The Best Wedding Venues in Huntsville and Eden, Utah
By: Derek Taylor
The word was bound to get out eventually. Once considered one of Utah’s hidden gems, it’s safe to say Snowbasin has been discovered. The transition from a sleepy local hill to a world-renowned ski area started in the 1980s when Earl Holding, owner of Sun Valley and Sinclair Oil, bought the resort. Upgrades under Holding’s watch include building new lodges and adding two gondolas and a tram to the resort’s lift system. The exposure grew when the resort hosted the 2002 Olympic downhill and Super G.
As more and more skiers visit Utah in general, people are inevitably finding Snowbasin. This is partly caused by people looking to escape the crowds and traffic in the Cottonwood Canyons and Park City—Snowbasin is the first resort that visitors get to in the Ogden Valley, and it’s only 45 minutes from the Salt Lake Airport. But, it is also because the skiing at Snowbasin is world-class.
The resort receives 300 inches of snow a year—less than the Cottonwood Canyons ski areas, or even nearby Powder Mountain, but about on par with Park City. The 3,000 skiable acres are serviced by one of the best lift systems in Utah, featuring two gondolas, a 15-person tram, and a new 6-person high speed lift on Wildcat. The lodges were all built just prior to the 2002 Olympics, and create a luxury vibe that also makes Snowbasin a great wedding venue in the summer.
Though it’s not the secret it used to be, Snowbasin is still relatively uncrowded. A busy day at Basin is still a quiet day at Snowbird. You’ll want to get up early if it’s a Saturday or holiday and it snowed (meaning be in your car before 8 a.m., not 6 a.m. like in Salt Lake). Once on the mountain, Snowbasin disperses skiers quickly. You may find a line up a Needles first thing, but on most days it will dissipate after a few runs. Needles is where you’ll want to start your day. It has the widest variety of terrain, and you’ll be warm and central to terrain openings elsewhere on the mountain. Or bundle up and head to the John Paul lift.
The resort joined the Epic Pass for the 2019-20 season, which could change things a little as pass holders from Park City and other Vail resorts come to use their seven free days. But don’t expect a massive change, as the resort still lacks any on-mountain lodging. This will likely be the next shift at Snowbasin. The resort has a master plan in hand, already approved by both Weber and Morgan counties, for a village near the Strawberry gondola—something to keep an eye on if you’re in the market for an investment property—or let us know and we can add you to a first to know list.
Come Summer, Snowbasin turns off day-to-day operations and becomes a hub of special events. The most popular of these by far is Blues, Brews, and BBQ, a weekly free concert series on the lawn outside of Earl’s Lodge happening every Sunday. Enjoy beer from an array of local and regional microbreweries, a BBQ lunch, and music from internationally recognized bands. If classical music is more your jam, you have to attend the Utah Symphony Under the Stars. Its a truly beautiful experience.
The Needles Gondola runs on Saturday and Sunday for downhill mountain biking and scenic hikes. The Kid’s Zone, featuring an adventure course, climbing wall, and bungee trampoline, is also open from 12:00 to 6:00 all weekend. On Monday night, the resort hosts a free, family-friendly movie on the lawn by Earl’s, with food and beverage service available in the lodge. The Mount Ogden Race Series is a local mountain bike race series that takes place every Wednesday evening.
Of course, the 50-mile trail network spanning Snowbasin and the adjacent National Forest land is open every day for hiking and mountain biking, as is the Fort Grizzly playground and the kid-friendly mountain bike practice loop.
No event, however, is more important than your wedding day. In terms of wedding venues, there may not be a more majestic location in Northern Utah than Needles Lodge. Exchange your vows on the outdoor patio with DeMoisey Peak and the iconic Lone Tree ski run as the backdrop, then simply step inside Needles lodge for your reception at the top of the mountain.
Earl’s Lodge at the base of the mountain offers vaulted ceilings with giant exposed wood beams, ornate chandeliers, and massive stone-wrapped fireplaces, as well as a lush lawn in a more accessible location.
With a 5-Star rating from WeddingWire.com for quality of service, responsiveness, professionalism, flexibility, and value, your Snowbasin wedding will be remembered by all for years to come.
Powder Mountain’s slogan, Preserving the Powder, can be taken in two ways. The first is in reference to the culture and vibe of the ski area, which has changed little since Alvin Cobabe founded the ski area in 1972. When Summit Powder Mountain bought the area in 2013, it was certainly with an eye on recouping their investment through real estate development. Yet rather than drop in a cookie-cutter village, Pow Mow set out to create a community based on creativity, cultural enrichment, and environmental stewardship.
The newly developed 500 ski-in ski-out residences are interconnected with a trail system that grew from almost nothing to 30-plus miles in three years. In 2020 the resort is expected to announce a new hotel and restaurant. Meanwhile, the classic Timberline Lodge, with the Powder Keg bar, remains. The lodge is somewhat of a throwback in this era of resort conglomeration, and keeps Pow Mow feeling like a classic 1970s ski area.
Preserving the powder can also be taken literally. Powder Mountain claims 500 inches of snow a season on their more than 8,000 skiable acres—more than any other ski area in the country. While that acreage number may conjure images of Park City or Whistler, in that respect it is a bit misleading. Powder Mountain is all on private land, and that acreage is broken up between lift-serviced terrain, snowcat skiing, guided backcountry tours, and a bus shuttle for road runs in Powder Country. It is truly unique in the American ski resort landscape.
Furthermore, of Pow Mow’s nine lifts, only one is a high-speed quad. The steepest terrain is found off of Lighting Ridge, which is accessed by a cat ride or a 20-minute hike, and takes three lifts and a shuttle to get back to. If that sounds tedious, maybe Pow Mow isn’t for you. But if you like untracked snow, days after a storm, Pow Mow is the place to find it.
Summer at Powder Mountain is intertwined with the resort’s 30-mile network of single track mountain biking, hiking and running trails. The trail system debuted in 2016 with the construction of the Brim Trail, and has since flourished into one of the best mountain biking and trail running destinations in Northern Utah.
The first step of the master plan was a network of trails suitable for all levels of riding. As such, more than 90 percent of Powder’s trails are currently rated as beginner. That will change as they get deeper into their build. “As far as our master plan goes, pretty much all of the green ones are done,” says Powder Mountain Marketing Manager J.P. Goulet. “Now we’ll be moving to the more difficult trails.” Pow Mow’s trail team punctuated this statement with the completion last summer of DMI, a 4.7 mile, expert-rated downhill trail incorporating berms and jumps running from the top of the Sundown lift to the mouth of Wolf Creek Canyon.
On Fridays and weekends, the Level 9 bike shop in Hidden Lake Lodge offers rentals, and the Hidden Lake Cantina serves street-style tacos and beer. Hidden Lake is also the focal point for a Wednesday night 5k trail running series. The trail system plays host to a number of other events throughout the summer, including the El Doce 12-hour bike race, as well as high school mountain bike races.
Powder Mountain has four lodges and numerous outdoor spaces available for weddings and groups, each with its own feel and personality highlighting Powder Mountain’s heritage mountain design.
The Valley Lodge is Powder Mountain’s centrally located hub for guests as they arrive into Eden. The space includes a large welcome area, full gym, spa treatment rooms, private showers, co-working spaces, private offices, movie theater and screening room, ashram, and event spaces.
The Skylodge is an amazing escape that sits at the top of Powder Mountain ski area in the heart of more than 8,000 acres of skiable terrain and exploration. The modern venue provides scenic vistas and 5,500 square feet of indoor/outdoor hosting space complete with lounge style seating, full kitchen, dining area, and private meeting rooms.
Arbor Lodge features a wide open floor plan with high ceilings and a full wrap around window line looking out over Ogden Valley. This space has two outdoor patios with a large mountain lodge-style entryway and fireplace. This is a dynamic venue with a multitude of configurations to fit your needs.
Bower Lodge is a mountain-modern venue centrally located in Eden. The space features a wide open floor -plan with three food and drink service stations, woodfire oven, full kitchen and bar along with a large heated outdoor wrap-around patio perfect for a reception with views overlooking Pineview Reservoir.
Located in the heart of Huntsville, the Huntsville Town Square is the ideal location for a rustic-feeling wedding or gathering. The Lodge at Huntsville Square, Old Fire Station, and Huntsville Square Grounds offer three unique venues in one quaint center.
The aged rough-cut timbers and Australian Cyprus wood floors of The Lodge create a warm and inviting gathering space for your wedding party.
Feel the nostalgia of the Old Fire Station updated to enhance the vaulted ceilings and exposed wooden trusses making it a spacious reception center full of history.
The most popular option for couples is to marry on the beautifully landscaped Huntsville Square Grounds. Multiple small out buildings and pines and shade trees flank thick grass and a log pergola, creating a beautiful and serene outdoor setting for your most enduring moments.
Adjacent outdoors and lifestyle shop, Detours, offers you and your guests numerous entertainment options including bicycle and standup paddleboard rentals, disc golf, croquet, ice cream and milkshakes. An outdoor stage and a 1,200 square foot dance floor deck round out this diverse and fun wedding venue.
In the Winter, the town floods the north end of the park to create a unique, outdoor ice skating rink. The rink is equipped with lights controlled by a dial timer, bathrooms and a pavilion. Skate rentals are offered on occasion, though it’s best to bring your own. Locals play pick up hockey on Saturday mornings, though even during the most intense mornings, there is always a section of ice for kids and those just skating. Use of the rink is free, and skate rentals, when available, are only a couple bucks. There is a donation box in the pavilion, which goes toward the electricity and the tractor/broom set up that cleans the ice.
The Huntsville Astronomic and Lunar Observatory (HALO) is another unique entertainment option of dark, clear winter nights. HALO features a 16-inch aperture Ritchey-Chretien style telescope, and is capable of viewing distant galaxies and nebula. The observatory is open for tours by appointment.