My reply was, “that’s what Couloir magazine is about, skiing for free.” He thought I was a kook for promoting skiing without chairlifts. In the meantime free skiing has become the popular term used to promote the rad, bad, and hip aspect of resort skiing. Witness the growth of Free Skiing competitions. And backcountry skiing has grown phenomenally since then.
No, the new owners of Eagle Point do not have a soft spot in their heart for Californians, nor are they trying to promote backcountry skiing. They’re just a lot more transparent about how they make their money and realize that the profit isn’t in lift tickets, it’s in all the amenities surrounding the resort, most notably, the real estate accommodations.In their words, they’re adopting a Las Vegas approach. “By owning or controlling all of the restaurants, services and rental properties around the resort and maintaining low overhead, we have the same advantage as the Vegas resorts. We can give lift access away for free yet still achieve a sufficient yield from our guests on food & beverage sales, rentals, instruction, retail or condo stays.” said Shane Gadbaw, CEO and co-owner of the resort. Skiing free will be their hook to raise awareness of their slice of skiing nirvana.
Is it any good? Actually, it is, especially if you’re inclined to mix in a bit of sidecountry with your lift riding. The lifts of Eagle Point access slopes below treeline off of Mt. Holly, located in Utah’s Tushar Mountains. There is some solid backcountry skiing off of Mt. Holly, and it is only a short 30-40 minute skin from the access gates off the Eagles Nest lift.
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Eagle Point is located 18 miles east of Beaver, Utah, approximately 3.5 hours drive from Salt Lake City or Las Vegas, or about two hours further than a drive to Mammoth Mountain. It may not have the terrain of Mammoth, but it won’t have the crowds either.