Skiing at Powder Mountain, Snowbasin- Visiting Ogden- Lodging, Dining, Activities- January 2019

Photos by Nuri Pujado

Lodging:

Hampton Inn & Suites in Ogden was a great place to stay. 

The location was convenient to many restaurants nearby.  Free parking in their lot if you rent a car which is recommended so you have flexibility and to get around to many of the other places besides the ski resorts. You can catch the ski bus about a block away to go to Powder Mountain and Snowbasin but they have certain times that are not great but an option especially if it a snowy day to not drive up.  The hotel had some nice amenities such as free hot breakfast, a gym, jacuzzi and friendly staff. They were very accommodating and it is very affordable. 

www.hamptoninnogden.com

 

Skiing/Dining at Powder Mountain.

This secret place is not that well known but it has the most acreage of any ski resort in the country.  There are some incredible runs and they offer a wide variety of trails from intermediate to advanced. There is only one high speed quad chair -the hillside that gets you to many of the experienced runs.  Plenty of groomers but a slew of off groomed terrain. Take the snow cat up for $25 per ride and you will encompass a whole new ballgame of snow.  Of course it all depends on the weather and conditions. That was the biggest highlight for me at Powder Mountain. You can also take powder country off the backside which takes you off trail and then you have to catch a bus back to the resort that comes every 20 minutes or so.  Lastly, they have night skiing at sundown chair from 4-9pm with some nice runs but not super long. The bus back to Ogden comes at 3:20 and 5:15 so if you want to continue after the main lifts close at 4pm, head over to sundown for close to an hour unless you have to return rental gear. This resort has the best rentals I have ever experienced at any mountain sponsored by Salomon. The boots were so comfortable with extra cushion and the skis were impeccable and fat for the powder.  This is one of the few resorts where the regular day ticket is under $100 still priced at $88. What a bargain. Dine at the powder keg and enjoy the curry ramen noodles with chicken and the veggie burger.  Thursdays-Sundays they have live music there from 3-6pm for apres skiing and drinks. Below is the itinerary from the ski trip.    www.powdermountain.com

Tuesday 1/22  Powder Mountain tour with Sue (mountain host resort overview)

Started with a ride up the canyon with Shane to the main parking area at Timberline Lodge

Met host Sue at the Mountain Adventure Yurt to show me around.

Learned about Powder Mountain’s inverted design; skiers start at the top of the mountain and ski down to lifts.

From Timberline Lodge skiied down a long green Rendezvous run to the Paradise lift

Took Paradise lift to the green run Gateway to the Hidden Lake Express lift

From the top of Hidden Lake Express headed over a bridge to the backside of the resort called Mary’s Bowl. Skiied down to the base of the Village lift.

From Village lift took a scenic view run Serenity to the base of Mary’s lift. 

Mary’s lift gives the option of staying in Mary’s Bowl (the backside of the resort) or returning to the main side.  Several green & blue runs return to the base of Hidden Lake Express: we took St. Clair’s run.

Whereas the first time off of the Hidden Lake Express lift we headed to the backside of the resort, the second time off Hidden Lake we headed headed left to the Sunrise lift.  The Sunrise lift is a type of rope tow called a Poma lift. 

From the top of Sunrise we took Mushroom Valley back to the base of Hidden Lake Express. 

From the top of Hidden Lake express the Lodge Trail run takes you back to the Timberline Lodge.

We had lunch at the PowderKeg restaurant in the Timberline Lodge.

We skiied on our own in the afternoon, and at 4:00 the regular lifts closed.  We took the Powder Mountain shuttle from the Timberline Lodge to the Sundown Lodge, which has night skiing until 9:00pm. 

Thursday 1/24 Powder Mountain tour with Omar (Craig) (mountain guide on off-piste, non-groomed terrain)

Took the UTA ski bus #674 up Ogden canyon & met Omar (Craig) at the Mountain Adventure Yurt.

The highlight of the day was taking the Lightning Ridge snowcat to the top of Lightning Ridge.  Powder Mountain offers the unique option of being able to purchase a one-time snowcat ride for $25, or a punch pass is available for $250 (buy 10 get 1 free).

From Lightning Ridge we took a scenic run through the pine trees down to the base of the Paradise lift. 

The top of Paradise Lift leads to numerous off-piste options, most notably the powder chambers 1, 2 and 3.  We traversed across these; they offer avalanche-controlled steep powder chutes.

As we waited for the sun to come out earlier in the day, we explored the ungroomed side of the resort, including the backside of the Village and Mary’s Bowl – notably the run Hippie Hill. 

The area of Cobabe Canyon is primarily ungroomed and is also served by Powder Mountain’s Rain Tree Snowcat. 

The top of Hidden Lake Express leads to the option of “Powder Country”; a unique experience where the skier/boarder can go off-piste to a separate area of the resort and get picked up by the Powder Mountain Shuttle.

Ate lunch at the Timberline Lodge above the PowderKeg at the Timberline Cafeteria. This is also home to the Lucky Slice Pizza.  An alternative lunch spot is at the top of Hidden Lake Express lift, the Hidden Lake Cantina.  The Hidden Lake Cantina serves Mexican food at 8900 feet with a scenic view of 4 states.

Powder Mountain offers 8,464 in-bounds skiable terrain.  To keep traffic down, they limit ticket sales to 1500 per day. 

Snowbasin-

I loved this mountain and the long runs. From green, blue and black diamond groomers, they have it all. If you want more extreme, they have that too.  2 gondolas (Strawberry and Needles) are the names of them.  Hit Strawberry in the morning as it gets colder and windier there as the day goes on. The wildcat express is in the middle catching some awesome huge groomers and tree skiing.  The John Paul lift, adjacent to Needles gondola offers access to longer, steeper runs.  You can also access the tram from there to the top of the mountain for only advances skiing and boarding. There you can catch the men’s and women’s downhill runs from the 2002 Winter Olympics.  The women’s is more groomed for the most part and very exhilarating.  This resort is a bit more pricey approx $116 per day for a reg day ticket but you get your fair share of great skiing and boarding.  Buy your tickets online and you will get a discount.   There is also a ski bus back to Ogden or the drive is a bit easier than powder mountain.  In the end, you will want and need to go to both resorts as they are about the same 30 minutes or so drive from Ogden by car. A big thanks to pr director Megan Collins.   www.snowbasin.com

Wednesday 1/23 with Megan (head of PR) at Snowbasin

It was a windy day with looming afternoon snowstorms. 

Met at the Grizzly Center; this is the rental area next to the primary restaurant Earl’s Lodge.

Due to storm potential we took Needles Gondola from the base up to the Strawberry Traverse.  This took us over to the Elk Ridge run, down to a beautiful newly groomed black diamond run called Carnahan’s. 

The top of Needles Gondola also led us to explore the black diamond run Moose Mound and “ 1’19”. 

We explored the Wildcat Express lift which offers several intermediate runs.  The John Paul Express lift on the far east of the property offers great exposure to black diamond terrain, as well as a great lunch stop at the John Paul Lodge.  This terrain is the home of the 2002 Olympics with the men’s Grizzly Downhill and the Women’s Wildflower Downhill.  The start of the men’s Grizzly is so steep that a skier will reach speeds of 70mph in just seconds.

The newest development to the John Paul Express area is the creation of the Mt. Ogden Bowl Road blue run.  This scenic run offers both groomed and non-groomed options and is a long, scenic run from the top of the John Paul Lodge.

On a windy day Snowbasin is wonderful for its 2 ski gondolas.  They offer protection from the elements while riding up, and help you keep going when you might be tempted to take a break. 

Snowbasin offers gourmet dining throughout its property, whether at the base or on the slopes.  The John Paul Lodge offers gourmet Belgian waffles until 11:00am, and then offers award-winning chili and more along with beautiful views of the valley. 

The Needles Lodge has a Mediterranean emphasis with gyros, nachos and salads.  This is accessible to all guests, even non-skiers/snowboarders via the Needles Gondola. 

Earl’s Lodge and the Cinnabar offer mountain dining and apres ski, including live music in a family friendly environment.  As a parting souvenir, Snowbasin bakes their very own signature cookies. 

On Friday Jan. 25th, I was on my own so went all around to some of the same and a few new areas. Much more of just great variety and conditions.

Dining:

Tona Sushi in Ogden-

Wow, what a fantastic, creative menu as it is no wonder why the place was packed on a Thursday night and most others I heard.  Start with the garlic edamame and green glob- a masterpiece of raw tuna and crab surrounded by a cut avocado. 

So many unique handrolls incorporating  sushi with a variety of ingredients such as cheese, nuts, apples and toppled with tobika.  Enjoy some green tea or sake to enhance your meal while you endulge. Try to get one of their tables where you kind of have to crawl in and end with the mochi ice cream. Yum.

www.tonarestaurant.com

 

Zucca Italian Restaurant-Ogden  

What an incredible meal and experience we had. While the upstairs dining room is nice, I suggest dining downstairs in the speakeasy.  The decor and atmosphere is themed and intimate. The booths are comfortable while you hear piped in background music. The menus are the same in either room.  The bread is so good but try to contain yourself so you do t eat too much. 

The highlights were the lamb chops and sea bass, cooked to perfection, over forbidden black rice.  On tuesdays, they have $5 glasses of wine and appetizers.  Our server Andi was very attentive and friendly.  Don’t miss their signature tiramisu for dessert.  This place is not to miss.  www.myzucca.com

Union Grill- this establishment has been a staple to the city for a long time. Their American menu is diverse from sandwiches, burgers, salads, meats and fish. I went for the teriyaki salmon with brown rice and broccoli.  Enjoy one of their popular beers or their one tasty cider to accompany your meal.  The place is very big with TVs for sports and a big downstairs for private events.  www.uniongrillogden.com

Activities:

Social Axe-

What a unique experience. This is a growing activity in the USA.  Similar to darts but you throw an axe. You first get a quick lesson and then your guide makes up games and competitions that involve technique and aim to get the most or specific points on the board while you throw the axe with both hands over your head to land on the number target.  You can play in teams and there are even leagues.  Super fun so check it out  www.socialaxethrowing.com

The Distillery in Eden.

Owner Chris and his wife opened a craft spirit distillery after years of traveling around the world and learning about the various and best ways to make Gin, Vodka, Agave Spirit and cherry liquor.  These are the highest end spirit products around as they give tours, tastings and sell to the public.  They are growing rapidly and distributing in other states and online including their own private labels. After one tasting/tour, you will be educated more than 99% of people in the USA.  The spirits are so clean and tasty to sip and drink on their own.  Most are 44% proof and the liquor has much more alcohol and little sugar, which is usually the other way around.   

www.newworlddistillery.com

Salt Cave in South Ogden- what a great way to end the day especially after skiing or just to clear your nasal or skin.  You relax in the recline chair inside the salt cave room with light music while the salt machine operates for 45 minutes. It is great for recovery and cleaning out your system.  www.passions.website/umw

Here are some key points and why to visit these resorts-  accessibility, affordability, no lines and friendly staff.  Plus it is about the same distance from Salt Lake City as it is to get to Park City or any of the other ski resorts.  Stay in Ogden and ski at both Powder Mountain and Snowbasin- these places are hidden gems and some of my favorite resorts I have been to in a long time.  Easy non stop from LA.

A big thanks to Shane and Sydnie at Visit Ogden. Visit their website at    To get all the updated info, go to www.visitogden.com.