OUTDOORS & RECREATION

‘Bear Lake Monster Winterfest’ features Bear Lake as a winter getaway

Jan 26, 2024, 7:11 PM | Updated: Jan 27, 2024, 9:50 am

GARDEN CITY, Rich County — The Bear Lake Valley Chamber of Commerce is trying to bridge the gap between the summer and the so-called offseason with a new festival.

“The longer we’ve been up here, the more I realize that there’s a lot to do,” said Katie Prestwich.

Katie and Joe Prestwich said they started making more off-season trips to the Bear Lake Valley after realizing there were plenty of winter activities.

“We had been coming up here for many years just in the summertime, you know, for boating and stuff like that. But it just didn’t occur to me that there was so much here to do in the winter,” Joe Prestwich said.

That realization is something that Bear Lake Valley business owners are hoping more people will realize.

“It allows people to get out and have a little exposure to a new sport that might turn them on for the rest of the winter,” said Mark Smoot, Bear Lake Valley Chamber of Commerce executive director.

Smoot said that their Winterfest is consistently growing, especially during clear days with plenty of snow on the ground.

“Oh, it’s gorgeous up here today. So absolutely gorgeous,” he said.

Smoot said the weekend is full of activities, giving local business owners like Audell Bates a chance to welcome some first-timers to their stores.

People gather near Moose Buns, a local business.

People gather near Moose Buns, a local business. (Mike Anderson, KSL TV)

“There’s actually (are) some tourists that only come up here in the winter. So it’s so interesting with the skiing, the snowmobiling, the cross-country skiing, (and the) snowshoeing,” Bates said.

Bates and her friend Jody Bringhurst want to share what they’ve enjoyed for so many winters in Bear Lake Valley. They say winter in the valley is a best-kept secret, but they believe others should also enjoy it.

“It really is living the dream. Yeah, we love it,” Bringhurst said.

The Winterfest runs through Sunday, and one of the big events is the polar plunge happening Saturday.

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‘Bear Lake Monster Winterfest’ features Bear Lake as a winter getaway