Powder Mountain locals have always understood the special nature of what they have. A few years ago, a tongue-in-cheek disinformation campaign popped up around Ogden, allegedly “Paid for by Powder Mountain Locals.” It encouraged people to avoid the hidden gem with proclamations like, “All that fluffy white stuff up at Pow Mow is actually ASBESTOS” and “There’s YETIS up here. Real mean ones. Mostly rabid.”
The campaign, obviously paid for by Powder Mountain, provided the resort plausible deniability with its die-hard locals, allowing them to claim they were doing their best to keep people away.
Long-time Powder Mountain loyalists had the good stuff, and a lot of it. To Powder Mountain’s credit, they acknowledged the special vibe they had cultivated and have done everything in their pow(d)er to maintain it.
As one of the largest ski areas in North America at 8,464 acres, they could have easily installed high-speed quad lifts and gondolas delivering thousands of skiers to their abundance of terrain. Instead, they have placed an aggressively low cap on season passes and daily ticket sales and maintained snowcat-serviced side-country access at a nominal fee to protect the wide-open character of the resort.
The result? Over 3 acres per skier on even a sell-out powder day.
“We want people to enjoy skiing and riding the way it was meant to be: uncrowded, unspoiled and adventurous. Powder Mountain is a one-of-a-kind destination that needs to be experienced firsthand to truly appreciate” explains Mark Schroetel, General Manager of Powder Mountain Resort.
“Long time Powder Mountain skiers and riders consistently ask us to keep the resort uncrowded and affordable while honoring the legacy of a resort that feels like a secret spot and is one of the last resorts in North America that still offers untouched powder for days after a storm.” adds Schroetel. With the extremely limited number of passes available, purchasing in advance has become a necessity to guarantee access to Powder Mountain.
The limited development occurring at Pow Mow is currently being pursued in a way that has been featured by Architectural Digest and the Wall Street Journal with small, eco-friendly homes designed to blend into the surrounding terrain. Bottom line: Powder Mountain is like no other resort you’ve ever experienced.
Powder Mountain boasts ZERO snowmaking equipment. Every flake that gets carved is 100% natural. It can occasionally mean a later opening date, as competing resorts start turning lifts around Thanksgiving on what locals refer to as “White Ribbons of Death”…single runs with a few inches of man-made snow surrounded by dirt hillsides.
In a state whose license plate proudly proclaims “The Greatest Snow on Earth,” Powder Mountain is the resort that gives the phrase legitimacy.
While the mountain of powder is clearly the hook, it’s the rest of the culture at Powder Mountain that reels you in. This place is a bastion of what skiing and snowboarding were before corporations and conglomerates homogenized the whole thing into the $12 beers, $20 burgers, and $50 T-shirts you see at most of the resorts you visit today.
Stop for lunch at the Timberline Cafeteria and grab some Lucky Slice pizza. The dude sliding it to you on a paper plate is likely the star of an underground snowboarding film that was shot by the guy running the oven behind him.
Roll into the Powder Keg, the mountain’s laid-back bar, at the end of the day. Don’t even attempt to take an entire table. This is where you make new friends over a steaming bowl of ramen and a pitcher of cheap beer while live music thumps from a stage the size of a postage stamp.
In an hour, you’re going to be moving the contents of your table to the small ledge under the window to make room for table-top dancing with strangers in ski boots. You’ll be buying a round for a couple of your lifties and the cat driver you chatted with earlier. Chances are, the various members of the band shredded past you a couple of hours ago.
You see, not just anyone makes the drive up the 16% grade that leads to Pow Mow. Those who make their way to the top are likeminded snow lovers, and once you’re there, you’ll feel right at home.
Once off the mountain, après ski options abound with similar vibes in both Ogden Valley and historic, downtown Ogden. In Ogden Valley and its communities of Eden and Huntsville, it can be anything from a tour and tasting at New World Distillery to cheap draft beers and burgers at the Shooting Star Saloon, the oldest continually operating saloon west of the Mississippi River. The Shooting Star even operated during the height of Prohibition with look-outs posted at the top of Ogden Canyon to send warning of impending raids of law-enforcement officers headed up from below.
Just 10 minutes down the canyon, the options become endless in downtown Ogden. This one-time railroad hub was once home to dozens of gambling halls, saloons, and brothels built to accommodate cross-country rail passengers. Today, Ogden’s grit remains palpable, while giving way to independently owned restaurants, art galleries, watering holes, and shops.
Whether you’re looking for fine dining on wild game with a smoky cocktail followed by a ballet performance, or long-neck beers with burgers followed by live comedy, live music, or competitive axe throwing, Ogden simultaneously has everything you expect from a ski town while being like no ski town you’ve ever visited.
As a result, you’ll simultaneously want to tell everyone about your trip to Ogden and Powder Mountain, while desperately trying to keep it your own little secret.