1. You’ve experienced real snow storms.
You remember the good ole days of snow banks the size of your house. But with Utah’s 2015 winter being hailed as the warmest in 120 years, the once record-breaking, mass devastation snowstorms are no more. History has shown us highway pile-up’s and 1-15 delays backed up from SLC Tokyo drift-style winter driving. We may not have had it as hard as the Brigham Young plains crossing, but with those types of delays you might as well have dialed The Food Truck League to drop by with some backsliders and to-go bbq. And to you, delays from snow just meant some killer powder that needed visiting before it was tracked out.
2. No matter what country you are in, you are asked if you are a Mormon.
Yes, even on the other side of the world, with barely a shared language, you manage to be asked if you are a Mormon anytime Utah comes up. Of course, being a Utahn you are the quintessential expert of all things Mormon: Do they really wear magic underwear? Do they really have 10 wives? What is a real life Mormon like? Newsflash: Mormons as just like everyone else, just more conservative, and just because I’m from here does not mean I studied at the Family Genealogy Library or took Mormon 101 in school. Step away from the internet stories people, it’s not all true, and there is a whole non- Mormon world in Utah. Ask about that.
3. You are a Jello shot connoisseur.
Because you’ve been making Jello your entire life for every occasion (it’s a Utah thing), you are now the designated Jellonator. You are a pro at whipping up devastatingly strong, tri -colored, special blend superhero-shaped shots guaranteed to put someone way past the Utah driving limit of 0.08%. And on occasion there may still be fruit included. These skills could grab you a weekend gig at Club Jam as a GoGo Dancer/Jello shot slinger. Take that to your Auntie’s barbeque.
4. You’ve probably recycled a boyfriend/girlfriend.
The dating pool can become ridiculously incestuous here, and the metropolitan areas are very condensed, so the chances of you crossing paths with an ex are pretty high. The game-like quality of dump and switch has become addictive for people and the short attention span of serial daters makes pickings slim. You may find yourself dating (or marrying) someone who has dated your best friend or revisiting those once off-limit exes who you swore off.
Good news: Utahns like to share. Worst case scenario: Your date life provides great content for your next short story. Luckily this is changing with the rise in national and foreign transplants being seduced by Utah’s “Silicon Slopes”, epic national parks, and top-level cuisine. Whoo-haa, open the dating gates and the David Archuleta pop songs.
5. You survived the mass onslaught of crowds during the 2002 Olympics.
We hooked the 2002 Winter Olympics which brought weeks of visitors, 2,000 stellar athletes and a one-time ticket to non-stop Utah liquor law-bending underground parties. It gave outsiders a look at the Zion Curtain — a cumbersome and inconvenient “wall” required to hide hard liquor from the public’s view — and a peep into demystifying the strange and foreign land of Mormonism. You probably made a few extra bucks and saw some ice skating events, but were still more than happy to get dive bars like Cheers to You back to yourself — along with the ability to actually drive downtown again.
6. You kayaked and sandbagged city streets turned to rivers in the 80’s floods.
Utah has had its share of ill-humored weather, including the 1983 floods that changed downtown city streets like State & 9th into level two rapids with plenty of impromptu kayakers and opportunistic fisherman. Millions of sandbag walls were built by volunteers clad in Levi cutoffs and Adidas tennis shorts to hold back melting snow pack and torrential rains. Hot, young reporters like Shelley Osterloh and Randall Carlisle covered new tourist attractions, including the Spanish Fork mudslides and artists pop up’s capturing renditions of street rivers. It’s possible your Dad even snatched up a giant rainbow trout for din-din on a street near you.
7. You’ve primed yourself for the hipster takeover.
We have our share of slick, stach’ed and groovy bearded Gen Y’ers roaming the streets. Small armies of counterculture locals can be spotted in their lumber jack and vintage queen chic styles at local hotspots like Zest, snogging on fresh squeezed vegan cocktails and kombucha shots or sipping curated spirits at Bar X. If you’re not into the hipster trappings, you may want to avoid dive bars, bike lanes, vegan eateries, 9th & 9th, and overpriced wine bars near areas with a great bike score, since they’ll most likely judge you for driving there having rode in on a fixie. Prep your anti-hipster kit with mainstream music, all things conformist, and supermarket fruits and veggies for a start. We may not be the most hipster state in the U.S., but we are on our way to a Movember takeover.
8. You forget how to drive in snow. Every single year.
With annual consistency a familiar scene hits the snowy streets of Utah — and it looks like an amusement park bumper car ride. People, if you grew up here, is it really possible to forget how to drive in the snow every year? Apparently it is.
It doesn’t matter if it’s fluffy snow, sleety snow, freezy snow, lumpy snow, or cruddy snow, no one seems to have a clue what to do in it once they get into a vehicle. We may have the best snow on Earth, but we cannot boast first-rate snow-savvy drivers.
9. Your Tinder handle is @MormonLoveGod.
Only in Utah…