Early last spring, I landed in Salt Lake City for a three-day trip. Usually, I make the San Diego to Salt Lake commute fairly regularly throughout winter, but last season I was recovering from a knee injury and was logging more time in the gym than on hill—a FOMO-inducing state of affairs considering the seismic level of snow that was stacking in Utah all year. I knew that every exercise logged brought me one step closer to being back on my snowboard, but it’s hard to stay focused when single-leg RDLs aren’t nearly as fun or satisfying as powder turns.
When this trip came up in April, safe to say I was ecstatic. I had been diligent about my PT and was at the stage where I could test out my knee snowboarding every so often, see how things felt, and let that inform my recovery. Putting my knee through the paces in powder seemed like a best-case scenario, both for my body and my brain.
When I arrived in SLC, I headed right to the evo Campus in the Granary District of the city. I was part of a small crew assembled by evo and Anon Optics to stay at the evo Hotel and test out Anon’s goggles and helmets (specifically the M4, which features Toric lenses—a cross between cylindrical and spherical that has a relatively flat look paired with the wide field of view of a spherical lens). For three days, we would enjoy the hotel and its adjoining property—better known at the evo Campus—and rip powder runs (because the storms weren’t showing any sign of stopping) with clear vision, thanks to Anon.
The September prior, I had spent time at evo’s Seattle location, which includes the All Together Skatepark, known as ATS, a year-round, indoor spot. The shop and skatepark work in tandem as a gathering place, welcoming skateboarders, snowboarders, and friends of all identities and abilities. The foundation of evo as a company is rooted in community and the Seattle location is a nucleus of that—and has been for some time. As evo has opened up brick and mortars in other places, that focus has carried through.
The new Salt Lake location expanded on the brand’s community-focused philosophy when forming the Campus. Of course, there is an All Together Skatepark—an indoors oasis for getting away from the heat in the summer and the snow in the winter. In addition to an evo flagship and the SLC ATS, the Campus is expansive. Walk inside the main doors and to the right is Level Nine Sports, a Utah-based ski, snowboard, and mountain bike store that has been around since 2005. The hotel check in is on the left, nestled in a relaxing modern-meets-cozy hall with a free photo booth and Curators, a coffee shop that serves all day. The large evo store is just to the left of the cafe, and if you keep walking straight ahead, you end up in The Bouldering Project, a 26,000-square-foot indoor rock climbing gym with additional facilities for yoga and overall fitness. (You get complimentary day passes as a hotel guest.) And all of this is only the first floor.
Upstairs is the Crown Rooftop Bar (the bartending staff is top notch) and a myriad of different hotel rooms, from affordable (and very cute) dorms to crisp Rafter Rooms located in the campus interior, and the desirable Wasatch Rooms that come with a private patio and run along the outside of the building. The different rooms are offered in pricing tiers so the evo Hotel is accessible to both college students bunking on a budget as well as visitors looking for a more elevated experience.
Continue through the halls and there are workspaces, art gallery areas, and hang-out zones throughout the second floor. It’s a big area, but easy to navigate. Back downstairs, the Market Hall is perfect for events and premieres and pop-up retail. The fact that it takes three paragraphs to give a quick rundown of just what is included in the evo Campus shows that the location is expansive. When you stay at the hotel, everything you need is at your fingertips—from morning coffee to a performance snowboard rental—and a quick look out the window at the mountains on the perimeter of the city remind you exactly why you’re there. To this end, the evo Hotel is a snowboarder’s paradise. Comfortable, amenity-filled, and in a location with unparalleled access to the outdoors. And when I visited, the services offered by the Campus proved even more convenient than I expected.
True to the season that Utah was having, our first morning of the trip we woke up to over two feet of new snow in the mountains. We headed up to Powder Mountain to take advantage of the April(!) conditions. The snow was still falling when we got there and the mountain was still pretty socked in. The low light was, frankly, ideal for trying out new goggles, and the plentiful snow and expansive PowMo terrain offered up lots of opportunity to explore.
I was also trying out the Anon Oslo WaveCel Helmet, which was exciting for me because I have been searching for a helmet that is comfortable and low profile in terms of the feeling when wearing it. Anon utilizes WaveCel in their helmets, which is a pretty incredible technology best explained by this video. WaveCel looks like a pattern of bright, translucent yellow-green, wavy material that is partly visible through the interior of the Oslo helmet. It functions like a network of advanced shock absorbers and is designed specifically to react to and protect from moving collision (the type that occurs when you fall snowboarding) by flexing, crumpling, and gliding to protect your brain.
I had read a lot about WaveCel and was excited to try it out. It’s very lightweight and the Anon Oslo is very comfortable. Full disclosure, I am still getting used to wearing a helmet while snowboarding and I barely noticed anything different while wearing the Oslo—plus it kept my head warm.
The snow was great, the day was long in the best way, and while riding with Catie Groves and Marz Grutzmacher of Anon we met up with local friends and rippers Kelsey Boyer, Melissa Riitano, Madison Blackley, and Jules Spadaro, who led us down some really fun zones.
That evening back at the evo Hotel, filled to the brim with the elation-slash-exhaustion of a good powder day, my knee was barking. Not a lot, but enough to know I’d pushed things a little too much. It was okay, but I was going to be sore the next day. This is where a real bonus of the evo Campus comes in.
For the second day of riding, our crew had planned to go to Brighton, but the snow kept coming and the canyon was closed in the morning. Instead, it was a rebate at Powder Mountain—not a bad thing at all. It’s hard to turn down more powder turns, but I had to listen to my body on this one; I’d been patient all season and now wasn’t the time to let things slip. I’d be better served in the long run if I appreciated the amazing day prior and put in some time rehabbing on day two. And the evo Hotel was hooked up for this. I woke up and went straight to the fitness center in the Bouldering Project.
While it’s standard for hotels to have small gyms, most places are pretty bare bones. But with the evo Campus’ dedication to the outdoors, the Bouldering Project and the included fitness facilities are sizable and have literally everything you need to work out or complete your PT routine.
This was so huge for me during the visits to the hotel, not only for my knee’s health, but also for my frame of mind. If I had been at a standard hotel in the mountains, being stuck inside (even though it was my own decision) instead of snowboarding for the day would probably be a bit of a downer. But this gym was outfitted to make me feel not only like I was doing something good for myself, I was having a good time while doing it.
The fitness space has ample cardio and strength machines, as well as a full stock of bands and balls and things for stationary exercises. It’s also just an appealing, well-lit space, which can really make a difference in how it feels to do something that can feel like a chore at times. (I’m committed to any PT I am prescribed to come back from injury, but that doesn’t make it always a favorite pastime, you know?)
By the time I finished my PT exercises, I felt like I’d accomplished something with my day despite missing out on pow turns times two. I could feel good, knowing I had a great time in the mountains and complemented that with putting in some work following. I can’t emphasize enough how helpful the evo Hotel was in making that happen. Recovering from injury is not fun on the day-to-day, even though it provides long-term fulfillment as you get back to 100% activity level. Anything that can make that process a bit easier, more fun, and less arduous is really great.
Time spent rehabbing injury is, generally and luckily, the minority of times for most of us. And the evo Hotel and Campus is great as a base of operations when you’re just looking to spend time outside and don’t even have a moment to step foot in the fitness area. But for those times when your body needs a little extra or even if you just want to get some climbing in at the bouldering gym after the lifts close, the amenities offered by the Campus are fantastic for holistically taking care of yourself. And enjoying an après beverage if that’s your thing, as well.
Big thanks for evo and Anon for a great time in Utah.