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ULTIMATE SKI ROAD TRIP: UTAH, PART TWO - James Cove, Utah
Wednesday February 15, 2017 - Email this article to a friend



PlanetSKI is on a 4-week road trip round 20 or so ski resorts in the USA and Canada.

We have been blogging each day and here we re-produce the first week in full and in chronological order.

It's a long read in one go but do come back to dip in and dip out as our editor, James Cove, heads from the resorts around Salt Lake City to those around Ogden - Snowbasin and the fabulous resort of Powder Mountain.

See here for the first part of the week as James skied the resorts near Salt Lake City.

Sunday February 12th - Day Six

Ogden may not sound the most glamorous of destinations - but it has the ski resorts of Powder Mountain, Whisper Ridge and Snowbasin under 30 minutes away.

The resorts, and Ogden itself, are more than worth a visit.

More of those later, but what about the road trip itself?

I love ski road trips as the journey itself becomes part of the experience.

Random things happen along the way and there are chance meetings with total strangers.

Too often ski resorts are in a bubble - on a road trip you break out of that bubble and get a real feel for the country you are in.

The views are pretty good too.

#ultimateskiroadtripOn the road again

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#ultimateskiroadtripUtah views

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the fresh powder of Alta and Snowbird the first task was an obvious one as we set off for Ogden.

My friend and travelling companion, Alf, and I had to dig the car out.

#ultimateskiroadtripDigging out

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#ultimateskiroadtripClearing up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#ultimateskiroadtrip#ultimateskiroadtrip

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But would the road down the Little Cottonwood Canyon to the highway be open?

We were lucky - we had the powder but not the closed access road.

"The road is often closed after a storm as there are steep slopes on either side of the road," said Joni Dykstra from the Alta Lodge.

"That can have its advantages if you are staying with us as no-one can get up to the slopes, but the guests that are already here get the slopes all to themselves," she added.

#ultimateskiroadtripIt's open!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were pleased to see the road clear and happy for those heading up to ski the slopes that we enjoyed yesterday (see below for details of our powder day).

#ultimateskiroadtripGoing up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The key thing with ski road trips is to assume you will get lost a few times.

Then when you do (and you will) you won't get stressed.

Well, not too much.

Our journey to Snowbasin via Ogden took an hour and a half, but it should have been an hour.

Let's just say map reading is not the forte of Alf and myself and our strengths lie in other directions.

We saw rather a lot of Washington Boulevard as we tried to find the canyon road up to Snowbasin.

No sign of SnowbirdNo sign of Snowbasin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next is to find a decent radio station to suit your musical tastes - I can thoroughly recommend Arrow 103.5 FM if you pass through this area.

#ultimateskiroadtrip#ultimateskiroadtrip

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#ultimateskiroadtrip#ultimateskiroadtrip

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#ultimateskiroadtrip#ultimateskiroadtrip

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#ultimateskiroadtrip#ultimateskiroadtrip

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I currently feel a bit of a fraud calling this part of my 4-week journey across parts of the USA and Canada a 'Road Trip'.

We are visiting 7 resorts but most are within an hour of each other (taking away time getting lost).

"It's more of a hop, skip and a jump trip," said Alf who is travelling with me for the Utah leg of my month-long trip.

Alf is a veteran of ski road trips and I also have more than a few tucked under my belt.

Alf and I crossed British Columbia last year on 12-day trip in an RV.

We already have plans for a trip from New Mexico to California next winter taking in as many ski resorts as we can en route.

But if you want to visit a few resorts in the USA by road but not put in the monster journeys then Utah is for you.

It is short on journey time and long on ski time.

Alf heads back to Europe next Tuesday while I am continuing for another 3 weeks or so and my journey continues to Colorado, Wyoming and Montana where time behind the wheel will be longer.

I am also taking in Alberta in Canada and probably BC too.

That is when the road trip proper begins, but the Utah leg is a good warm up. Some days I'll be driving for 8-hours and more.

But as we pulled up into Snowbasin I was delighted to be getting on to the snow rather than sitting behind a wheel.

Another advantage - you pull up, grab the gear out of the boot and go skiing.

#ultimateskiroadtripTime to ski

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, what is Snowbasin like?

Check back tomorrow and I'll tell you.

Oh, and what about Ogden?

The road to OgdenThe road to Ogden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is a city of about 80,000 inhabitants and it has a past.

A dirty one.

The gangster, Al Capone, came here but left quickly.

"It is too rough for me," he allegedly said of the city.

It is a rail road town and in the late 19th century every train going from East to West stopped here.

Ogden was one of the most important towns in the west.

There was drinking, gambling, prostitution and opium dens in abundance and most were in or around 25th Street.

Back in the day it was known as 2-bit street - you could get all of the above for 2 bits.

The street now has bars, restaurants, coffee shops and galleries, but it has its ghosts.

The town is is re-inventing itself and positioning itself as an outdoor town - a home for people and businesses that like the outdoors.

Amer sport that owns Salomon, Atomic and Arcteyrx has moved its North America HQ here and many specialist bike manufacturers are here as their testing ground is pretty much outside their windows.

Dinner was at Roosters Brewing Co with Caren Werner from the local tourist office and her husband.

Mr and Mrs WernerMr and Mrs Werner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Both were on their third marriages.

We talked skiing.

Then we talked religion, sex and politics.

"All this is off the record and if you print any of this I will break your back," he said.

I think he was joking but I couldn't be sure.

Then we talked more religion, sex and politics.

The benefits (or otherwise of President Trump) and the advantages (or otherwise) of the Mormon religion.

Alf and I unveiled our views of Brexit, The Royal Family and US ski resorts in general.

And then we talked more.

We were last to leave the restaurant.

One gets to meet some interesting people on a road trip.

For further details on Utah then see the web site Visit Utah

Monday 13th February - Day Seven

In my experience Americans like to exaggerate.

But there is no exaggeration in the names of these two ski resorts: Powder Mountain and Snowbasin.

On my visit one is a mountain of powder and the other a basin full of snow.

First up Snowbasin.

It is worth visiting just for the approach road alone.

Snowbasin, UtahSnowbasin, Utah

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snowbasin, UtahSnowbasin, Utah

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It has had huge amounts of snow this winter.

On arrival we headed to the highest point of the resort, at 9,645 feet.

Apart from the skiing perhaps the most memorable aspect of Snowbasin is the views.

They are breathtaking - and not just because of the high altitude.

Snowbasin, UtahSnowbasin, Utah

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You will not see this landscape in Europe.

Snowbasin, UtahSnowbasin, Utah

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snowbasin has 3,000ft of vertical decent and 3,000 acres to ski - a very respectable set of statistics by US standards.

It is often overlooked by British visitors as they head to the better-known resorts of Park City and Alta/Snowbird that I visited earlier - see below for my blog from those resorts.

It is a mistake to overlook Snowbasin - a BIG mistake.

It is an hour or so from the main resorts near Salt Lake City and although there is no reciprocal lift pass, a day ticket is only $70 if ordered in advance online.

It has a variety of terrain.

From steeps - it has an Olympic downhill course after all:

Snowbasin, Utah Snowbasin, Utah

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snowbasin, UtahSnowbasin, Utah

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To more gentle slopes.

Snowbasin, UtahSnowbasin, Utah

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snowbasin, Utah Snowbasin, Utah

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next up Powder Mountain.

Like Snowbasin the approach is an experience in itself.

Powder Mountain, UtahPowder Mountain, Utah

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Powder Mountain, UtahPowder Mountain, Utah

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is an upside-down resort - the road takes you to the top of the resort and then you ski down.

If I had been asked to name the biggest resorts in North America yesterday I would have said Whistler, Sun Peaks and Lake Louise in Canada plus Vail and Park City in the USA.

Today I have to add Powder Mountain.

Technically Powder Mountain is the biggest of them all with 8,400 skiable acres.

Whistler claims the biggest with 8,200 skiable acres.

It doesn't seem to bother Powder Mountain.

"We are not really into claiming this, that and the other but, yeah, I suppose we are if you include our cat that takes people that little but further up and gives access to some of the best skiing in the resort," said the marketing manager of the resort, Jean-Pierre Goulet.

Powder Mountain, UtahYours truly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The cat is one of the highlights of the resort.

I had heard of Powder Mountain but never skied here before and I was bowled over by the place.

It has something for everyone with some easy groomers to something more challenging for advanced skiers.

Powder Mountain, UtahPowder Mountain, Utah

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For further details on Utah then see the web site Visit Utah

Tuesday 14th February - Day Eight

What a couple of utter, utter muppets. 

And that is putting it rather politely.

Alf and I had left the best to last.

Cat skiing at Whisper Ridge near Ogden. 

"Some of the best ski lines on the planet await you in Paradise, Utah.

Cat skiing is not like any resort skiing you've ever done; there's no waiting in lift lines, no fighting for untracked snow and no cold lift rides.

With over 60,000 private acres of skiable terrain you have fresh Utah powder all day, everyday.

Not to mention your ride to the top is in one of our warm, cozy, luxurious snowcats so after each run you can warm up with warm drinks, music and friends. "

It was even based in a town called Paradise.

"Please do NOT type in Whisper Ridge into your GPS, as it will take you to the wrong location," ended the instructions on the page.

My alarm went at 06.10 and by 06.30 we were on the road out of Ogden to reach the cat skiing operation by 07.30.

Early startEarly start

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a maximum 45-minute journey - what could possibly go wrong?

The views as dawn broke got us in the mood.

To say we were excited was an understatement.

Dawn breaksDawn breaks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I put the address into my phone making sure I did not type Whisper Ridge as per the instructions and we followed it.

The cat skiing slopes awaitThe cat skiing slopes await

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, far so good.

Until we passed the town of Avon and got to this:

End of the roadEnd of the road

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We then drove around frantically looking for signs for the cat skiing - there were none.

The clocked ticked by.

07.00.....07.10....

The next road we found ended in similar fashion.

Another dead endAnother dead end

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Never mind the breakfast starts at 07.30 and we depart at 08.00 so we have another half an hour," I helpfully pointed out as we did yet another 3-point turn as we reached a dead end in our quest for a sign post.

O7.20...07.30...

And again...And again...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

07.40...07.50...

At that point we decided to turn over the page of our instructions.

There was a hyperlink to a map of how to reach Paradise in winter and it was even helpfully printed out for us on the intructions too.

The road to paradiseThe road to paradise

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Sat Nav had taken us on the summer route via Avon just below Paradise.

The only trouble is it is winter and many small roads are closed due to snow.

Like the one between Avon and Paradise.

And to think we have done more than a dozen ski road trips between us - not to mentions how many pages of instructions and itineraries we have turned over.

"F*ck, f*ck, f*cK" I screamed hitting the dashboard as we realised we would never make it in time.

"Fancy some breakfast somewhere," said Alf.

UPDATE: WEDNESDAY 15th

I am very touched by umpteen message of sympathy I have been sent on social media, but there really is no need.

Shortly after hurting my wrist thumping the dashboard Alf and I did indeed go for breakfast.

We sat in silence for about 10 minutes and then smiles crept over our faces as we recognised our utter stupidity and total incompetence.

The smiles became laughter and before we knew it we were both in uncontrollable giggles.

What complete and utter dickheads we both are!

At one point I could barely breath and I had to leave the diner clutching my sides with tears running down my face.

We went straight back to Powder Mountain (my new favourite resort on the planet) and had THE best day before we had to head back to Salt Lake City.

I am continuing my road trip solo in Colorado for a few days before heading up to Banff in Canada. 

Alf is flying back to Europe and his home in Les Arcs before a ski touring trip to Norway.

Things always go wrong on road trips and when they do the key thing is just to laugh and move on.

My next task is to transfer the same attitude to all other areas of my life. Smile

I hope you have had as much fun reading about our adventures as I have had experiencing them and blogging about them.

Next stop Colorado - I wonder what awaits?

For further details on Utah then see the web site Visit Utah

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the world of snowsports.

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