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Skiing:  Powder Mountain

Powder Mountain, Sleepy Little Area on the Rise 

Powder Mountain has always been known as an intermediate locals area.  Featuring plenty of acreage they have lacked the more advanced terrain.  Until last year…the addition of the Paradise lift opened up terrain that was previously reserved for Snowcat skiing.

About that Snowcat stuff, Powder Mountain has been offering snow riders alternatives to lifts for years.  Out of the over 40 resorts I’ve skied I can say Powder Mountain is the only one in which being towed behind a snowmobile was part of the lift system.  Before the Paradise lift was installed last year a snowmobile would tow 4 to 5 people at a time up to the top of the ridgeline.  Attempting to hold on to a rope while being towed by a maniacal driver was quite exhilarating.  For seven bucks a ride one of the Snowcats would tow you back out again.  Now with the addition of Paradise the Snowcat skiing has been moved to Lightning Ridge.  Lightning Ridge offers even more extreme terrain than Paradise now provides.  Powder Country is another one of their interesting lift diversions.  From the top of the Hidden Lake chair or Sundown chair one can ski down to the road leading to the resort.  At the road you are picked up by a bus and shuttled back up to the resort.

The advanced skier will find most of their thrills on either the Paradise lift or the Cat skiing.  The terrain off the Paradise lift is basically a long ridgeline with steep lines off either side.  One can bash steep lines through the trees on Medicine Man or Sweet Claim, or dance among the rocks in Silver Bowl. 

Cobabe Canyon has some exciting areas as well.  The best lines into Cobabe Canyon are found off of Sunrise Ridge.  Follow Sunrise Ridge down past the Cobabe Canyon Cat Walk, anytime past the Cat Walk feel free to drop into the canyon.  Although a bit shorter than the runs off Paradise there is still some fun to be had here.

Powder Mountain is an intermediate skiers dream.  The Hidden Lake area of the resort is a broad gentle bowl.  Powder Mountain does a good job of keeping enough of the runs groomed to keep the cruisers happy.  Claire’s Run and Dr C are located off the Sunrise platter tow.  These are good runs for an intermediate to practice their off-trail techniques.  Gentle slopes allow the “not so advanced” snow-riders to get off into the powder or crud.

Beginners can ski any lift in the resort.  Powder Mountain has done an exceptional job of cutting beginner runs from the top of every lift.  The Sundown base area is probably the best place to teach a new skier.  The Tiger lift is a surface lift which goes up just far enough for the beginner to have enough room to learn while not providing fear.  Some exceptional beginner runs would be East 40 to the base of Hidden Lake; or ride Sunrise Ridge to the Cobabe Canyon Catwalk, this continues through a beautiful easy run down Cobabe Canyon to the base of the Paradise lift.

The Eats

Powder Mountain doesn’t offer much in way of fancy dining.  There are several places located around the resort to grab the usual ski fare (burgers, fries and the like).  The Hidden Lake lodge is my favorite place to grab a bite.  Great views while eating and decent food at reasonable prices make this lodge my favorite lunch spot. 

The Powder Keg is located in the main base area.  This small bar serves good food and provides after-ski beers.  Don’t expect the same scene you’ll find in Park City, mostly you’ll find locals sipping on beers and the occasional party of tourists.  But, none the less, they do have several varieties of beer on tap and an ample selection of bottled beer.  They roll up the sidewalks at about six o’clock around here, don’t expect to party the night away.

The Sleeps

For a small area Powder Mountain has some nice lodging.  I stayed at the Columbine lodge before I moved here.  When arranging the accommodations we figured that for the cheap price we’d be staying in a shack.  When we arrived we were amazed, a roomy beautiful and clean condo awaited us.  We fit ten people in a three bedroom condo and weren’t cramped at all.  I’ve checked their web page and the prices still seem to be rock bottom.  Expect to spend about half of what it costs to stay here than any other Utah resort.

Between the Powder Ridge Condo’s and the Columbine Lodge, Powder Mountain has plenty of bed space to support the traffic they receive.  Don’t let the cheap prices fool you, these are nice places to stay.

Conclusion

Powder Mountain is a resort which definitely deserves a try.  This appears to be a family-run operation.  A down home simplistic feeling exudes itself from your surroundings.  So far they have eschewed the trappings of the glitzier resorts.  You’ll find no high speed quads here, but you will find a ski experience hearkening back to the early days of skiing.

The lifts are old and slow for the most part, hell, the Paradise lift is new and slow…But have you ever been in a huge expanse of terrain, looked around and not seen a single soul?

This review will become a living document, I’ve talked to the management here and big things are planned for the future.  A lift up into the James Peak area is planned.  I’ll post any updates pertinent to the resort.  

Additional Resources


Snow Report

Powder Mountain Snow Report


Shop


Magazines

Ski

Powder

Skiing

Freeskier


Books

Utah Atlas and Gazetteer

Backcountry Skiing Utah

First Tracks: A Century of Skiing in Utah

Hidden Salt Lake City and Beyond: Including Park City, Deer Valley, Alta and Snowbird


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