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Where the Snow Stays

Beaver Creek Lodge has snow seven months of the year!
RELATED TOPICS: SNOWMOBILE TRAVEL | SKI-DOO | POLARIS
Ski-Doo caught in Beaver Creek Lodge Utah
NOT JUST CATS CLIMB TREES When the Thompson boys dare you to do something you can’t turn them down. But for views like this and the opportunity to ride sleds and snowbikes risks are often taken.
Four Irish guys from Boston, an Editor from Wisconsin, a straightline racer from Maine, a clothing company owner/distributor and a tabernacle of Mormons pull up to a lodge… No this is not the start of a bad joke, but rather, how I started my weekend at Beaver Creek Lodge just outside Logan, Utah! What was the common theme? We were all there for one thing, SNOW!

All winter and deep into April (sometimes even May and June) people from all walks of life come to this incredible, but little known, western destination to enjoy the deep snow, fun trails, the incredible terrain, views and mountain riding. This is the backyard of the AmSnow mountain crew (Western Editor Ryan Thompson, and test riders Kevin and Lonnie Thompson). The normal AmSnow western crew, or TTRP as they are formally called in the office (Thompson Test Riding Posse) had a few more members this weekend, as I joined a handful of other riders in some late-March / early-April riding at our no-longer secret spot.

■ Easy to get to, but NEED a Ferrari!
Beaver Creek Lodge hosted American Snowmobiler, and the riding was even better than expected! The lodge sits northwest of Logan, Utah just 25 minutes past Utah State University in the Cache Valley area. It is less than two hours north of the Salt Lake City airport and an easy drive. The last 25 minutes were through a two-lane winding canyon that honestly had me wishing I could transform my Kia rental SUV into an Italian race car. The dozens of twists and turns and ups and downs would have been fun on a Yamaha R1 sport bike too!
Ski-Doos for rent at Beaver Creek Lodge Utah
We recommend renting at least a small 4WD vehicle because it does snow here regularly until early summer, but fortunately the climate does not have the extreme cold we see in northern reaches of the Midwest. Daytime highs were hotter than normal for this time of year in the mountains of Utah, hovering between 30-45 degrees, depending on what elevation you were at. That made driving to reach the lodge, and staying warm while riding, much more enjoyable. Also, the lodge sits at 7,200 feet elevation and much of the riding from the lower area (known as Tony Grove) and up the ridges past the lodge is mostly between 8,000 to 9,000 feet, with a few peaks up around 9,500 feet. This makes acclimating for folks coming from sea level a little more bearable. Many lodges and riding areas I have stayed at out West force you to spend much more time at elevations above 10,000 feet, which means breathing is tougher for us flatlanders.
2017 Polaris Pro RMK 174
Slicing through the powder was our 2017 Polaris Pro RMK 174 when we were at Beaver Creek Lodge in Utah, just outside the hometown of our western riding group. The TTRP (Thompson Test Riding Posse) often rolls 10-15 sleds deep and this weekend was no different!
■ Upon arrival
Once at Beaver Creek Lodge, the riding literally begins out the front door. Not only is the lodge easy to get to, the trails are too. If you are a mountain rider, you can basically start your ascent or sidehilling once you cross the road and leave the parking lot. With dozens of new Ski-Doo 850s to rent and a cadre of 450cc bikes equipped with Timbersled kits, your options for snow vehicles are incredible. Having off-trail riding so accessible is also a positive for riding the snowbikes because you do not have to cross a bunch of roads, or ride on sketchy trails before you get to the back-country areas that these bikes are made for.


■ What we expected, what we didn’t
We expected snow, but not the awesome accommodations! If you’ve never been to the Beaver Creek Lodge we HIGHLY recommend it. It is full service and full-on fun! Some warm temps in the weeks before we arrived had us worried, but the snow pack here was 14 feet in many spots. That was the most snow of almost anywhere in the U.S. range of the Rockies. We had new snow each day too! It was heavy spring snow, but still snow! If you are looking for a place to ride that isn’t too high up and fairly close to civilization, then this is a great option for late-season riding. The usual snow up here in Utah, “Champagne Powder” is famous for its usual dry consistency and “blower” type deep snow riding.

Timbersled 137 kit on KTM 300
The AmSnow crew were still testing our long-term demo sleds, including our project sled “The Photobomber” - a Polaris RMK complete with aftermarket Atomic turbo from Turbo Performance (check out our January issue for the full build). We also were testing the new 800 Mountain Cat, the new King Cat, a Polaris RMK 174, the new Ski-Doo Summit 165, Yamaha Sidewinder M-TX, and our own Timbersled 137-inch kit on a KTM 300 bike. It was a big treat to have all these sleds in one of the best locations in the West for spring riding. We also did not expect to have as good of snow as we neared the higher elevations.

The photos here offer a glimpse of the weekend’s shenanigans, but the off-trail riding in this area can be anything you want. It is fairly easy to get around from bowl to bowl and you can find plenty of steep climbs or crazy tree-filled slopes to play on or easy meadows and flat areas just to cruise. There is a little for everyone here!
Ski-Doo Summit X 165
Rider Favorite: The consensus among the group we rode with, in the conditions we rode, for the several days was that the Ski-Doo Summit X 165 was the sled to beat.
Beaver Creek Lodge Utah
The view out the back door of the lodge. The terrain allows for riding of all types.
Feet of snow: 14 (up top)
Temps: 30 to 45 F
Precip.: 4 to 8 inches each night (intermittent rain/snow/sun during day)
Travel time: 16 hours on plane and in car (total roundtrip)
Hours riding: 18
Hours stuffing face with food/drink at lodge: 8
Coolest mtn. peak: St. Charles, Idaho - 9,245 feet
Most interesting trail stop: Pony Express outpost
Staff favorite demo sled: Ski-Doo Summit 850 X 164
Best crash: Brandon Thompson (Ski-Doo tree hanger)
Lodge fact: Ski-Doo has shot their catalogue at Beaver Creek
Number of trailers: 8 (for full crew)
Number of other sleds we saw: 6 (in three days)


WHAT IT COSTS...

Chicago flight O’hare to Salt Lake City (direct): $327
Rental car: KIA Sorento - $261
Fuel for car: $50
Fuel/oil for sled/snowbike: $65
3 nights at Beaver Creek Lodge: $169 per night
Groceries: $100
Snowmobile rental: $249 per day (if needed)
4 full days in the mtns: Priceless
Want more on one of the best snowmobile lodges in the West, as well as its guide and sled rental services? Visit www.beavercreeklodge.com.
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