words and photos: E-Stone
If you have ever been to Salt Lake City to enjoy the resorts the area has to offer, I'm sure your friends were quick to tell you to go check out Brighton, Snowbird or Park City… Maybe someone even recommended Solitude or the Canyons for a mountain a bit more protected from the crowds. What they probably failed to mention was just 53 miles away from downtown SLC, with a driving time of 1 hour and 6 minutes, is one of Utah's best kept secrets.
I have to admit I have lived in Salt Lake City since 1998 and in all those years, I was oblivious to how sick this mountain was. With 8,464 total skiable acres, Pow Mow is the largest ski resort on the continent, eclipsing the previous mark held by Canada's Whistler Blackcomb, by about 300-acres. And if its enormous size is not enough, Powder Mountain strictly limits snowboard and Skier visits capping both season passes (limited to 3,000) and day tickets (limited to 2,000) resulting to be what they claim to be the lowest Skier/Shredder density of any major ski area in North America! Less then one snowboarder/skier per acre!
What does all this mean? It means that they take powder seriously and Powder Mountain's powder will last longer, allowing them to live up to their name Powder Mountain!
Now all this hype is great and all… but as a crew of snowboarders we could really all care less about all the bold claims. What matters to us is if the terrain rips and if we will be able to bag some cool photos/video clips. It just happened to be that the resort had been closed for the 3 days prior to arriving, due to a major Utah storm that came through reeking havoc on the area, closing roads due to avalanche danger. We had timed our trip to Powder Mountain perfectly, thanks to our friend in the marketing office, J.P. Goulet. J.P. let us know the sun was going to be shinning and that the crew needed to get down to the resort and take advantage of the cat boarding offered on Lightning Ridge. Yes, you heard that correctly… this resort offered on mountain cat-boarding, sold one ticket at a time for 20 bucks a ride.
Snowboarders in the Northwest are paying $1000’s a rider to go cat boarding for the day and we could just casually jump in the cat any run we felt like it for a mellow 20 spot!
My crew for Powder Mountain was the D-Day Snowboard team consisting of Chris Roach, the brothers’ Kix, Dash Camp, Oliver Dixon, Jaromie the Homie, Will Stellar, team leader Nico Nolan, as well as filmer Tim Sorenson. After some hot laps and a couple quick hike's taking advantage of the untracked snow inbounds, we snagged a couple pow slashes and cliff drops! We were waiting patiently until we got the call from J.P letting us know that the cat operation was up and running to take us to the goods. Once we got the call we headed over to Lightning ridge and piled into the cat. It was most of the riders first time in a cat, so stoke levels where high. After a short ride to the peak and then a quick hike or more of a traverse. We were standing on top of the goods. It was clear this mountain had some awesome terrain and it was time to go and explore it. Of course we were shooting… and that was going to slow us down to some degree, as we could not all just tear off and start ripping lines.
The good news was the crew was all together and we had been blessed with a couple feet of fresh, Utah, premium blower snow! Laced with Powder Panda's and Death Cards, which are D-Days premium Powder boards designed for days like this, we spent the rest of the day exploring the terrain and learning what this secret gem of a resort had to offer! Powder Mountain is Insane and I hope next time you are in the area you can roll north from SLC and give it a chance. I know I will be back. Thanks for the hospitably, J.P.!!!