words by Max Djenohan
Chelsea and I woke up to a dreary Seattle morning, we threw our stuff in the car and headed to SeaTac airport to catch our 5:30am flight. I love going to the airport early, there’s nothing like breezing through check-ins and TSA.
After cruising through TSA, we hopped on the plane and as soon as my butt hit the seat, I was asleep. It's a two hour flight from Seattle to Salt Lake City International Airport, so I pretty much closed my eyes and boom, we were in Utah. I woke up 20 minutes before touching down to the most beautiful sunrise over the Wasatch and Oquirrh mountain ranges. It’s always sunny somewhere, and it wasn’t Seattle.
After disembarking from the plane, we went to baggage claim where we picked up our bags within 10 minutes of getting off the flight. We had never seen a board/ski baggage claim before and we thought to ourselves, only in Utah. From there, we picked up our rental car and we were off! It was only 10am, we had a quick 50 minute drive to Snowbasin Resort and were hiking powder by 11:30am!
Fun fact: Snowbasin is one of the oldest continually running ski areas in North America. Snowbasin was also host to the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics and home to one of the hardest downhill ski courses in the world. The mountain feels like you’re in the Alps with its jagged peaks alongside Mount Ogden, Needles and Demoisy Peak dominating over the resort. Lucky for us, we had showed up a couple days out from the last storm and were able to find some of that light and dry powder that Utah is famous for.
Snowbasin Resort is great for all skill levels of snowboarders and skiers—it has great steep terrain, complemented by long, beautiful groomed cat tracks. The groomers flow all throughout the resort, making it really fun and easy to get around. After cruising around the resort for the day, we headed to the Shooting Star Saloon in Huntsville. The Shooting Star is the oldest Saloon west of the Mississippi. Chelsea and I met up with our friend JP and we enjoyed probably one of the best bacon cheeseburgers I’ve had in years for $9, washed down with a local IPA. Freaking delicious! After dinner it was time to head back to our hotel in Ogden.
Ironically, my middle name is Ogden, named after my great-great grandmother's maiden name. I believe I may have a familial connection to “Peter Skeen Ogden" the British explorer and fur trapper, which Ogden, Utah is named after. Pretty cool considering Ogden's wild west historical past.
Anyways, the next day, we were off to Powder Mountain aka Pow Mow! I know I'm going to catch some gruff for giving away one of the best kept secrets in the Wasatch range, but sharing is caring. Pow Mow boasts the largest skiable inbound terrain in North America. The true beauty of Pow Mow is its daily cap on ticket sales, which means no matter the amount of pow, there won’t be crowds. Incredible. Chelsea and I met back up with our friend JP who showed us around the mountain. We loved the groomers, rollers, boarder-X course and best of all, the cat skiing that Powder Mountain has to offer. We really enjoyed the low key mom and pop atmosphere. The locals are extremely welcoming and such a tight-knit community. The best part is that we were five days from the last substantial storm and were able to score fresh tracks in-bounds, through the beautifully gladed aspens.
After a full day of riding with JP, he tipped us off to some hot springs just outside of Ogden. If there’s one thing we love, it’s natural hot springs after a day of snowboarding. The springs were very unassuming, but perfect for après-ski vibes. We tested a couple of pools and settled on some right next to the river. Hot/cold plunges proceeded. We were stoked to meet some locals who have been coming to these hot springs for over 20 years. After our soak, we headed back to Ogden for dinner at Table Twenty-Five, a casual fine dining experience. They had wonderful cocktails and the food was exquisite. I had the Duck Ragu and Chelsea enjoyed their scrumptious staple of Beef Stroganoff. What a day! Ogden, Utah is sure starting to grow on us!
Day three started with some coffee and crepes at the Daily Rise Coffee, a local coffee shop. As soon as we entered, the owner was thrilled to welcome us and suggest breakfast options. We ate quickly and were back at Powder Mountain in no time. JP had suggested I should cruise around with his buddy and Powder Mountain photographer, Ian to go hunt for some leftover powder stashes via the cat skiing operation. That’s exactly what we did! Chelsea decided to take a couple laps then “work from home” at the Timberline Lodge while we were out shooting. Within two runs on the cat, we were able to find a couple of cliff drops, rock gaps and some left over pow stashes. Not too bad for being almost a week out from the last storm! I met back up with Chelsea and we enjoyed some of Pow Mow's renowned Japanese-style ramen. After a chilly day on the mountain, there's nothing like filling yourself with a hearty, warming delicious ramen!
Later that night, we kept the Japanese cuisine theme going at Tona Sushi. Tona Sushi is off of the historical 25th Street in downtown Ogden. Chelsea is a mega-foodie and I’m a Seattleite who has been to Japan a couple times. We truly have never had better sushi in our lives. I kid you not, Tona, a small sushi restaurant in the middle of Utah, has the best sushi I think I’ve ever had. The numerous awards and accolades on the restaurant's walls mean I am not alone in thinking so.
After we finished up our spectacular dinner, we had to go work off the copious amounts of sushi and saki we had consumed. We decided to head over to the Social Axe Throwing. If you’ve never gone axe throwing, think darts, but with axes. It is badass and makes you feel like a lumberjack. My red checkered Mr. Brawny flannel I decided to wear no doubt played a part in making me feel like a lumberjack…After playing a handful of games, Chelsea ended up winning the best out of our five matches. HAHA, I guess you can't just look like a lumberjack in order to win an axe throwing contest. I’d say she kicked my axe…We took some sweet photos in their photo-booth and then called it a night.
Day four happened to be St. Patrick's day and also our last full day in town. We didn’t want to waste any time, so we got up early to head up to Snowbasin Resort. We were treated to being some of the only people on the hill and enjoyed some immaculate corduroy groomers. We cruised a handful of runs until we met up with one of my favorite people and castmates, Jeff “yeah baby” Zausch from Naked and Afraid. He drove a couple hours from his home in Idaho to come link some turns and enjoy a stellar day on the mountain! We rode all around the mountain, then I decided to go pick off some north-facing backcountry lines that you can see from the resort. Jeff and Chelsea decided to continue riding while I went off to scratch my adrenaline itch.
Brooks, the photographer for Snowbasin and I, headed off towards the Strawberry Gondola and Strawberry Peak. In retrospect, I should have just bootpacked up the couloir instead of making a traverse along the ridge. The traverse proved to be a bit spicy but super fun, with a couple class four moves and spectacular views. After getting above my objective, I was ready to drop in! It was glorious, the perfect north-facing line holding fresh pow from a week before. That’s what it's all about!! If this was my home resort all of these lines would’ve been skied–ten times over.
Once down, Brooks and I traversed back towards the Needles Lodge where we met back up with Chelsea and Jeff. We proceeded to get the most decadent Corned Beef Reubens I have ever tasted, underneath the jagged peaks of Mount Ogden and the Needles Peaks. It was absolutely glorious. We finished up our meals and then hit the slopes again where the snow was turning into perfect spring corn. We decided to take some laps through the park. Snowbasin has a pretty sweet rail garden accompanied by a little rope tow that is perfect for progression and getting an insane amount of laps. We wrapped up our day with some sunny deck beers and a dose of Vitamin D–not too shabby!
We decided to head down to the hot springs for one final soak before we took off the next day. To our pleasant surprise, we ran into our local friends at the same soaking pool. After our quick soak, we made the good call to grab drinks at the raved about SideBar. In honor of St. Patrick's Day, they had a variety of green themed cocktail confections, which were amazing!
Later that evening Chelsea and I headed back to Huntsville to the Compass Rose Lodge which boasts a beautiful observatory. Unfortunately there was a full moon and a bit of haze in the sky, but we thoroughly enjoyed our local tour guide and astronomer, Scott. He’s a legend of the area and has spectacular stories to tell when the sky’s not cooperating. All that being said, it had been a long day, so we called it “early” and went back to Ogden to catch some zzz’s at the hotel.
On our final day, we woke up without our alarms and headed over to Pig and a Jelly Jar, a wonderful creole inspired diner on the historical 25th avenue in downtown Ogden. I had my favorite, chicken and waffles with a side of bacon and beignets while Chelsea enjoyed her go-to biscuits and gravy, 10/10 would definitely recommend it to a friend. After brunch we meandered over to iFly Ogden to do a little flying, before we flew home! After our flights, we checked out of our hotel and made the short but sweet drive south to Salt Lake City and the airport.
Five days in Ogden was not enough, we felt we had merely scratched the surface of things to do. Chelsea and I are already planning our trip back down next winter and we’re also excited to see what Ogden has in store during the summer.