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Briefs: POW Day, Ogio, Hogle Zoo, Arch

First Published      Last Updated Jan 12 2016 04:24 pm

Free ski bus service to Alta, Snowbird on Wednesday

Wednesday provides an occasion for Utahns to do their symbolic share to protect the precious powder of the central Wasatch Mountains.

For the first "Pow Day," Utah Transit Authority will provide free ski bus service up Little Cottonwood Canyon to Alta and Snowbird ski resorts. Both areas are offering proprietary parking for car-poolers with four or more riders.

Anyone who carpools, takes the bus or joins the nonprofit group Protect Our Winters, which is sponsoring the event along with Ski Utah, will receive a limited edition Discrete hat designed by big mountain skier Julian Carr.

He is one of many winter who have joined Protect Our Winters' founder Jeremy Jones, a professional snowboarder, in expressing concern about global warming's impact on mountain snowpacks.

"It's through events like this," said Protect Our Winters Director Chris Steinkamp, "that we'll begin to change habits, showing everyone how easy and fun it can be, helping to make carpooling to the mountains second nature."

Added Laynee Jones, program manager for Mountain Accord, a planning effort: "It is important for all users of the Central Wasatch Mountains to understand what it means to love these mountains to death.  Efforts like POW Day are vital in getting the word out for users to do their part."

Hogle Zoo had third largest annual attendance last year

Utah's Hogle Zoo had its third largest annual attendance total last year — 1,132,676.

Zoo spokeswoman Erica Hansen said 2015 was the fifth consecutive year in which visitation topped 1 million. The zoo's best year was 2012, when the newly opened Rocky Shores exhibit of bears, sea lions, seals and otters attracted 1.2 million visitors.

The zoo, which recently received accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums for the 36th year, also had 64,503 guests for ZooLights. That was down from a record 96,822 in 2014.

Utah tech companies raised $1B in venture capital last year

Utah technology companies raised $1 billion in venture capital last year, the most ever, according to SiliconSlopes.com, a website promoting the state's tech community.

In addition, SiliconSlopes spokeswoman Tessa Curry said, five companies were valued at more than $1 billion and that Instructure, a Cottonwood Heights-based company that provides management assistance to educational institutions, went through an initial public offering and is now listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

"The past year helped to solidify the state as a great place for business and employees," she added.

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