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When a possible ski resort was studied in Davis County; plus, Davis County ‘Avengers’ and a wild balloon ride

In the 1950s, a study was done to see if there was spot in Davis County for a ski resort and Alf Engen checked it out

At the top of Bountiful Peak.
At the top of Bountiful Peak.
Keaton Reed

Why doesn’t Davis County have any ski resorts?

According to the Davis County Clipper of June 13, 1958, a study was done that year in the Bountiful Peak area (just south of Farmington Canyon) to determine the feasibility of ski runs being constructed there.

Alf Engen, best known for his ski school at Alta Ski Resort and his pioneering of powder skiing, studied the Wasatch Mountains in Davis County for possible ski runs.

Skiing with Alf Engen.
Skiing with Alf Engen.
Tom Smart, Deseret News

“Mr. Engen was particularly impressed with one spot southeast of Bountiful Peak,” the Clipper stated, indicating that it had more promise than Brighton Ski Resort did.

However, the next step was studying aerial photos, along with the feasibility of the Farmington Canyon road being open year-round.

Aerial pictures apparently showed the terrain to be not as suitable as initially thought. Also, the construction of a radar station on Francis Peak to the north compounded year-round travel safety for the area. The Weekly Reflex newspaper of Oct. 6, 1960 (available on Newspapers.com, subscription required), stated that the Bountiful Peak was still “being checked out for a ski haven.” That was the last word on a Davis ski resort.

The Davis News Journal of May 19, 1959 (available on Newspapers.com, subscription required), explained that Davis County had a recreation committee studying the possibility of the winter recreation, located south and east of Bountiful Peak. It even chose an official name, “Big Sky,” as the title for the recreation area.

In the end, no ski resort or recreation area ever materialized.

However, the Clipper of March 10, 1978 (available on Newspapers.com, subscription required) reported on a federal proposal to declare the Bountiful Peak area a wilderness area. That never happened either (but at least you can access the area seasonally by the dirt road that goes up Farmington Canyon and heads south along the mountain top to the “B” on the mountainside in Bountiful).

More history:

• Utah Avengers: The Davis County Clipper of June 12, 1942, carried an eye-catching headline in today’s world — “Davis County men join Avengers.” Of course, it wasn’t the Marvel Comics’ Avengers, but it was a World War II unit, the Utah Avengers Naval Unit. The men, Harry B. Blanchard and Ernest Lehnhof, were known as “Utah Avengers” and were among 12,235 men at the time who had taken the oath of naval service.

• Wild ballon ride: Just over four decades ago, there was a wild balloon ride in Davis and Morgan counties. “Balloon Crew Launched From Lagoon; Ends With An Unforeseen Ride,” was the headline in the May 26, 1978, Clipper. A story, written by Roselyn Kirk chronicled how three people went on a hot air balloon ride and unexpectedly got carried over the crest of the Wasatch Mountains, just south of Francis Peak.

The 250-pound gondola was at the mercy of the winds or lack thereof and the riders were not prepared for the approximate 9,700-foot elevation they reached.

After a chilly ride, they finally landed on a sod farm field in Morgan County, where an ambulance and sheriff’s deputies were waiting. Everyone was safe. A helicopter had been called in from Hill AFB, but the balloon had landed by that time.

• First bowling mention in print: What was perhaps the first mention of bowling in a Utah newspaper? The Salt Lake Tribune of Dec. 18, 1871, carried the small advertisement for the Pioneer Bowling Alley in Salt Lake, where a game cost 25 cents.

• Describing Delicate Arch: Delicate Arch in Arches National Park has become a Utah icon and is internationally known now. Yet, when did the name first appear in a newspaper?

The Times Independent Newspaper of Moab on Jan. 1, 1934, published a story titled, “The Scenic Appeal of Arches National Monument,” by Frank Beckwith, an archaeologist.

The story could very well be where the Delicate Arch name originated from.

“A beautiful, Delicate Arch. About a mile east of Wolf Cabin Ranch is a pretty arch of pillars delicately carved uprising at once vertically for nearly sixty feet, then arching over to form the complete arch,” the story stated. “This is by far the most delicately chiseled arch in the entire area.

Beckwith later in the story referred to Delicate Arch as “Bloomers Arch” (and “School Marm’s Bloomers” and “Cowboy Chaps” were among some the Arch’s other early titles).

The archaeologist also reported having noticed there were several hundred pounds of ancient dinosaur bones on display, near Wolf’s Cabin.

Lynn Arave worked as a newspaper reporter for more than 40 years. He is a retired Deseret News reporter/editor, from 1979-2011. His email is lra503777@gmail.com. His Mystery of Utah History blog is at http://mysteryofutahhistory.blogspot.com.