Powder Mountain, Utah
Powder Mountain the 2nd most northerly ski resort in Utah, just 21 miles from Ogden. It’s name suggests lots of powder skiing, and that’s what people say they go there for. It seems more like a resort serving the northern Wasatch front population rather than a true destination resort. This review is based on two visits featuring deep powder on the first, and more average mid-winter conditions when it hadn’t snowed for a week or so on the second.
|Real Vertical ?||2,000′, Rank: 74|
|Size||8,464 Acres (most of this is not directly lift served), Rank: 1|
|Annual Snowfall ?||500″ claimed / 350″ actual, Rank: 28|
|Lift Pods ?||6, Rank: 47|
|Distinct Trails ?||70, Rank: 61|
|Review Date||February 2010 and January 2022|
|Number of visits||2|
Powder Mountain is one of those iconic resorts that has a good reputation for snow quality and powder skiing. We were less impressed with the resort than we were expecting though. The reason is a combination of stats inflation, lack of value, and flat terrain.
If you happen to be comparing stats and want to ski the biggest resort by acreage in the US, Powder Mountain is it at 8,464 acres. Don’t be fooled though — you will be doing a lot of hiking and polling if you want to explore everything on the map. There are two snowcats ($25 per ride in 2022 + the cost of a lift ticket) and a bus that give you access to a lot of it, but the main lift-served area is probably in the 2-3,000 acre range.
The true lift-served vertical is 2,000′ (top of Hidden Lake to the bottom of Paradise), but the resort lists it as 2,205′ and they list the total vertical as 3,346′. I have no idea where they get those numbers because they don’t explain it and it doesn’t make sense if you study a topographic map.
3 good lifts
Most of the activity at the resort is on the Hidden Lake Express chair. This is a 1,200 vertical drop high-speed quad with a lot of wide groomed runs. We spent most of our time lapping that chair. It’s a beginner or low-intermediate paradise. Even the black runs are very easy and just about any intermediate could handle them. In general, the trail ratings at the resort are about 1 rating too high compared with other resorts.
Timberline is the other main lift with grooming on a couple of runs. We took several laps there, but it’s a relatively meager amount of vertical at only 800′.
Paradise is the most interesting lift with an impressive 1,600′ of vertical. It runs right up a steep ridge and this is the most demanding lift-served terrain on the mountain. Most of it was not skiable on both of our visits due to thin cover or icy conditions, but we did have the most fun of the day on Snowchaser which had been groomed a few days prior to our 2022 visit.
We couldn’t figure out how to get over to the very short Sundown lift without driving, and the newer Mary’s and Village lifts were too flat to be of any interest.
Lodges and Food
The Hidden Lake lodge is tiny with a very limited food offering and no indoor seating on the food-service level, but you can climb another set of stairs for picnic table seating on the 3rd floor. The main cafeteria is in the Timberline lodge. Cafeteria food was average for a smaller resort.
The resort appears to be trying to develop a “Village” at the top with a nice collection of very expensive homes scattered about. This explains why the Mary’s and Village lifts exist, but like most real estate oriented ski terrain it’s less about skiing and more about providing an attractive amenity for homeowners.
Priced too high
The lift ticket was too expensive for a resort of this size with only 1 high-speed lift. Food was also more expensive than we are used to for this type of resort.
Our first visit was on a 16″ powder day, so we have a pretty good idea what the “Powder” in the name means. The problem was that much of the expansive terrain was too flat for that amount of powder and we just ended up going straight down most of the runs. The hike-to stuff was a long hike followed by a very short actual run. On a 6-8″ day I think it would be an absolute blast though. The mellow slopes would be perfect for that amount of snow.
- High quality snow
- Friendly staff
- Great terrain for a beginner or low intermediate
- Resort statistics are vastly overstated
- Most of the lift-served terrain is flat
- Only 2 lifts have over a 900 foot vertical rise
- Expensive for what you get
The Bottom Line
Powder Mountain is fun on a powder day but is not a good choice as a destination resort since you can’t just pick the best days unless you are local. We felt like the resort is perfect for 2 types of skiers: A) Local experts who ski on powder days and don’t mind hiking or polling long distances, and B) beginners or low intermediates. If you aren’t one of those, you will probably be happier at nearby Snowbasin.