Fairview Chosen for ‘State Ride,’ Local Snowmobiling Enthusiasts Gearing Up


This is part of an occasional series by the Sanpete Country Travel and Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance on the people and places along U.S. Highway 89.

Fairview Chosen for ‘State Ride,’ Local Snowmobiling Enthusiasts Gearing Up

Sanpete County’s Fairview Canyon has been selected as the location for the Utah Snowmobile Association’s annual “State Ride” to be held early next year.

The selection probably comes as no surprise to snowmobiling enthusiasts across the state. Not only does the Fairview region boast some of the best trails in the entire country, but it’s also home to award-winning “snowmobile families”, clubs and dealerships.

Brian Howarth knows a bit about the secrets of the region’s success. He is president of the Skyline Sno-Riders, the local snowmobiling organization that has twice been named “Snowmobile Club of the Year” by the Utah Snowmobiling Association. He also is one of the members of last year’s “Snowmobile Family of the Year,” another annual honor bestowed by the state association, and a long-time outdoors enthusiast.

To Howarth, who has been snowmobiling for more than 20 years, there is no better snowmobiling in the area than what is found in Fairview Canyon. “I think it’s because there is such diversity in the riding terrain. There are a lot of groomed trails, plus there is plenty of back country to explore,” he says.

Snowmobiling enthusiasts will get a good chance to experience both types of terrain during the annual Utah Snowmobile Association’s State Ride Feb. 24 and 25th. The event will also include a “poker ride”, special dinner, winter carnival and more, and Fairview Canyon will be the gateway to it all.

“It’s kind of a hidden secret,” Howarth says of the offerings provided by Fairview Canyon.

A paved canyon road leads to a trail head that provides access to more than 50 miles of trails to the north at Skyline Drive and some 30 miles to the south to Joe’s Valley. The combination of fresh snow and access to fabulous routes keep people coming back year after year.

“More and more people are finding out about it,” says Howarth, who moved to Fairview from Utah County about two years ago. His family had a cabin in the canyon and spent years snowmobiling in and around the area. After he married, he and his wife decided they wanted the “small town experience” and moved to the area permanently.

After moving there, Howarth and his entire family got involved in the Skyline Sno-Riders. Eventually, he became president and his mother, Darlene Mortensen, became secretary. Membership and interest has more than quadrupled since then, and the group now has some 130 members. “We are now the second largest club in the state,” Howarth says. “We are very family oriented, we have members of all ages and work hard to teach all of our members how to ride safe and respect the land on which they ride.”

Howarth’s family also started several charity events tied to snowmobiling that have raised food and funds for the local food bank. Last year, they raised 1,000 pounds of food. Their efforts are one of the reasons that Howarth, his wife, Miko, his mother, and dad, Clyde Mortensen, were named the state’s top snowmobiling family of the year in 2004.

Howarth and the Sno-Riders worked to establish a trailhead, including putting in a paved parking lot, as well as a warming shelter located about 15 miles away from the trail entrance that is kept well-stocked throughout the season, which typically runs from December through April.

The entire club also gets involved in community and charity events, such as “Operation Care Bear” that involved collecting stuffed animals to give to sheriff’s officers, fire and ambulance workers to pass on to children. During the off-season, the club sponsors other events such as trail clean ups, an “adopt a highway” program. Members also work with the local forest service, parks and recreation and avalanche control to improve and support the land and trails.

This year’s Snowmobile Family of the Year — Ron and Coreen Linton — are also members of the Skyline Sno-Riders.

In addition, Big Pine Sports, located at the mouth of Fairview Canyon, received last year’s “Dealer of the Year” award from the state organization. Owners Glen and Judy Zumwalt are known throughout Utah as the “unofficial source” for snowmobiling conditions in Utah. People call the store just about daily during the season for updates and conditions. Avid snowmobilers themselves, Glen is the past president of the Utah Snowmobile Association, while Judy handles the group’s public relations.

Indeed, Big Pine Sports, the Skyline Sno-Riders, and Howarth and Mortensen families have done a lot of bring notoriety to the canyon. Snowmobiling also has long been a huge benefit for Sanpete County, contributing by means of snowmobiler’s eating in local restaurants, staying in hotels and bed and breakfasts and visiting stores and shops.

Howarth is inviting all outdoor enthusiasts to see just what makes Fairview Canyon such a draw Feb. 24th and 25th during the annual state ride. It’s expected to attract people from all over the state. The event will include back country and groomed trail rides, a dinner, door prizes and more.

For dinner tickets or information, contact Howarth at (435) 427-3620 or Darlene Mortensen at 427-3353. Information is also available on the website www.skylinesno-riders.com .

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For more information Contact:

Monte Bona
Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council
(435) 462-2502

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