Insider's Guide to the Après-Ski Lifestyle at Powder Mountain

Powder Mountain Resort
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Powder Mountain is very much focused on the enjoyment of skiing, and if there’s anything it overlooks whilst pursuing its ski focus, it might be on-site food options. Many folks anticipate this and bring their own packed lunch to eat on the chairlift or back at the car. Still, the cafeteria-style pizza, burgers, and fries at the Sundown Lodge will fill you with enough calories to keep you going through an incredible day. (Last time I checked, the only vegetarian option was deep-fried cheese curds, which I actually respect.)

The on-site après scene is limited to the Powder Keg, which serves beer till 5pm on weekdays and 7pm on weekends. It’s no-frills for sure, but that authenticity is part of its charm: you don’t come here for martinis. You pull up a plastic chair, swill a pint of beer alongside lifties, day-skiers, and locals, and share tales of the day’s powder plunders.

The après options greatly expand if you’re open to grabbing a bite and a drink on the drive home. The Shooting Star Saloon is 20 minutes away in the tiny town of Huntsville, right on the route back to Salt Lake. Shooting Star just happens to be the oldest continuously operating saloon in Utah, and it feels like it in all the right ways.

The Shooting Star Saloon
The Shooting Star Saloon Chris Bojanower

The old Western façade on the front of the building welcomes you with a painted wooden sign that announces its having been open since 1879. It definitely feels just as a mountain town bar should. Have a seat on a barstool, order a Star Burger, gaze into the knowing eyes of the taxidermy moose heads mounted on the wall (yes, there are more than one), and shoot a game of pool while you wait.

You can also stop in Eden (just before Huntsville) on the way home and warm up at Alpine Pizza, a small-town joint with all the usual pizza and pasta dishes to relieve your calorie deficit after a long ski day. As far as I can tell, it’s the best pizza ever, because every pizza is the best ever if you eat it after 7 hours of skiing.

And while it’s far geographically from Powder Mountain, Red Iguana is Salt Lake City’s most famous Mexican hotspot and it just happens to be just off the freeway as you get back to town. If you somehow manage to hold your appetite all the way to Salt Lake, you’ve earned the mole and margaritas Red Iguana is famous for. If you head directly there, you can even beat the restaurant’s daily dinnertime rush and avoid having to wait an hour and a half for a table.

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