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Ski resort of the week: Beaver Mountain

1938 ski resort is a family’s labor of love

SHARE Ski resort of the week: Beaver Mountain

History — Beaver Mountain is probably one of the few resorts left in the country that is completely family owned. The area was founded by Harold "Harry" and Luella Seeholzer back in 1938, who, it was reported, "were looking for a fun winter recreation for their children and friends." A surface tow was soon installed, and Beaver Mountain became a labor of love for the family. Weekends, holidays and spare time were donated to working at the resort. There was little or no money coming in from the resort, so all those working at the time held full-time jobs elsewhere. Among their daily chores, family members side-slipped and boot-packed runs before guests arrived, since machine groomers had yet to be discovered. At one point, the family planned to install a lift from bottom to top. Before the lift, called "Harry's Dream," could be completed, however, Harold died of cancer. At the time, his son Ted and his wife, Marge, were running the food service. At Harold's passing, Ted stepped up and became general manager. Six years ago, Ted and Marge bought out other members of the family and became sole owner. Today, their two children and spouses — Travis and Cristy Seeholzer and Jeff and Annette West — are also involved in the ski area.

It was at this point the Seeholzer's started what they called their "second careers," which involved expanding and improving the area. In 2002, Marge's triple chairlift was installed and 400 acres of additional terrain was opened. The new area offers skiers "a little different terrain with great snow." They have also built a terrain park, which they report is "hugely" successful.

What you know: Beaver Mountain is comprised of two main mountains, along with an area set aside for teaching and beginners. Skier and snowboarders start their careers on Lil' Doge, which is a surface tow that provides access to a wide open, consistent and gentle learning area. Little Beaver is a double chair located above the tow and leads to more advanced beginner terrain and is billed as the "next step." This left leads to the Tiny Tim run, which is where the resort holds slalom and dual slalom races throughout the season. Races are designed for all ages and ability levels.

The resort's Face lift is a double chair that accesses some great intermediate and advanced runs, including the popular Face run which, appropriately so, begins at the top of the Face lift. Skiers and snowboards like the run because it is long, has a consistent fall line and is a run people can "cruise on."

As might be expected, Harry's Dream lift is the most popular. It is currently a double, but is scheduled to be replaced by a triple. It delivers skiers to the top of the mountain and allows access to all of the runs leading off the top. It is particularly popular with the more advanced skiers and boarders. The lift also offers access to the Gentle Ben run, which is a popular beginner run that is two miles long and runs from top to bottom. Less experienced skiers like it because it is well groomed, wide and offers a great vista of the surrounding landscape. Better skiers like it because they can casually cruise and enjoy the scenery.

The main base area is located near the Dream lift and includes a day lodge that houses a larger full-service ski and snowboard rental shop, a newly remodeled retail store and food service.

Marge's triple chair is the newest addition to the resort. It serves the Long Hollow area, which is located north of the main mountain, and is accessed off the Dream lift and the Gentle Ben run. Most of the terrain in the Long Hollow area holds good intermediate "cruiser" runs and lots of gladed tree skiing. This is an area that is still under development and future plans call for several more runs and a thinning of the conifer stands. The terrain park as moved this year onto the Wapiti run.

Beaver Mountain is known for having no lift lines on weekdays and very small, if any, lines on weekends and holidays. Which, of course, goes along with the feeling that Beaver Mountain is a ski area waiting to be discovered.

What you should know: The backside of Beaver Mountain offers several hundred acres of lift-served backcountry skiing via Harry's Dream lift. Reaching the backside requires only minimal effort and the runs here end up on the highway in Logan Canyon. Those taking this option generally work out a shuttle system among friends. Consensus is, especially after a storm, the effort is well worth it. This, too, is an area where some good powder skiing can be had days after a storm. The Long Hollow area also offers access to runs with some good week-old powder. That's because the area faces the north, therefore gets less sun, and is not heavily skied since this is a new area and is just now being explored by locals.

North from the top of Dream lift is the North Fields. This area has almost limitless gladed skiing in the aspens.

As happens at most resort, there's typically less traffic while people are eating, so those who eat early tend to find the most seclusion.

Being one of the state's smaller areas, there are some definite advantages, less traffic being one. Another is ski passes. Season passes go on sale the first week of March and are good from that point on through this season and all of the next season. At this time, an unlimited adult season pass is $220 and a pass for kids 6-11 is $110.

Ski School: The resort offers one of the better learning programs in the industry. The "Learn to Turn" program includes an all-day ticket, all-day rental for skis or snowboard and a two-hour lesson for $45. Private lessons range from $40 for one hour to $60 for two hours. For those skiing or snowboarding for the first time, the lift ticket is included in the private rate.

The Mountain Adventure program is designed for skiers and snowboarders between 5 and 16. Students meet on four consecutive Saturdays or Sundays. The cost is $55 for four half-day sessions and $105 for four all-day sessions.

The Wild Women program is offered once a month. Women meet for breakfast, a two and a half hour ski or snowboard lesson and lunch. The cost is $35.

This Saturday, the resort will be holding its popular Snoopy Carnival, which this year will have a Hawaiian theme. There will be races, an Easter egg hunt, a giant snow sculpture and other activities. To be a part of the carnival cost $25.

Review: Beaver Mountain is a great area that offers good skiing without all the frills and expense of larger areas. It has the longstanding reputation having some great fall-line skiing because of the natural flow of the mountains. And, despite what people may think, it does have a full range of available terrain, from beginning to expert. Probably one of its most outstanding qualities, though, is its good old, down-home family friendliness.


Beaver Mountain Facts

Number of lifts: 5 — 1 triple, 3 double, 1 surface

Number of runs: 30-plus

Longest run: Gentle Ben — 2 miles

Terrain: 35 percent beginner, 40 percent intermediate and 25 percent expert

Vertical: 1,600 feet

Skiable acres: 664

Top elevation: 8,800 feet

Snowboard: Yes

Terrain Park: 1