Derek Taylor has been an authoritative voice in the ski world for more than two decades. The former editor of Powder Magazine has skied and written about every snow-covered corner of the globe over the course of his career. When it came time to settle down, however, he chose Northern Utah for a few reasons, and Powder Mountain was one of them. He made his first visit back in 2000 “And I fell in love right away: the snow quality and the” he says. “I was still living in California, working at the magazine, but I knew right away this area would make a nice landing spot in the future.” He was right. Over the past ten years, Taylor’s been a Powder Mountain regular, and if you know where to look you might even find him. Given his travelogue, we figured what he loves most about Powder. He gave us his Top 5 reasons.
5 Things I Love Most About Powder Mountain
By Derek Taylor
Powder Mountain has a ton of features that can’t be bought or replicated, which is what makes it truly special. There’s certainly no other place like it on the American ski resort landscape. For starters, their skier limit is unprecedented. They cap daily ticket sales at 1500 skiers, which means they’re leaving money on the table to preserve the skiing experience. Crowds don’t exist. Beyond that, no other resort picks you up in a bus after you ski down a side-country hill and takes you back up top. And few places let you hop on a cat, ride up a ridge, and then hike to the next peak. That feels a lot more like ducking a rope and skiing out of bounds than it does riding chairs and heated bubble quads. Yes, with 8400 acres of skiable terrain it’s one of the biggest resorts in the North America, but this place is nothing like Park City, Vail, or even Whistler, and that’s a good thing.
2. Powder Country
Powder Country isn’t traditional ski area terrain. It’s a backcountry-style road run—the type of adventure you would do occasionally, and hitchhike back, at the rare resort where such an option exists. So ignore for a moment that this vast expanse of high-angle glades is in-bounds, avalanche controlled, and that a shuttle bus makes it possible to log several laps a day. It has more than 1,000 acres of perfectly spaced, perfectly pitched trees that drop down to the road. As long as the weather stays cold, there are always some powder shots to be found, which is what we’re all looking for. Yes, a lift would be faster and provide more laps, and a few cut runs would make it more accessible…But that’s not the point.
3. Lightning Ridge
Spending $20 for a cat ride that takes you to a private set of peaks is certainly one of the best values in skiing. With a little more effort (a snowcat and short hike, much like Aspen Highlands Highland Bowl), you can get to James Peak and ride above-treeline, high-alpine lines. This zone holds its own with just about anything inbounds in Utah. And while it’s easy to get enamored with Hook Chute, the steep, rocky area at the end of the ridge that features legit, big-mountain terrain, don’t be afraid to step off the beaten path. The shots off to the side are shorter, but often harbor freshies.
4. Kid Shred on Hidden Lake
The groomers off Hidden Lake are perfectly pitched for beginners of any age. When the tykes start getting more confident and adventurous, there are numerous gentle blue and black runs to help them transition off-piste. Throw in the two terrain parks, and Hidden Lake is the perfect spot to take kids of any level—until they’re better than you.
5. The Powder Keg
Not all ski area bars are created equal. The dividing line is rarely what one has that the other doesn’t, and almost always the vibe. Walking into the Powder Keg feels like walking into a family picnic—even when you don’t know another soul in the room.