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Last year it was the Browning M1911 that was declared the official state gun.

This year, the Utah Legislature is being asked to designate skiing and snowboarding as the state's official winter sports.

Rep. Steve Eliason, R-Sandy, said he sponsored the bill because skiing and snowboarding are an economic boon, luring travelers and bolstering state coffers.

Colorado, which adopted a similar designation for skiing in 2008, was the inspiration for the bill.

The state had 4.2 million skier days last year, generating 20,000 jobs, Eliason said.

"If state symbols are what this state is about, this has been lacking for a long time," Eliason said during a hearing on the bill. "I view it primarily as a tool to teach school children what our great state is about."

The measure passed the House 67-0 and goes to the Senate for consideration.

If the Senate approves the bill, skiing and snowboarding would take their place alongside such esteemed symbols as:

• The elk as the state animal;• The Beehive Cluster in the constellation Cancer as the state astronomical symbol;• Dubne in the Big Dipper as the state star;• The centennial tartan (pictured here);• The Dutch oven as the state cooking pot;• The square dance as the state folk dance;• The Allosaurus as the state fossil;• Indian rice gras as the official state grass;• Coal as the state rock;

— Robert GehrkeTwitter: @RobertGehrke

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