Prior to Monday, Beaver Mountain seemed like a place that everyone thinks sounds like a good idea, but that no one has ever visited before. Then I went Monday. Now more than no one has been there before, and I can report that the place is a pretty good idea.
Quality of Random Lift Strangers: no idea
Weather: Sunny, low-40s.
Would Return?: I mean, yeah.
Am moving to Logan (Utah) in May and was in the area for some house-hunting. Figured I needed to also make decisions about where I was going to be skiing next winter (and where, if anywhere, I ought to be getting a season pass). The drive up from Logan was gorgeous and took about 40 minutes starting from about the center of downtown at the Best Western PLUS where I was staying. I think the "plus" referred to the inescapable non-stop CNN blather that filled the breakfast room each morning.
Anyway: I missed the good skiing in Utah by a week, so things were very spring-like. Unlike my trip to Powder Mountain a couple days earlier, though, The Beav followed the preferred spring skiing protocol of hard in the morning, softened up all day, with at least a few runs staying cold enough to not be slush even at 3:00. The terrain, like pretty much every ski area ever, was beautiful and looked most similar to other northern Utah ski resorts (e.g., PowMow, Snowbasin), although less of the skiing seemed to be above the tree line. Here's photographic evidence of said beauty:
They were running only three of their four lifts (the fourth, an old two-seater called "Beaver Face" or "Beaver's Face" depending on what sign you're looking at, is a little superfluous in that you can reach all its terrain from the Harry's Dream lift). The infrastructure is on the old side, with nothing high-speed or quadded-up. The Marge's Triple chair, off to looker's right from the main parking lot, has safety bars and foot-rests, but for whomever's in the center seat, there's only about a four-inch slot that your skis have to fit through to get around the foot rests. The "big chair", Harry's Dream, has no safety bars (but isn't all that tall, so may not be a major problem for the acrophobes of the world). There's also a beginner chair looker's left.
Maybe the slot is six inches. Still. Also, I liked that these chairs looked like stylized football helmets from the 1970s. (Squint a little, you'll see it.)
The knock on Beaver Mountain is it's not much geared toward the super-advanced skiers who need big steeps to live. The steepest continuous slope is Beaver('s) Face, right down the lift line. It looked like this on Monday:
It was eminently skiable from about 11AM till noon. There's actually a decent number of advanced-ish faces and runs there that probably bump up well on a good day, just that there's nothing that I'd call a double-black. I also imagine the steeper pitches there would be delightfully ego-enhancing on a powder day.
For me, an arch-misanthrope, the greatest upside to the place is its lack of people. I didn't share a chair all day and, to be honest, I'm not sure I was even sharing the lift on most of my rides up. I had no problems finding runs I could take all by myself. Granted, it was a Monday a week after it'd snowed last, but I'm guessing the same sense of space was not available in the Cottonwoods on that same day. Perhaps would be a terrible place for agoraphobics.
What else? Lifties were good and friendly. Perhaps not up to the standards of PowMow, but, man, nowhere can touch that place for employee perkiness. There was a school bus full of fifth graders that showed up mid-morning, but they all headed down to the beginner lift so, aside from having to see them and their child-like narcissism in the lodge at lunch, they weren't an issue.
Food in the lodge was noteworthy -- had an excellent bacon cheeseburger and the best house-style fries I think I've ever eaten. Food prices were on the low end for ski lodge food. The parking lot is small and close-in, so it's not exactly hard to get your gear from the car to the hill. They had a secret bathroom complex on the gutter run from Marge's back to the base that was kind of nice. Not quite the ski-in, ski-out bathroom of my dreams (the one that would have a trench between your skis that would run a certain length so that you wouldn't even have to stop moving), but pretty close as far as things that exist in reality go.
So should everyone make a trip to visit here next year? Probably not. I mean, you get most of the same upside at PowMow and Snowbasin, which both offer more terrain, faster infrastructure, easier accessibility, and more variety. But still: I'm moving to Logan from having lived in Oklahoma the past three years, Pittsburgh the four years before that, and Orange County for most of the ten years before that. Beaver's going to be awesome. If you ever show up there, I'll probably know it well in about a year or so.