S2:EP15 - Kym Buttschardt: Ogden’s Ski Town Renaissance

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A group of skiers sat at the bar in the Rooster's B Street Brewery and Taproom, exchanging war stories about their big pow day up at Powder Mountain. On the brightly colored chalk board were the beers of the day, most brewed up in the huge tanks behind the taproom. It was a boisterous atmosphere with a nice blend of skiers, snowboarders and just plain locals all enjoying the lifestyle of the sport.

A century ago Ogden was the crossroads of the west as a vital rail junction. Today, it's revitalized as a ski town with 25th street downtown teeming with restaurants and bars, and the outdoor industry calling Ogden home. At the core of Ogden's energization is Kym Buttschardt of Rooster's Brewing Company, who lives and breathes her community.

Kym Buttschardt stands high atop Snowbasin with Strawberry in the background in a stunning alpine scene.

In the past quarter century, a renaissance has turned Ogden into a thriving ski town. Taking full advantage of the 2002 Olympic leadup, two pioneering mayors and business leaders like Buttschardt, rallied the town. New and innovative tourist-oriented businesses opened downtown. And Ogden became a calling card for leading ski and outdoor industry brands who moved their national operations to the outdoor-oriented town.

What was the catalyst for all of this? It's a community that thrives on outdoor recreation, from biking to hiking to kayaking and skiing. From the heart of downtown Ogden, you can drive to Snowbasin, Powder Mountain or Nordic Valley in about 30-35 minutes. Or, take the bus.

In this week's podcast with Ogden skier, entrepreneur and community leader Kym Buttschardt, you'll learn:

  • How a World Cup parade signaled big changes in Ogden.
  • Why the outdoor industry found such a home in the city.
  • Which of the original Rooster's brews is still available but only on draft? (think chocolate)
  • Her favorite ski run? (not for the faint of heart)

What did you find interesting about skiing when you started out as a young girl in Ogden?
Just the freedom of it - the total freedom of it. And just kind of the coolness and I still feel like that as a 50-something year old woman. I just still get such a rush from being outside and breathing the cold air or sitting in the sunshine.

How have you seen downtown Ogden evolve since you opened before the Olympics?
We were young, in our mid-20s. We were kind of one of the ones who planted our flag. And then what's happened on 25th Street since then is just beautiful to my heart. I love walking out, looking up at the mountains, looking at my neighbor restaurants and friends around there. There's something very special about it.

How did the community engineer this renaissance?
It really was a combined recruiting effort. We do a lot with a little up here in Ogden. Mayor Godfrey, at the time, had decided, with the input from residents, that the vision of our town was going to be an outdoor adventure place. The GOAL Foundation was born right after the Olympics, which is a big thing for us up here. It's a volunteer organization that can bring all those wonderful events and support them with volunteers. "We just got together with our friends and said, 'how are we going to make this happen?' And we did it together and keep doing it together today.

Join us for a beer in the ski town of Ogden in this episode of Last Chair: The Ski Utah Podcastpresented by High West Distillery on your favorite podcast platform. Subscribe to get first access to every episode.

Brewmaster Steve Kirkland was employee #1 when Rooster's first opened its doors in 1995. The Chicago-area native still wears a Bears mask but has long settled down in Utah, recognized as one of the best brewers in the state. He made a nice selection of six beers for Last Chair.

  • Bee's Knees Honey Wheat: A light-bodied, crisp ale, slightly sweet with a touch of honey flavor. 5% Alcohol by Volume.
  • Rude Ram Red: A bold, malty, ruby red ale with notes of roasted barley and caramel, perfectly balanced with Loral hops. 7% ABV
  • Snowbasin 80th Anniversary Pale Ale: A special edition beer released for Snowbasin, it's an easy-drinking, copper-colored pale ale with a hint of caramel malt and bright, hoppy finish. 5% ABV
  • Ogden Double IPA: A big beer weighing in at 8% ABV, this ale is dominated by hops both bitter and aromatic with finishing notes of pine and tropical fruit.
  • B Street Blackberry Cream Ale: A medium-bodied, 6% beer brewed with blackberry puree added right in the fermenter. This lends a hint of blackberry without overwhelming the palate.
  • Untamed Juicy IPA: A cracker-y malt base is complimented by the citrusy New Zealand Southern Cross hop that is added both in the boil and in the fermenter for an extra punch! 7% ABV.

GOAL Foundation: Get Out and Live
One of the legacies of the 2002 Olympics and Paralympics in Ogden is the GOAL Foundation. It was designed as a catalyst for Ogden's outdoor lifestyle, galvanizing the community and volunteers to support outdoor events. Nearly two decades later, it continues to thrive.

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