Simply put, no other resort deserves the name of Powder Mountain. Good, open, untracked skiing is the one and only focus of this resort. It’s located about an hour and a half north of Salt Lake, just outside the tiny town of Eden, Utah (which is also aptly named). The resort is largely undeveloped: here, you won’t find elegant cuisine, spas, or giant lodges. The only dining is quick in-and-out cafeteria food, and there’s only one place to find a beer on tap at the end of the day.
With just four lifts and a couple of rope tows to get around, this resort has a classic, no-nonsense focus on skiing. Since it’s relatively far from Salt Lake (by Utah resort standards), it stays quiet. At Powder Mountain (or 'Pow Mow' as locals and employees call it), only one thing can be described as “sprawling”: the vast 7,000 acres of ski terrain.
Here, there’s a healthy blend of lazy green runs winding their way through the mountain’s gullies, and steeper advanced runs cutting through the tree slopes off the ridgelines. There’s no angst, no jostling, no pros throwing their names around. The lack of onsite lodging means only a tiny handful of tourists come through, either making their way up from Salt Lake or staying in private rental cabins nearby.
Nothing here is too dramatic, from the atmosphere to the terrain. Things move at a mellow pace, letting you really slow down and soak in the sound and feel of every powder turn. When the salty old lifties ask how your last run was, they’re genuinely excited to hear about it. Everyone here is at ease, no one is in a hurry, and folks don’t mind sharing where they found a great stash of snow.
The resort is uniquely situated with the main parking lot and base area near the top of the mountain. You can boot up in the parking lot, buy your ticket, and just start skiing down through the open tree-gladed goodness.
The mountain is sprinkled with fun natural terrain features, perfect little hucks into open landings, tree stumps for jibbing off, and gullies that double as natural half-pipes. It also has two official terrain parks, where you can see the local kiddos and grown adults alike playing around in a low-key environment.
Powder Mountain believes so deeply in powder for the people that it offers cheap cat skiing you can pay for ride-by-ride, as well as a free shuttle bus to pick up people who drop off the backside of the mountain for a sidecountry run. The shuttle bus is still often being driven by the original Woody, an enthusiastic powder-happy local who’s worked for the resort since its founding in 1972.
Powder Mountain seems to contentedly occupy an earlier era before the ski industry got whipped into a frenzy of mega-resort development. It won’t stay the same forever, though: a few years ago, it was purchased by entrepreneurs and investors of the Summit Group who have announced plans for more lodging, lifts, and dining. However, they seem to “get” the mountain’s culture and have promised not to turn it into an overbuilt corporate resort. Only time will tell what exactly these investors mean by “not too developed,” so before things get too lively, we recommend getting up there while the getting’s good.