Bear Lake Monster Winterfest seeks to draw winter tourists

Jan 27, 2023, 9:11 PM | Updated: 9:12 pm

RICH COUNTY, Utah The community around Bear Lake is pushing to get more people out there during these winter months. As a part of that, the Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is underway.

“It’s how the Olympic skiers do it,”

Finn and Joe Coccimiglio got to do some snowshoeing as well as a number of winter snow sports Friday.

“We love coming in the winter because it’s so beautiful. The lake’s beautiful. No one’s here,” Joe said.

The two came up from Lehi, as did Sheridan Watkins and her family.

“Yeah, it’s kind of fun. We’ve got tubing, and this little guy, he’s never done snowmobiling. Huh, Georgie?” Watkins said Georgie.

All of these things were offered for free Friday afternoon.

“It’s beautiful! A bit blustery, but snow is great. Had quite a few people up,” said Mark Smoot, owner of Epic Recreation and director of the Bear Lake Valley Chamber of Commerce.

“That is just the hidden gem about Bear Lake is there’s so much to do up here in the wintertime,” he added.

And that’s what the business community wants people to see — that when there’s ice instead of blue water, snow and maybe not the sunshine, there’s still a lot to do out here.

“Our occupancy goes up, our visitor-ship, and it’s just helping us as a business community continue to build this year-round business up here,” Smoot said.

Activities remain open and available through Sunday.

This year’s probably tougher than most, with all the wind blowing, but there’s a cardboard regatta and a monster plunge for those who want to get into the water — and this is really just one anchor-event for a season full of winter activities.

“We’ve got a moonlight skate on a full moon that first weekend in February for our cross-country skiers out on the lake. We’ve got our skijoring event that will be here over President’s Day,” Smoot said.

And that’s really what they want people to see — that there are reasons to be here, even when it’s not hot outside.

Watkins said has family have started coming up for New Year’s, and the Coccimiglios have made it a regular winter stop, too.

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Bear Lake Monster Winterfest seeks to draw winter tourists