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Utah Travel Headlines

Monday, March 23, 2009

NY Times Features Powder Mountain Ski Resort

Powder Mountain is our biggest ski resort, in terms of skiable acres, but is less known because it is off the beaten path and is less developed than more famous Utah resorts. If you are hunting for untracked powder, it may be your best choice.

The New York Times describes Powder Mountain's unique charms in this new article. Below are excerpts.

Powder Mountain, old-school and underdeveloped, has only four chairlifts to serve its ample supply of alpine bowls. But harder to see are one helicopter, two snowcats and a fleet of roving buses on a road below the resort that help move droves of skiers and snowboarders uphill each day.

"It's a unique resort experience," said Josh Stephen, a retail buyer for an outdoors shop in Bolton, Vt., who was skiing several runs in a row via snowcat on a day off before business meetings in Salt Lake City. "With the lifts, the snowcat and the buses, you can always find untracked terrain." Mr. Stephen then gripped an armrest as the snowcat rumbled uphill.

I took two more chairlift runs, my skis spraying slush on each turn. Then I headed out for one final trip into Powder’s off-piste section. A large part of Powder Mountain — about 1,200 acres of terrain — is designated "Powder Country," a backcountry-like area that has no lifts. Skiers access Powder Country from the lift-served area, but the runs drop about 2,000 vertical feet away from the lodge and to a road.

In lieu of hitchhiking, the resort runs vans and buses along the road, picking skiers up at no cost and shuttling them back to the lifts.

A single run might yield 100 turns in thigh-deep snow, white mist exploding as you drop away in the woods. I found some remnant loose snow on my last run of the day, and cut lazy turns toward the road. A gulley ended abruptly at pavement, where a van waited, with its radio tuned to classic rock and cranked up.

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