Powder Mountain Ski Getaways
Since it's only 55 miles from Salt Lake City and 19 from Ogden you might expect Powder Mountain to be crowded. After all, it boasts 2800 lift-served acres, 700 acres of cat skiing on Lightning Ridge, a shuttle-served section known simply as Powder Country, and some hike-to terrain in Cobabe Canyon. All told there are about 5500 acres to explore. But Powder Mountain's expanse and its 40-plus feet of all natural snow (no snowmaking here) play to a small crowd.
Most will find the 2800 acres and 2090 vertical feet served by lifts to be more than enough. Add in the cat skiing vertical and it's 2522 feet from the top of James Peak to the bottom of the Paradise Quad.
The Paradise is the central lift in the system. It rises more than 1600 feet up the crest of a ridge and serves predominantly black diamond terrain, most of which has never seen a grooming machine. For a mix of green, blue, and black groomed trails ride the Timberline Triple, in the same neighborhood, or the Sundown Double above the main "base" area. The Hidden Lake Express, the area's 6000ft high-speed quad, also serves a fine mix of groomed trails for all abilities. From the top of this lift scoot down to the Sunrise platter for the ride to the top of Sunrise Ridge and access to Cobabe Canyon. The green and groomed Sunrise Ridge trail leads to Catwalk and Cobabe Canyon for an easy and scenic ride all the way to the base of Paradise; the upper part of this trail also access ungroomed black diamond paths. A moderate hike will get you to the other side of the canyon where blue and black powder lines await.
The cat-accessed lines of James Peak and Lightning Ridge and the two sides of Powder Country add and extra flair to what already is a decidedly back-country beat. Snowboarders are welcome all over the mountain and 2 terrain parks and a half-pipe are available.
Locals feel lucky that Powder Mountain hasn't attained full-fledged destination resort status, and this seems likely to remain true for the foreseeable future. This means fresh lines can almost always be found. But if Utah continues to see a steady increase in skier visits who knows if this will change? For now Powder Mountain continues to live up to its name.