A few miles outside of the tiny town of Eden—home to the only four-way stop in the whole Ogden Valley—the grade of Highway 158 makes an abrupt increase in angle. An old blue bus chugs slowly up the access road, on either side of which ski tracks spill down the hillsides. The road gets narrower. As the bus inches along, the writing on the side comes into focus: Powder Country.
Powder Mountain’s famed bus-accessed terrain is 1,200 ungroomed, unmanicured acres of pure fun. This is going to be a good, good day. The access road empties into a parking lot surrounded by a couple of weathered lodges and maintenance buildings, but no lifts. Powder is an upside-down mountain. You park at the top and ski down to the five oddly connected chairs that make up the resort’s lift network. It’s simply mind-blowing that 2,800 acres are served by these five lifts, and another 4,000 acres are accessed by the resort’s Powder Safari Snowcats and Wolf Canyon guided backcountry tours.
One visit and it’s clear why Pow Mow is such a sleeper. The untrained eye might balk at the lack of steep terrain and the funky layout, but the adventurous will discover secret traverses, hidden stashes, and sneaky fall lines sprinkled throughout the resort. For $18, you can hop a single ride on the Lightning Ridge snowcat and explore 700 acres of open bowls and rock chutes. Or skip the lifts completely and opt for the full-day cat trip and mine the snow-choked terrain in the valleys adjacent to the resort.
Trying to conquer more than 7,000 acres of lift-, cat-, bus-, and hike-accessed terrain is no easy feat. The good news: A slower pace seems better suited to skiing this behemoth. It suits locals like Tim Blackner, who started skiing at neighboring Snowbasin in 1963 and now works as a liftie at Powder. He runs the Sunrise poma, accessing Cobabe Canyon and Powder’s southern boundary. He doesn’t regret the decision. “I ski six days a week, and I’ve got my lines,” he says with a chuckle, Chet Atkins crooning from the boombox inside his lift shack. “I’ll give you a hint: They all go down.”
SLEEP » Stay local and bed down in a NorthStar Lodgings condo in Eden, with free shuttle service to the mountain. northstarlodgings.com
EAT » Harley and Buck’s, in Eden, specializes in the hearty, rural fare you’d expect (steak and barbecue), plus a few twists (lobster mac-and-cheese and cioppino).
DRINK » Utah’s oldest bar, the Shooting Star, in Huntsville, specializes in “BEER, burgers with chips, and BEER.” So reads the signs that hangs outside.