It is now a little more than five years since new owners purchased Powder Mountain, saving the mountain from the massive development that was to be “Powder Mountain Town”. There is no doubt that the initial interaction between the new owners and local residents got off to a rocky start, primarily due to miscommunications and high emotions from both sides. And unfortunately, this initial interaction only accelerated the rumor mills on many issues such as the potential water impact to Ogden Valley and also privatization of the mountain.
There are still many opinions within the local communities on the future of Powder Mountain, but it is interesting to take a look at the facts to see what has transpired regarding the new owners and our powder skiing gem of a mountain.
Powder Mountain has expanded into more of a year-round recreation area with the actions taken by the new management team coming on board in 2014. To date, 35 miles of new mountain biking and hiking trails were created, a new quad lift replaced the older Sundown lift, and two new quad ski lifts were added (Mary’s Lift and Village Lift) which expanded the number of groomed trails and powder ski areas by 1,081 acres.
The new owners kept their word on keeping Powder Mountain the uncrowded and adventurous skiing experience it has always been. They placed aggressive caps on day ticket and season pass sales to ensure the mountain remains uncrowded and powder stashes can be found days after a storm. With winters becoming more unpredictable, new equipment was also purchased to better groom the trails and provide exceptional skiing even between storms.
Powder Mountain even added an events and hospitality team that hosts public and private events throughout the year. Public events have included the Music in the Mountains series providing free, classical chamber music each summer. And there are smaller events like the weekly Pizza and Pints with live music and a summer outdoor dining series. The addition of these amenities has increased the number of Powder Mountain positions by 45 percent, and many of these positions have been filled by residents from local communities.
There are several other very positive contributions Powder Mountain has made to communities and organizations which have not been heavily publicized. Specifically these contributions have included:
Donating a little more than $204,000 annually in day tickets and season passes to local charities, community organizations, schools and other nonprofits.
Hosting military “ski free” days that provides $45,000+ in free lift tickets to the local military community.
Discounting season passes for residents of Weber and Cache counties.
Providing a venue for the Utah High School Cycling League races at cost.
Bringing the classical chamber music concerts free of charge to the local Snowcrest Middle School and the Ogden Lantern House.
Donating $35,000 to Utah State University for a student project to review, comment and provide recommendations on the updated Ogden Valley General Plan.
Donating $5,000 to the Ogden Valley Emergency Response Team for medical supplies to be retained and stored in Ogden Valley for use in the event of an emergency.
Donating $20,000 annually to Weber Pathway in labor and equipment to build trails in Ogden Valley outside Powder Mountain’s property.
Placing 631 acres of land on the East bench of Ogden Valley into a conservation easement with the Department of Wildlife Resources to ensure protection of the vital habitat for sage grouse and the winter range for elk.
Initiating the placement of a conservation easement on 877 acres of land in Wolf Creek Canyon with the Ogden Valley Land Trust.
Partnering with Tree Utah and planting over 5,000 trees over the last 3 years on the mountain to replace trees damaged by the Adelgid, an aphid-like insect.
Five years ago there was an uncertain future as Powder Mountain’s new, unknown owners took over. There were certainly missteps along the way, but given what has transpired, one has to acknowledge that Powder Mountain has better communicated and listened to local communities. The new management team has put considerable effort into building relationships with private and public entities, and this has helped promote an honest dialogue and greater understanding from all sides. As a local business, Powder Mountain has become, and wants to continue to be, a vital part of our community’s future.