Ogden a haven for outdoor enthusiasts

By Allan Stumpe, Staff Writer

Don’t sell Ogden short.

It can no longer be considered Utah’s armpit. Outdoor enthusiasts and companies alike are cashing in on Ogden’s rich natural resources. So should you.

Over the last few years, Ogden has been a hot spot for reputable national and international outdoor gear companies to set up shop. More than a dozen companies have done so. Popular names such as Salomon, Rossignol, Kahuna Creations, Descente, Atomic, Goode and Amer Sports have migrated north of Utah’s capital city.

The trend-setters in outdoor recreation have recognized something special in Ogden. Fall Break provides the perfect opportunity for U students to explore its immense potential for outdoor fun and not have to waste a lot of gas in doing so.

Roughly 40 miles away to the north and less than an hour drive, Ogden is the perfect Fall Break “stay-cation.” It’s a perfect opportunity for students who have to stick around Salt Lake City but still want to utilize the time off from school.

Find what it is that drives outdoor enthusiasts to Ogden by first visiting the Wasatch-Cache National Forest. With 309,000 acres of designated wilderness, you’ll find plenty to do8212;whether it’s hiking, mountain biking, camping, fishing or off-roading.

For a small challenge, head to Ogden’s highest view: Ben Lomond Peak. At 9,712 feet, you’ll get a fantastic view over northern Utah accompanied by a sense of achievement.

Ogden is also home to Utah’s only whitewater kayak park. Stop by Ogden’s Kayak Rodeo Park on the Weber River to enjoy class II and III rapids as you never have before.

Even more opportunities are available for a student climber. The 26th Street Bouldering Field provides climbers ample opportunity to test themselves and solve bouldering problems ranging from V0 to V7.

Experienced climbers can also head up Ninth Street to a 40-foot crag. The rock has a range of difficulty and is top-rope accessible.

If a one-of-kind hike is more what you’re looking for, Via Ferrata8212;up Waterfall Canyon Climbing Park8212;is one of Ogden’s newest outdoor attractions. One of 10 climbing parks in the world, Via Ferrata (Iron Way) invites a range of skill levels.

The climbing park is fully set up with cables, stair steps, bolts and more, which means that the Waterfall Canyon Climbing Park mostly attracts beginners who crave access to higher ground and spectacular views. Helmet, harness and a park-issued shock-absorption lanyard are required to climb within the park and can be rented in the park. There is a pass that must be purchased and a guide service available for those wanting to venture from the beaten path.

Pure climbing spots exist throughout the valley. Locals and shop personnel are the best people to ask about climbing spots in the Ogden area.

Ogden also has a world-class sky-diving center for extremists, not to mention water skiing, wakeboarding and boating when weather and temperatures permit.

As one can see, there is plenty to do outdoors in Ogden for just about anyone. This is even without mentioning the ski resorts that won’t be opened for Fall Break (pending a miracle) and the ice climbing at Malwa’s Waterfall.

If you find yourself in Ogden and weather seems to want to sabotage your adventures, just move indoors. The Salomon Center has tried to simulate the outdoors in its state-of-the-art facility.

Catch a wave at the Flowrider and perfect your surfing skills with the biggest swells in Utah. Or fly high at iFly as you experience indoor skydiving. While you’re there, ascend the 55-foot climbing wall at iRock, Ogden’s premier indoor bouldering and rock climbing facility.

When all is said and done and you’ve had your thrills for the day, don’t get up and leave town just yet. Hit up the local comedy club, Wiseguys, for a laugh. Find directions to the local hot spots for some relaxation or enjoy some food and drink at one of Ogden’s best establishments such as the Roosters Brewing Company or the Shooting Star Saloon.

Whatever it is you do in Ogden during your Fall Break, please remember to be courteous and smart in the outdoors. Practice good judgment and respect the people and wildlife around you. Most of all, enjoy Ogden8212;it’s not just a town on the way to Yellowstone anymore.

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