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Powder Mountain help

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

My wife and I are pretty interested in checking out Powder Mountain, UT, and are trying to figure out whether a trip would be feasible. 

 

I don't know much about the place aside from that it is very large, gets a ton of snow, and very little skier visits.  Neither of us are a fan of crowds and would rather go places where we can ski powder all day instead of fighting for it with crowds.

 

The terrain seems to look pretty inviting on Google Earth. Is it decent?

 

Are there any RV parks or other campgrounds in the area open in Winter? We have dogs, and its a lot easier to get out skiing if we can take the dogs with us and camp. For the winter, we would need to camp someplace with electrical and open bathroom facilities. I looked, but I didn't find anything that seemed to fit the bill.

 

Is a mult-day ticket the best deal or are there other ways we should try to get discount tickets?

 

Is there any reason not to plan a trip like this around late March/Spring Break?

post #2 of 14

 Neither of us are a fan of crowds and would rather go places where we can ski powder all day instead of fighting for it with crowds. 

 

That describes Powder pretty well. 

 

The terrain seems to look pretty inviting on Google Earth. Is it decent?

 

Depends what you mean by "decent", of course. It's not the steepest or longest vertical, but it has tons of fun nooks and crannies to explore - groomers, trees, rock jumps/small cliffs, gullies, marshmallows, etc. Between the day snowcat, shuttle, lifts and off-the-beaten-path short hikes, you can explore for days (seasons really). If I remember right, you like some of the smaller, less-impressive-on-paper resorts in CO, so it should be right up your alley. 

 

And if you're looking for something steeper - or just a change of pace, Snowbasin's right across the valley. Surprised you didn't mention that as it fits your description at the top perfectly, despite the beautiful lodges and pristine shitters. If you've never been, it would be silly not to give it a try if you're that close - both great resorts. 

 

Are there any RV parks or other campgrounds in the area open in Winter?

 

 I'm not an RV camper, but as far as I know there's nothing in the direct vicinity. Powder is up a steep, narrow road that I wouldn't want to lug a trailer or RV up and it's pretty much the only thing up there, save for a few condos around the base. I doubt they allow overnight parking, although there's a pretty prevalent "nobody gives a $h@t, have a good time" vibe (they don't even check lift tickets most of time). So if you parked in a far corner of the lot, I'm not sure anybody'd bother you ... not sure they wouldn't either, and you were looking for hook-ups. ..

 

A quick Google search came up with a couple of places in Ogden, Layton and surrounding area that appear to be open year round. That'll put you about ~30-40 minutes out of Powder. If it were me, I'd skip those and camp at Crystal Hot Springs a little farther north outside Brigham City. Google puts it at an hour from Powder Mountain, which sounds about right. Farther drive, but you get to come home to a big hot springs pool and jetted tubs, plus a cold spring pool. It looks like they have full hook-ups and appear to be open in winter, but of course, I'd call to make sure. 

 

http://www.crystalhotsprings.net 

 

Is a mult-day ticket the best deal or are there other ways we should try to get discount tickets? 

 

Pretty sure you're not gonna beat the $55/day multi-day price. They sell discount day tickets at local ski shops and the grocery store near Powder (I think), but I don't think they'll be lower.

 

Is there any reason not to plan a trip like this around late March/Spring Break?

 

Only weather. March is usually good, but if it warms up, Powder can take a sun beating. Overall, I'd have no problem recommending March, but if you can, "wait and see" is always best. 

post #3 of 14

Don't expect that you are gong to ski powder all day.  You only get that if it has snowed in the last few days.  Sure, if you really know where you are going, you could find a powder pitch off the beaten track a week after a storm, but that's going to be the exception.  Many of my Utah trips have been in late Feb, after President Day.  And I've skied PM on a few of those trips.  The problem with PM is that it is at a lower elevation and much of it faces towards the sun.  I remember skiing PM in late Feb and I found sloppy spring-like conditions, while Alta/Bird had primo crisp dead of winter snow.  Don't be surprised if in late March it's warm and the snow is wet.  But you could hit is right too.  Your chances of powder skiing in March are just as good as Dec-Feb, but it's always a crap shoot. Though, you'll have a powder day soon enough if you keep skiing Utah.

 

In any event, if you are going that way, split your time between Snowbasin and PowMow.  You will get that advice from most of us here.

post #4 of 14
I think they nailed it. It's a lot like WC, so you'll probably really like PM.
It's mostly low angle. Best skied on wide, soft AT skis in January.
post #5 of 14

My GIrlfriend and I spend 4 days in a row there last February and I have been there in the past as well.  There isn't a lot of really steep skiing but there is tons of fun advanced intermediate terrain and it is a blast to ski and explore.  You will find untracked snow there long after it is chewed up in the Cottonwood Canyon areas.  It is very easy and safe to hike off the top of the t-bar when things do start to get tracked out.  

 

You can buy discount lift tickets at the ski shop in Eden.  There is a lot of love here for Snowbasin.  I like the place, I do, but when we were skiing Powder Mtn last year we were getting between 4 and 10 inches of snow every day and Snowbasin was getting 1 or 2.  I doubt that is always the case but snow totals can vary a great deal between the Utah resorts.

 

Here is a video I made from our trip.  Some of the stills near the beginning are from Alta but everything else is Pow Mow.

 

 

post #6 of 14

as far as rv parking , just call and ask

i found this archived thread w/ good info albeit slightly dated by now. It suggests snowbasin is ok for an rv

 

http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/archive/index.php?t-170106.html

post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the great advice. If I could summarize to make sure I'm getting it...

 

1. Powder there does not get skied out, but because of the elevation and exposure, if it hasn't snowed recently, it will mank up.

2. The Ogden area is reasonably close.

3. Check out Snowbasin too.

 

We both admit that skiing Wolf Creek (and places like Sunlight) have broken us in terms of crowd tolerance. We would much rather ski less than world class terrain in order to do it at deserted places. "Powder Hour" places just annoy us, even if the terrain that can be had during that hour is amazing. Thus, we have been scoping places off the beaten path that get the kind of snowfall we are used to with the lack of crowds that we are used to as well. So far, Powmow and Targhee are at the top of our list, and Powmow is much closer.

 

Further questions-

 

1. My wife is a teacher, and vacation time time during the school year is not going to happen. The only chance to take a week (which we would need- 1 day each way in drive time) would be Christmas Break or Spring break. Given those options, would you take the trip around Chistmas or in March? is there generally adequate coverage around Christmas for 100% open on a decent base [there is often no in Colorado and I don't take major ski trips around Colorado at Christmastime because of this]? We are both pretty capable at skiing spring slop, and I actually really like it but my wife is not as much of a fan.

 

2. Google Searching RV parks in the area shows a "Odgen Pineview Yatch Club  RV Park" on the shore of the reservoir. The website for the yatch club is worthless and I can't find any other information, it also seems that it could be a private club? Anybody have any idea?

post #8 of 14

I skied at Pow Mow and Snowbasin last year around Christmas.  Had some nice powder days with basically no crowds.  Only thing was neither area had more than a third of the terrain open at the time.  I would love to go back when there's more snow. It's hard to tell at this point what will be open by Christmas.  I would wait until March.  

 

I'll throw in a wild card: while Pow Mow and Snowbasin needed more coverage, we visited family in Logan and skied a day at Beaver Mountain, which was 100% open and had about the best snow of my week-long trip. The Beav is the epitome of an anti-resort, uncrowded, basic facilities, nice terrain, nothing gnarly but still fun.   Kind of like Pow Mow, though smaller and minus the cat and bus skiing.   

post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DesiredUsername View Post
 

I skied at Pow Mow and Snowbasin last year around Christmas.  Had some nice powder days with basically no crowds.  Only thing was neither area had more than a third of the terrain open at the time.  I would love to go back when there's more snow. It's hard to tell at this point what will be open by Christmas.  I would wait until March. 

 

 

This trip definitely would not happen for Christmas this year, and I don't know about March either. Chances are it would be next year. I'm asking about conditions in general.

post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by anachronism View Post
 

 

1. My wife is a teacher, and vacation time time during the school year is not going to happen. The only chance to take a week (which we would need- 1 day each way in drive time) would be Christmas Break or Spring break. Given those options, would you take the trip around Chistmas or in March? is there generally adequate coverage around Christmas for 100% open on a decent base [there is often no in Colorado and I don't take major ski trips around Colorado at Christmastime because of this]? We are both pretty capable at skiing spring slop, and I actually really like it but my wife is not as much of a fan.

 

 

 

Snowbasin and Powmow are no more reliable than Colorado at Christmas.   By all means go to Utah at Spring Break, just be aware that  due to

exposure, conditions may be better in LCC & BCC.

post #11 of 14

Powder doesn't make snow, so I would not plan a Christmas trip in advance. Last year it dumped like 20 in on Christmas Day, great conditions, but the best terrain was still closed (it opened up later in the week, IIRC). You're really taking your chances that early. 

 

I wouldn't be too concerned about the snow manking up. It's less likely than having great conditions, from my experience. It can happen if it's warm and sunny, but Powder is a sprawling mountain with plenty of aspects and trees - there's usually some nice snow somewhere. 

 

More of a point is that Powder is really at its best when it's snowed within the past week or so. Its charm is entirely in its huge amounts of ungroomed, stash-holding terrain, and when there's no powder left, it really shrinks in size. Its groomers are okay, but they're pretty short and redundant. My rule of thumb is something like Snowbasin on a day that it snowed overnight or is snowing + a day or two after, Powder on the days after that, back to Snowbasin if it hasn't snowed in over a week. Snowbasin has much better groomers. 

post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by anachronism View Post

 

2. Google Searching RV parks in the area shows a "Odgen Pineview Yatch Club  RV Park" on the shore of the reservoir. The website for the yatch club is worthless and I can't find any other information, it also seems that it could be a private club? Anybody have any idea?

The Yacht club is closed in winter.

 

There are a few RV spots behind Chris's Cafe in Huntsville at the base of the highway to Snowbasin.  Not sure about hook-ups but a friend stayed there all last winter in his Airstream.

 

March would be a better bet than Christmas.

 

Snowbasin is busier than PM but neither will be jammed in March, try both.

 

JF

post #13 of 14

A few random thoughts.

Flights already booked for late February.

http://www.epicski.com/t/118883/powder-mountain-february-19-26

D1

post #14 of 14
Quote:
Is there any reason not to plan a trip like this around late March/Spring Break? 

Absolutely.  Elevation range is 6,900 - 8,900 and exposures are all over the compass.   The attraction of Powder Mt. is that the powder doesn't get hammered the first day and you get to ski untracked for a few days thereafter.  By late March that untracked isn't going to be powder 2 days after the storm very often.

Quote:
More of a point is that Powder is really at its best when it's snowed within the past week or so. Its charm is entirely in its huge amounts of ungroomed, stash-holding terrain, and when there's no powder left, it really shrinks in size. Its groomers are okay, but they're pretty short and redundant. My rule of thumb is something like Snowbasin on a day that it snowed overnight or is snowing + a day or two after, Powder on the days after that, back to Snowbasin if it hasn't snowed in over a week. Snowbasin has much better groomers.   

 Excellent analysis IMHO.  The bottom line is that most of the days that people wax ecstatic about at Powder Mt. are in January or February.

Quote:
gets a ton of snow  

 Relative to most ski areas yes, but not nearly as much as claimed.  From in-season reports for about 25 months Powder Mt,. gets maybe 15% more snow than Snowbasin.  That puts it in the 350-375 range.  Less than Wolf Creek, and I'm sure anachronism can appreciate that with Wolf's altitude and exposure snow preservation is far better there than at Powder Mt.

 

This year Utah snow is running below average and I would not  expect wall-to-wall skiing at Powder Mt. over Christmas (it's not open at all yet).  I'm guessing anachronism will drive when he wants to go, and thus he should look for a year when Utah November/December snow is well above average like it is at Wolf this year, then go for Christmas.  Do not go for spring break unless it's a storm chase on just a few days notice.

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