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Weekends: Ogden, Utah

Weekends: Ogden, Utah

The sporting life prospers on- and off-slope in this Wasatch town.
By Samantha Berman
posted: 01/07/2010

With three ski resorts within 25 miles and 300 inches of snow per year, Ogden, Utah, is a sportsman’s (or -woman’s) dream town. But it’s not just about the location—it’s the mindset: Ogdenites thrive in the outdoors, sneaking in a few midday runs on their lunch breaks, training for a century ride before their morning cuppa joe. It helps that Snowbasin, Powder Mountain and tiny Wolf Mountain are a quick drive up Ogden Canyon and that 12 outdoor brands—among them Salomon, Atomic and Descente—have moved their offices here over the past several years. What also helps is a small but dynamic downtown centered around historic 25th Street. An Ogden weekend has more skiing than you can cover in a couple of days, but hey, it won’t hurt to try.

SKI: Snowbasin

Acres of untracked powder, feet upon feet of vertical, some of the best ski-lodge food, well, anywhere—and no one in line. Snowbasin is a hidden treasure that’s worth the 20-minute drive from Ogden. A couple of daylodges­­ leave no detail overlooked, from the Italian green glass chandelier in the foyer to the fabulous marble bathrooms. And that’s just at the base. On-mountain, 2,820 acres of terrain, from wide-open groomers to islands of trees, will delight. Don’t miss a ride up the Mt. Allen Tram to the top of the 2002 Olympic downhill and super G courses. Either Grizzly (men’s downhill) or Wildflower (women’s downhill) is groomed daily. Lift tickets: adults, $65;

STAY: Ogden Marriott

Truth - The lodging scene is not what brings people to Ogden. That said, a stay at the Marriott, with a good location right behind the town’s main drag, does the job. Rooms are nicely sized, and the views of Mt. Ben Lomond from the upper floors are lovely. A fitness center and a larger-than-average hotel pool round out the offerings. $79–$189; ski packages available;

DINE: Bistro 258

American and European influences combine to create a delicious, eclectic menu inside one of the town’s oldest buildings (circa 1888). Ask for a
seat in the light-filled garden room and try the chocolate-rubbed ribeye. Finish with the fuzzy peaches—lightly fried peach halves topped with ice cream.

RELAX: Rooster’s Brewing Company

Brewmaster Steve Kirkland pleases the masses with 26 beers, including Polygamy Pale Ale, Bee’s Knees Honey Wheat and the rich and malty Junction City Chocolate Stout. Pair it with a plate of Onion Loops, and don’t leave without trying a mug of chilled root beer—brewed on-site, of course.

MUST TRY: The Salomon Center

In addition to housing a Gold’s Gym on the top floor, the 66,000-square-foot center offers three venues to try your extreme sport of choice: indoor skydiving at iFly; rock-climbing on the 55-foot wall at iRock; and surfing at Flowrider, a 10,000-gallon wave simulator.

reviews of Weekends: Ogden, Utah

Great Photo with Ogden and the Great Salt Lake in the background - beautiful

OK, I can't stop at just calling it a great photo.  Now that there has been a picture published, I can't resist counting coup on this run.  Like with new surf spots, you keep quiet until the mags start running photos.  I've skied the exact terrain shown in this photograph.  It was the best run of my life, and I've been around.  I can close my eyes any time of the day or night and replay that deep powder run to Ogden.  5,000 ft of vert, friendly locals that let me tag along, showing me their secrets, when they saw I was going to follow them anyway. They even gave me a ride from the parking lot above the football stadium back to Snowbasin so I could get my car.  Out of 20 seasons, skiing all over Europe, North America, South America and New Zealand, this Ogden run is the footage that my brain replays when I daydream about skiing.  

As one of the nice locals that let you tag along, I remind you of the promise you made that day

I promised to keep your secret a secret, but it isn't a secret anymore.  When photos start appearing in SKI MAGAZINE, it isn't exactly a secret.

A promise is a promise. You are making our small band of brothers very unhappy. As a group, we are good at keeping our mouths shut, and we've all made a pact to never give in to the temptation to bring along "just one friend". Remember when I "borrowed" your camera, and returned it to you in the Weber State parking lot? There was a reason for that.

Mr. Freeheel, or whatever your real name is, I knew what you were doing when you took a closeup of me and then stuck MY camera in YOUR pocket until we got to the parking lot, but your secret powder and eye-candy stash has been outed.  It has been in SKI MAGAZINE.  You can't get much bigger than that.  Besides, those two bowls (I think you called them Maylands and Strongs) are visible to any of the tens of thousands of skiers who drive through Ogden every day on Interstate 15

Yes, I am a surfer, but what you think is a secret isn't a secret anymore.  Get over it.  This may be bad news for you, but it is good news for the rest of the skiing world.  The bowls and glades you ski, and the escape routes you use to bypass the bushwacking and ski straight to the Weber State parking lot, are visible for all of Ogden and Interstate 15 to see.  It isn't like you are hoping to save Deserts or Lagundi Bay (two very remote surf spots in Indonesia) all for yourself.  The thing you and your small group of friends are trying to save for yourselves is like Mavericks (one of the biggest, best and most famous waves in the world, inexplicably undiscovered and unsurfed for decades in the midst of all the surfers in NorCal until bursting into the surf media in 1990)

Why don't you just drop it CD. Silence would be nice.

I don't think you get it yet Freeheel.  This WAS your secret stash of unspeakable beauty and perfect deep powder, but it was NEVER going to stay a secret forever.  If it hadn't been me who followed your tracks into Maylands bowl that day, it would have been someone else.  Discovery of something so good was inevitable.  I'm coming back to Snowbasin and the ridges overlooking Ogden, and I don't ski alone.  I'll bring a friend or two, and then they'll undoubtedly come back, probably with their own friends.  More pictures will be published.  The word will spread.  I'll figure out how to get three 5,000 vert runs done in a day, just like you and your friends.  I already know the way from the top of the Mt. Allen Tram, and I wrote down your buddy's description of the route from the Strawberry gondola through Burch Bowl and Strongs Bowl to the college.  It isn't like you discovered some hidden peak in Alaska that you don't want the other helicopter ski guides to know about.  Strongs bowl and Maylands bowl are LIFT ACCESSIBLE FROM SNOWBASIN for petes sake!  Did you think nobody would notice? 

Just drop it

It is just the natural progression of things Freeheel.  Embrace it.  Don't fight it.  A few years ago, Snowbasin built two lifts to the ridge overlooking Ogden.  As a result, you discovered skiing on the Ogden side of the ridge.  You and your friends may have been the first to figure out that Strongs Bowl and Maylands Bowl have incredible open and gladed terrain, and get bigger powder dumps than Snowbasin (you told me so yourself!), but you won't be the last.  Enjoy the solitude now, because in the future, your tracks won't be the only ones. 

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