Backcountry Gearheads do Powder Mountain
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In the last week of February our Gearhead Management team took a break from providing the best customer service on the planet to scout the deepness of Powder Mountain Resort on their skis and boards. The team, about 25 strong, trekked one hour north to sample the fresh eight inches of snow dusting the slopes of Powder Mountain. The resort boasts over 7000 acres of seldom-tracked terrain, cat skiing, stellar backcountry access, and two parks packed with features. A couple of our Gearheads are veteran “Pow Mow” shredders, and they showed the crew around the mountain, sampling a bit of all that goodness while divulging a few secret stashes. Lesser known than the oft-celebrated resorts in the Cottonwood Canyons or Park City, Powder Mountain is an untapped gem one hour north of our customer service basecamp in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Contrary to the dismal weather forecasted, the sun arose to a clear sky, and the group took in the views at the summit from the Hidden Lake Lodge. At promptly 9:15 the crew dropped into surfy, wind-buffed pow for the ultimate powder party on a run dubbed Cornice.
Team Lead Laurel gets fresh in Powder Country.
Next the Gearheads found themselves in Powder Country, a boundless stash of ridgeline terrain easily accessed via a gate near the top of the Hidden Lake Express Lift. Don’t forget to bring your beacon, probe, and shovel while harvesting the goods. Once the face shots had been savored, the Gearheads caught the Powder Mountain bus back to the Sundown Lift. Snowboarder Laurel reported “the snow was untouched all the way down to the road, after hopping on the powder bus you get to do it all over again, it’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen!”
The lap in Powder Country was followed by a ride up the Sundown Lift where the Gearheads wrangled seats on one of the Powder Mountain cats for a 10 minute drive to the top of Lightning Ridge. Powder Mountain offers single, affordable cat rides for those looking to experience cat skiing on a budget. A short traverse found the Gearhead crew atop Hook Chute, where a slash fest ensued; cornices were dropped, face shots were savored, and powder eights were scrawled across the face of Lightning Ridge. Lunch was a chicken-wing-and-beer-fueled frenzy at the Powder Keg Bar. Gearhead Greg G. adds, “the Powder Keg was full of life and rambunctious people, beer cups were overflowing, and the bar was abustle.”
Gearhead Team Lead Alyssa F. lays it out in Hook Chute.
Following lunch, the team banged out some more laps while skier Rich F. demonstrated his prowess in one of Powder Mountain’s two terrain parks. Being a Park City park rider, Rich was surprised at the diverse selection of rails and ‘natural’ wood features offered up in Pow Mow’s terrain park. “Ending a park run with the natural wood hits en route to the Hidden Lake Lift was a riot,” says Rich.
We took a moment to chat with Powder Mountain local and Gearhead Brett A. and asked him to describe the perfect day on Powder Mountain:
“Well, if I told you the real reason I love Powder Mountain I would have to kill you, so we won’t go there. But I will tell you that I love the limitless options on any given day. I’ve had some of my best days strapped to a snowboard at Pow Mow. This usually consists of a brilliant morning lapping Powder Country to the cat on Lightening Ridge for the steep and deep. Then I head to Paradise Chair for a few runs, hit some mini drops, followed by a couple park laps with friends before eating lunch on Hidden. We end the day with some quick park laps in the mini-park near the Sundown Chair.”
Powder Mountain local and Customer Experience Supervisor Brett A. shows the crew a few hidden gems.
For a respite from the hubbub and action (read: crowds) of Park City and the Cottonwood Canyons, our Gearheads highly suggest a sojourn north to the quieter runs and untracked goodness of Powder Mountain. To round out your experience, we also recommend dropping into the oldest bar in Utah, the Shooting Saloon in Huntsville, for a little (truly local) après action.
All Photos By: Ian Matteson