member Registration, Information, and Services & Sales: 8 am - 6 pm
Air Gun Range: 9 am - 6 pm; Exhibit Hall: 10 am - 6 pm

8:00 am Clubs & Associations Continental Breakfast
8:00 am Grassroots Continental Breakfast
9:00 am Clubs & Associations Workshop
9:00 am Grassroots Workshop
9:00 am Annual Firearms Law Seminar
11:00 am Sportsman's Luncheon/Auction
11:00 am Ladies Luncheon/Auction
2:00 pm Opening Celebration
3:00 pm Special Sessions:
--Methods of Concealed Carry
--Garand: US Rifle Cal. 30 M1

SATURDAY, MAY 20 Member Registration, Information, and Services & Sales: 8 am - 6 pm
Air Gun Range: 9 am - 6 pm; Exhibit Hall: 10 am - 6 pm

7:00 am 2006 Prayer Breakfast - TICKET REQUIRED
10:00 am Annual Meeting of Members
10:00 am - 6:00 pm NRA Foundation Silent Auction
1:30 pm Special Session:
--Women, Personal Protection and Power Politics
6:00 pm Heritage Society Reception
7:00 pm NRA Members Banquet Reception
8:00 pm 135th NRA Members Banquet - TICKET REQUIRED

SUNDAY, MAY 21 Member Registration, Information, and Services & Sales: 8 am - 5 pm
Air Gun Range: 9 am - 5 pm; Exhibit Hall: 10 am - 5 pm

9:30 am Special Session:
--National Gun Collector Awards Program
10:00 am - 5:00 pm NRA Foundation Silent Auction
11:00 am Special Sessions:
--NRA and the Media: A Forum for Straight Shooters
--Guaranteed Whitetail Tactics

For more information; including Banquet tickets:

Refuge System Photo Contest Results Announced

NWRA Launches Refuge Image Library Dedicated to Building Public Awareness of Refuge System

Washington, DC - The National Wildlife Refuge Association (NWRA) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2005 Refuge Photo Contest, a digital photo contest showcasing America's national wildlife refuges and the diverse wildlife that depend on them. With these photos and in celebration of the 103rd anniversary of the establishment of the first National Wildlife Refuge on March 14, 1903, NWRA is launching a searchable online Refuge Image Library.

More than 1,400 refuge images were submitted to this first-ever Refuge Photo Contest, undeniable evidence that refuges are outstanding places to view wildlife and experience America's diverse wildlife heritage. Images were submitted by upload through the contest website from July 8 until December 15, 2005.

"The contest results are testimonial both to the wealth of talent possessed by amateur outdoor photographers across the nation, and to the spectacular beauty that can be found at our national wildlife refuges," said Evan Hirsche, President of the NWRA. "These photos will help us to illustrate why it's so important to protect and strengthen our more than 545 national wildlife refuges."

The top 4 prize winners are John Eriksson of Waller, TX (First Place); Ed Bustya of Phoenix, AZ (Second Place); Brett Breeding of New Castle, DE (Third Place); and Stan Bousson of Moline, IL (Fourth Place). The 25 Fifth Place winners are: David Caldwell, Art Cole, Jim Cruce, Brian L. Currie, Bob Griffith, Jim Jamieson, Frank Johnson, Roland Jordahl, Anthony Kent, Nan Moore, Erv Nichols, Karen Nitz, Judd Patterson, Bill Raften, Keith Ramos-Viera, Kenny Seals,David Seibel, Sandy Selesky, Bob Smith, Sherrie Stanley, Janice Tripp, John Van de Graaff, Diana Whiting, John Williams, and Warren Williams.

The top prize is a full digiscoping outfit (telescope with eyepiece, tripod, tripod-head, and digital camera attachment) provided by Refuge Photo Contest sponsor Swarovski Optik of North America (SONA). SONA provided additional prizes, as did Trek Technologies and Houghton Mifflin.

The NWRA Refuge Image Library, a gallery of high quality images showcasing the rich and varied wildlife and habitat protected by our country's National Wildlife Refuge System, features the more than 200 semi-finalist images from the photo contest. The collection is searchable by subject category and state, and provides contact information for each photographer.

Visit for more information on the contest and the Refuge Image Library.

The National Wildlife Refuge Association is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, nationwide membership organization, established in 1975. The NWRA's mission is to protect enhance and expand the National Wildlife Refuge System, lands and waters set aside by the American people to protect our country's diverse wildlife heritage. Over the years we have worked to make the Refuge System stronger and better able to address the growing challenges of conserving wildlife in our country. For more information, visit .



Exhibit features full-scale mockup of Space Shuttle RSRM Cutaway


Minneapolis, March 8, 2006 - Alliant Techsystems (NYSE: ATK) will join with officials from Salt Lake County and the Clark Planetarium to officially open a new rocketry exhibit at Salt Lake County's Clark Planetarium in downtown Salt Lake City at 10 a.m. March 15.

Dedicated to educating the public about the first leg in the journey to space exploration,the multimedia exhibit features an overview of the history and science behind rockets. The exhibit's major feature is a 12.5- foot-diameter cross-section mockup of the world's best known solid rocket--The Space Shuttle's Reusable Solid Rocket Motor (RSRM), which is manufactured in Utah by ATK Thiokol.

Additional exhibit elements include four video segments that range from the fundamentals of rocket science to the future of human space flight--NASA's Crew Launch Vehicle (CLV).

"This generous donation of the Rocketry Exhibit by ATK Thiokol gives our visitors a great view into the science and the history of rockets. We are extremely pleased to have corporate partners like ATK Thiokol who recognize the importance of encouraging science education to Utah residents," said Seth Jarvis, Director of Clark Planetarium.

"ATK Thiokol is proud to donate this exhibit to the residents of Salt Lake County and to the many school students who visit the Clark Planetarium. We hope that visitors are inspired by what they see here and continue to follow the space program with great interest," said Mike Kahn, ATK Thiokol vice president of space launch systems.

ATK is a $3.1 billion advanced space systems company employing approximately 15,000 people in 23 states. News and information can be found on the Internet at .

The Clark Planetarium's mission is to create and present stimulating educational programs that effectively share astronomy and space exploration information with Salt Lake County residents, Utah students, educators and families, and visitors from around the country and the world. Approximately 100,000 Utah students visited the Clark Planetarium in 2005. Visit the Clark Planetarium online at .


Governor Jon Huntsman along with Mayor Rocky Anderson, Mayor Peter Corroon, Mayor Dana Williams and County Commissioner Sally Elliott will be sliding down the skeleton track at the Utah Olympic Park on Saturday, March 18. These elected officials will be attending the annual Utah Skeleton & Bobsled Association (USBA) Friends & Family End of the Season Party to try out their skills in the sport of skeleton.

A handful of elite skeleton athletes will be on hand to coach these dignitaries including 2005 World Cup Champion Noelle Pikus-Pace, Olympian Zach Lund, and 2005 Europa Cup Champion Chris Hedquist. Sliding will begin at 2:30 p.m.

Utah Skeleton & Bobsled Association is committed to offering support to the skeleton and bobsled community by providing instruction, mentoring, coaching and use of equipment to it's members. They offer recreational and competitive sliding opportunities locally as well as competitions with other clubs in Calgary and Lake Placid. It is the goal of the Utah Skeleton & Bobsled to foster an environment of open competition and broaden community involvement with an emphasis on welcoming and supporting new sliders. For more information on Utah Skeleton & Bobsled please visit .

Skeleton is the fastest growing of all the bob sports. The sport was successfully re-introduced to the Olympic arena at the Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City after a 54-year absence. Skeleton is the oldest alpine winter sport. The Cresta Run begun in 1885, and thus Skeleton is the very first "alpine" winter sport. Visit for more information.


Winter bobsled rides on "The Comet" are available Wednesday through Sunday from now until Tuesday, March 28. Reservations are required for public passenger bobsled rides. Imagine world champion Stephan Bosch of Germany taking you on a bobsled ride at the Utah Olympic Park. It's not a dream. The all-star driving team will be piloting sleds at 80 miles per hour and 5 G's of force for the final month of the winter season. The public has less than one month left to take advantage of this year's winter bobsled rides at the Utah Olympic Park.

Winter bobsled rides on "The Comet" are available Tuesday through Saturday from now until Tuesday, March 28. Reservations are required for public passenger bobsled rides. Participants must be 16 years of age. The cost is $200 per person. For more information and reservations, contact the Utah Olympic Park at (435) 658-4206.


The Utah Olympic Park is hosting the aerial competition for the 2006 Chevrolet Freestyle Junior Olympics. The competition is set for March 11-18, 2006. The Chevrolet Freestyle Junior Olympics is the premier national event for all junior-age freestyle skiers. The results determine who are the best overall junior competitor in each discipline and the best competitor in each age class.

The Freestyle Junior Olympics will feature five events - moguls, dual moguls, aerials, slopestyle and halfpipe. The schedule for the Utah Olympic Park is as follows:

Friday, March 17 - Aerial Competition 4:15-6:30 p.m.

Park City Mountain Resort will start the four days of events beginning March 214 with the slopestyle competition on the Pick n Shovel run. The aerials crew head to the Utah Olympic Park for competition March 17. The championships conclude March 18 at Park City Mountain Resort with moguls on Sampson.

For more information on these events please contact the Sport Services desk at (435) 658-4208 or email at .


Mar. 11-18, Freestyle Junior Olympics, Utah Olympic Park

Mar. Junior Olympics, Soldier Hollow

Mar. 15, Learn To Curl, Utah Olympic Oval

Mar. 22, Learn To Curl, Utah Olympic Oval

Mar. 29, Learn To Curl, Utah Olympic Oval

April 5, Learn To Curl, Utah Olympic Oval

April 12, Learn To Curl, Utah Olympic Oval

April 19, Learn To Curl, Utah Olympic Oval

April 26, Learn To Curl, Utah Olympic Oval

May 20, Hammerfest Mountain Bike Race, Soldier Hollow

June 17, Saturday Freestyle Big Air Show, Utah Olympic Park

June 23-25, Heber Valley Pow Wow and Mountain Man Rendezvous, Soldier Hollow

June 24, Saturday Freestyle Big Air Show, Utah Olympic Park

July 1, Saturday Freestyle Big Air Show, Utah Olympic Park

July 8, Saturday Freestyle Big Air Show, Utah Olympic Park

July 15, Saturday Freestyle Big Air Show, Utah Olympic Park

July 18-21, Get Up & Go Adventure Camp, All Venues

July 22, Saturday Freestyle Big Air Show, Utah Olympic Park

July 25-28, Get Up & Go Adventure Camp, All Venues

July 29, Saturday Freestyle Big Air Show, Utah Olympic Park

Aug. 1-4, Get Up & Go Adventure Camp, All Venues

Aug. 5, Saturday Freestyle Big Air Show, Utah Olympic Park

Aug. 8-11, Get Up & Go Adventure Camp, All Venues

Aug. 12, Kearns Fire Water and Ice Celebration, Utah Olympic Oval

Aug. 12, Saturday Freestyle Big Air Show, Utah Olympic Park

Aug. 19, Saturday Freestyle Big Air Show, Utah Olympic Park

Aug. 26, Saturday Freestyle Big Air Show, Utah Olympic Park

Sept. 1-4, Classic Sheepdog Championships, Soldier Hollow

Sept. 2, Saturday Freestyle Big Air Show, Utah Olympic Park