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Wolf Mountain Utah/Skyline Base: March 8, 2014

thetrailboss

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Resort: Wolf Mountain, Utah (now to be known as Skyline Base)

Date: March 8, 2014

Weather/Conditions: Warm with temps in the 50's and sun; SC

Report: I know that this is two months ago, but I have a lot of good pictures and this is a resort that does not get a lot of press. Plus I figured I would add my thoughts here to the AZ database of source for folks who are curious.

For Christmas I suggested to my brother that he get us discount tix to some different ski areas that we could choose. The tickets, available on Backcountry.com as a fundraiser for the Utah Avalanche Center, were a great deal and had no blackouts. I was keen on trying this little place for the heck of it if nothing more.

This area was founded in the 1960's as Nordic Valley, and actually has a significant history in the 1970's freestyle movement from what I understand. It then had a Hall Double to the summit (still operating) and some other surface lifts. That owner eventually sold; the large Wolf Creek Condominium/resort, that is in the valley, eventually took it over. This ownership group invested a TON of money into a hill of this size. They renovated the old barn that is the lodge, did some landscaping, bought a used triple from Deer Valley (Sterling) and added it on the lower section of the mountain, added a lot of night skiing, and added a ton of high-tech snowmaking. What they did not do, a mistake in my opinion, was replace the summit double, which is showing its age.

I had an afternoon available to go scope out this area and decided to take it because, in hindsight, I would not have made it otherwise. The warm-up reeked havoc on the snow and Wolf only lasted a week after my visit. It was an easy 1:15 drive from my home in SLC--up past Snowbasin and to the slopes. There was not a big crowd at all for a Saturday and it was mostly locals and a few folks learning to ski. I pulled in and had no problem getting a good parking spot. It is definitely a locals place.

After parking I went to get my ticket and check out the lodge. The one lodge serves as the hub for the place--restaurant, offices, bar, and a small simple rental shop and retail outlet. They did not have any Wolf Mountain logo gear, but they were selling their new "Skyline Base" logo stickers, so I snagged some.

Between the burst of the housing bubble, which not surprisingly hurt Wolf Creek Resort badly, and January of this year, Zions Bank operated the resort as creditor. It showed because a lot of trails that should be skiable had not been mowed in some time. A local contractor purchased the resort from Zion's with the help of some international investors and has changed the name to reflect a change in philosophy. From what I understand his plan is to market it as a cheap feeder hill for the Ogden market. That will work well for penny-pinching Utahans, of which I can say that there are many. From my armchair perspective this is better than as an amenity for homeowners in the Wolf Creek Resort who have the money and interest to drive to Powder Mountain or Snowbasin that dwarf this place.

Enough talk. Now to the skiing. In my four hours or so I easily covered all the terrain on the map (and off). I started right on the Howling Wolf Chair and worked the summit hitting Barney's Way under the lift. From there I alternated between skiers' right and left. Wandering Wolf had nice views and a nice long run to keep you entertained. The night skiing and snowmaking infrastructure, for a hill slightly taller than Pats Peak, was impressive.

On the other side, Lobo Lane and Bayot's Boulevard were entertaining and fun. Wile E. Coyote, Upper Cougar, Dyer Straits, and Due South were barely touched by anyone because they were not groomed and they, admittedly, needed a good haircut because of undergrowth. Ecker's Roll, which is a narrow trail in the woods, was so obscured that you had to really look for it and it was a hoot. Dyer Straits was also also pretty obscured and the snow was a bit sticky and tricky to ski. The Hammereds got a lot of attention from folks and were the perfect ski for spring snow.

About 90 minutes into my visit the Howling Wolf went down due to electrical problems. The employees hustled to get it back up and running but admitted that it was going to be a while. I went over to ski Sterling and that side. The terrain over there was quite flat and not too good in the warm temps. It also was pretty short in terms of vertical. The previous owners were going to make this a tubing park as well. The Gardens was a very small area in the scrub that might qualify as a small glade, but barely. The Wolfdeedo Chair was not running and because of snowfencing and the big park under that lift you could not ski over too far to skier's right. So the triple served a pretty limited amount of terrain. They would have been better served to have this triple replace the summit double.

After about a half hour's worth of quick runs over at Sterling on "Oh My Heck" (sterilized for the locals), the Howling Wolf reopened and I was able to ski the remaining terrain on the summit. Chainsaw Willy and Hawkin's Hole served as racing terrain and had good pitch albeit a bit short. Moose Run was intended to be a big quarter or half-pipe, but was groomed and a normal ski run. Aspen Chute and Lone Deer were moderate cruisers with the former not groomed out.

I was able to hit the main runs multiple times. It was entertaining for a few hours but not a destination resort per se. A good place for families for sure. No need for detachable lifts as the 1,000 vertical does not require a long ride...7 minutes or so for a good 3-4 minute run. It skis a bit bigger than it looks.

At about 6pm it was beginning to refreeze and folks had cleared out. Despite the temps, and lack of people, they were scheduled to run until 10pm and the lights were coming on.

A fun place for a few hours and I wish the new ownership luck. They can make it work by catering to the locals and keeping it affordable. Install a decent fixed grip triple to the top, mow the trails, and they are in good shape. Pics below.
 

thetrailboss

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The view from the road:





The compact but functional lodge:












View from the top:





Looking down Barney's Way:



Lower part of Barney's:



Note the snowmaking equipment:



Riding back up:



The view above mid-station:



Closing in on the top. Note the snowfields only a stone's throw away......



Fooling around at the top:



 

thetrailboss

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Wandering Wolf:



Sterling with a very thin tubing park area on the right:



Wolfdeedo, terrain park, and a ton of snowmaking equipment for that size area:



Base area:





Lobo Lane:



Wile E. Coyote:



Hawkin's Hole with Chainsaw Willy's on the right:



Ecker's Roll entrance:



Night Owl:



Base of the Howling Chair. Note the late model winch cat:





Second (relatively new) snowcat:



Midstation:



The "Gardens"



Sterling:



Classic Yan Triple:







Wolfdeedo:

 

thetrailboss

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Terrain that should have been maintained and open:



Ecker's Roll on the left, Dyer Straits on right:



Ecker's Roll:





Lobo Lane:




Terrorizing hills large and small since 2013:



Good cover:



Dyer Straits:



Sterling with its label from its Deer Valley days:



Midstation:





Calling it a day:



 
Last edited:

4aprice

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Looks like you covered it, top to bottom, wall to wall. Always had my eye on it whenever venturing up to Pow Mow. I have a fondness for smaller areas like that and am always interested in trying them.

One question. It sounds like you drove Trapper's Loop (past Snowbasin) to get there. We have always taken the canyon just north of that to get to Powder and I thought the road to Wolf was off that.

Alex

Lake Hopatcong, NJ
 

thetrailboss

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Looks like you covered it, top to bottom, wall to wall. Always had my eye on it whenever venturing up to Pow Mow. I have a fondness for smaller areas like that and am always interested in trying them.

One question. It sounds like you drove Trapper's Loop (past Snowbasin) to get there. We have always taken the canyon just north of that to get to Powder and I thought the road to Wolf was off that.

Alex

Lake Hopatcong, NJ

Right. Sort of. Trapper's Loop runs from 84 up over the mountain past the entrance to Snowbasin and back down to just outside Huntsville. Then I backtracked towards Ogden Canyon (that you referred to), took a right across the dam as you would to go to Pow Mow, in Eden took a left at the four way intersection in the small hamlet, and drove local side roads to the area. It's very visible, but a bit off the beaten path.
 

Mikey1

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Great report, I was visiting Powder Mountain for the first time that same day and certainly noticed Wolf on both the drive up to Powder and on the way back. The people we were with were not familiar with it, so thanks for the background info. I hope the new ownership can make it work, great to keep smaller hills like this alive. If I ever get back to Powder (and I certainly hope I do), this hill might make an interesting side trip.
 

thetrailboss

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Great report, I was visiting Powder Mountain for the first time that same day and certainly noticed Wolf on both the drive up to Powder and on the way back. The people we were with were not familiar with it, so thanks for the background info. I hope the new ownership can make it work, great to keep smaller hills like this alive. If I ever get back to Powder (and I certainly hope I do), this hill might make an interesting side trip.

They have more night skiing acreage than Pow Mow I would think. Neat Lille place.


Sent from my iPhone using AlpineZone
 

jaytrem

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Nice, I remember hearing about the proposed terrain expansion maybe 15 years ago or so. Hopefully they can get it done this time.
 

dlague

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I think you missed the bathrooms! Actually like areas like that - did not look busy - so even better for you! Thanks for the report!
 
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