Reed Hastings, who is the Co-Founder of a very under-the-radar company, bought a stake in Powder Mountain earlier this year. The Executive Director of Netflix, who bought a home at Powder during the Silicon Valley ownership era, is an avid snowboarder. After this announcement, many people wondered what would mean for improvements to the ski resort. It appears that we just found out.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports that Reed Hastings, who is now the majority owner of the ski resort will spend $100 million over the next couple of years to modernize Powder Mountain. We also got a press release from Powder Mountain, which details the improvements coming during the 2023-24 season. This will begin with new snowmaking, lifts, and a temporary ski school building in the Sundown base area, among other major changes.
“This is an investment in what we consider to be the ultimate skier experience,” said Hastings. “My wife Patty and I love this place; we love the untracked powder several days after a storm cycle, we love the vastness of the terrain, and we love the community. We’re looking to accentuate what has always made it special. We’ll do that by making it more easily accessible, by bolstering infrastructure and amenities, and by maintaining the uncrowded feel Powder Mountain is known for.”
Here’s a breakdown of what Reed intends to do at Powder:
- This offseason, Powder is spending big money over at the Sundown base area. These incoming improvements include:
- A new ski school building will replace the currently underwhelming and neglected structure. The new building will be a Sprung tension fabric structure. This facility will house the new ski school, rentals, and a retail shop. The structure that is being added for this season will be temporary, with more details coming in the future.
- A Sunkid Magic Carpet lift is being added to the beginner area, which will improve the learn-to-ski experience. Due to this addition, the Tiger Tow lift will be removed. The trails around the new conveyor lift will be regarded for a more optimal experience.
- The addition of snowmaking for the first time ever at Powder Mountain. This will start out by being limited to the new conveyor lift area.
- Construction has begun on a new trail network for cross-country skiers, snowshoers, and snowmobilers. These will be situated near the Village Lift and the Brim Trail, with the entry point being located at the new Launch Pad yurt.
- For expert skiers, Powder and their partner Monument Ranch will be offering a new backcountry skiing experience. The 500 acres of terrain has a 3000-foot vertical drop (my quads are burning just typing this). The terrain, which will open during the 2023-24 season, features tight chutes and open bowls.
- Next offseason will likely see the replacement of the slow and old Timberline chairlift. Timberline, which is the second oldest chairlift in the state, is the way that many skiers and riders reach the majority of Powder Mountain’s lift-serviced terrain. Its replacement will likely be a new fixed-grip quad chairlift.
- Further down the road, Powder Mountain’s master plan includes a hotel and restaurants, along with other activities and amenities.
In terms of ticket access, Powder Mountain intends to remain a public ski resort. Some parts of the mountain that currently aren’t lift accessed may be members only (i.e. people who own real estate at the ski resort). Here’s what Reed Hastings said about public usage:
“We’re committed to this mountain having public access forever. And the lifts that we have that are public will stay public. We might someday add other ones — that’s part of that long-term plan. But we’re committed to this being a public resort, honoring that 50-year Cobabe legacy and [creating] access for the community.”
Powder’s tickets, and season passes, will continue to be capped. For easier access for everyone, including locals, they’ll be offering $19 night skiing tickets every day. As is the case with Powder though, these will also have a capacity limit. In what could end up being bad news for Indy Pass holders, Reed confirmed to the Salt Lake Tribune that this may be their last season on Indy.
I’m pretty stoked about some of these changes, like the new Timberline chairlift, the expert backcountry terrain expansion, and improvements to Sundown. Other moves, like leaving the Indy Pass, I’m less stoked about. I’m curious to see how locals react to the changes, as it’s going to definitely feel different within a couple of years. I’ll say this though to the skeptics: basically every Utah ski resort is rapidly changing right now (even Beaver Mountain), so Powder is right to make moves in order to keep up with the competition.