To get to Chuck's recommended area, we skied down a cat track from Hidden Lake Lodge, then took the Sunrise poma lift up to Sunrise Ridge (8,890'), then hiked way out along the ridge over Cobabe Canyon. From there, we dropped in wherever we saw fit because the drainage at the bottom of Cobabe is a nicely graded (but very long) groomed run-out that returns you to the base of the Paradise quad. Chuck was absolutely right: the snow in there was smooth and untouched, low angle so you could keep your speed but not be going so fast that you couldn't avoid the trees. It was beautiful, skiing in the aspen groves. Those slopes would be difficult on deep powder days but for what we had to work with, it was perfect. We perfected our tucks on the run-out, rode the scarily high and steep Paradise quad up, then skied down to the base of the Hidden Lake lift and did it again. We weren't making many runs but we were putting a lot of miles in and we were definitely skiing the best ungroomed stuff available.
Riding (and not falling off) the poma lift
Lunch was at the Hidden Lake Lodge. The food was mediocre, the lodge chilly and not that charming, but the staff were super-friendly and on a nice day, it would have had great views. We kept going after lunch, doing our same loop and occasionally venturing into other territory ... which encouraged us to go back to that same loop. W broke one of his fancy telemark bindings mid-afternoon and decided to go check out the Powder Keg; A and I skied a few more runs and then joined him. C and H finished out the day - and made it back up the chair before it closed - and we all enjoyed a pitcher of PBR before piling back into the truck for the trip home.
Which way do we go?
We all agreed that despite the terrible snow conditions, we loved Powder Mountain. We liked its low key, old-fashioned charm. We liked Chuck, who was also old-fashioned in that we were guessing he was in his early 70s. And we really wanted to come back after a big ol' storm to see what the resort's 7,000 skiable acres (including cat skiing) are all about. Pow Mow for the win!