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Nobody was talking Thursday about actress Eva Longoria looking sultry on the March cover of Delta Air Lines' in-flight magazine, Sky.

Instead, all attention at a luncheon reception in downtown Salt Lake City's New Yorker Restaurant focused on the magazine's 53-page profile of Utah, a glowing overview touching on topics from skiing and filmmaking to national parks and high school SAT scores.

"Utah has a great story to share with the world," said Sky magazine publisher Marialice Harwood before joining with Delta Vice President Greg Kennedy (a part-time Utahn) and Gov. Gary Herbert to unveil an oversized version of the profile's cover page.

Showing an oft-seen view from the north of Salt Lake City's skyline with the Wasatch Mountains in the background, the cover carried the headline "Elevated Ideas," elaborating that "From snow-covered peaks to multicolored canyons, this scenic state is the blueprint for what's possible when people collaborate."

That's the kind of positive exposure Herbert likes to see the state garner in a publication likely to be seen by an estimated 5.3 million passengers on Delta flights around the world.

"This is a very important occasion," the governor said, appreciative of Delta's support in the magazine as well as its commitment to maintaining a hub at Salt Lake City International Airport and providing employment to about 2,500 Utahns. And as the profile suggested, Herbert said, "I'm optimistic about Utah's future … Our best days are ahead of us."

Kennedy, who started with Delta 26 years ago as a part-time baggage handler at Salt Lake City International, estimated the profile was worth about $2.5 million in free advertising for Utah, something the airline was willing to do because its relationship to the state has been mutually beneficial. The profile, he added, "shares what a great place Utah is to work and play — and not necessarily in that order."

It does so with articles on the state's ski industry, health care innovations, Sundance and the Utah Film Commission, the LDS Church's investment in the downtown City Creek development, food and alcoholic drink possibilities, the arts and the splendors of Utah's different regions.

Featured in brief question-and-answer sections are such Utah luminaries as Nobel laureate Mario Cappechi, actors Robert Redford and Treat Williams, industrialist Jon Huntsman Sr., LDS Church Presiding Bishop H. David Burton, Olympic gold medalist skier Ted Ligety and (a day late) former Utah Jazz guard Deron Williams.

The section includes advertisements purchased by the Utah Office of Tourism, several convention and visitors bureaus, the Utah Sports Commission, the LDS Church and private entities, including Intermountain Healthcare, Questar, Red Mountain Resort in St. George, O.C. Tanner and

Tourism Office Managing Director Leigh von der Esch said the publication will arrive on Delta planes just as an in-flight video about Utah makes its debut. "This will help us push our brand further. The buzz is out about Utah and we're thrilled," she added.

Also exuberant about the exposure was Jeff Edwards, president and CEO of the Economic Development Corp. of Utah, a private/public partnership focusing on attracting new businesses to Utah and encouraging existing operations to expand.

"This will make our phones ring," Edwards said. "Salt Lake has been known as a crossroads of the West. Delta helps us become a bridge to the world."

More publicity

Alta and Snowbird are the places to ski this weekend, according to an e-mail blast sent out Thursday by the publisher of Ski and Skiing magazines. The reason: "37 inches in one storm makes for some pretty great powder skiing. If you know what's good for you, get to Utah."