Our thoughts are with all of their former employees and hard-working chauffeurs who were dedicated to the industry like ourselves. For former All Resort clients: we are ready and able to pick up your slack and continue providing top notch service. Give us a call at 801-288-9494 for your needs today!
There’s nothing quite like continuing to run a family business, especially when that business spans decades. As many ski areas are run by conglomerates and corporations, we at VIP Limousine and Going Local like to point out those which have deep roots in the region with those who are in charge.
Several hours north of Salt Lake City lies the city of Logan, home to Utah State University in Cache Valley. The area is home to many local and home-grown businesses, and is far enough removed from the busy interstates and the capital to definitely feel separated. With that, it’s not too difficult to find more hidden gems in Utah. One of them is the petite, family-owned Beaver Mountain ski area, and it’s certainly a surprise. Located just off of Highway 89 on its way towards Bear Lake, you might almost miss it, but that would be a shame.
This no-frills mountain was started in the 1940s by a gentleman named Harold Seeholzer, who oversaw the resort’s initial beginnings and development, including its first chairlift in 1961. This old-school lift, Beaver’s Face, still operates to this day on weekends and holidays and is a significant part of Beaver Mountain’s charm: small, simple, old-fashioned, and thus elegant in its own right.
As time has passed, even the area’s 75th anniversary, the mountain stayed in the family even after Harold passed away. The Seeholzer family has gradually expanded the mountain over the years and completed upgrades to equipment and facilities. The summit can be reached by the updated Harry’s Dream triple lift, which came from Alta; Marge’s Triple opened up new terrain and came from Keystone; and the newest lift, Little Beaver, which was manufactured by SkyTrac in Salt Lake City, is home to the beginner area and night skiing, a rarity in the current skiing world. Today, Beaver Mountain spans 828 acres with a summit of 8,860 feet above sea level.
Every year in the summertime, the mountain hosts the Beaver Mountain Music Festival, a two-day event with multiple stages and a bike race on the mountainside. Beaver Mountain is also a summertime event venue, with their main lodge for rent for major events, as well as RV sites, tent camping, and yurts available for use. It’s truly a multipurpose place whose possible uses belie its supposed size.
One other unique touch about Beaver Mountain? They rely completely on Utah’s natural snowfall. There is no artificial stuff here whatsoever, even just to make a base. They want their guests to have the full Utah powder experience without anything added in to adulterate its purity.
It’s a ways out of the way for most who live or visit Utah, but that’s what makes Beaver Mountain truly a locals ski area. It’s a place filled with heart and a classic American winter atmosphere. As a local resort, it’s also Exhibit A of the American dream: building a business, keeping it going, staying unique, and building a great reputation.
VIP Limousine has some secrets that we keep pretty close, but sometimes they’re worth letting out. Our clients sometimes request to be driven to lesser-known places in Utah and even the surrounding states, and today we wanted to share one. Tucked up high behind the main Wasatch range is a funny little resort called Powder Mountain.
When we say little, though, we don’t really mean little. This bare-bones resort actually sprawls across more than 7,000 acres of terrain, not all of it accessible by lifts. James Peak, Wolf Creek, DMI, and Gertsen Canyon are all accessed either by a breathtaking (literally) hike or snow cat only. These stunning areas of “resort backcountry” are private and hardly get any attention.
Not that Powder Mountain is full of traffic anyway. With the location and glut of other resorts, there’s nary a lift line to be found even on epic powder days when everyone in Utah calls in sick. The resort’s chairlift network would be modern by 1980s standards, and that’s an intentional positive. It makes the mountain feel old-school and traditional. The one exception is the high-speed Hidden Lake Express, installed by Doppelmayr and with parts made nearby in Salt Lake City.
With recent expansion work, though, Powder Mountain did install two new lifts last season: Village and Mary’s. Village was created for ski-in/ski-out access from a future development and descends into a canyon which previously had no lift service at all. Mary’s services the beautiful, expansive Mary’s bowl and also created lift-accessed terrain for the first time. Both of these powder-chasing lifts were manufactured by SkyTrac in Utah. The company previously replaced the Sundown chairlift at Powder Mountain as well.
Besides the old-school lifts, Powder’s minimalist feel continues to the lodging area. The basic buildings give a feel of going back in time without feeling run-down. Feeling hungry? Load up on their massive pizza slices and other basic, feel-good food before skiing back down to the base of the Timberline lift.
Powder Mountain is also minimalist on their approach to grooming. This philosophy leaves stashes of unadulterated Utah powder available to all, since they only groom “where necessary” and leave the terrain mostly alone. Even in the snowfields of Cobabe Canyon, there’s an old bus left underneath a tree and the snow! It’s worth the trek to check it out, because…
…beneath the “bus run” is a beautiful, wide-open powder field leading all the way down to the lowest point of the resort. On the way back up from the bottom on the Paradise lift, everybody gets to take in the expanse of the main resort area views, passing over cliffs and steeps. One feels as if they are truly isolated from the outside world, with only the surrounding elements and the hum from the chairlift disrupting the peace.
Accessing Powder Mountain, located east of Eden, is done by going through the city of Ogden via 12th Street and following the signs through Ogden Canyon past the Pineview Reservoir. The windy road eventually leads up to the main parking lot. While many may drive themselves, the Utah Transit Authority runs a bus (route 674) from Ogden, and transportation companies, including VIP Limousine, bring skiers and snowboarders from all over the region to have a taste of Powder Mountain.
With the lodge not directly meeting any chairlifts, school buses to shuttle people out of canyons, snow cats to get up steep ridges, and very little in the way of fancy amenities, Powder Mountain isn’t for everyone. But that is also why it is a draw for its loyal fans and the locals in northern Utah, and it’s why we at VIP Limousine recommend checking it out.
There are a lot of resort names in Utah that shout a lot, that everybody knows about, and which are immediately recognizable. But there are also some reasonably well-kept secrets not far from Salt Lake City which are worth visiting, and one of them is just up the road from Brigham Young University. With a hiking trail established in the early 1900s by a BYU professor, Sundance Mountain Resort has one of the longest mountain resort histories in the state and maintains a close relationship with the university.
Owned by movie star and philanthropist Robert Redford, Sundance is a quiet haven seated below Mount Timpanogos in Utah County. The resort has a beautiful rustic setting, with log buildings dominating the village and a variety of lodging options for guests.
Sundance first became best known for its hiking. After the first aforementioned trail was established, the activity caught on as more and more people began exploring Mt. Timpanogos. In time, the first rope tow was constructed for skiing, but the hiking trails continued to expand. As a result, Sundance operates year-round and is host to conferences, weddings, and great summertime sightseeing and hiking.
Rising out of the village is Ray’s Lift, a quad chairlift built locally by Garaventa CTEC, now part of Doppelmayr Garaventa group which makes ski lifts around the world (the map photo comes courtesy of LiftBlog.com). This lift is also one of the main access methods for additional hiking trails, as well as most of the ski runs, and has the distinction of being equipped with two mid-stations; the top one unloads in both directions. Sundance’s lift system is on the classic side compared with many resorts; none of them are high-speed detachables. However, it does allow every rider to savor the fantastic views around them as they head on up. Jake’s and Red’s are the two newest lifts on the mountain, with Jake’s opening up expanded terrain and access and Red’s replacing an older chairlift.
At just 450 acres, Sundance isn’t as large as some of its neighbors, but don’t be fooled. The resort’s solid vertical and layout still make for a large skiing experience. And none has the view from the resort summit, with a panorama of the surrounding Wasatch range, valleys, and Timp’s impressive peak.
The resort has indeed spawned one of Utah’s best-known institutions: The Sundance Institute and its best-known annual event, The Sundance Film Festival. Held during the ski season in Park City, the festival attracts film buffs, actors, editors, and other makers and shakers of independent film from around the world, and we at VIP Limousine have been proud to provide transportation for attendees throughout the years at the event. But the idea for the festival and the institute began at the site of the resort after Redford acquired property there.
Accessible from Provo Canyon by car, as well as Utah Transit Authority bus route 880, Sundance Mountain Resort is a beautiful getaway with a purpose: escape amidst beauty. The slopes, spas, and space provide a unique and quiet atmosphere away from the crowds and cares. The experience at Sundance is one which thrives on serenity and ensuring that guests have a luxurious experience, but without being pretentious or frilly. Between the annual dustings of Utah powder, great hiking, and stunning vistas, it is another little slice of heaven in Utah.
Down the street from Alta in Little Cottonwood Canyon is a year-round resort where everything is a bit bigger. It doesn’t have as long of a history, but it has sure made an international name for itself since opening in 1971, with European inspiration abounding. This is the world-famous haven of Snowbird.
On approach driving up the canyon, Snowbird dominates the view off to the right, with the tram rising above the cliff faces. This is one of the first things people usually see. The tram is one of the original lifts and is the only one that runs from base to summit. Getting closer to the resort base, guests can see the so-called Gad Valley first up on the right, one of the four resort entrances.
Gad Valley is one of the three mountainside “segments” in Snowbird’s current configuration, and was recently updated with newer chairlifts, including three high-speed quads. It stretches up to the American Fork Twin Peaks. The face under the Tram and Peruvian Express dominates the front of the resort. At the top of the tram and over the summit of Hidden Peak is Mineral Basin, with a large bowl and direct access to Alta. The entire skiable area is 2,500 acres, a healthy size for the steep and narrow canyon.
Snowbird has four main lodges, each with distinctive concrete architecture designed for longevity and strength after avalanches. The first one is the Iron Blosam Lodge, opened in 1975 with beautiful views of the mountainside. The Inn at Snowbird is the next up the road, and has a wide variety of room types including lofts, studios, and condominiums. The Lodge at Snowbird was the first lodge constructed and is adjacent to the Snowbird Center and the tram. Finally, there is The Cliff Lodge, the recently-remodeled icon with three restaurants open year-round to guests. It is frequently still busy in the summer months when Utah’s longest ski season is long gone.
Snowbird now functions continually, with summer hiking and biking trails, chairlift and tram rides, and activities in the village such as the mountain coaster. However, it is most famous for its wintertime activities, which is when the resort really comes to life.
Skiers and boarders will rise at early hours to jam themselves into the Snowbird Tram. An icon in its own right, the tram has one red and one blue cabin which effortlessly whisk guests up to Hidden Peak and its fantastic views. Snowbird recently built a new restaurant/lodge at the top of the tram to take advantage of the amazing vistas, right in the midst of fresh Utah powder.
Snowbird also took an innovative step to alleviate some pressure off the tram on the busiest days. At the top of Peruvian Express is a tunnel with a conveyor belt running through it; the tunnel goes through the mountain and out into the other side in Mineral Basin. This borders with Alta; Snowbird installed the Baldy Express in part to enable the access to its neighbor…if you’re a skier.
The future of the resort has some exciting developments. Snowbird not only added to and remodeled their resort real estate, but the upgrades are continuing! The Mineral Basin Express chairlift is slated to be upgraded to increase capacity; it will also offer a smoother ride with updated technology. The resort has also received approval to expand into Mary Ellen Gulch with another new lift and a gondola planned. Those alone are great reasons why we at VIP Limousine recommend spreading your wings and flying up to Snowbird.
Even though Salt Lake City is near the Great Salt Lake, it is not exactly home to fresh seafood. In fact, the lake itself is unsupportive of salt-water creatures. However, that doesn’t stop the cuisine of the sea from making a splash along the Wasatch Front, and we at VIP Limousine stand behind one place in particular: Market Street Grill.
The first location of Market Street Grill opened in 1980 in downtown Salt Lake City’s historic New Yorker Hotel, previously condemned by the city and subsequently overhauled. Situated near Main Street, the Market Street Grill quickly established itself as a seafood staple for Wasatch Front residents looking for what one would normally find in Seattle, San Francisco, Boston, and New York. The atmosphere is decidedly historic at the downtown location, with a feeling that hearkens back to the 1930s, but the dishes are up-to-date takes on classic recipes.
Lest one thinks that Market Street Grill would struggle being inland from the coastline, their products are shipped in fresh in spite of the distance. The proof is in the taste and preparation; fresh fish is very distinctive, but so is not-so-fresh fish. Market Street Grill only bothers with the former.
In addition to the restaurant, Market Street Grill also has a separate operation, the Market Street Oyster Bar. The first of these opened in 1981, and has different hours than the main restaurant. There is also a location inside the terminal area of the Salt Lake City International Airport so passengers can enjoy the same delectable menu while traveling on or traveling through.
For small or large groups, for casual or formal dining, Market Street Grill has solidified a place on Salt Lake City’s culinary map, and it is one of the most highly-ranked in the area. We at VIP Limousine recommend giving them a try.