Thursday, March 24, 2011

And That's Why They Call It "Powder Mountain"

First lap through "Powder Country".

My 8th Lap of "Powder Country". Of the tracks you see here, 5 of them are mine.

About 90 minutes North of Salt Lake City there's a quirky, funky local's ski area named Powder Mountain (affectionately referred to as PowMow).

I don't know for a fact, but I would guess no capital improvements have been made at PowMow for 20 years.

For starters, PowMow is upside down. The main parking lot is at the top of the mountain.

Most of the lifts are old and slow.

Across the Ogden Valley, mighty Snowbasin has a magnificent stone-and-log day lodge ("Earl's"), which features a mahogany and brass locker room large enough for the Yankees to hold infield practice. PowMow doesn't even have a locker room. The only place to change your clothes at PowMow is in your car.

Your local McDonalds has much larger (and much nicer, and much cleaner) bathrooms than the main day lodge at PowMow.

At nearby Deer Valley, it is common to see skiers whipping out their cellphones on the chairlift to make a reservation at one of the gourmet on-mountain eateries, which have wine lists and feature vittles like foie gras and cranberry salad with organic goat cheese. At PowMow, a hot dog with melted Velveeta and a Coke in a paper cup is about as gourmet as you're going to get.

At PowMow, the two best parts of the mountain do not have lifts. When you ski the aptly-named "Powder Country", you must take an old school bus back to the resort when you reach the bottom. When you ski "James Peak", you must either boot pack or skin up 200 vertical feet, ski down a short access road, and then climb 700 more vertical feet to access the peak.

But, sports fans.......when it comes time to get your jiggy on, to crank and bank your planks, to arc 'em out in snorkel powder, there is no better place on the planet to score thigh-deep powder and face shots all day long. And yesterday (March 23) was one of those days.

Preparing to skin up James Peak. Notice, at this point, there are only two sets of tracks coming down from the top.

First lap through James Peak. Notice there are now THREE sets of tracks coming down from the top. Notice also that it's 2 PM and only three people have put down tracks here.

To avoid a long runout, after laying down about 60 turns on the main face one traverses across the bowls of James Peak, grabbing 15-20 or so turns in each bowl before moving across the ridgeline to the next bowl.

Reminds me of a ski film from a few years back: "The Blizzard Of Aaaaahs".

Eden, Utah is the nearest town to PowMow. After a hard day skiing PowMow, this is the dyslexic's favorite place to go chow.

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