Winter Wonders of Utah

Juan Luis on Cross-Country Skis with Rustic Poles, Courtesy & © Joseph Kozlowski, Photographer
Juan Luis on Cross-Country Skis with Rustic Poles
Courtesy & © Joseph Kozlowski, Photographer

Charri's Snowman with Carrot Nose and Oreo Eyes, Courtesy & © Joseph Kozlowski, Photographer Charri’s Snowman with Carrot Nose and Oreo Eyes
Courtesy & © Joseph Kozlowski, Photographer

My name is Joey Kozlowski and I live in frosty Logan, UT. For me, most winter days are relatively mundane. The waking hours, which lay only between rising from bed in winter darkness and returning from work in the same darkness, could be described as routine, rhythmic, and rehearsed. During this time of year, it is easy for me to forget the many phenomena around me that make this place I live so unbelievably special. However, certain spontaneous occasions precipitate pause, and make me reflect and appreciate this beautiful and wild place I call home. Recently, I experienced just one of those occasions.

A few weekends ago, my wife’s family came to visit. Her sister (Charri) and sister’s friend (Juan Luis) call the central city of Celaya, Mexico, home. It was Charri’s second time to Utah, and Juan Luis’ first time to Utah, and in fact, it would be his first time ever experiencing snow. The thrill and charm of the natural beauty around them was apparent as they first got out of the car in our driveway. The piles of snow along the sidewalk and the frozen white yard seemed like novel wonders to them both. One of the first things Juan Luis said, that brought me a childish smile was “I’ve always wanted to try shoveling snow,” which I thought to myself go right ahead, here’s the shovel!

Our first outing was a cross country ski/snowshoe trip up Green Canyon. Charri used my MSR snowshoes and Juan Luis fit into my old Fischer XC skis, which no longer had real poles but two wooden sticks to be used as supporting tools. With two black floppy ears bouncing around our legs, the three of us headed off up the trail. It was hard to get 50 feet without them stopping and just taking in the surrounding snow-covered cliffs, picking up fluffy white powder from the side of the trail, or even, in the case of Juan Luis, trying to capture a slow mo video of himself jumping from the trail into the deeper snow. To them, the beauty was so apparent.

The next day, I returned from Edith Bowen Laboratory School where I work, to my home on what is locally known as “The Island,” only to be surprised by a large and perfectly formed snowman in my yard, fully formed with a carrot nose and Oreo eyes. It turns out that Charri, taken back to the excited youthfulness of a child, had spent hours that day just playing outside in the snow and building the snow creature, of which, would quickly lose its eyes and nose to a happy and hungry black lab once we went back inside.

That night, we all received another gift from the great outdoors, at least 12 inches of fresh snow. Juan Luis and I got up early and started shoveling. I’d never seen such an enthusiastic shoveler! It was as if each shovel scoop was filled with ice cream, not snow! He didn’t even seem annoyed when his shovel got snagged on the pesky concrete cracks that seem the bane of my existence! Then, for the climax of their trip, we decided to go to our local ski resort, Beaver Mountain. It was the day any skier dreams of, lots of fresh powder! The awe and excitement in their eyes was present from the moment we started driving up the canyon until the moment their heads started gently nodding off on the tired ride back home. I can’t describe all the beautiful moments of the ski trip, but I can say they truly appreciated each moment for what it was, wild and beautiful, as they struggled to board the magic carpet, laughed as they fell over and over and over again, and nearly burst at the seams with joy when they were finally able to go up the Little Beaver lift and get all the way down on a green trail. In the end, to say these guests appreciated the beauty and excitement of everything a Utah winter has to offer would be an understatement.

So it was, on this occasion with my international family come to visit, that I was reminded of the natural beauty and wonder in all the little things that surround me each day, and that I too often take for granted. I am Joey Kozlowski, and I am Wild about the Winter Wonders of Utah.


Images: Courtesy & Copyright Joseph Kozlowski, Photographer
Audio: Courtesy & © Friend Weller,
Text:     Joseph Kozlowski, Edith Bowen Laboratory School, Utah State University
Additional Reading Links: Lyle Bingham

Additional Reading:

Joseph (Joey) Kozlowski’s pieces on Wild About Utah:

Greene, Jack. 2020. I Love Snow. Wild About Utah,

Larese-Casanova, Mark. 2014. Utah’s Rich Skiing History. Wild About Utah,

Liberatore, Andrea. 2011. Snowflakes. Wild About Utah,

Strand, Holly. 2009. A Utah Skier’s Snow Lexicon. Wild About Utah,

Winter is Vinegar Honeydew

Vinegar Honeydew: Cucumber Pickles Courtesy Pixabay, CongerDesign, Photographer
Cucumber Pickles
Courtesy Pixabay, CongerDesign, Photographer
Winter is the season of withholdings come free and taboos undone. Those things we tell ourselves which are not for the warm months come to roost, and our allowances to ourselves grow as the season’s light shrinks.

Winter is when we get to have a sit by the fire and exhale from our work like young exhausted parents, listening to the world’s sleep because of our good labor done. It’s when we can crack open our stores and taste the results of our year on this earth from the gardens and fields; the flavors of hope without fear of waste. Vinegar truly is the honeydew of the long nights.

It’s also when we can have freedom in the snow. The snow is that sweeping medium which allows us to climb mountains and then descend at speeds which in any other season would be a cause for concern, even if moderate.

Each mode of winter travel has its partakers and dissuaders, though none is surely the best for all. Cross country, sitski, telemark, downhill, snowbike, snowskate, snowboard, sled, tube, and contractor bag all each have their place for us to slide at speeds too great to pass up. Some have edges for control, some have fewer for fun, yet all allow for wind to blow through your hair and to dance with gravity, more apparent than ever in the cold.

Winter also gives us stories not available elsewhen. Many skilled naturalists have given many good lessons to me on how to read the snows over the years, yet not one lecture can compare to what happens when you go out by yourself and see what the world itself has to say. I’ve spent good hours finding a good track and following it, whether it’s a hare to its burrow, deer to the nearest alfalfa field, or my eyes wandering skywards to see whose wings caught the vole which once did scurry all a tither. The words though melt in the sun, and so the snow is the rarest of books. Perhaps it is also the most precious. Stories carved in stone seem mortibund to those on paper, and so those tattooed upon tree pulp seem to the cuneiform in the nivian ether.

So this winter, do not forget to enjoy the allowances you’ve worked all year: warming your bones by the fire; reading the precious snows; sliding down hills; and vinegar honeydew from your stores.

I’m Patrick Kelly, and I’m Wild About Utah.
Images: Courtesy Pixabay, CongerDesign, Photographer
Audio: Courtesy & © J. Chase and K.W. Baldwin.
Text:    Patrick Kelly, Director of Education, Stokes Nature Center,
Included Links: Patrick Kelly & Lyle Bingham, Webmaster,

Additional Reading

Wild About Utah, Posts by Patrick Kelly

Stokes Nature Center in Logan Canyon,

Strand, Holly, Snowshoe Hare, Wild About Utah, February 18, 2010,

Larese-Casanova, Mark, The Shape of Wildlife in Winter Wild About Utah, January 26, 2012,

Larese-Casanova, Mark, Utah’s Rich Skiing History Wild About Utah, January 23, 2014,

Strand, Holly, A Utah Skier’s Snow Lexicon Wild About Utah, January 29, 2009,

Nummer, Brian, Getting Crisp Home Pickled Vegetables, Extension, Utah State University,

Food Safety & Preservation, Extension, Utah State University,