Electric scooters and skateboards on campus

Story and photos by CHRISTOPHER STENGER

Electric scooters and skateboards are everywhere on the University of Utah’s campus. These personal transporters have such a large impact on campus and anyone who walks the campus will see the hazards they have created.   

Electrical powered personal transporters are still required to follow the same rule of non-motorized personal transporters, like bikes, which include a 10 mph zone all throughout campus. When class is getting out or about to start and the sidewalks are filled with students, it makes it more difficult for those on electric scooters and skateboards to keep a consistent speed and direction without either crashing into people or forcing pedestrians off the sidewalk.

Students have bought their own personal electric scooters or skateboards to avoid having ton pay the rental cost. The electrical scooter companies require a small fee before you use every time. Companies like Lime and Bird provide electric scooters to rent for $1 with a per minute cost ranging from 25-50 cents.

According to the U’s policy code 3-232, skateboards are defined as ‘a non-motorized device consisting of two or more wheels affixed to a platform or board upon which a rider stands and which does not have steering capability similar to that of a bicycle or brakes which operate on or upon the wheels of the skateboard.” Having these electric skateboards around campus is technically violating school policy.

According to Ginger Cannon, the University of Utah’s active transportation manager, ‘The current contract prohibits Lime and Bird from deploying scooters on school property, but does not ban the operation of the vehicles.” This stops these large companies from having the ability to mass drop scooters all around campus, she said in an email interview.   

Students around campus who do not ride these electric scooters or skateboards explained that they actually do not have serious issues with these personal transporters. Alex Dasla, a senior here at the U, said, “I believe that the scooters might be more safe to use on campus than the skateboards, but still would prefer that they both stay in the biking paths instead of the walking paths.” 

People are caught off guard when an electric scooter or skateboard flies past them while walking to their classes. Since they’re electric, it’s very difficult to hear the scooter or skateboard approaching.

William Slicer, a junior at the U, explained how he was actually involved in an electric skateboard crash, as a pedestrian. Slicer believes that “they should be required to ride in the bicycle paths and only those areas when on campus because of their stealthiness and quickness.” He added, “I am just lucky I was hit onto the grass and not into another person or the concrete.” 

Lt. Terry Fritz of the U’s campus police explained that he believes that “the issue isn’t the electrical part, but it is the mode of transportation in general. I think that the human powered and electric powered scooters as equally as dangerous on our campus.” Fritz also said “he sees more bicyclist abusing the speed limit of 10 mph than of the skateboarders and scooter riders.” This happens because they do not have a set max speed and can go well above 15 mph.

Fritz explained how he thinks that with all the electrical scooters being stranded outside campus buildings, that “they’re creating not the best image for campus.” He said that “hub locations would be very helpful with correcting the bad image of the scooters stranded all over campus.” 

Cannon has been working at the U for nearly two and half years and is constantly working to improve the ways of transportation around campus. Cannon uses social media, like Twitter, to spread news of her work to improve campus mobility. Her Twitter handle is @GingerCannonU.   

Walking around campus you will see scooters scattered all around building entrances, in bike racks or even just in front of doors. Cannon says she wants to create “Mobility Hubs” for the scooters and skateboards in the near future.

These scooters and skateboards are still new to the U but are on the uprise for campus. The U will have to adapt to these electric personal transporters and work to better their operation, as people are not going to stop riding them on campus. 

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Park City locals discuss Epic and Icon Passes’ impact on the community

Story and photographs by ASHLEIGH THOMAS

Vail’s Epic Pass and Altera’s Icon Pass have changed and shaped the landscape of the modern-day ski culture and business. Park City, Utah, is growing and changing at a rapid rate due to the passes. They invite skiers and snowboarders all over the world to buy a single ski pass that allows them to ski at multiple ski resorts.

Utah locals must prepare and consider the new changes to the Utah ski industry as the upcoming season approaches.

Park City is home to Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley Mountain Resort, two culturally rich and unique ski areas that many people call home. These passes are altering the “Park City ski culture” as we know it, in part because the ski industry has been globalized on a huge scale. These passes give access to resorts all over the world including in Australia, Europe, Asia, Canada, and South America. But at this scale what are the lasting effects on small ski towns like Park City and the Park City way of life? Are these passes changing the industry for the better or for worse?

Many locals have described their feelings about the Icon and Epic Passes’ impact on Park City as a mix of good and bad.

Kathy Burke, the buyer for Cole Sport, described her feelings in an email interview about whether the Icon and Epic pass are beneficial to Park City or not. “I have mixed feelings about this. Being in retail, I am in favor of controlled growth and commerce. The town has grown and has more job opportunities for jobs.” However, she added, “the impact on traffic and the carbon footprint is having an impact on this town.”

Another Park City local, Renee Godin, PSIA ski instructor and level 300 ski coach USSA, discussed her experience with the growth. Godin said in an email interview that she has noticed the town has become busier. She also has experienced the impact of increased tourism with crowded restaurants, scarce parking spots, and slower commutes. “These are problems that locals find to be annoying, but more tourists for the local business is what it’s all about, it is what a small town thrives on. Tourist dollars, and that’s what people sometimes forget.”

Park City is known all over the world for being a unique ski town with something for everyone to enjoy and experience. Park City’s charm and ski culture is what made many Park City locals want to lay down roots and live there. “What brought me to Park City was the idea of being able to jump on a bus and ski 3 different ski areas, in one town making a European experience in the middle of the USA!” Godin said.

Park City’s Historic Main Street is one of the main attractions of Park City. Burke said Main Street is changing quickly due to the fact national corporate retail chains are seeing incentives to open their shops where locally-owned business have existed for years.

“My favorite characteristic is the community spirit of Park City and its heritage to its mining history,” Burke said, “specifically characterized through the historic commitment to preserving Main Street and Old Town. I think the Epic and Icon transition is bringing a commercial element to Main Street with its national chain stores. The growth in mono brand stores and national chains diminished the charm and uniqueness of specialty retail and character and integrity of Main Street.”

The economic development and change in the community’s character aren’t the only things that are evolving from the Icon and Epic Passes. The “on the hill” experience is also changing, said Chuck English, a former mountain manager at Deer Valley. He added that a couple of years ago locals could ski on wide open runs on the weekdays and sometimes even on the weekends. But that is no longer a reality. The number of visitors on the hill has greatly increased, creating longer lines, crowded runs, and busy lodges.

“The Icon has definitely changed DV (Deer Valley). Their stated intention of limiting skiers to the maintain quality experiences has gone by the wayside. They are not able to limit Icon pass holders even though they encourage them to make reservations,” English said in an email interview.

The Icon and Epic Passes may be attractive to some and less attractive to others. When asked about the expense of skiing and the experience as a whole, English added, “To a person who is already a skier the passes make it more affordable. Season pass prices were getting very expensive and I feel like some people might have started to drop out based on cost.” He thinks that there is less of an incentive and focus for new skiers to participate or buy a season pass. “This is a serious problem for the industry,” he said. This is an aspect that will change ski culture in the long term and is something to consider for new skiers and snowboarders.

With all things considered the Epic and Icon pass are creating an evolved modern ski and snowboard experience. They are a force to be reckoned with and will have a lasting impact on the industry and ski culture in Park City.

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Better safe than sorry: What to know before setting out

Story and photos by CAROLINE J. PASTORIUS

Avoiding avalanches is much easier than trying to survive one.

Outside of Denver, CO
Feb. 24, 2019

Many climbers, skiers, snowmobilers and outdoor enthusiasts are not aware of the proper precautions for avalanche and snow safety. The dangers of this type of recreation require more preparation and knowledge than you may think.

It’s not as simple as reading a pamphlet or set of instructions to prepare you to take on the outdoors, it’s about knowing what you are headed into and being fully prepared for and aware of the risks that come with venturing into nature.

Park City, UT |March 10, 2019

Mark Staples, director of the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center, labels himself as an extremely experienced outdoor enthusiast and emphasizes, “There is no way to assure safety once you’re out in the wilderness. But there are ways to go about it safely, and that’s the best you can do,” Staples says in a phone interview.

Park City, UT (backcountry) | March 3, 2019

The elementary rule comes first and foremost when preparing to take on this type of terrain; do not travel alone. “Always make sure you have the proper education and tools before going into the backcountry, and make sure your partner does as well,” says Jordan Hicks from REI Cooperative. Hicks also added a helpful tip. “Make sure you have a set plan before you head out and tell somebody that plan in case you’re late coming home so they can notify authorities.”

Hicks also says to be aware of your surroundings. The cause of 90 percent of avalanches that harm a victim or members of the victim’s group is caused by their own missteps. Any foreign activity caused in a natural environment that adds weight that wasn’t there before can easily trigger downfall. A helpful way to foresee the conditions on the mountain before enduring it is to check daily aspects like the weather forecast and condition of the mountain on the day of your travel, both of which are easily accessible online. He says some red flags include unsteady snow, heavy snowfall or rain, posted warning signs, wind loading, and persistent weak layers. Avoiding avalanches altogether is much easier than trying to survive one, so take the precautions seriously.

Snacks. Water. Fuel. You can never be too prepared. Josh Alexander from Utah Ski and Golf recommends that you should “bring two times more than you expect to consume on your trip.”

Alexander also shared a story about his personal experience of being buried in an avalanche and what he learned from it. “Luckily, I was well prepared for any possible situation. I went out with a buddy of mine in the backcountry of Canada a few years back, somewhere we have never been before.” In retrospect, this was a red flag. You should never travel on unfamiliar territory when visiting it for the very first time. Alexander recommends scoping out uncharted terrain a day before riding it. Also, he mentions researching the area online to check previous travelers’ comments.

The avalanche that affected him was caused by a collision he had with a snowboarder, which produced a rush of snow and carried him about 100 yards. Being unable to breathe for that time, he saw his life flash before him.

Park City, UT |March 10, 2019

After coming to a halt, Alexander realized his friend was nowhere in sight. In fact, nothing was. It was all white. “I was completely lost, and all of my calls for help got absorbed in the snow I was buried in. I knew I had to find help but I also didn’t want to use too much oxygen, since I wasn’t sure how long I would be stuck there for.” He settled his pulse and remembered focus on what he learned to do when caught in this sort of situation.

He took a deep breath and started “swimming” against gravity to get closer to the surface of the snow pile in attempt to get any sort of signal for his avalanche beacon (a small radio that transmits a lost or dangered travelers’ location to rescue crews). He soon started transmitting his device, which was caught by his partner on the receiving end. Finally, he was located, rescued, and lives to tell the story. If the pair was not prepared for the worst-case scenario and did not hold the necessary tools, Alexander had a slim chance of survival.

There is only a 30 percent chance of escaping when buried by an avalanche. Take the lessons taught and learned in this article next time you think about getting involved in avalanche-prone territory. Always remember that you are in control of your own safety in uncharted territory.

Biking into the Future with Bike Utah

Article and Photos by Shane Bryan

SALT LAKE CITY — Biking on city streets can be intimidating for new bicycle commuters. The rush of traffic, distracted drivers and the difficulty of using a map can easily deter people from riding bikes instead of getting into a car. Bike Utah, a bicycle advocacy organization, is here to help residents all over Utah get on a bike and feel safe while doing so. They work to make cities and towns all over the state more bike friendly.

Based in Salt Lake City, Bike Utah operates as a non-profit organization. The organization started ten years ago after a road cyclist was hit and killed on the Utah

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Simon Harris demonstrating proper road riding techniques (Photo by Shane Bryan)

roads. The founders quickly became aware that there needed to be some serious advocacy for safety between drivers and cyclists. The mission of Bike Utah is to “integrate bicycling into the everyday culture of the state,” says Simon Harris, Bike Utah’s Youth Program Manager. “We envision Utah as the most bicycle friendly state in the country.”

Bike Utah carries out their plan via city planning—putting traffic plans into action, and working with local governments to make the roads a safe haven for cyclists.  

Throughout the city, there are extra wide bike lanes with more room for riders and marked lines so drivers can steer clear. There are large signs specifically identifying bike lanes, and paint on the roads to show where the lane is and where bike riders have a right-of-way. Popular destinations are also clearly marked with nearby street


Wide bike lane Eastbound on 300s (Photo by Shane Bryan)

signs, eliminating the need to use a map or phone while you ride, all in an effort to keep bikers safe.

Bike Utah has been chosen as the non-profit sponsor for the new Thousand Mile campaign, an effort to revamp old bike paths and add new ones totaling 1,000 miles. Introduced by Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, the Thousand Mile campaign is intended to make Utah one of the best cycling and active transportation states in the country.

Bike Utah’s role is to “provide strategic planning, technical assistance, and financial resources so communities can begin or continue developing bicycling in their area,” according to Bike Utah, they help, “communities to advance their bicycle-related goals.” This means advancements in local bike routes to get kids to school, people to work and riders out enjoying the roads and trails. 

Multi-use pathways and mountain bike trails are also laid out in the Thousand Miles plan. Salt Lake City also has protected bike lanes, similar to ones found in Europe, in which there is a physical concrete barrier separating the bike lane and the car lane, reducing the probability of a car merging into the bike lane. Through their work, Bike 


Concrete barrier separating the road from the bike lane Westbound on 300s (Photo by Shane Bryan)

Utah would like to inspire people to ride bikes instead of driving, to help keep our air clean and reveal the health benefits of pedaling to your destinations. Active transportation is healthy for you and the community. Riley Peterson of Salt Lake City, commutes around the city all the time whether it’s to school or to work. “I always have lights on which makes it safe and I have never had an issue with any cars,” says Peterson. “Plus, it is just more fun to ride.”

There are things you can be doing to further increase your safety on the road. For starters, follow the rules of the road. Stop at stop signs, use hand signals, and stay in your lane. Also, wear bright colors. Brighter colors will pop and grab the attention of drivers. Standing out from the line of traffic on a bike will separate you from the crowd. Having a front and rear light is also a good way to do this. Many people think that only having a front and rear light at night is important; however, Adam Olson, Manager of Trek Bike, encourages riders to use 


LED lights can keep you safe day and night (Photo by Shane Bryan)

lights at all times. “Using lights in the day time increases your chances of being seen,” says Olson. “Drivers are more likely to see a flashing object over a cyclist with no safety warnings attached.”

Drivers are always subliminally looking for objects that they are accustomed to seeing on the road (street lights, street signs, parked cars, etc.), the flashing of a light makes it apparent to drivers that there is something else to watch out for. 

Bike Utah also hosts an amazing kids program teaching kids from an early age about bike education and safety by visiting schools statewide.  Over 250 kids have learned how to ride a bike while increasing overall bike knowledge by 67 percent. You can support Bike Utah and follow upcoming events by clicking here for more information. Next time, consider throwing a leg over a bike before you step into a car.

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Outdoor Retailer show says bye-bye to Utah, but does the Beehive State care?

Annual shows have new home but its departure from Utah may have less impact than you think. 


A tourist staple and economic driver for 20 years, the renowned Outdoor Retailer shows, which brought the outdoor industry’s blue-chip businesses and top athletes to the Wasatch Front, no longer calls Utah home.  

In 2017, the shows’ organizers, citing opposition to reducing Bears Ears National Monument and other land management policies by federal and state officials, announced their decision to leave Utah for Colorado.

“We chose Denver because of Colorado’s long-term commitment to protecting and nurturing public lands,” Marisa Nicholson, director of the Outdoor Retailer trade show, said.

While the departure has left a black mark on the Beehive State outdoor recreation industry and image, how much of a hole it will leave in Utah’s economy is unclear. Nate Furman, a University of Utah professor in the parks, recreation and tourism department, said it’s more of a lost opportunity that will affect Salt Lake City in the short term.

“In the long term, I don’t think that it will have major effects, as the gravity of national politics will drown out any effects of whether or not the show is held on the western margin of the Rocky Mountains or the eastern margin,” Furman said.

The Outdoor Retailer shows have drawn tens of thousands of tourists and athletes from around the world who come for the latest in outdoor equipment and to sample the state’s recreational offerings.

The trade shows pulled out of Utah in protest after the Trump administration and Utah politicians chose to shrink two controversial national monuments. Along with the proposed reduction of Bears Ears by 85 percent, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is slated to be cut in half. As a proponent of public lands, the trade shows’ leadership took a stand in protest, as did many companies that attend the convention.

Outdoor industry stalwarts, including California-based retailers Patagonia and The North Face, met with Utah Gov. Gary Herbert after President Trump’s the decision to reduce Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The companies ultimately decided that moving the show from its longtime home of Utah would be the best choice for their industry as a whole. 

“I say enough is enough,” Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia’s founder, said in a statement. “If Governor Herbert doesn’t need us, we can find a more welcoming home. Governor Herbert should direct his Attorney General to halt their plans to sue and support the historic Bears Ears National Monument.”

Over the past 20 years, Outdoor Retailer has brought 40,000 visitors annually to Utah during their twice-yearly shows, which run for three days at a time. Additionally, the shows have brought $45 million in consumer spending.

While these numbers may seem large, the loss hardly puts a dent into Utah’s roughly $13 billion tourism economy. The outdoor recreation industry brings in $12.3 billion in consumer spending a year as well as $737 million in state and local tax revenue, according to the Outdoor Industry Association. While Utah as a whole will most likely see little impact, local businesses may see mixed outcomes, depending on their size.

Smaller companies may have a harder time as they relied on the increased sales the shows brought, but shouldn’t be hit too hard, said Sunn Kim, the retail store manager at local Utah company Backcountry.com.

With annual revenue of $634.54 million, Backcountry.com makes most of its sales online, allowing it to weather the shows’ departure with little impact on its bottom line. The company has a small retail shop that may be affected by the departure.

I believe the departure of [Outdoor Retailer] will have a more immediate impact on Utah’s outdoor industry and economy,” Kim said. “I believe that smaller businesses focused on tourism will suffer, but this impact will only be temporary.” 

All Rhoads lead to the Olympics

Story and photos by JOSEPH PARKER

It’s February in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Twenty-three-year-old ski jumper Will Rhoads sits on top of the hill, waiting for the right moment to begin his descent down the ramp. The cold, crisp breeze brushes his face as he prepares himself for the moment he has dreamed about since he first began ski jumping. After a decade of training and competition, Rhoads has finally earned his opportunity to compete for a spot on the podium at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Rhoads’ exposure to the Olympics began at a young age when his family moved from Concord, New Hampshire, to Park City, Utah. Rhoads’ father, David, had accepted a job with the Olympic Organizing Committee for the 2002 Salt Lake City games. Unbeknownst to Rhoads at the time, this cross-country move was the first step toward his professional career as a ski jumper.

“I kind of got into the sport by accident,” Rhoads said in a phone interview from Norway while preparing for the final competition of the ski jumping season. “My friend, Colton Kissell, started doing it. I was 5 or 6 years old at the time and he was, like, ‘Hey, I tried this thing called ski jumping, it’s super sweet, you’ve got to try it,’ and we were best friends at the time, so I was like, ‘OK.’”

After his first exposure to the sport, Rhoads was hooked. He began building his skill set at the Utah Olympic Park, located just a short drive from his home in Park City. The Olympic Park had been renovated for the 2002 Olympic Games and provided Rhoads an upper hand to improve his skills on state-of-the-art facilities.

Rhoads continued to progress in the sport throughout his youth, but his career really began to take off as he entered his teenage years. “Growing up, I was always pretty competitive,” Rhoads said. “It wasn’t until I was 12 or so that I realized [ski jumping] was something I could be good at, and that I wanted to be a World Cup-level, or potentially, Olympian ski jumper.”

At the age of 12, Rhoads began working on his professional ski jumping career with guidance from his coach and long-time role model, Clint Jones. “Growing up, [Clint] was the guy I was watching on TV,” Rhoads said. “I wanted to emulate as much of him as I could.”

Throughout his 17-year professional career, Jones was a member of seven World Championship teams and represented the United States during the 2002 and 2006 Winter Olympics. After retiring from competition, Jones began coaching the club team in Park City and would later serve as Rhoads’ head coach on the national ski jumping team. Currently Jones serves as team director for USA Nordic.

“Ski jumping is a pretty unique thing,” Jones said during a phone interview. “We’re looking for guys that are tall and skinny. You also need to have a pretty high strength-to-weight ratio, and most importantly is coordination and athleticism.” Rhoads stands 6-feet-3-inches tall and competes at a weight of 140 pounds, making him a perfect candidate for a sport where genetics play a crucial role in an athlete’s ability.

“Will is a pretty thin guy, but at the same time he’s powerful in the legs and has broad shoulders, which definitely helps him fly through the air,” said Jones. With guidance from his coach, Rhoads began making a name for himself throughout the United States ski jumping community.

After being named to the national ski jumping team, Rhoads was truly able to fly. He has won the Men’s Large Hill U.S. National Championship consecutively since 2015. In addition to his national titles, he has placed top-10 in numerous FIS Cups (International Ski Federation). Rhoads was also a member of the ski jumping team that won the 2015 Junior World Championship in Falun, Sweden. Aside from his official titles and medals, Rhoads became a member of the “200 Club” after jumping 201 meters in Slovenia at the Planica World Cup finals.

However, pursuing a professional athletic career is not always glory and fame; it comes with a few caveats.

During his adolescent years, Rhoads was unable to participate in other sports because so much of his time was dedicated to ski jumping. The time he spent in foreign countries, either for training or competition, kept him away from family and friends for extended periods. Despite the hardships that accompanied his sport, Rhoads has always kept his chin up and mind focused on the next challenge.

After 11 years of hard work, training and competition, Rhoads received the news he had long anticipated. While awaiting a Skype call from the U.S. Olympic Committee, Rhoads received a notification on his phone. He had been tagged in a post by the U.S. Ski Team, congratulating him on being officially named to the Olympic Team.

“To be honest, it was a little anti-climactic to learn I had made the Olympic team via Instagram, but I’ll take it. To see that I had actually made the team was really cool,” he said.

Christine Rhoads, the mother of Will Rhoads, was beyond ecstatic about her son’s Olympic status. “We always knew he could make it,” she said. “He worked so hard to get [to the Olympics] … as a mother there’s nothing more rewarding than seeing your child accomplish their dream.”

Unfortunately, Rhoads did not do as well as he hoped on the Olympic stage. During a qualifying jump, the winds shifted, which caused him to lose valuable distance. As a result, Rhoads placed 51st out of a total 56 competitors in the men’s individual large hill competition. Regardless of his performance, Rhoads takes pride knowing he was finally able to fulfil his long-time dream of competing at the Olympics in the sport to which he had dedicated so much of his life.

As the old saying goes, “All good things must come to an end.” Rhoads is approaching the age where he may need to leave professional jumping behind in order to pursue a life-long career.

Rhoads said he desires to continue working in an athletic environment. He has considered the idea of becoming a physical therapist or even a doctor, specializing in sports medicine. His former coach, Clint Jones, hopes Rhoads will return to the U.S. Nordic Team as a coach himself, helping to inspire and train the next generation of Olympic ski jumpers.




The Happiest Place On Earth Just Got Better

By: Bradley Hunsaker

As a man who grew up close to the big barbeque states of the South, I have had my fair share of good meats over the years.  Some will even say I have become very picky when it comes to how I take my barbeque.  There is one thing that never disappoints every time I have the chance to get it though.  The giant turkey legs of the Disney theme parks.

Now I know what you are thinking, can’t you get those at any renaissance fair or medieval times restaurant?  The answer is yes, but they are just not as good.   It may be the way Disney smokes the meat or the type of wood they use but there is a unique flavour and tenderness to Disney turkey legs that sets it apart from all others.

When you first purchase the drumstick whose size can only really be described as that of a newborn baby’s head you feel a sense of accomplishment for men everywhere that they even make a slab of meat this big.  In fact, once you tear open the foil and wrapping surrounding the leg it gets you immediate attention; admiration and questions from the men asking where you get such an awesome meal and looks of disgust and awe from their wives wondering what animal this possibly could have come from.  Despite it probably being smoked overnight and brought into the park early that morning, the smell and taste of the meat is very warm and fresh.

The meat itself is very tender and juicy which is a hard accomplishment for something this size.  A lot of giant turkey legs can be very dry from having to be smoked so long to ensure the meat is cooked.  I can only guess that there is some sort of basting process mid-smoke to ensure the meat stays juicy which in turn helps its tenderness.  The taste is very traditional when it comes to barbeque.  There seems to be no added spices or rubs to the meat, just the natural flavour of the turkey and the subtle yet ever so tasty smoky flavour that comes from the wood they chose to use.  The combination of taste and texture is what keeps you eating despite the nagging thought in the back of your mind that you are going to have to go on rides with an overly full stomach of turkey goodness.

As far as price goes, it is your normal theme park expense.  One turkey leg will usually run between $8-$9 but that is around the same cost as any other meal in the park and I can guarantee this will fill you up just as well.  The legs can be found in Disneyland, Calif. and Disney World, Fla. and possibly other Disney locations around the world.  Don’t take my word for it though, next time you find yourself in one of the parks have a go at one and I can promise you won’t be disappointed.

R. Ammon Ayres



-Professional Experience

2011- Currently              Warehouse Manager, Age Sciences, Salt Lake City, Utah

  • Responsibility for preparing order shipments together.
  • Overlook the operation going on, and comply to management needs.

2011 Summer   Technician, Platinum Protection, American Fork, Utah

  • Responsible for installing new, and replacing pre-existing, alarm systems.
  • Often travel to clients homes replace a system, or complete service tickets.

2010-2011    Transition Trainer, Granite School District, Salt Lake City, Utah

  • I had a vast array of responsibilities, from supervising to creating documents.
  • The gifts program is a program working with special needs students.

2010 Summer   River Guide, Teton Whitewater. Jackson Hole, Wyoming

  • Guide Rafts down the Snake River safely.
  • Transport, and move deliver rafts from point A to point B

2009-2010                                 Delivery Driver, Hudson Home Health Equipment. American Fork, Utah.

  • Deliver beds, oxygen tanks, and other equipment to in home patients.

2009 Summer                                                                   River Guide, Boy Scouts of America. Salt Lake City, Utah

  • Give scout troops instruction on how to go down river in canoe, ensure safety of scouts, go over again and again on how to make it down the river.
  • Give tour of camp, give assistance to the troop I am hosting.

2007-2009                                        Volunteer Missionary – LDS Church. Eugene, Oregon

  • Gained leadership skills working with other volunteer missionaries.
  • Learned how to work with others, in such ways as how to change my way of working to make a better team.
  • Learned how to work hard, and serve others.


I am a sophomore at University of Utah, and former student alumni of the Salt Lake Community College. Within the last year I have dedicated my studies and efforts to become a dentist. My efforts include taking prerequisite classes for dental school, and acquiring a degree in the communications department.

I am married to a wonderful woman named Abigail Ayres, we have been married for two years, and have been enjoying life. We met in Jackson Hole Wyoming, while working as river guides on the Snake River.There are currently no children in the picture, but hopefully they will come within the next couple years.

Over the past ten years, I have gained professional experience through many different companies. My professional skills came at a young age when I acquired a paper route. With that job I learned the importance of getting the job done right the first time, and the importance of punctuality.

Utah Transit Authority, Salt Lake Arts Council team up to bring artwork to TRAX stations

Story and slideshow by LISA HENDRY

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The platform is dotted with people. Some wear backpacks, some carry briefcases; other people clutch coffee cups, or push over a bike. The brakes sound on the track. A button is pushed, the doors open.

The automated voice fills the air, “You are on the Red Line train to Daybreak.” The brakes lift, people settle into their seats and TRAX is on its way.

Stop after stop, people come and go. The next station is reached. The doors open onto the TRAX station. More can be found there than just the dull grind of commuters. A flash of color, a crop of shaped metal, a reflection of glass. There is art.

Amid the scattered travelers, signs, schedules and benches that line each TRAX station, there are shapes and designs, colors and murals — art that Utah’s students, children, artists and government have all contributed to bring life to the urban landscape.

To bring about these pieces of art, the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) partnered with the Salt Lake City Arts Council in a project called Art in Transit.

“It is really designed to enhance the character of our transit system,” said Jerry Carpenter, a UTA spokesman, in a phone interview. UTA works with local art commissions of different cities to select artists.

Roni Thomas, project manager at the Salt Lake City Arts Council, has worked with UTA for the Art in Transit program. She is currently involved in the most recent project of developing the North Temple line, which will feature its art pieces in fall 2012.

“When this line is done, we would have worked with the UTA at 20 stations,” Thomas said in a phone interview.

Thomas said the Arts Council is involved in the artist selection process from start to finish. The council presents a call to artists to commission their artwork, based on requests for qualifications and requests for proposal. The Salt Lake design board, made up of  Council members and members of UTA, makes a recommendation to the mayor and CEO of UTA to approve the artwork after it has been proposed.

Each project is commissioned $90,000, an amount split by UTA and the city. After completion, the artwork is owned and maintained by the UTA. Some stations are open to national artists, while others are left exclusively for Utah artists.

“We are supporting local artists,” Thomas said. “When visitors come in town and see ‘oh that’s done locally,’ it is something the community can look at and take pride in.”

The Trolley TRAX station, located at 625 E. 400 South, was one of these stations. It was a project not only done by local artists, but also by children of Salt Lake City. Bad Dog Arts, located in downtown Salt Lake City, undertook the art project and allowed children to create the artwork.

“We’re all about art,” said Victoria Lyons, co-founder and co-director of Bad Dog Arts. The Bad Dog Arts program is a nonprofit organization that works with children ages 5 to 18 and allows them to create art as a positive outlet. The station provided an ideal landscape for the Bad Dog Arts project.

“The imagery is different reflection and action of community from kids’ perspectives.” Lyons said in a phone interview.

The station contains several different elements. Mosaic tiles line the station, both on benches in bright, colorful patterns and outlining the station ramps. Some drawings are engraved into granite pavers. Art and poetry is displayed under the canopies; that artwork resulted from a Bad Dog Arts writing program.

“Art can be life changing,” Lyons said. “It makes a huge difference in kids’ lives and can sometimes be one of the ways to reach kids to communicate and allow them to contribute to the community in a positive way.”

Just like this beneficial project, each piece of art is about speaking to the particular area.

“It’s a way that we enhance the riding experience and give them (the riders) something to look at that is typically reflective of the community,” UTA spokesman Carpenter said.

According to Thomas, it is up to the artists to speak to the area by researching the location, community and history of the area.

For example, the “Flame Figure” by Michael Stutz, located at Rice Eccles Stadium, is representative of the line that was installed just as the 2002 Winter Olympics came to Salt Lake City. The artwork there ties together the theme of the Olympics, blending the human form with the energy of fire.

All future UTA art projects will continue to say something about the rich history of the location and appeal to the area.

Each individual project has goals the Salt Lake City Arts Council wants to accomplish. For example, all six of the stations along the new North Temple line will emphasize the feeling of moving from the downtown area to the more open area surrounding the airport. “We want to create a sense of arrival in the city,” Thomas said.

Other artwork still in progress can be seen at the Midvale Bingham station, which will feature art titled “Utah Bit and Mine.” Carpenter said it is an interactive artwork that uses a great amount of creativity and shows just how neat art can be. The art is designed to highlight and reflect Utah’s deep mining history.

As the TRAX lines expand, the new art that is being proposed will take a different approach in representing the city of Provo. It will be using bright, whimsical figures to give the city that bright, offbeat and dynamic feel. Instead of representing Provo’s history, the art will demonstrate that Provo is a modern, developing city.

“The thing that is interesting about art is what is appealing to some people others might not like. So you want to find something that is part of the community,” Thomas said.

That is exactly what these pieces of art do. In supporting local artists and giving shape to Utah’s history and background, the art at the TRAX stations enriches the experience of those riding public transportation. It is something that the commuters can take pride in, and feel a part of.

“It helps make a more viable and bright community,” Thomas said, “and that’s what public art does.”

Raquel Cook’s new method of teaching


“International experience is not a luxury anymore. It’s a necessity,” said Raquel Cook, a wild-child turned world traveler who has morphed into a professor who teaches at Utah Valley University and has a unique method of teaching English to her students.

Raquel Cook holding a miniature of a Terra Cotta Warrior from China. Photo courtesy of Raquel Cook

Cook claims to have been a nerd during high school, finding interests in debate and the school newspaper rather than cheerleading like her sisters. “I never even attended a high school football game,” Cook said.

After graduating from American Fork High School, Cook began her journey of self-discovery. She attended Brigham Young University choosing a degree in English.

A week after graduation, Cook, 21, set her sights outside of the small Utah community she had spent her life in. “When I first left it wasn’t because I wanted to go anywhere necessarily,” she said. “I just wanted to get out of here (Utah).”

With $100 in her pocket and a one-way ticket to Asia, Cook set out on a journey in a foreign country. The first stop on her grand world tour was South Korea, a country not known for its peaceful political culture, but one that contains hidden treasures of generation that Cook found a niche.

In South Korea she worked as an instructor of American culture and college life for police graduates to prepare for the way of life in America. She also taught English on the side, which paid her very well. Her other jobs included: a staff writer for the entertainment section of an English newspaper and radio host for a “really cheesy program but college students loved it.”

Cook gained minor stardom with countrywide TV appearances. This job enabled Cook to travel all over the country making new friends during her TV appearances, which funded her travels to other countries.

Cook spent the next few years traveling from country to country. Occasionally she got on wrong buses and had misunderstandings with the locals, but these events did her no harm. Instead she grew to feel empowered and limitless in her feature endeavors.

Bonnie Cook, Cook’s mother, said, “I constantly worried for my daughter’s safety while she spent years in foreign countries. There were no cell phones during that time but I knew we had a strong daughter who we taught well.”

Years later, Cook found her path in Manhattan and working in the financial district. She worked out of the South Tower of the Twin Towers.

The morning of Sept. 11, Cook recalls feeling that she shouldn’t have gone into work that day. But, she said, “I’m not the type of person who doesn’t go to work based on a feeling.”

Cook exited the South Tower at the time when the second plane made contact, killing her friends on the 83rd floor. That day is a blur in her mind; she even remembers that a stranger had to remind her to call her parents.

The suicide and a murder of two fellow 9/11 survivors motivated Cook to reevaluate her stance on the aftermath of that day in American history. Furthermore, America’s reaction to these events greatly upset her.

This caused Cook to realize that change could not occur by building walls between nations, or by increasing airport security checks or visa restrictions. Instead the answer could be found in education.

Cook packed up her daughter and moved back to American Fork High School and began teaching at the local high school she had graduated from.

Cook recalls that she wasn’t sure what she was expecting on her first day but remembers that she felt frustrated by the lack of interest the students had in the outside world. This frustration was fueled further by the rigorous rubric she had to follow according to the district’s standards.

However, the second year of her teaching began with the opportunity to create her own class, with its own goals. A class that would educate the senior students of the purpose of the English language and its usages in the world, both formal and informal. Using her experiences from over 40 countries, Cook fashioned a class that many first believed looked more like a history class than an English class.

Cook told her students that she spent a week in a Tibetan monastery in the Himalayas, a silent week, learning to pray. But this experience demonstrates that many people seek the same answers through similar meanings.

Cook’s entire message for the world tour-themed class could be illustrated by a single picture. A picture featuring the events of Tiananmen Square where a single student stood in front of the approaching tanks.

The message is that language, English or otherwise, is a tool used to convey a person’s thoughts and beliefs to the world. Her message championed for her students to use words and language instead of bombs to resolve conflict. To embrace different perspectives and see them as they are a person’s life.

Cook did not travel the world in the American style of guided tours and continental breakfasts. She rode on cramped buses and held everyday jobs. She was able to witness many events including uprisings in Tibet and the World Cup in Paris.

“I want my students to get out of the country,” she said. “To learn what other countries have to offer and realize the people in a different country in a hut are working towards the same goals they are.”

After all, there is too much beauty in the world for American students to fear it. Cook encourages all students to “Get out! You’re cheating yourself if you’re not.”