Powder Mountain

:"This article is about the ski resort in Utah. For the mountain in British Columbia, Canada, see Powder Mountain (British Columbia), and for its associated icefield see Powder Mountain Icefield.Infobox ski area
name= Powder Mountain

picture= Powder_Mountain_Hidden_Lake_Area.jpg
caption= Hidden Lake Express Lift and associated trails
location= Eden, Utah, US
nearest_city= Eden, Utah 7 miles (11 km) south, Ogden, Utah 19 miles (31 km) southwest, Salt Lake City, Utah 55 miles (89 km) south
vertical= 2000 ft (610 m) lift-served -- 2522 ft (769 m) via snowcat
top_elevation= 8900 ft (2713 m) lift-served -- 9422 ft (2872 m) via snowcat
base_elevation= 6900 ft (2103 m)
skiable_area= 2800 acres (11.33 km²) lift-served -- 5500 acres (22.26 km²) skiable area
number_trails= 113
longest_run= 3 mi (4.8 km)
liftsystem= 4 chairs, 3 surface lifts
lift_capacity= 6350 skiers/hr
terrainparks= 2
snowfall= 414 in./year (10.5 m/year)
snowmaking= none
nightskiing= 1 chair, 1 surface lift, 7 days a week
external_link= [http://www.powdermountain.com/ Powder Mountain Winter Resort]
Located East of Eden, Utah and stretching between Weber and Cache counties, Powder Mountain is the largest ski area in the United States. It is less accessible to out-of-town skiers than other Utah ski resorts, and is primarily visited by locals.


Powder Mountain has been continuously owned and operated by the same family since opening in 1972. Dr. Alvin Cobabe, his daughter Aleta Cobabe, and granddaughter Jamie Lythgoe serve on the management team. At 87, Dr. Cobabe is still active in the resort’s operations.

The resort had its beginnings as the winter range for Frederick James Cobabe’s sheep herd. Frederick, who was orphaned at age 15, moved around from family to family until he went to work for Charley Scmaltz. He tended camp for Charley’s herders taking his pay in sheep until he built a herd of his own.

His summer range was in the Grand Targhee area. When Grand Targhee was designated a national forest, grazing was prohibited and Fred sought a new range. Between 1902 and 1948, Fred continually accumulated land around Eden, Utah. Old timers say that his property was severely overgrazed by previous owners and hardly a blade of grass could be found. The watershed was so poor that Wolf Creek dried up each fall. Fred’s soil conservation practices greatly improved the vegetation and Powder Mountain now is known as one of the best watersheds in the Wasatch Mountains.

Fred’s son, Alvin F. Cobabe bought the livestock company with its 8,000 acres (32 km²) in 1948. Just a few months later, Fred was killed in an automobile accident.

When the ranch needed a reservoir, Alvin bought heavy earth moving equipment. He delved into the earth moving business to help pay for the machinery. A career in ranching, livestock and construction, however, did not satisfy Alvin. In 1956 at 42, he sold the livestock and construction companies to enroll in pre-med classes at Weber College. At age 45, he graduated from the University of Utah Medical School and returned to northern Utah to establish a medical practice. At that time, Dr. Alvin Cobabe was the oldest person to graduate from the school.

While horseback riding with friends along Lightning Ridge in the 1950s, someone casually mentioned that the terrain would make a great ski resort. The idea rang true with Dr. Cobabe and he began to amass adjacent property adding to the thousands acquired from his father. When the resort opened on February 19, 1972, he owned 14,000 acres (57 km²).

Only the Sundown lift was open during Powder Mountain’s first season. The area was lit for night skiing and the instructors taught skiing. Food was prepared on an outdoor barbecue. The Main Lodge, the Sundown Lodge and the Timberline lift were added to operations in the 1972/73 season.

The Resort Today

Powder Mountain currently boasts four chair lifts (one double, one triple which is being replaced with a quad, one fixed quad, and one detachable quad), and an additional three surface tows. But one of the principal draws to the mountain is a vast amount of terrain which is not serviced by the chairlifts. The slopes on both sides of the road leading up to the resort, as well as outlying terrain North of the resort are served by other means. There have been through the years various snowcats, sled-trailers, and even snowmobiles with ropes, to get skiers and riders far away from the skied out and packed down snow. Once there is sufficient snow coverage, there is typically a bus that will pick skiers/riders up at a waiting area halfway down the road. And sometimes (again depending on snowpack) there is a fee-per-ride Snowcat service up Lightning Ridge (very close to James Peak). James Peak is one of the premier powder bowl runs in Utah, reminiscent of the East bowl off Squaretop above The Canyons resort in Park City. Also, there is occasionally helicopter service from the parking lot, ferrying skiers/riders to the top of James Peak.

Powder Mountain terrain within the lift accessible area is what might be seen at many other resorts: many green and blue runs with few blacks. However, under the Paradise lift is an assortment of more technical black runs.

Powder Mountain is promoted as a family ski area. As such, Powder Mountain has little in the way of entertainment, fine dining, or after hours attractions. Given the spread of the terrain and the speed of lifts, buses, surface tows, etc., it is difficult to log very many vertical feet at the resort. The emphasis is on the quality of skiing rather than quantity. Snowbasin, which is across Eden Valley, provides more traditional steep, groomed, and mogul runs.

There is substantial lodging on the mountain, most of it ski-in/ski-out. There is also plentiful lodging in the Eden Valley at the foot of the mountain; a good choice for visitors wanting to experience both Powder Mountain and Snowbasin. Eden has a gas station, grocery store, and coffee hut.

Powder Mountain road is one of the steepest roads in Utah. All wheel drive and good tires are recommended.


1971/72 Season
*Powder Mountain opened with Sundown Lift.
*Ski School began.

1972/73 Season
*Main Lodge opened.
*Sundown Lodge opened.
*Timberline lift opened.

1975/76 Season
*Hidden Lake Lift added.

1981/82 Season
*Shuttle service for employees and for Powder Country started.

1984/85 Season
*Powder was the first Utah resort to allow snowboarding.

1986/87 Season
*Hidden Lake Day Lodge opened.

1994/95 Season
*Sunrise Lift opened.

1999/2000 Season
*Paradise Lift, a quad, opened up an additional 1300 acres (5.3 km²) of lift accessed terrain.
*Cat skiing moved to Lightning Ridge accessing an additional 700 acres (2.8 km²).
*Powder Mountain became the resort with the most skiable terrain in America.

2006/07 Season
*Hidden Lake lift replaced with a high speed lift.

External links

* [http://www.powdermountain.com Powder Mountain's Homepage]
* [http://www.skiutah.com The Ski Utah website]
* [http://www.firsttracksonline.com/powdermt.htm First Tracks article on Powder Mountain]

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