Ogden, UT 3 Years in the Making

[Ogden, UT, Apr 23 – 26, 2023]

The annual Higher Education Data Warehousing conference in 2020 was slated to be hosted by Weber State University in Ogden, UT. I had visited Ogden in the Fall of 2019 in preparation for the conference, but a global pandemic wrecked that plan. The next 3 HEDW conferences were virtual but when it came time for 2023, we finally were able to return to Ogden for our first in-person conference post-pandemic! And, as usual, I planned to spend extra time in Utah after the conference to finally finish off the Utah Big Five with Arches and Canyonlands national parks!

View from my hotel room in Ogden

The conference usually runs Monday-Wednesday, with a Welcome reception on Sunday night. The Welcome reception is an opportunity for the host university to show off a unique location on campus. When the University of Michigan hosted in 2019, we had the reception at the famous UM football stadium, the Big House. Weber State had something entirely different on offer – the Ogden Ice Sheet. It hosted the curling events for the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.

It was only fitting that we got to try out curling as part of the reception! The movement required to get the curling rock going was very specific but not hard to master. The fun begins when the skip starts to yell commands at the sweepers, whose job it is to get the curling rock to where it’s supposed to go.

The weather was still pretty cold in the morning, even at the end of April. Nevertheless, I managed to get a couple of sunrise walks with some fellow conference attendees. It felt good to get some fresh air and steps in before being cooped up inside all day. The walks coincided with sunrise for an added bonus.

On Tuesday, the conference typically hosts a fun run/walk. This is another opportunity for the host university to show off, this time something in the surrounding area. My favorite so far has been our outing at Sabino Canyon in Tucson, AZ. This time, we checked out one of the many trails at the base of the Wasatch mountain range, which looms east of Ogden and is always in the photos. The trail, Gibb’s Loop, took us next to a golf course and provided great view of the town of Ogden below.

For dinner that day, we had surprisingly good sushi at Tona, then indulged in ice cream at the appropriately named Farr Better Ice Cream.

I had some free time after the conference on Wednesday. Even though I’d been to Ogden before, I had not made it to Union Station, so I decided to check that out. Formerly the junction of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads, the building has been revamped as a cultural hub. It houses a number of museums, of which I only had time for the Utah State Railroad Museum. I enjoyed seeing all the different cars, including a steam locomotive (it was gigantic!), one used as a field hospital, and a mail car.

I had fun returning to Ogden, but I very much looked forward to the next few days in Moab, UT. I had been eyeing Arches and Canyonlands national parks for quite a while. The trip was going to be all the more special because my friend May was going to drive over from Colorado Springs to join me, and my friend Olivia from LA decided to join last minute also!

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