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From professional basketball to thrilling motocross racing, sports fans have seemingly endless options for thrilling competition in Utah.
Thought of as the Beehive State’s “flagship” sporting franchise, the Utah Jazz delights fans from their home court at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City. Originally based in New Orleans until 1980, Utah fans enthusiastically embraced the team from their first game. If you love watching rising basketball stars, get tickets for the Salt Lake City Stars, the NBA development team. If you love college sports, head over to The Spectrum to watch the “Aggies” of Utah State University take the court, or over to Brigham Young University to watch their men’s team make another NCAA “March Madness” run.
Hockey fans can watch the Utah Grizzlies take the ice in West Valley City at the Maverik Center. This Anaheim Ducks minor league affiliate team has had an impressive run of consecutive playoff appearances, guaranteeing that fans will see some terrific hockey action.
Fans of “America’s pastime” have a number of options to watch their favorite players take the field. The Salt Lake Bees play at Spring Mobile Ballpark in Salt Lake City. Noted as currently being the only AAA minor league baseball team in the Beehive State, The Bees bring cheering crowds throughout the summer. The Bees are a member of the Pacific Coast League and are affiliates of the Los Angeles Angels.
Exciting Pioneer League play can also be found in Utah. The Ogden Raptors, who play on downtown Ogden’s Lindquist Field, are among the Los Angeles Dodgers’ farm teams. The games make for the perfect family outing, and their mascot, Oggie the Velociraptor, is always a hit with the kids.
The Los Angeles Angels also have a rookie league, minor league baseball team in Utah, the Orem Owlz. For travelers in the Utah Valley, you can catch their games on the Utah Valley University campus.
Soccer fans are in luck when visiting the Beehive State. Real Salt Lake, one time Major League Soccer Cup champions, play their home games in Sandy at the Rio Tinto Stadium. You could join one of their eight official fan clubs that can be found in Section 26 of the stadium at every home game. You can also see the young prospects play with the Real Monarchs when you are in town.
The Tour de Utah has been dubbed “America’s Toughest Stage Race.” This internationally acclaimed competition is a multi-staged bicycle race that takes seven days and covers some of the most scenic terrain to be found anywhere in the world.
The people of Utah have always held a great love for racing, and this is reflected by the number of world-class facilities open to fans. Rocky Mountain Raceways (once known as Bonneville Raceways) has been at the center of the racing scene for more than 20 years. Enthusiasts can regularly see Modifieds, Jet Cars, Sprint Cars, and Monster Trucks take to their tracks.
Utah Motorsports Campus in Tooele has a flexible track that can convert into smaller configurations, in addition to a separate kart track. Considered one of the country’s most impressive facilities, it has played host to events like the Utah Grand Prix, AMA Superbike Championship, NASCAR and the Pirelli World Challenge, among many others.
Fans of off-road vehicles and off-highway motorcycle races will want to check out events at Jordan River OHV State Recreation Area. They have four separate tracks with banked turns and options that appeal to both advanced riders and novices.
There are hundreds of golf courses throughout Utah that are perfect places to test your swing. The courses range from executive courses to truly challenging, championship-level courses. Among the most popular are the Thunderbird Golf Course (east of Zion National Park), the Moab Golf Club (dramatic landscapes leave quite an impression), The Dinaland Golf course in Vernal, the Bonneville Golf Club in Salt Lake City, Park City Golf Course, Schneiter's Riverside Golf Course in Ogden and the Logan River Golf Course, considered one of the state’s premier golfing destinations. Heber Valley is also known for its terrific public courses in Soldier Hollow and Wasatch Mountain State Park.
Skiing and Other Snow Sports
It is claimed that Utah has the “Greatest Snow on Earth®” – there was certainly a reason the Winter Olympics was held here. So, it is no surprise that snowboarders and skiers flock to the Utah slopes as soon as the temperatures begin to plummet. With this great mountain powder comes terrific opportunities and narrowing down the options to a few favorites may be the toughest task of your trip. Here are some options to consider.
Alta Ski Area, less than an hour outside of Salt Lake City, features 116 runs and more than 2,200 acres. High Rustler run is frequently named among the best runs for skiers and noted as being the ideal representation of the Utah ski run experience. It also offers terrific beginning runs, and 35% are dedicated to expert skiers.
If you are looking for solitude, Eagle Point Resort is reportedly one of the state’s most secluded resorts. It has more than 600 skiable acres, and accessible terrain can be found almost upon arrival. Be sure to ask the lift operators for the latest info on the best runs of the day.
Park City Mountain is a sophisticated spot that ranks as the “#1 Most Accessible Resort” in North America by SKI Magazine, and it has an Olympic legacy that is hard to beat. With the modern additions, the resort grants access to more than 7,300 acres, including 17 peaks and 14 bowls.
The Sundance Mountain Resort also gets kudos for its terrific powder and its impressive views of the Mount Timpanogos ridgeline. Experts flock to Bishops Bowl, while beginners may lean more toward Stampede and Outlaw Trail. Don’t forget to ask them about their night skiing and, yes, that really was a wild turkey you just saw.