Two couples, one weekend of winter fun in Ogden
My in-laws had a great idea when they gifted us the ski trip of our choice for Christmas. As avid skiers, my husband, Dave, and I were thrilled, especially since this particular trip involved my husband’s twin brother and his wife: Dan and Carly. My kind-hearted mother-in-law knows that her bi-coastal sons and their wives don’t get to spend enough time together, and she felt a winter vacation for the four of us would be a step, or in this case, ski, in the right direction.
We all get along great and love skiing so the trip was a fantastic idea. The difficulty was finding a location. Dave and Dan are identical twins, but when it comes to skiing, they have very different tastes. Dave eats and breathes bakcountry while Dan swears by slopestyle. Trying to get them to agree on a destination that offered equally amazing downhill and slopestyle skiing opportunities was a Herculean feat in itself. Thanks to some helpful recommendations from friends, we finally settled on Ogden.
Diving in on day one it took less than an hour to drive north from the Salt Lake City airport to our lodging at Lakeside Resort. The stunning views of Pineview Reservoir and the serenity of the valley made Lakeside an easy choice for Dave and me. Dan and Carly prefer to be near the action and nightlife so they opted to stay just 15 minutes away in historic downtown Ogden. Their 1920s hotel, Bigelow Hotel, looked like it belonged in an Italian piazza—not within walking distance of Ogden’s local hotspots.
“I like the gritty and down-to-earth vibe of this place,” Dan said as we stretched our legs downtown. Carly agreed, “I love the historic buildings and how welcoming everyone is! No wonder the flight attendant called it a best-kept-secret ski town.”
Yes, skiing. My in-laws were on board with Ogden because they could fly us in on Alaska Airlines which gave us a free day of skiing at Snowbasin Resort. And we were excited about Ogden's accessibility to three uniquely different resorts: Snowbasin Resort, Powder Mountain and Nordic Valley. Our initial strategy was to split up during the day so that each couple could do their style of skiing before meeting up in the evening. We didn't want to miss out on the free day of skiing, so we started at Snowbasin Resort.
To say our first day flew by would be an understatement. While Dan and Carly explored Snowbasin Resort’s terrain parks, Dave and I covered a good portion of the mountain’s 3,000 skiable acres. The nine lifts and short lines made the experience even better. Run after run on Ogden’s incredible, dry powder snow gave us a huge adrenaline rush. We zipped down the slopes over and over, carving new paths down the mountain each time. Breathless at the end of each run, it was an incredible day.
“A decent beginner terrain park will change your mind about slopestyle skiing—c’mon, you have to try it,” Dan insisted that night while sitting at Snowbasin Resort's Cinnabar. “Deal,” Dave said. “But only if you two try downhill with us tomorrow—today was amazing. If you don’t like it, then tomorrow night’s round is on me.” Another beer and a dozen wings later, we agreed to stick together and spend the next three days trying the other couple’s style of skiing. All that was left to do before turning in for the night was some shopping in the boutiques along Ogden’s Historic 25th Street.
Trying something new
”I’m taking you on a triple black diamond first,” Dave joked to Dan the next morning on the convenient shuttle to Powder Mountain. While the always competitive brothers spent the day racing each other, I took Carly down some blue runs and easy blacks. That night Dan asked how Carly had enjoyed downhill skiing. I proudly took out my phone and showed him an impressive video I had taken of us riding the Powder Cat and of her enjoying a few face shots down Cobabe Canyon, landing in an explosion of thigh deep powder. Smiling sheepishly, Dan looked up from the phone. “Looks like Carly and I can’t complain about taking a break from slopestyle skiing today,” he admitted. Then he looked at Dave and laughed, “But man, I really wanted you to owe me a beer.”
Switching it up
To keep our end of the deal, the next day Dave and I joined Dan and Carly at Powder Puff, Snowbasin Resort’s terrain park for beginners. We love the adrenaline rush that comes with downhill skiing, but slopestyle skiing was an entirely different beast. We figured it was something that only young kids would find fun. Instead, we found that we actually liked the challenge of trying to balance on the rails and see how much air we could get on the jumps.
Exhausted and still on a high from the day’s activity, we split that night’s PBR tab.
Heads or tails
“Heads we do downhill, tails, we stick with slopestyle,” said Dave as he tossed a quarter in the air the next morning. George Washington or an eagle was about to decide what we’d do on our final day in Ogden. We held our breath while the quarter spun around and around on the dashboard of our rental car. It finally toppled over—heads.
Less than an hour later we were on our first run at Nordic Valley, the only resort left in Ogden that we had yet to visit. It was the smallest ski hill in the area, but we liked how intimate and authentic it felt—it was all about skiing and nothing more. And that evening, the four of us took advantage of Nordic Valley’s night skiing deal and skied under Utah’s clear, starry skies. The clean, crisp air filled our lungs as moonlight reflected off the snowy slopes and I decided that Ogden was the most real, down-to-earth ski destination I’d experienced.
One last decision
We didn’t have to make a deal to buy each other beer or even flip a coin to reach our trip’s final group decision. It was unanimous. While waiting for our flights home in the Salt Lake City airport, we agreed that coming back to Ogden was a no-brainer. We’d heard about the upcoming 2nd Annual USA Cycling Fat Bike National Championships, and the guys were dying to check it out. Carly and I agreed to let them attend, but only on one condition. They had to let us come, too. In town we had seen a sign saying that their was a full moon snowshoe and cross skiing event taking place at North Fork Park that same weekend. If the boys were going to get to try a new snow sport, so were the girls. My in-laws were thrilled.
Plan your own adrenaline-fueled winter trip to Ogden.