The following trip report was sponsored in partnership with our friends at Eagle Point Resort.
Sometimes I feel like the soul of skiing gets lost in the mad rush to score first tracks on a powder day. The pressure to be first in line on a powder day. The pressure to post the most “epic” pow shots on social media. It has reached a point where the phrase “powder panic” has become a common term in a skier’s (or snowboarder’s) vernacular.
It is, however, still possible to escape this powder panic; in fact, to go to places that are completely unfamiliar with the term. In Utah, that place is Eagle Point.
I have been escaping a couple of times per season to Eagle Point for the better part of the last decade. When I tell friends, some of whom have lived in Utah their entire lives, that I am heading to Eagle Point, I am often greeted with a blank stare. “Where’s that?” they ask. I always respond with a wry smile. This is, for me, the essence of Eagle Point. When you are driving up and down Interstate 15 through the heart of Utah, most folks have no idea that a gorgeous, high-mountain ski resort lies in the mountains just east of Beaver, Utah.
Eagle Point is the quintessential hidden gem of Utah.
Eagle Point is located in the Tushar Mountains, 18 miles east of Beaver, UT
Eagle Point offers 650 acres of skiable terrain, accessed by 5 lifts and 40 trails. The mountain stretches from a base elevation of 9,100 feet to a summit elevation of 10,600 feet.
Our friends at Zrankings list Eagle Point's True Annual Snowfall at 325 inches. Eagle Point estimates 35% of the mountain is advanced terrain, 35% intermediate, and 30% beginner terrain. 40% of the mountain features a west-facing aspect, 35% north-facing, 20% south-facing, and 5% east-facing.
Eagle Point is open daily during the December/January holiday season, and then Friday-Monday January through February, and Friday-Sunday in March until its closing in early April. (weather and lift depending).
The base elevation of Eagle Point at 9,100 feet, along with a lift-service summit of 10,600 feet, makes it one of the higher elevation resorts in the country. The average elevation of ski slopes is at approximately 10,000 feet, the highest in Utah.
Its true annual snowfall amount of 325 inches puts it above well-known resorts such as Telluride (276 inches) which is a few hundred miles east at a similar latitude. It also puts it only 29 inches shy of Mammoth Mountain (354 inches) in the Sierra Nevada, a resort that is known for its prodigious snowfall amounts.
What Weather Patterns Benefit Eagle Point?
Eagle Point is situated at high elevation, with much of the mountain at or above 10,000 feet. This high altitude means that snow levels are rarely an issue and the snow that does fall is usually quite low density (below 8%).
The Tushar Mountains run generally north-to-south, which is perpendicular to the prevailing storm direction (west-to-east). This allows the mountains to generate ample lift necessary to enhance snowfall. Like the Cottonwood Canyons in Northern Utah, the Tushar Mountains are known to do well in a northwest flow.
Many of the storms that bring large snowfall to Little Cottonwood Canyon, also bring heavy snow to Eagle Point. However, Eagle Point’s more southern latitude often means it can pick up snow in closed low type storms that move through Southern California and Arizona. In these events, moisture streams up from the south and can bring heavy snowfall to the mountains of southern and central Utah, including the Tushar Mountains.
While I have been making powder pilgrimages to Eagle Point for years, this year was the first time I had gone to stay for an entire weekend, bringing my wife and 5-month-old son along. We stayed in the Wooded Ridge condos, conveniently located just above the Canyonside Lodge. The condos were well-equipped, had stunning mountain scenery, and offered ski-in, ski-out access to the mountain.
Mountain and forest views from the bedroom of our condo
We drove up early on Friday morning to take advantage of Eagle Point’s iconic Powder Friday.
What is Powder Friday? Eagle Point has the unique distinction of being the only resort in Utah that is closed to the public during the mid-week, from Tuesday-Thursday. That means that any snow that falls in the preceding 3 days remains untracked when the resort opens again on Friday. In our instance, Eagle Point was coming off their snowiest week of the season with over 4.5 FEET of new snow in the preceding 7 days. Almost 2 FEET of that had fallen since the lifts last spun on Monday.
As we drove up on Friday morning, I made a mental note to count the number of cars we passed on the road up from Beaver. In 18 miles, we only saw FIVE (5!) other cars. It was safe to say that my competition for the powder would be limited!
A stress-free drive up to Eagle Point with few cars on the road.
When I arrived at Eagle Point on Friday, the first thing I did after our contact-less check-in to our condo was head straight for the Lookout Quad lift. This lift is my go-to spot to access Eagle Point’s steeper terrain, and it is located a short ski down from the Canyonside Lodge. Once on the lift, I was treated to a stunning vista of the Tushar Mountains to my left.
The Tushar Mountains from Eagle Point. Mt. Delano and Mt. Holly are visible from Lookout Quad Lift.
At the top of the lift, I hooked a right and headed down the ridge trail, Paiute Crossing, to the base of the saddle. Here you can either bootpack or take a surface-lift up to the other side of the saddle.
This year, they are also running a snowcat to carry passengers up the other side of the saddle. The snowcat drops you off at the top of my personal favorite Eagle Point run, Delano Drop.
Delano Drop is a good, long, consistently steep pitch that is perfect for first tracks. It is easily recognizable as it still has the old towers from a lift that was removed years ago.
Scoring first tracks down Delano Drop
The nice thing about Delano Drop is it empties right to the bottom of the Lookout chair again, so it is easy to hop right back on and do it again. I try to make a few laps on Delano first thing in the morning in order to maximize my vertical when it is untracked.
My favorite way to ski Eagle Point is to then work my way farther down the ridge to runs like Satisfaction and Downer’s Descent. From there, you can continue to get fresh tracks below Country Road if you don’t mind a short and simple walkout to get back to the chair. Personally, I love having this option as I am always willing to put in a little bit of work to get untracked snow.
While I have been to and skied Eagle Point many times, this was the first time I had done so with my family in tow. My son is still too young to ski, but I wanted to head up to Skyline Lodge to check out the beginner terrain for next year and beyond. I was happy to find an extensive area of wide, gradual slopes that are perfect for learning.
Having a condo so close to the mountain means that it was simple for me to ski-in and out of the condo complex to take over baby duty while my wife went out to make some turns. When she had skied enough, she skied back to the condo and we watched a movie with our son during the late afternoon. We ordered dinner from the Canyonside Lodge Bar and Grill (we both got the Canyonside Burger – delicious!) and watched the sunset from our condo balcony.
On Saturday, we decided to do a family activity in the morning rather than skiing. We headed just up the road to the backside of Eagle Point where we found Puffer Lake. At an elevation of near 10,000 feet, the snow was deep and maintains its quality in the cold mountain air.
Eagle Point has one of the highest average elevations of any ski area in Utah.
We snowshoed around the area with stunning vistas of the mountains as well as beautifully snowy alpine scenery. It was the first time we have done such a hike with our son and I was glad I got to introduce him to winter recreation in such an awe-inspiring setting.
By Saturday afternoon, it started snowing lightly and we went out for a quick afternoon ski. We opted to cook our own dinner on Saturday night as our condo had a full kitchen. The snow continued off and on Saturday night and we awoke on Sunday to about 2-3 inches of fresh fluff.
While it was not a deep powder morning, this fluff on top of already soft snow made for a great morning of skiing. I spun a quick handful of laps in the morning before we packed up our stuff and regretfully headed home.
For me, Eagle Point is special. As a skier who loves powder, having Powder Friday is the surest bet in the state of Utah to score deep snow. However, it is not just the skiing or the terrain I love. Eagle Point has a relaxed vibe that is hard to find these days. There is absolutely zero rush – or panic – to find fresh snow. When you are in remote mountains like the Tushars, you realize that you can take your time and truly breathe in the fresh air and soak in the memories. For us, this was our first trip ever away as a family of three. I could not imagine a more perfect place for us to bond and make new memories together.
Since I first skied Eagle Point ten years ago, I have always liked it, but now, I feel like it is a part of our family. I highly recommend a trip to Eagle Point to experience its magic for yourself.
Visit EaglePointResort.com for all lodging, event, and other ski-related information.
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This trip report was sponsored in partnership with our friends at Eagle Point Resort.
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