With 3 world-class ski resorts in the Ogden Valley, skiing and snowboarding has taken this little mountain area by storm. Not to mention the sheer amount of the “Greatest Snow on Earth” that this picturesque ski-haven gets each year. Visit each resort’s page to find out more about them.
A throwback to skiing’s simpler times, when a lift to the top and a place to warm up and eat a burger at the bottom were all the amenities a skier needed. With three fixed grip chairlifts and a magic carpet servicing 140 skiable acres, NV is more reminiscent of a mom and pop New England or Midwestern ski area than a Utah destination resort. The base lodge is an old barn. The food is affordable, with most items coming in under $10. As of 2019, the ski area does not sell beer or alcohol, mostly because the staff consists largely of local high school and junior high kids working their first jobs.
What the ski area lacks is exactly what makes it charming to those who ski there. Lift tickets and season passes are affordable. It’s rarely crowded, even on holidays. Best of all, the entire 140 acres of the resort is serviced by night skiing six days a week, and a night-only season pass option is available.
The clientele is mostly families with young kids, and people either just learning or getting back into the sport after a hiatus. As such, it’s one of the best entry points in Utah for people either intimidated by larger resorts, or turned away by the high price of skiing and snowboarding. The ski school offers a great after school program for kids, as well as private and group lessons, day and night, for all levels.
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 sleepy local hill to 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.
Now, as more and more skiers visit Utah in general (the state set a new record for skier visits in 2019), 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.
Founded as an Ogden City park in 1940, Snowbasin is one of the oldest ski areas in Utah. 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 bordered by National Forest land, opening up backcountry skiing opportunities beyond the ski area boundary. And, 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.
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.
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 eventual 500 residences are interconnected with a trail system that grew from almost nothing to 30-plus miles in three years. In November 2019, 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 to untracked snow, Pow Mow is the place to find it.