Family Ski Retreat
- Posted On
- Jan 16, 2020
- Northern Utah
By Monique Beeley
Did you know that Utah is home to 15 mountain resorts and that they come in all different shapes and sizes? Everything can be found – from the largest resort in North America, aka Park City Mountain, to the oldest family-owned and operated ski resort in North America, Beaver Mountain, along with everything in-between.
As a lifelong Utah skier, I have spent thousands of days partaking in The Greatest Snow on Earth®, and I have made many visits to all of our resorts. But the mountain resort that brings things full circle for me is Beaver Mountain, aka, The Beav. This is where I learned to ski, learned to race, and fell head-over-heels in love with skiing and being in the mountains.
The stars aligned this past winter. I was able to return to my beloved home mountain with my daughter, Kya, and my parents for a grand multigenerational adventure. Ok, so actually all ski together often, and Kya’s favorite ski buddy is my mom, but this was the first time we had the opportunity to Ski the Beav together as a family.
Before we get into our ski adventure, let’s back up to get a lay of the land. Beaver Mountain is located in the heart of the Uinta-Wasatch Cache National Forest. It can be found on the Logan Canyon National Scenic Byway, 110 miles north of Salt Lake City, 27 miles northeast of Logan City, and 12 miles east of Garden City/Bear Lake. Given these specifics on the mileage, you could make a day of it or spend the night for a quick local family ski-vaca.
Overnight options in both Logan City and Bear Lake are plentiful. For this trip, we opted for the closest lodging to the mountain and found a great condo at Harbor Village near the shores of the beautiful Bear Lake. This area is hopping with action during the warm weather months, but this time of year, the off-season, it is a place to find solitude. It’s also a great place to benefit from the off-season lodging rates, making this locale one of the best values in Utah for a family ski vacation. That being said, if you are seeking more of the hustle, bustle, and dining options of a city, then Logan City is the best option for you since many local businesses in Bear Lake may be operating minimal hours or closed this time of year.
Arriving mid-day on Saturday gave us time to do a bit of sledding at The Sinks in Logan Canyon. The Sinks are natural limestone sinkholes that have created large wide-open bowls, perfect for sledding. In addition to this location being popular for recreational opportunities, it’s also a meteorological phenomenon, due to temperature inversions that trap cold air. This area has the distinction of being the coldest spot in Utah producing a record low of -69.3 degrees Fahrenheit. Thankfully, the temps were in the mid-20s when we visited, but I suggest packing a few extra layers, a thermos of hot cocoa, and check the weather.
Beaver Mountain is the quintessential family resort. It is a family-owned and operated resort and it is the ideal destination for a family-friendly ski day. It’s small enough that you can let the older kids venture out on their own – the terrain is 75% beginner/intermediate. The ticket prices are some of the lowest in Utah (Adult-$50 / Kids 11 and under-$40). They even offer a $25 day-pass or $30, 12-ride passed on Little Beaver lift, which is perfect for beginning skiers.
Our day at Beaver Mountain began with a warm welcome from Marge Seeholzer, the resort’s matriarch, who is usually the first one greeting guests at the ticket window. At this point, my childhood nostalgia was running rampant and I felt like I just stepped into a “way back machine.” The ticket office, which has not changed much since the 80s, is filled with the same exhilarating energy of being in a place where fun happens. The resort was started by Harold Seeholzer who, as a father, wanted to create a place in the mountains for his family to play outside and have fun. That same intention, energy, and vibe are still present today. Beaver Mountain is truly a place where many, many families (including Harold Seeholzer’s great, great-grandchildren) have come over the last 80 years to have fun, laugh, and play outside.
That morning we made our way around the resort, starting with the Little Beaver lift, which is where I first slid around the snow on my skis more than 40 years ago. After one lap on each of the four chairlifts, we decided that the intermediate/advanced terrain off Margie’s Tripe chairlift was perfect for our group. Being a Sunday, both the lift lines and ski runs were uncrowded. And as usual, we ate lunch early, around 11, so we could beat the lunch rush and then get back out on the slopes, to continue enjoying some true solitude on the mountain.
By midafternoon, we were all ready to call it a day. We said our good-byes to each other and then Kya and I headed for the truck. As I was putting our skis in the back, I looked up for a minute, my eyes going from the sun-lit slopes under the Beaver Face Lift to the ticket office, which was now in the late afternoon shadows, to the parking lot, where many families were loading gear into their cars. At that moment, feeling content from another great day on the mountain with my daughter, I whispered a little thank you to the Seeholzer family for creating this truly magical place. A place that will forever be in my heart and hopefully in my daughter’s as well.
Here are some helpful links for planning your next family ski retreat.