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Utah State Winter Sports

Skiing and Snowboarding   Adopted: March 15, 2012
Utah state winter sports
Utah State Winter Sports: Skiing and Snowboarding
Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley Resort
Photographs, prints and posters

Way back in 1962, years ago, Maryland became the first state to add an official sport or sporting activity to its roster of official state symbols and emblems. It would be another twelve years before Alaska would wade into "state sport" waters. Perhaps the impetus for Utah occurred in 1998, years ago, when New Hampshire designated skiing as its official "sport." Maybe not. New Hampshire's a small state after all!

We do know for sure that Colorado's move in 2008, designating skiing and snowboarding as their official recreational winter sports must have really stuck in the craw of some Utahns who had, in 2002, hosted the Winter Olympic Games. In fact, according to The Salt Lake Tribune:

Rep. Steve Eliason, R-Sandy, said he sponsored the bill because skiing and snowboarding are an economic boon, luring travelers and bolstering state coffers.

Colorado, which adopted a similar designation for skiing in 2008, was the inspiration for the bill.

The state had 4.2 million skier days last year, generating 20,000 jobs, Eliason said.

(Tribune Political Reporters, "The Salt Lake Tribune", 2012)

Utah state winter sports
Utah State Winter Sports: Skiing and Snowboarding
Photographs, prints and posters

Of course, promotion of Utah's ski resorts, and the economic benefits of the expansion of the ski industry in the state was a real motivator. Even though Utah gained much prestige for hosting the 2002 Winter Olympics the industry had posted, in 2010, 67% growth since the Olympics, and Utah was the third most visited ski destination in the country, the economic growth contributed to the state by the winter sports industry was dwarfed by Colorado. In 2010, Utah had fewer ski resorts and registered slightly over 4 million ski days while Colorado registered 12 million ski days during the same period.

By the way, a ski day equals the number of visitors to the slopes multiplied by the number of days they ski. If six skiers visit the slopes for five days, the total ski days would equal 30. If three million skiers hit the slopes for four days each, that would total 12 million ski days.

As was mentioned one of the prime motivations for this legislation was to increase focus on the state's ski industry in attempt to increase the ski days being registered in the state each year.

More economic growth would be a good thing for Utah. In Colorado, skiing and snowboarding were declared state "recreational sports." Idaho meant business.

Over and over again, however, the fact that Colorado had beat Utah to the punch, continued to move front and center as motivation for the official winter sports campaign.

On a mission, State Representative Steve Eliason crafted a bill that would designate skiing and snowboarding the official winter sports of Utah. All of the administrative work was completed, the analysis and fiscal impact papers were done, and the bill was numbered and made available to the public by December 20, 2011.

Utah state winter sports
Utah State Winter Sports: Skiing and Snowboarding
Photographs, prints and posters

When Rep. Eliason returned to the legislature after the holidays, House Bill No. 321 (HB321) was ready to go. Introduced on January 23, 2012 and referred to Workforce Services and the Community, Culture and Economic Development Committee it was pretty clear that the Utah Legislature was going to give this proposal a smooth ride. There was very little to object to in a bill that might have a positive economic impact on the state's growing winter sports sector.

Indeed, within two days of the introduction of HB321, a favorable (6-1) committee report was released.

On January 27, 2012, HB321 was passed on the floor of the Utah House of Representatives by unanimous vote (67-0).

State Representative Rep. Eliason had no trouble getting his winter sports bill passed in the House, though Rep. Fred Cox

...wondered if he had considered ice fishing, bobsledding, tubing, car crashing and breathing through an inversion.

(Romboy, "Utah: Land of the Ski, Home of the Inversion", 2012)

It had been smooth sailing in the House and Rep. Eliason had good reason to expect an easy time of it in the Senate as well.

“You may ask why we need another state symbol,” said Rep. Steve Eliason, R-Sandy, who sponsored the measure.

State symbols, he said, represent land and people, and this is the first one to tie both together.

Eliason noted the ski/snowboard industry brought $1.2 billion to Utah last year, up 67 percent since the 2002 Winter Olympics. Utah is the third most visited ski destination in the country and 40 percent of Utah homes have a skier or snowboarder, he said.

(Romboy, "Utah: Land of the Ski, Home of the Inversion", 2012)

Utah state winter sports
Utah State Winter Sports: Skiing and Snowboarding
Photographs, prints and posters

With all that, Rep. Eliason confessed that his initial motivation came from Colorado's successful campaign to designate skiing and snowboarding as their state recreational sports. Rep. Eliason was just not going to be outdone by Colorado and he appears to have found a full compliment of Utah Representatives and Senators who were willing to throw their full support behind him.

On February 1, Nathan Rafferty, President of Ski Utah, the marketing arm of the Utah Ski and Snowboard Association, spoke in favor of the bill before the Senate Workforce Services and Community and Economic Development Committee. HB321 was reported out of committee with a unanimous favorable recommendation on February 2, 2012.

It wasn't long before HB321 was up for a third vote on the floor of the Utah Senate and on February 9, 2012, Eliason's winter sports bill was approved, unanimously, by the Senate. There was only one hurdle remaining; the approval of the governor.

But there were no worries there either. On March 15, 2012, Governor Gary Herbert signed House Bill No. 321 designating skiing and snowboarding the official winter sports of the State of Utah.

Just seven days earlier, on March 8, 2012, Governor Peter Shumlin signed House Bill No. 365 designating skiing and snowboarding the official winter sports of the State of Vermont.

Enrolled Copy

H.B. 201




Chief Sponsor: Steve Eliason
Senate Sponsor: Wayne L. Niederhauser

Cosponsor: Patrice M. Arent


General Description:

This bill designates two winter sports as state symbols.

Highlighted Provisions:

This bill:
designates skiing and snowboarding as the state's winter sports; and
makes technical changes.

Money Appropriated in this Bill:


Other Special Clauses:


Utah Code Sections Affected:


63G-1-601, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2011, Chapters 34 and 271

Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:

Section 1. Section 63G-1-160 is amended to read:

63G-1-601. State symbols.

(1) Utah's state animal is the elk.

(2) Utah's state bird is the sea gull.

(3) Utah's state centennial astronomical symbol is the Beehive Cluster located in the constellation of Cancer the Crab.

(4) Utah's state centennial star is Dubhe, one of the seve bright stars composing the Big Dipper in the constellation Ursa Major.

(5) Utah's state centennial tartan, which honors the first Scots known to have been in Utah and those Utahns of Scottish heritage, shall have a pattern of repeating-half-sett of white-2, blue-6, red-6, blue-4, red-6, green-18, red-6, white-4 to represent the tartan worn anciently by the Logan and Skene clans, with the addition of a white stripe.

(6) Utah's state cooking pot is the dutch oven.

(7) Utah's state emblem is the beehive.

(8) Utah's state emblem of service and sacrifice of lives lost by members of the military in defense of our freedom is the "Honor and Rembmber" flag, which consists of:

(a) a red field covering the top two-thirds of the flag;

(b) a white field covering the bottom on-third of the flag, which contains the words "honor" and "remember";

(c) a blue star overlaid by a gold star with a thin white border in the center of the flag spanning the red field and the white field; and

(d) a representation of a folded United States flag beneath the blue and gold stars with three tongues of flame emanating from its top point into the center of the gold star.

(9) Utah's state firearm is the John M. Browning designed M1911 automatic pistol.

(10) Utah's state fish is the Bonneville cutthroat trout.

(11) Utah's state flower is the sego lily.

(12) Utah's state folk dance is the square dance, the folk dance that is called, cued, or prompted to the dancers and includes squares, rounds, clogging, contra, line, and heritage dances.

(13) Utah's state fossil is the Allosaurus.

(14) Utah's state fruit is the cherry.

(15) Utah's state vegetable is the Spanish sweet onion.

(16) Utah's historic state vegetable is the sugar beet.

(17) Utah's state gem is topaz, as is prominently found in the Thomas Mountain Range in Juab County, Utah.

(18) Utah's state grass is Indian rice grass.

<19) Utah's state hymn is "Utah We Love Thee" by Evan Stephens.

(20) Utah's state insect is the honeybee.

(21) Utah's state mineral is copper.

(22) Utah's stat motto is "Industry."

(23) Utah's state railroad museum is Ogden Union Station.

(24) Utah's state rock is coal.

(25) Utah's state song is "Utah This is the Place" by Sam and Gary Francis.

(26) Utah's state tree is the blue spruce.

(27) Utah's state winter sports are skiing and snowboarding.


Eliason, Steve. "H.B. 201 Utah State Winter Sports." Utah State Legislature. 15 Mar. 2012. Web. 9 Mar. 2016.

Romboy, Dennis. "Utah: Land of the Ski, Home of the Inversion." The Deseret News, 27 Jan. 2012. Web. 10 Feb. 2012.

Gehrke, Robert. "Lawmakers Make Skiing, Snowboarding Utah’s Official Winter Sports." The Salt Lake Tribune, 9 Feb. 2012. Web. 10 Feb. 2012.

"Section 63G-1-601." Utah Code. Utah State Legislature, 24 Mar. 2014. Web. 10 Mar. 2016.

Tribune Political Reporters. "All Downhill From Here." The Salt Lake Tribune. The Salt Lake Tribune, 28 Jan. 2012. Web. 30 Jan. 2012.

Additional Information

Official website: The Utah Ski and Snowboard Association.

Printable snow conditions report: Snow report from the Utah Ski and Snowboard Authority.

State sports: Complete list of official state sports from NETSTATE.COM

More symbols & emblems: Complete list of official Utah state symbols from NETSTATE.COM.

The Illustrated Guide To Snowboarding
The Illustrated Guide
To Snowboarding

Kevin Ryan

The Illustrated Guide To Snowboarding, by Kevin Ryan. 336 pages. McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (June 11, 1998) "Never in my thirty-three years of pioneering, shaping and defining the sport of snowboarding was there ever access to material explaining the technical aspects of riding in such an easy to understand manner. . . . This 'encyclopedia' of snowboarding how-to belongs on the shelf of every ski area, snowboard park and bookstore in the snowbelt."

-- Paul Graves

The Art of Snowboarding: Kickers, Carving, Half-Pipe, and More
The Art of

Jim Smith

The Art of Snowboarding: Kickers, Carving, Half-Pipe, and More, by Jim Smith. 192 pages. Publisher: International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press; 1 edition (August 29, 2006) In The Art of Snowboarding, USSA-certified club coach Jim Smith introduces you to the most popular tricks and stunts, including kickers (jumps) and other freestyle and half-pipe techniques, and stunts on rails and wood. He gives special emphasis to proper stance and turning techniques as the basis for more advanced moves. Time-lapse photographs demonstrate every step of every trick and technique, and dozens of additional photos show you the form of some of the country’s best riders.

Skiing and Snowboarding Magazines at Amazon: A variety of winter weather magazines. Cross Country Skier: The Journal of Nordic Skiing
Cross Country Skier

Cross Country Skier: The Journal of Nordic Skiing, Cross Country Skier magazine is the Journal of Nordic Skiing.

Published three times during the ski season (November, December and a January/February issue), each issue includes feature articles, destinations, helpful information from a variety of columnists, training and technique tips, ski club and event features, and racing the more competitive members of our audience..

The All-Mountain Skier: The Way to Expert Skiing
The All-Mountain Skier
R. Mark Elling

The All-Mountain Skier: The Way to Expert Skiing, R. Mark Elling. 240 pages. Publisher: International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press; 2nd edition (September 26, 2002) The All-Mountain Skier helps skiers advance their skills with a foolproof, self-instructional program for mastering advanced techniques in even the most challenging conditions. Drawing from his extensive experience as a ski professional, instructor Mark Elling delivers essential advice and information­­including tips from other expert skiers­­to help readers perform like pros.

SKI Magazine

SKI Magazine, 1 year subscription (7 issues).

SKI is the original, largest and most recognized ski publication in the world.

Passionately committed to helping readers decide where to ski, what to ski and how to ski, SKI is also the authority on resorts, equipment and instruction.

Each issue will bring you the places, gear and trends to help you better enjoy the experiences found in the mountains and on the slopes.