Powder Mountain, Utah is one of the most unknown and underrated ski resorts out west. It offers one of the best true skiing experiences available. Powder Mountain can best be described as the equivalent of a cross between Nubs Nob and Mount Bohemia in a west coast resort. Only a few lifts. No real fancy accommodations or base village. Focus on skiing experience over all other things.
- My Experience with Powder Mountain Ski Resort
- Where is Powder Mountain Mountain
- Powder Mountain has no crowds. Ever
- The terrain is really laid back and fun
- Some of the best tree skiing anywhere.
- Cat Skiing at Powder Mountain
- The Powder Keg
- Where to stay to ski Powder Mountain
- Final Words
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My Experience with Powder Mountain Ski Resort
My first experience with Powder Mountain occurred several years ago. I was planning a budget trip to Salt Lake City and looking for somewhere to spend one of my days. I browsed Liftopia and saw Powder Mountain with some very cheap day ticket prices. I believe they were around $50 at the time. I never heard of it before so I looked the resort up online. It seemed small with only a couple of lifts and cat skiing and it was in Ogden. It is not in the typical Park City area or the Cottonwood Canyons where the more popular Utah resorts are. I purchased my ticket and off I went.
Where is Powder Mountain Mountain
The first thing to note about Powder Mountain is that it is in Ogden, about 45 minutes north of Salt Lake City. It has one of the steepest access roads of any ski resort in North America if not the world. Bicycling.com included it in their list of the 30 hardest hill climbs in the world. It rises 3200 vertical feet in 6 miles. Fortunately for snowy days, there is a very inexpensive UTA ski bus that can be used. I highly recommend this option even if you have a 4 wheel drive rental car.
When you arrive at the top of the hill you’ll quickly see this place is not your typical big out west resort. The main lodge, Timberline Lodge is smaller then what you would find at Caberfae Peaks. Further up the road is Hidden Lake Lodge which is even smaller. There is a few on site condo/cottages scattered around the mountain but nothing like you would find at any Epic Pass resort.
Powder Mountain has no crowds. Ever
Powder Mountain Ski Resort limits their daily lift ticket sales to 1500. The resort’s focus is on maintaining the quality of skiing for guests and making the powder last. My first trip to Powder Mountain occurred on an 8 inch fresh powder day. There were fresh tracks on almost every run that day. There were visible untracked areas from the lifts the entire way through the day. You didn’t even have to hunt for it.
The terrain is really laid back and fun
The terrain at the mountain is fairly straight forward. The main lift served feature is the ridge under Paradise lift. This is a large ridge with cat trails down either side of it. There are marked runs on the trail map.
The reality is, this is just a large open expanse you can ski down anywhere you want. The pitch is a reasonable blue to black everywhere with few rocks or cliffs to be concerned about. We felt very comfortable skiing off everywhere we tried on both sides of the ridge.
This is in contrast to Snowbird which has much steeper pitches and much more intimidating terrain. The terrain at Powder Mountain feels very skiable to anyone who is an upper intermediate to advanced level skier.
Some of the best tree skiing anywhere.
My true love at Powder Mountain is the tree skiing. Head to the Hidden Lake Express and ski off into the trees anywhere. The trees on both sides of this lift seem to just be perfectly spaced with a nice consistent pitch.
On my first trip to Powder Mountain which was a nice powder day I did run after run after run in the trees in this area and could have done twice as many and still had fresh tracks in the trees. If you love the glades at Nubs Nob then a powder day here is absolutely the best ski day you’ll ever have.
If groomers are your thing they have you covered here too. There are several really nice groomed runs under the Hidden Lake Express.
Mary’s Bowl, the terrain under village lift and the runs off of Timberline lift all follow the same trend. They are all skiable by the average skier. Steep enough to be fun and challenging but not intimidating. Powder Mountain really feels like a place where you can ski off into the trees or a bowl anywhere with a low risk of winding up somewhere you can’t handle. Even as someone, not that familiar with the resort you feel empowered to explore.
In a similar manner to Mount Bohemia, Powder Mountain has an area known as Powder Country where you ski off the side of the resort and wind up on the access road. A bus runs along the road that picks skiers up and brings them back.
Cat Skiing at Powder Mountain
Powder Mountain Ski Resort has inbounds cat skiing in Cobabe Canyon and Gertson Canyon and ski and skin in Lefty’s Canyon. Cat skiing passes are a separate add on ticket purchased at the ticket window. We didn’t try either of these 2 areas yet as well as Powder Country. I can’t comment on the difficulty level in those areas.
They do a very good job of marking the border between lift served areas and cat and skin areas. There is low risk you’ll accidentally ski into those parts and not be able to get back. I plan on trying the cat skiing and Powder Country on a future trip.
If you are looking for some additional adventure while skiing in Utah and Powder Mountain, check out 57 Hours for some excellent guided backcountry tours.
The Powder Keg
There are 2 spots for getting lunch. Timberline Lodge and Hidden Lake Lodge. Both are small and have a fraction of the seating of even the Caberfae Peaks cafeteria lodge. The food is good at both but not conventional.
In the bottom of Timberline Lodge is The Powder Keg. This is a tiny after ski bar that embodies the dive bar concept at a ski resort. The beer may be weak because it’s Utah but it still tastes amazing after a long day skiing. With the drive you’ll be doing back down the access road, weak is maybe not a horrible idea. This bar has excellent character and charisma so be sure to not skip it on your day skiing here.
Where to stay to ski Powder Mountain
There are a few condo options available for staying at Powder Mountain. They have very good package rates including the lift tickets if you’ve got a group going. They do require at least a 3 night minimum stay. The dining options are very limited on the mountain so expect to do your own cooking at your condo if you go this route.
For people wanting to ski Powder Mountain as part of a trip where your skiing other Salt Lake City resorts in the same trip then hotels near SLC airport are very reasonable. I have stayed near the airport on every trip I’ve ever done to SLC so far. There is so much variety in the skiing here that it seems almost a waste to only try one place where you’re out there.
I love Powder Mountain Ski Resort. It’s now my favorite place to ski in Salt Lake City. Share your thoughts in the comments below regarding Powder Mountain.
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About the author
My name is Doug Ryan. I am an outdoors enthusiast always looking forward to my next adventure. I spend as much time skiing, biking, and paddleboarding as I can. I decided to start Endless Rush Outdoors as a way to share my knowledge and enthusiasm for all things outdoor adventures and to help other people have as much fun as me.