Ogden Utah: Brilliant All Year Long

Nordic Valley Ski Resort in Ogden Utah is perfect for beginner to intermediate skiers
Nordic Valley Ski Resort in Ogden Utah is perfect for beginner to intermediate skiers. Nick Kontis photos.

Ogden is Utah’s Under the Radar Ski Destination

By Nick Kontis

Utah is nothing short of an outdoor enthusiast’s Shangri-la. In the winter months, the state casts a spell on skiers and giant pretzels cinnabarsnowboarders flaunting exceptional soft powder while drenched with a daily fresh snowfall for at least five months.

During the warm summer months, miles of well-manicured hiking and mountain biking trails in nearly 200,000 acres in the nearby pristine national forest is ripe for exploration.

Fishing in over 13,000 acres of crystalline lakes and streams, boating, and paddle boarding are a stone’s throws from downtown Ogden.

The outdoor wonderland shines brightest during ski season. From Salt Lake City, there are eight resorts under an hour’s drive from the capital metropolis. Each winter, skiers, and snowboarders flock in droves to Park City and Deer Valley’s glitzier resorts, located 30 minutes outside of Salt Lake City. Those seeking an authentic Utah experience make their way to the Wasatch Mountain frontier town of Ogden.

Seedy Brothels and Saloons

Shooting Star Saloon
Ogden’s Shooting Star Saloon, Since 1879.

Once upon a time, Ogden overflowed with seedy brothels and rollicking saloons. Cowboys, gold rush settlers, and Native Americans were once the wild west frontier town’s tapestry.

Today, Utah’s seventh-largest city comes with a vibrant college town vibe, restaurants to please all palates, bohemian coffee houses, bakeries, and bar prices to keep you mingling with friendly locals throughout the night.

The region is the gateway to three uncrowded ski resorts located under 20 miles away in the adjacent Wasatch Mountains.

The lodges are conveniently tucked away in the Ogden Valley are less frequented by the over one million residents of the sizeable capital of Salt Lake City urban surroundings.

Skiing Ogden’s Resorts

A scenic byway through the majestic alpine Wasatch national forest leading to majestic peaks and not far from Ogden’s rousing wild west motif is what the convention and visitors bureau flaunts as the ‘Greatest Snow on Earth.’

Powder Mountain is one of the biggest ski areas in the US, on 8664 acres of Federal land.
Powder Mountain is one of the biggest ski areas in the US, on 8664 acres of Federal land.

It makes Odgen one of North American’s prominent small cities for skiers. The three ski areas of Powder Mountain, Snowbasin, and Nordic Valley each comes with a distinct personality and skill levels to accommodate beginners to black diamond adrenaline thrillseekers.

Snowbasin gondolasThe smaller crowds create an ethereal feel. It’s not uncommon on weekdays to have one of the stellar resorts seemingly all to yourself.

Each of the three alternatives has contrasting topography, full-service rentals, meticulously groomed slopes, and are family-friendly.

Famous PowMow

Varying degrees of difficulty make Ogden’s ski retreats accessible to all skill levels. Nordic Valley is cozy, intimate, and perfect for beginner skiers.

Cinnabar at Powder Mountain in Ogden, Utah.
Cinnabar at Powder Mountain in Ogden, Utah.

Powder Mountain or PowMow is the largest of the three resorts and lays claim to being the largest ski resort with over 8,000 sprawling acres of trails.

Snowbasin is where the 2002 Winter Olympics men’s and women’s Super G downhill races took place.

After exhilarating days on the slopes of the three Wasatch white powder gems,  there is a lively dining and drinking experienced at saloons in and around the resorts,

At Powder Mountain, the Powder Keg serves up great burgers, a wide tap beer selection, and live music five nights a week.

Also, at Powder Mountain complex, enjoy farm to table crafted dishes, pizza, and suds at the unpretentious Bower Lodge.

In this neighborhood community vibe, locals and visitors mingle and share the day’s events.

Cinnabar GastroPub

Another favorite resident haunt is The Cinnabar inside the chalet-like Earl’s Lodge on-site at Snowbasin. The gastro-pub serves a refined bar menu and is the quintessential break from long days of skiing. On weekends load up for a day on the sloped at Cinnabar’s palate-pleasing signature brunch menu.

New World Distillery, Eden, Utah.
New World Distillery in Eden Utah.

Belly Up to the Bar

Channel your inner Wild Bill Hickok at the rustic domain Shooting Star Saloon in Huntsville.

The bar and restaurant conjure images of the wild west in a modern-day laid backcountry bar feel. Enjoy a cold beer,  tasty burgers, with stellar bartenders and staff.

New World Distillery in Eden creates selective craft elixirs to exceed the quality of mass-produced top-shelf spirits.

Tour the distillery to sample award-winning Oomaw Gin, Ogden Nine Rails Bourbon Whiskey, and agave spirits distilled from 100% organic blue agave.

The western-boutique Compass Rose Lodge in Huntsville offers a rugged-comfort mountain chalet stay adorned in a western motif. A farmhouse sensibility melds into a pastoral backdrop while incorporating 15 stylish rustic rooms and allowing easy access to all three nearby. For stargazers, on-site, Halo Observatory provides hotel guests with a glimpse of the cosmos guided by the hotel’s astronomy experts.

branches ogdenMost Exciting Place in Utah

When you think of Utah, a spirited nightlife, flavorful food scene,  flourishing bars, buzzing live music vicinity might not come to mind.

While the state might not be considered the entertainment capital of the U.S., the city of Ogden, rated #1 in the Beehive State by movato.com as “most exciting place in Utah,” is brimming with bistros, hideaways, and dives.

For a small town, Ogden comes jampacked with dining options.

Slackwater Pizzeria & Pub serves up artisan pizzas and frothy pints in a curated atmosphere by the Ogden River with the common community theme of live music and events.

Tona’s mantra is sustainable fresh catch seafood and seasonable ingredients.

Tona Sushi Bar & Grill is Ogden’s premier Japanese cuisine and rivels, any sushi and Japanese restaurant perhaps might be found in a larger U.S. city. Described as “delicate edible art, Tona’s chefs serve up there own one of a kind take on Sushi, sashimi, and other unique fusion.

Ogden’s fine dining restaurant Hearth on 25th rivals meals in the Napa Valley. Stylish, airy outfit with locally sourced, wood-fired meat & fish.
Ogden’s fine dining restaurant Hearth on 25th rivals meals in the Napa Valley. Stylish, airy outfit with locally sourced, wood-fired meat & fish.

Hearth on 25th dazzles gastronomers and rivels dining in the Napa Valley.

Following a locally sourced, sustainable, homemade, and farm to table doctrine with eccentric concepts in organic farming, the chef creates a culinary art form that shines elaborate umami.

More Beer

Unbeknownst to many is a budding craft beer scene. For years, Utah noted its peculiar alcohol laws, but a less rigid approach in regulations has paved the way to a flourishing microbrew culture in recent years.

Talisman Brewing, Roosters B Street Brewery & Taproom, and UTOG Brewing Company rival any brewpubs and taprooms anchoring the vibrant small-town ambiance of Ogden.

You don’t have to be Paul Bunyan to throw an ax. For a fun outing with friends, social ax-throwing is like “darts on steroids.

Like darts, the participants throw axes at a wooden dartboard, score points, and seek a bullseye—the perfect group outing, especially in the colder winter months.

From a former wild west and railroad town in a lawbreaking frontier to one of the coolest small towns in America., Ogden runs the full gamut of winter and summer encounters in the juxtaposed Watasch mountains.

Nick KontisAfter a 13 month trip around the world, Nicholas Kontis launched the first successful travel agency in the United States that specialized in discount around-the-world airfares. Today, Nick is an award-winning travel journalist who writes for numerous travel publications. Nick’s first book is titled: “Going Local – Experiences and Encounters on the Road.” He still calls San Francisco home and also spends time in the Napa Valley, Greece, and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.


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