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Easter forecast: Utah skiers, campers, art lovers should all be happy

Published April 4, 2012 4:20 pm

Weather • A little snow, lots of sunshine ensure pleasant Easter.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Early April usually marks the transition from the ski season to camping and golfing in much of Utah.

That likely will hold true this year as skiers could see one last dusting of snow late Thursday and early Friday as Wasatch resorts prepare to close. Campers, outdoor enthusiasts and art lovers traveling to such places as St. George, Moab or Little Sahara Sand Dunes should enjoy delightful weather starting Friday afternoon.

Mark Struthwolf of the Salt Lake City National Weather Service office said there may be showers Thursday night and Friday morning, which could leave a couple of inches of new snow at the resorts. Then skies will clear Friday afternoon for a sunny Easter weekend.

He predicted temperatures in the 50s and 60s in northern Utah, and the mid-70s in St. George and Moab, where highs could approach 80 on Sunday. Temperatures will be about 10 degrees warmer than normal in northern Utah and five above in the south.

Tourist officials are gearing up for a busy Easter weekend at ski resorts and in southern Utah. Moab hosts its annual Easter Jeep Safari, St. George's popular art festival is Friday and Saturday, and the Little Sahara Sand Dunes north of Delta could see up to 35,000 off-highway vehicle enthusiasts if the forecast holds.

"This time of year, most skiers are hoping for sunny skies," said Jessica Kunzer of Ski Utah. "We will have that later in the week. … Everybody wants to don bright Easter colors and sunglasses. This is the last big holiday weekend for the resorts. They are reporting that it will be relatively busy. We are hoping it will be a nice strong finish to our season."

And that season is definitely winding down. Beaver Mountain, Wolf Mountain and Eagle Point are closed. Snowbasin and Sundance will close Sunday. Brian Head, Deer Valley, Canyons, Park City, Solitude and Powder Mountain end their seasons April 15.

Kunzer said it has been a good season.

"Despite the lower snow totals, we opened the season on time and we are closing where we have traditionally closed," she said. "We managed to offer a full and quality experience for snowboarders and skiers all season."

Much of the spring recreation interest is moving to southern Utah. Many state and national park campgrounds will be full this weekend and motel rooms will be hard to find.

"The great weather increases the amount of visitation," said Tina Snyder of the Grand County Travel Council in Moab. "People want to get away where it is warmer, especially from Colorado. With motel rooms, we can get last-minute cancellations where you can find a room. But you should try to find that before you come. As for camping, there is always room for more, especially with primitive camping if you follow the rules. There is usually always a place to camp no matter how busy it gets."

Maxine Stringham, who works the desk at the St. George visitor center at the Dixie Center, said motels are usually full this time of year, especially if weather conditions are pleasant.

"This is a wonderful time of year," she said. "There are lots more people. The motels are full."

Again, planning ahead and being flexible is the key. Travelers looking to stay in St. George or visit Zion National Park may need to think about Mesquite to the south or Cedar City to the north on one of the busiest weekends of the year.

Then again, those who stay home should be able to ski in the morning and golf in the afternoon on what is shaping up to be a great Easter weekend for outdoor activities.

wharton@sltrib.com

Twitter @tribtomwharton