Interested in a less expensive and less crowded family resort? I recommend Beaver Mountain in Northern Utah.
Admittedly, I am not a big skier. I have a large family, so the cost of lift tickets, equipment rental and lessons adds up fast. Since I don't ski often, hitting the slopes after a long break can be intimidating. I call it “lift anxiety.”
I recently skied Beaver Mountain Resort with my brother, courtesy of Beaver Mountain and Ski Utah. Our experience was phenomenal and it made me reconsider taking the whole family out for a day on the slopes.
This was my brother's second ski trip, and the first was 20 years ago. Beaver Mountain was perfect as we eased back into skiing and then tested our skills on more challenging slopes. We stuck to the green runs, but were impressed by the variety of trails at this Utah resort.
Want to “Ski the Beav?” Here are my tips for success.
What to wear
Bring layers of winter clothing so you can shed or add as needed – including warm socks and gloves. Goggles or sunglasses are nice to have as well, because the sun reflecting off the white snow can be blinding. Click the link below to get Allison's list of essential snow gear for families, and tips on where to buy good gear for discount prices.
Beaver Mountain is located 27 miles east of Logan, Utah, on Highway 89. That's 107 miles from Salt Lake City, 73 miles from Evanston, Wyoming, and 127 miles from Pocatello, Idaho. It may be a few more miles to drive to Beaver Mountain compared to some of the other resorts closer to Salt Lake City, but the family friendly atmosphere and affordable lift tickets are worth it.
Beaver Mountain has a ski shop where you can rent skis, snowboards, helmets, goggles, poles and more. The basic adult ski/snowboard package is $26 for a full day. Kids cost less. Click the link to check out the rental equipment they have available.
After you've got year gear, grab your lift passes and you're ready to get started. All the lifts open at 9 a.m., but Beaver's Face Lift is only open on Saturday and Sunday.
If you or your kids need lessons, Beaver Mountain is a great place to learn.
Related: Utah's Best Ski Deals
Warm up on the Little Beaver Lift
We started our day on Little Beaver Lift. It helped us get a feel for our skis and boosted our confidence. This is where I would start with my kids.
From the top, there are seven different trails to choose from – four of which are green for beginners.
- Cotton Tail offers a wide run to help you brush up your turns.
- Whooziwatzit just has a cool name and is also great for beginners, but there are a few more trees to have to navigate around on the very gentle slope.
- Goat Trail cuts across the mountain on a more narrow path, but was definitely one of my favorites. The trail leads to the lodge or even Harry's Dream Lift, which we used to head further up the mountain.
Head further up the mountain
Once we warmed up our ski legs, we took our skiing to new heights – literally. Harry's Dream Lift is 4,600 feet long and leads to the highest peak of the resort. That's a vertical climb of 1,600 feet (Little Beaver climbs a mere 400 feet).
Our lack of confidence in our abilities determined our next move. Gentle Ben is a green trail that offers a relatively gentle path down the mountain, but it's slopes are more adventurous than the green trails we skied earlier. My brother and I think they were borderline blue – but we're also novice skiers pushing 40!
There are a handful of black diamond trails that could've also gotten us down the mountain. But I'd like to point out: “State of Utah Inherent Risk Law (See Utah Code Ann. Sec. 78-27-51 et. seq.) provides that as a “skier” you assume risk of and accept the responsibilities for injuries resulting from the inherent risk of skiing/riding…” It says all this on the map of the mountain available in the lodge.
The green route down the mountain starts at Gentle Ben, which eventually connects with Dead Horse. I loved Dead Horse and would've done it over and over if my legs weren't so tired from all my runs earlier – and my lack of regular exercising. The trail is narrower, so it felt more like a hiking trail that I could coast down on skis and enjoy the scenery. That was more my style of skiing.
If our legs would've have juice left in them for another run, we would've connected to Blind Bull, which leads to Marge's Triple Lift, which has a vertical climb of 1,200 feet. I would recommend this route if you're not quite ready to head back to the lodge. There are green trails that connect you into Dead Horse and down the mountain to the lodge.
I saw a few signs around the resort to encourage people to stay hydrated on the mountain. It was a good reminder, because skiing or snowboard is a workout, and dehydration in winter can happen. Good hydration helps altitude sickness, too.
Relax and grab a bite to eat
The lodge offers some delicious food, perfect for a day on the mountain. We found many options available for the young and old. Hot dogs, hamburgers, ribs, soups, sandwiches, sodas, water, candy and other treats. The menu options filled us up, and the conversations with other skiers in the lodge was a relaxing treat. We were able to get a few more runs in on Little Beaver Lift before calling it a day and heading home.
I had to visit the retail shop, right next to the rental shop and lockers, to see if I could find a Beaver Mountain souvenir patch. Sure enough, they had two patches to choose from. Also, I loved the artwork printed on hats and hoodies throughout the shop.
The staff – from lift operators to ski patrol – were friendly and willing to share why they love working at a family-friendly resort like Beaver Mountain. I would recommend following Beaver Mountain on Twitter for updates on snow totals.
When I asked them what a busy day looked like, they said the longest lift wait times on busy days is around 12 minutes. During a weekday, my brother and I didn't have to wait more than 60 seconds to get on a lift.
So when all was said and done, we loved the chance to #SkiTheBeav.
Disclosure: Beaver Mountain provided us with complimentary lift tickets and rentals for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.