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THE LONG, HARD SLOG OF WINTER: Winter snow settles in over the Wellsville Mountains and southern Cache Valley. / Photo by Nancy Williams

Today's word on journalism

January 13, 2009

Breakneck:

"I get the feeling that the 24-hour news networks are like the bus in the movie 'Speed.' If they stop talking for a second, they think they'll blow up."

--Jon Stewart, The Daily Show, 2008 (Thanks to alert WORDster Ross Martin)

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How locals battle the Cache Valley winter: Skiin' the Beav

By Andrew Grewe

December 10, 2008 | Logan is steeped in tradition. The longer you stay here the more you realize that Loganites have a collection of businesses and activities they hold dear.

At Halloween there is the North Logan Pumpkin walk. During the summer everyone flocks to Summerfest and the Cruise-in. Every morning you can catch the valley gossip at Angie's Restaurant. In the winter however, if you really want to fit in you need to "Ski the Beav."

Beaver Mountain was started in 1939 by Harold and Luella Seeholzer. There love for skiing and their knowledge that Northern Utah can be a cold and boring place in the winter motivated them to dedicate their lives to the resort 29 miles up Logan Canyon. Harold died in 1967, but Luella kept skiing for 30 more years, into her 80s. The ski resort is still owned and operated by some of their children and grandchildren.

In the early years there was one rope tow lift up the main face of the mountain. In the past 70 years that has grown into four chairlifts and one rope tow. It is relatively small compared to other ski areas in Utah. That down-home feel is what draws many locals, like USU junior Justin John, to spend their weekends at the mountain.

"It's the local resort, I know everyone there. It is small and chill, That's why I ski the Beav," said John.

In fact, the small family friendly ski area may be the best business model in the ski industry right now. Three large intermountain ski areas who rely on real estate development for profits; Tamarack resort, Moonlight Basin and the Yellowstone Club, declared bankruptcy following the meltdown on wall street this fall.

Despite the bleak economic outlook, Beaver went ahead with an addition on the lodge. The project enclosed the old patio, creating more indoor eating space and adding a new porch facing the ski hill. They also updated the windows, roof and foundation providing a much needed update to the 44-year-old lodge.

Beaver Mountain has taken specific aim at college students in recent years. According to Beaver Office Manager Cindy Allen, USU students provide a major market for the ski area and so Beaver offers them special programs and deals. Student season passes were on sale this fall for $270. The price is currently $305, which is less than the cost of eight day passes. She also pointed out that some larger ski areas are charging nearly $2,000 for a season pass this year.

USU offers a Ski class taught by Beaver Mountain instructors. Lift tickets and lessons are included in the tuition costs and rentals can be had at a discounted rate.

Wether you are trying to survive your first or your fiftieth Cache Valley winter, An escape to the mountains may be just what you need.

"Take advantage of it. It the cheapest ticket in the state and it is so close. You live here, you should make the most of winter and enjoy it," said Allen.

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