Ski (all of) Utah Small resort, big smiles: Plenty of surprises in store at Nordic Valley

  I’ve seen a lot of smiles on my friends’ faces over the past few days, but the one JJ was wearing right around the time the lights went on over Nordic Valley was the biggest one yet.

“I’m pretty sure that was the best powder run I’ve had so far this week,” he said as he walked into the lodge, tiny icicles clinging to three days of stubble.

By way of context: In the past 72 hours we’ve crisscrossed more than 70 miles worth of snow-covered mountains at Park City, Deer Valley, Beaver Mountain, Cherry Peak and Snowbasin. Every one of those resorts is measuring the latest storm in feet. None of us can remember any sort of break in the snowfall since Sunday afternoon, four resorts and hundreds of miles of road ago.

“Come on,” I said, “the whole week?” 

Sarah Abney had told us there were plenty of fresh tracks to be had along the south tree line, on a run called Ephraim’s Revenge. The Nordic Valley marketing-manager-slash-ski-instructor-slash-sometimes-ticket-window-attendant (these are the folks who keep small ski hills running) had reiterated that her ski area was “a learning and training resort.” Because of that, she noted, “that part of the mountain doesn’t get used as much.”


Fair enough. But on a mountain of just 110 acres and 1,000 vertical feet  — and this late into the evening — how good could it really be?

“I’ll show you,” JJ said.

Minutes later, we were surfing two feet of soft powder down a well-lit and virtually untracked rolling run.

The best powder run of the week? It certainly put a big smile on my face. I’d say it’s a contender.

Next stop: Powder Mountain.

Matthew D. LaPlante is skiing and boarding all of Utah’s 14 skis resorts—in seven days—with fellow powderhounds Jared “JJ” Jones and Erik “Swede” Price. Follow their trip on Twitter: @SkiAllOfUtah.

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