The Thunder Over Utah Air Show celebrates its inaugural weekend by scorching the sky with supersonic maneuvers and stockpiling funds for local community organizations. Throughout the two-day event, St. George's towering red mountains carve out a breathtaking backdrop as aircraft launch into lower orbit to boom over the heads of spectators and melt clouds into manageable marshmallows. From general-admission seats, awestruck attendees can trace the Hornet planes of the world-renowned Blue Angels, study the sturdy WWII assembly of a P-51 Mustang, and marvel at the multi-mission MV-22 Osprey, whose vertical flight mimics that of a helicopter or magician stuck on levitate.
One of Utah's first off-course golf retailers, Uinta Golf has been equipping putt enthusiasts with specialized apparel for more than 40 years. Tops from Nike (starting at $39.98) cloak swinging torsos, and TaylorMade hats (starting at $19.99) let players don their favorite brands or combat distracting perspiration with a moisture-wicking sweatband. As the Nike Women's Dri-Fit visor ($18) eliminates sweat and adjusts to cranium circumferences with a velcro fastener, Nike Tech skorts ($60) sheath lower halves with shorts' length and a skirt's aesthetic.
The 2012 PGA Utah Golf Pass offers golfers discounted tee times and deals at more than 70 courses throughout the state. By paying the cart fee, pass-wielders enjoy free rounds at seven of the state's premier golf venues, including the red rock-framed fairways of Sand Hollow and the mountainside greens of Birch Creek Golf Course. At dozens of other courses, players enjoy VIP bargains such as percentages off tee times, buy-one, get-one-free deals on greens fees, special discounts for junior golfers, and free admission for infant sand wedges.
Pass holders also receive discounts on range balls, regripping services, and golf merchandise at certain locations. Check the website for a comprehensive list of discounts, all of which remain valid until the end of 2012 or the golf-cart union goes on strike.
Rising above the Markagunt Plateau like the ramming prow of an ancient oared ship, Brian Head Peak commands the surrounding landscape as the highest point in Iron County. Originally dubbed Monument Peak because of its looming height, unique shape, and the 19th century's superstitions against building actual monuments, the peak now presides over a namesake resort, a 660-acre spread with the highest base elevation in Utah and all the great snow that comes with it. But although the winter snow is cold and dry—its average moisture content is just 4%—the resort isn't just a one-season playground. And its climatic adaptability means that even though Brian Head Resort is located on a national scenic byway within hours of five national parks, its eight lifts remain the most enticing way to explore the outdoors.
In addition to 71 ski trails, the resort's slopes—divided between Brian Head Peak and the slightly smaller Navajo Peak—offer features such as the bag jump, which allows guests to try out jumps, tricks, and homemade parachutes safely before touching down on a giant inflatable pillow. Regular night skiing opens up lower slopes for evening runs while those tired of shredding can hit up the tubing lanes for carefree descents. Rentals outfit casual downhillers with all the equipment they need, complementing private and group lessons for all ages on Navajo Peak. The resort's experienced professionals also cultivate the next generation of skiers by combining lessons with daycare for wee ones aged 3 and older.
As the seasons change, the melting snow exposes Brian Head Resort’s summer identity as a bustling hub for hikers, mountain bikers, and disc golfers. Views of towering red rocks abound as guests ascend the resort’s chairlift, from which they can shred down to the base by bike or enjoy the scenery during a more leisurely hike. For bikers, trails shaped by natural terrain share the mountain with terrain parks, where they can perform grinds, stalls, and airborne acrobatics. An 18-hole disc golf course descends from the summit to the base, covering a total of roughly six miles, the length of a squirrel marathon.
Voted the best public course in Utah by Golfweek, Sand Hollow Resort and its two courses are sequestered amid the scenic mountain vistas of southern Utah. The championship course's 7,300-yard, par 72 gauntlet offers challenging rounds to golfers of all skill levels, with difficult but attainable birdies at each hole. Red rock outcroppings border the links of the first nine, and the southwestern beauty of the 15th hole graced the cover of Golfweek's best-courses issue.