Ogden, Utah, is cleverly camouflaged among the many towns lining the largely suburban front of the Wasatch mountain range. While the towns beyond Salt Lake’s urban area sit alongside one another, the Ogden area stands out in that it’s remarkably close to skiing, hiking, biking, and boating, and its historic downtown is being revitalized by a bevy of cool eateries and watering-holes. And since it all lies just 35 minutes north of Salt Lake International Airport, it’s quite accessible to boot.
Simply snag some lodging near the heart of Ogden’s downtown historic district, then set about having a fantastic day of winter adventuring. You can start with coffee and breakfast on your way up to the mountains. Grounds for Coffee, Kaffe Mercantile, Wasatch Roasting Company, and the Daily Rise drive-through all stand ready to fill your cup and supply you with a hot sandwich or pastry to go.
The only reason you’ll want your breakfast to go is because there’s just so much adventuring to be done. Within a 30 minute drive from town, you can access three downright-incredible ski resorts, Snowbasin Resort,Powder Mountain and Nordic Valley.
Snowbasin Resort is well known as a 2002 Winter Olympics Venue, yet it rarely feels as crowded as its Central Wasatch cousin resorts. Skiing there, especially on the advanced and off-piste runs, you feel entirely off the beaten path. It also just so happens that the owner of the resort had luxury and class in mind while building Snowbasin’s decadent lodges. You’ll find high ceilings, marble, gold, chandeliers, and the fine dining that rivals any in-town restaurants. So bring your appetite: the mid-mountain lodges, John Paul Lodge and Needles Lodge, offer fine fare paired with jaw-dropping views of the mountain and the valleys beyond.
Meanwhile, Powder Mountain, 20 minutes to the northeast, promises even more acreage of unparalleled downhill skiing and snowboarding. The resort is gigantic yet sees relatively few visitors. Those who do come have huge swaths of the mountain to themselves if they like. The fare is unfussy and the feeling quite local and quaint (although it’s been bought out by the Summit group, who have big and exciting plans for the resort). For now, the chairlift wheels turn and skiers soar through thousands of acres of untouched Utah powder, capping off their days with tailgate beers in the parking lot, just as nature intended.
Nordic skiers and snowshoers aren’t left out from Ogden excitement, either. The North Fork Park is operated by Ogden Nordic volunteers who carefully groom miles of rolling cross-country ski trails each day. This beautiful spot sits 30 minutes from Ogden, not far from Powder Mountain resort. Visitors can rent cross-country skis or snowshoes from North Fork Park’s warming hut near the park’s entrance. Volunteers staff the hut on Thursdays through Sundays and help visitors get properly outfitted. Also, while snow bikes aren’t rented out, they’re welcomed on the groomed trails. If you have your own or can rent one from a local bike shop, it’s an exceptionally fun to get out on the snowy trails. (A snow bike is just like a regular mountain bike, just with far fatter tires and wider forks to accommodate those tires.)
After a long day playing in the snow, you’ll have a monstrous appetite, and we can’t blame you. These days, Ogden is brimming with delicious breweries and bars with tasty food menus. One go-to favorite is the Roosters Brewing Co, where you can try their popular chocolate stout or potent Niner Bock. Pair it with a dish of Pepper Jack Mac’n’Cheese, and you’ve got yourself a heavenly apres-ski meal.
It’s also hard to go wrong with pizza after a ski day. Slackwater Pub and Pizzeria fits the bill perfectly with a playful and adventurous menu. Try the Fury of Curry pizza, the California Sunrise, a This is Sparta! Pizza, or even a Mac + Chz pizza. Their beer menu includes a superb range of local brews from Utah’s own breweries, including a hand-picked assortment available on tap.
Finally, check out Ogden’s popular Shooting Star Saloon for some post-adventure brews. Established in 1879, the Shooting Star Saloon is Utah’s oldest continually operating bar. Located in Huntsville, this taxidermy-strewn, hole-in-the-wall is a local favorite. The owners know what they’re good at and they stick to it—the menu consists of burgers with chips and beer. Make sure to order the legendary Star Burger, made from two ground-beef patties, two slices of cheese with a grilled knockwurst Polish sausage in the middle.
After you’ve properly filled up with delicious calories, you get to crash into your hotel bed, zonk out, and dream of repeating the entire agenda the next day. Welcome to Ogden.
Written by RootsRated Media for Utah Office of Tourism.