Powder Mountain


A Mom-and-Pop Resort Grows Up

Over a hundred years ago, a sheep herder from Grand Targhee, Wyoming began buying property around Eden, Utah for his livestock. As the years went by, he acquired a considerable amount of land, much of it being found high up in the picturesque mountains and valleys which surround the sleepy town. Little did he know that a few mere decades later, his son Dr. Alvin Cobabe would listen to two simple words, “build it,” and develop what would become one of Utah’s best kept secrets.

After Alvin’s father unexpectedly died, Alvin decided he wanted to break away from the rancher life and go to medical school. He was no spring chicken at 41 years old, but he had his heart set on it. The summer before he was scheduled to begin at the University of Utah, Alvin was horseback riding with a friend on the property. Admiring the vast, steep, open terrain, Alvin’s friend posed the question of building a ski resort. Alvin stated later that he heard a voice as clear as day tell him to “build it,” and with that Powder Mountain took its first breath.

Over the years, Alvin earned his medical degree while giving life to what locals, and those in the know, now call Pow Mow. With a heritage steeped deep in family values and sense of community, many of those who come here desire to keep Pow Mow on the lowdown with the crowds few and far between. You’ll find people working on this mountain who’ve been here as long as anyone can remember.

Pow Mow is also home to some of the best powder in North America, receiving up to 400–500 annual inches of the lightest snow on Earth. Locals know they can ski here weeks after a storm and still find stashes of the Wasatch’s finest white stuff, but more people are discovering this hidden gem just an hour north of Salt Lake City each year. Although, if you think about it, it really isn’t hidden, we’ve just been overlooking it for glitzier, more developed mountains.

While most of us continue to pass up this powder paradise and head to bigger names, Pow Mow has been quietly creating a niche in the market by offering in- and out-of-bounds snowcat skiing, heli skiing, and even kite boarding! There’s no need to jet up to Canada and Alaska when you can enjoy some of the best snow, terrain, and breathtaking scenery the world has to offer in our very own backyard!

With over 7,000 skiable acres, Powder Mountain is the largest resort in the United States! Lift tickets are reasonably priced, and you can add on single cat rides for just $18 with a lift ticket. Free buses run continuously that pick skiers and boarders up who choose to ski powdery side bowls of natural glades and trees.

Powder Mountain also boasts incomparable views, untracked glades, unsurpassed snow conditions, and terrain that would take a season to truly discover, but what you won’t find are are over-the-top lodges and fine dining. Think 1980s ski movies, and you’ve got Powder Mountain.

But the future is bright for this formerly obscure resort; magazines and websites are naming Powder Mountain among the best, and people are buzzing with the latest news. The Summit Group (which throws conferences/festivals that are the hottest ticket among the country’s entrepreneurial elite) co-founders, Jeremy Schwartz, Jeff Rosenthal, Brett Leve, and Elliot Bisnow, recently plunked down a rumored $40 million for the place. This seems to be the start of something positive for Powder Mountain and the community. Though some protest change and change is always hard, many welcome the new owners as a better option than the last.

Several years ago the Cobabe family sold the mountain and surrounding acreage to a consortium group who planned to turn the place into a mini Vail or Park City. Locals hated the idea and when the economy tanked, so did the mega million dollar plans. Then along came The Summit Group’s Millennial entrepreneurs with the hopes of finding a permanent home for their decadent but eco-friendly bashes, and a deal was struck.

The future remains to be seen, but for now the Summit Group hopes to build a sense of community with the locals and are promising not to upscale their beloved mountain…too much. There will be some changes like homes going in on the backside and a lodge, and the locals know this group won’t be shy about spending money where it needs to be spent. As far as the skiing and boarding goes, nothing changes and nothing ever will. Powder will always remain one of Utah’s biggest little mountains and the snow will never stop falling.

How to Ski the Mountain

Powder is huge and spread out so it’s easy to get turned around. Take advantage of the inbound tours, which include a snowcat ride up Lightning Ridge.

The word on the street is to ski this mountain in a loop. Everyone does it a little bit differently, but here’s our suggestion. Start at Timberline and take the cat up to the top of Cobabe Peak. Find a powder stash and ski to the bottom of Paradise Lift. Take one of the many black runs back to the bottom and ski Geronimo down to Hidden Lake Express. From there ski Powder Country, take the Palmalift or go back to the base and repeat.

One local said, “Do not be afraid to hike, that is where you will find the gold at the end of the rainbow.”

Looking to hit some rails and bust out your bag of tricks? Try your skills out at Sundown Park; then kick it over to Hidden Lake for more advanced technical features.

Best Powder

Ride Powder Country for untouched stashes that last long after a storm, or spend the money and catch a private cat for the day.

Best Groomed Run

Burntwood at the top of Hidden Lake Express is picturesque and perfect.

Where to Eat

Pow Mow is no Deer Valley, but who comes here to eat anyway? Down a beer and the local’s favorite Powder Burger at the Powder Keg, or enjoy endless views from the top of Hidden Lake Lodge and warm up with hot cocoa and fries. Save the real eating for Harley and Buck’s in Eden. Calamari, crab cakes, and fish tacos make for a fabulous après ski dining experience. Don’t forget to finish with the Apple Walnut Cobbler!

For more information on pricing and lodging visit powdermountain.com.


About Author

Rachael Hodson followed her love of skiing from Washington to Utah. Entrenched in the ski industry for more than 18 years, she worked as a tech rep for Atomic, a ski instructor at both Alta Ski Area and Solitude Ski Resort, and was a freeskiing competitor and action sports model before turning to writing. Rachael currently makes her home at the base of Little Cottonwood Canyon with her husband and two sons, Noah, 11, and Isaac, 8.

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