Powder Mountain Ski Area Terrain


Powder Mountain Ski Area Terrain

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded
Powder Mountain Trail Map
  • Vertical (ft)
    7,217 - 9,422 (2,205)
  • Average Snow Fall
    500 inches
  • Lifts (9)
    1 high speed quad
    4 quad chairs 
  • Ski Season
    Mid Nov to mid April
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs – 154
    Size – 8,464 acres
    Longest run – 3.5mi
    Beginner - 25%
    Intermediate - 40%
    Advanced - 35%

Pow Mow Ski and Snowboard Terrain

As the name suggests, the Powder Mountain Ski Area is a superb powder hound mountain. Pow Mow is a great place to learn to ski or ride powder and it is also challenging enough for those who have already mastered the art. There is a plethora of potential off-piste lines of varying pitches, so you can basically pick any line that suits your needs and fancies. And one of the best things about Pow Mow is that you don’t have to share the powder with the mega hordes.

The massive Powder Mountain ski area is spread over 8,464 acres. There are three main “base” areas. Two are theoretically not “bases” because they are at the top of the mountain. These hubs are at the Resort Center which includes Timberline Lodge, the Sundown Lodge, and Hidden Valley, and all three areas have a parking lot. Future developments will enhance the Summit Village as a hub.

The Pow Mow terrain can be divided according to its access. The lift-serviced terrain is significant. Except for runs off the Paradise lift, much of this terrain is rated as green and blue. There are generally a few to several groomed runs off each of the chair lifts, and an infinite number of gentle off-piste lines. More challenging terrain (1,200 acres) is on the “back-side” of the mountain in the Powder Country areas which empty out onto the Powder Mountain road. These areas are serviced by old school buses. The Lightning Ridge area is serviced by a snowcat shuttle, and the Cobabe Canyon is partially accessed the Rain Tree Snowcat shuttle. There are also hike-to terrain areas and zones for guided backcountry tours.

Hosting & Guiding

It can take a little time to get oriented to the Powder Mountain ski area considering the enormity of it, so it may be worthwhile to take a tour. Complimentary tours depart the Timberline Sports Shop daily at 10am and 1pm daily, and provide a general orientation to the groomed runs for one to two hours. Advanced and expert riders should take an inexpensive guided tour of the off-piste terrain which can include Powder Country and Lightning Ridge.

Pow Mow Lifts

The school bus is no longer the fastest lift at Powder Mountain! In 2006-07 they upgraded the Hidden Lake chair to a detachable quad which has become the winner! The other 5 chair lifts are fixed grip so you won’t clock up tons of vertical, and the other 3 lifts are surface tows. The Mary’s and Village chairs were installed in 2016, which added various beginner and intermediate runs around the new Summit Village hub.

The buses are a very effective mode of transport for egress from Powder Country, but it’s obvious that these old school buses were made for little people as it’s a very tight squash. Cross your fingers that the van might do the pick-up instead.

Lift Tickets

Lift ticket sales are capped each day. The lift tickets include the shuttle bus service but not the snowcat rides. Passes for the single ride cat skiing have to be purchased at the ticket window, but they don’t necessarily have to be used on the day.

Lift passes are reasonably priced compared to the Utah ski juggernauts.

Powder Mountain Snow and Weather

The Powder Mountain Ski Area enjoys bountiful snowfall, and sometimes it absolutely “goes off”. With so few riders spread over so much terrain, you’ll be sure to get freshies on a powder day. However, sometimes the snow quality is only good for a day or two at the most, despite many of the slopes having a north facing orientation. The elevation of Powder Mountain is quite low compared to other Utah resorts, and when the temps increase a little, the snow turns to sloppy thick powder.

Pow Mow can get very windy in comparison to other Utah resorts, and during white-outs the visibility in the lightly treed areas is dreadful.

Beginner Skiing Pow Mow

There are plenty of groomed beginners’ runs at Powder Mountain across nearly all the lifts. Some of the trails are incredibly long, so those still perfecting the snow-plow will want to be fit. The trails off the Sundown lift are a good place to start.

Intermediate Ski and Snowboard Terrain

Intermediates have a decent amount of terrain to choose from, but not as much as you’d expect considering that supposedly 40% of the trails are marked as intermediate. The groomed runs off the Hidden Lake Express chair, Mary’s and Sundown are great, but one of the best things about Powder Mountain is the abundance of powder terrain for intermediates. There are lots of shortcuts between groomed runs to have an off-piste experiment, and much of the tree skiing is on a very mellow gradient.

The trail map has marked intermediate powder runs in Cobabe Canyon, but these are probably more suited to advanced riders. The “runs” are not sign-posted, so it would be easy to start meandering down a black run, blissfully unaware. The associated fatigue after getting there may also make the runs seem more like black runs.

Terrain Parks and Pipes

Powder Mountain has two terrain parks. The Sundown terrain park on the Confidence run has features for beginner to intermediate park riders, including box top rails, handrails and a table-top. The park is open for night skiing.

The Hidden Lake terrain park is generally for more intermediate to advanced riders and has rails, tabletops, a half pipe, and a boardercross course.

Powder Mountain Ski Area: Advanced & Expert

The Paradise lift provides the majority of lift serviced advanced ski and snowboard terrain. A couple of the runs are marked, but most runs on the trail map are not sign-posted. Basically pick any line you like through the trees. Advanced riders will be sweet so long as they are not too inventive right under the lift where the cliff drops are located. Meanwhile, experts and crazy people can huck all they like.

Powder Country runs that come off the top of Sundown lift and empty onto the Powder Mountain road are all appropriate for advanced skiers and boarders. For the Hidden Lake Woody’s World runs on the other side of the road, the single blacks are to the skiers right, whilst the steeper runs are to the skiers left. These bus-serviced runs are fabulous. The gradient is steep and the trees are not tight, so you can try and get that not-so-elusive “face shot”. Follow the trail along the road to the bus stop. The bus does continuous loops so you won’t have a long wait.

The Lightning Ridge snowcat terrain is definitely the highlight of the resort, and the reasonably small amount of cash required for a ride is very much worth it. Ditto for the Rain Tree snowcat shuttle. There are a multitude of different options for descents in these zones, but take a guided tour for assistance in finding some of the sweetest spots.

Keen hikers can go up to James Peak from Lightning Ridge. Here they can leave some great lines and tease those who don’t have the energy to make the 20-30 minute trek.

For the Powder Hound

This Powder Mountain ski area has an incredibly small ratio of skiers/boarders per acre, and considering the size of Pow Mow, it is powder hound heaven. In addition to the above-mentioned terrain, the vast areas not serviced by the lifts are the real prize for those prepared to make an effort.

The resort offers group tours for backcountry-type ski n skin terrain, or for keen powder hounds who can’t be bothered hiking you can go on a private full day Snowcat Powder Safari, or alternatively go heli skiing with Diamond Peaks.