Powder Mtn

We all know there are many options to ski Utah – Snowbird, Alta, Brighton, Solitude, Park City, Snowbasin, Deer Valley.  But none can hold a candle to Powder Mountain.  Why is this, you might ask?

Powder mountain boasts the largest ski/snowboard area in North America, with 8,464 acres of groomed trails and un-groomed of pure skiing pleasure.

You are at an elevation of 7,500 feet to almost 9,000 feet at the top, and because of the high elevation the mountain produces over 500 inches of light fluffy powder annually. They do boast the greatest snow on earth with no snowmaking.

It’s easy to lose track of what you’re skiing since the area is so vast.

I was amazed that we had skied most of the day and noticed we had only skied 15 runs. Even though there are – literally – miles of downhill options, there are a few  lifts.  Most are older fixed grip chairs. The vertical ranges from a short 582 feet vertical at the Village lift to 1,609 vertical at Paradise lift, and an impressive 1,268 for the high-speed.

All the lifts service some very good long runs from beginner to expert (they are also open till 9pm on one lift, for night skiing on the Sundown chair).

On one day, I decided to ski only the Hidden Valley hi-speed lift.  From 9am to 3pm, I skied 25 runs and 29,000 vertical feet. That was a max for me, and I wasn’t tired from it because I found the “zone”.

Limiting Guests

Something important to mention is that Powder Mountain limits the number of skiers to 1,500 season pass holders plus day-trippers. So, even on a busy weekend you can expect about 2,200 to 2,500 skiers on 8,500 acres.  That’s 3.5 acres plus or minus for each skier.

It’s also important to note that Powder Mountain offers FREE skiing to anybody 75+, which makes it a popular destination for senior skiers and riders – and there are lots of us.  The 70+ Ski Club includes a day at Powder Mountain in its annual Utah trip.

There is a reservation system, so if you don’t want to be blocked out and you are purchasing a daily ticket, do it ahead of time online. Also for 75+ senior skiers, who need to reserve online, not at the ticket window.

The limits on daily skiers and riders meant that it was few and far between that I was passed by another downhiller.  As you look up a slope from any chair you might see a dozen people on any given slope.

So, safety wise, it was a delight. As a matter of fact, at least eight of about 50 who passed me on the entire week of skiing made announcements of “on your left” or “on your right”.  When was the last time you heard that on a crowded slope?  Utah, or anywhere else?

Powder Mountain is a throwback to skiing in the 60’s and 70’s, with a basic and unpretentious lodge, compared to some other resorts in the west.

Many of the skiers/riders here are diehards, with about 45% locals and the rest of 55% from out of town.

For the adventurous, there is also the opportunity to go Cat Skiing on a per ride basis. Next season – 2023/34 – Powder Mountain plans to provide full day cat skiing with the strong possibility of having an additional 20,000 acres beyond what they already have.

As the area expands, they are trying very hard to keep the current “down to earth” feel of the area.  Everyone from lift attendants to mountain hosts, to all the staff, are very friendly and cheerful.

And chairlift conversations were equally friendly and cheerful, including tips on where to stay nearby, since there is no base area lodging. On one lift ride I was offered a prayer session!


Season Passes and Other Tips

Powder Mountain season passes are hard to come by. There’s a waiting list of about 6,000 people and currently 3,000 pass holders, do don’t hold your breath. I maintain mine, which I received five years ago, so I don’t have to worry about getting a reservation.

If you are going for a longer period, buy a five-pack early in the season, which can be used on a choice of days during the season.

The area’s goal is to provide the best snow conditions to serious skiers and riders, which it is able to do by limiting the number of downhillers on any day.

You will never see a long lift line here,  as you might find at other areas on weekends, especially on a powder day.  The longest lift line I encountered in a week here was just three minutes long on a weekend day when they had reached the max number of skiers for the day.  Mostly, I just skied right up to the lift with just a one or two chair wait for the few people in front of me.

What a delight it is to ski Powder Mountain.  I’m already planning my trip for next year………


  1. Glad to read that the Pow Mow vibe has not changed since I skied there 12 years ago with 3 generations of relatives. We all loved it! Have been back once since with 70+ ski group. The lodging at lower elevations is great for those who need overnight relief from the high altitude. Just plan ahead for the local dry laws if you plan to enjoy a drink apres ski in a venue other than the bar at the mountain. But check that out as well!

  2. Mike
    How the hell did you manage 25 runs at Powder Mountain? Holy sh*t!

    • MICHAEL ROTH says:

      Roger, only riding the hi speed chair, and we quit at 3 with and hour for lunch. The skiing was effortless and that is probably the most I ever had in one day. next year shooting for more.
      By the way I never got that email you said you sent with comments from an earlier article?

  3. Great write-up, Mike – sure sounds fun. LOVE those “throwback” mountains!
    Cheers – KATHE

  4. MICHAEL ROTH says:

    thanks Kathe, it is a great place.

  5. Stanley Sneider says:

    Secrets are best when you don’t tell anyone.

    I’ve been coming to Utah for 50 years and Powder for the last 3. No crowds and good deals on condo rentals.

  6. Jan Brunvand says:

    I live in Salt Lake City, about 25 miles from Alta or Brighton where I usually ski. But I bought a super senior season pass at PowMow years ago, and I renew it annually. It used to cost $20 and is now up to $59, actually $63.28 with tax for next season. PowMow is my go-to place for weekends, specifically Sundays when traffic on I-15 is light and the Cottonwood Canyons are busy. My drive there is about 60 miles. I’m not into maximizing number of runs or vertical feet. Instead I cruise the blues. I park at the very top lot (top of Hidden Lake lift) and from there ski directly down to Village Lift, then on to Mary Lift, eventually hitting Hidden Lake to return to my parking spot. Often with this routine I will ride the lifts alone for four or five trips before other skiers/snowboarders find their way over there. So I’m usually making fresh tracks either on smooth groomers or in the powder along the edges and in the trees. There’s a whole lot more to explore at PowMow, although it might be argued that there are other even more obscure secret slopes in Utah worth checking out: Eagle Point, Brian Head, Beaver Mt., Cherry Peaks, and the place you can see from the top of PowMow or from the road as you drive out–Nordic Valley. A super senior pass at the latter costs, would you believe?, nothing. I just renewed mine.

  7. Do not go to Powder Mountain during the first two weeks of March!!!!!!!
    Why??? Because that’s when I go and I hate sharing the Powder!!!!!!

  8. Been skiing Powder Mountain for years as a local. Did anyone tell you not to tell anyone about Powder Mountain? They should have!
    All good things have to come to an end. The words is out…too bad.
    Thank goodness the number of day tickets are limited. Thank you Powder Mountain.

  9. Don’t forget to buy a one ride snowcat trip up the other face of the mountain to ski untracked powder. I think it was $20 and well worth it for the best run of the day.

  10. I am 81 and used to ski Power in the 90’s when living in Northern Utah.Loved the mountain….hated the drive to it. Hoped they improved the road. I stick to Michigan ski resorts now.

  11. Can’t believe you didn’t mention Powder Country at PowMow. One of the most unique “lift-served” back country ski experiences in the USA. The lift is an old school bus that brings you back up the mountain after skiing all that Pow!

  12. LOTS of great info here, Mike! Thanks. Makes me want to get back on downhill skis. 🙂

  13. MICHAEL ROTH says:

    maybe we should get out to ski together next year.

  14. MICHAEL ROTH says:

    Helen, maybe next year we can strap those skis on again!

  15. Thanks for this Mike. ‘Enjoyed your writing immensely. I’ve never skied PM. Do u recommend a place to stay? Thanks again for the wonderful portrait you drew of me in Taos several years ago. I love it, as does my son, and others. Cheers my friend!

  16. Powder Mountain’s snow is the best that I have ever skied on; nice dry and fluffy snow. We took the city bus up and didn’t have to drive the steep ascent and it is steep!

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