Summit Elevation: 9,350’, Vertical: 2,950’
Ski Acreage: 3,000-acres
Lifts: 11, Trails 104+, 17 Peaks, 2 Bowls
Annual Snowfall 250"
Opened in 1941
See Snowbasin ski photos
Snowbasin Resort is by far one of the best ski areas in Utah. The majority of
skiers go to Deer Valley, Park City and Snowbird - that one aspect alone makes
Snowbasin great, just 10 minutes further (45 minutes total) from Salt Lake City
it’s a skier’s gem.
What you notice foremost upon arrival at Snowbasin, up the highway style access
road, are the big beautiful lodges. Enter Earl’s the most opulent base lodge
ever with grand timbers, gold chandeliers and fixtures, and leather couches
around grand fires. Posh like Sun Valley Idaho by no coincidence. Both ski
resorts are owned by the Holding family of Little America Hotels, and even more
money - Sinclair Oil, the Holdings purchased Snowbasin in 1984, installed two
gondolas and a tram, built lavish timber lodges and soon acquired Olympic bids
for the Downhill, Super G, and combined for the 2002 Olympics.
Snowbasin is big – 3,000 acres to ski total. With about 6 unique peaks you have
tons of great long trails – long cruisey blues on Strawberry Peak to steeps
groomers on Allen Peak where the Olympic race trails are located. In between the
groomed trails are wide open bowls. Snowbasin would be amazing on powder day,
with all that terrain and half the people of other nearby Utah ski resorts.
Snowbasin runs are super long and scenic, you can see four states and the Great
Salt Lake from several summits. No wonder Snowbasin’s runs seem endless, with
three of Utah’s five longest vertical ski lifts - the Strawberry and Needles
Gondola, and the John Paul high speed quad are all about 2,400’.
You could say Snowbasin is Utah’s best-kept secret – but it’s also one of the
oldest continuously operating ski areas in the nation – since 1941. Snowbasin
earned fame as the host of the 2002 Winter Games speed skiing events, and you
can ski the steep exciting Downhill course.
Our Snowbasin tip: Everyone queues up for the Needles Gondola first run, instead
go around the Grizzly Lodge to the John Paul Express quad. Skiing the perfectly
groomed steeply pitched Olympic downhill runs, Grizzly and Wildflower, first
tracks is better than coffee. If the upper tram Allen Peak is open, go for the
gold and 510’ more vertical to the incredibly scenic top – experts only terrain
and the true race start chalets. Ski the entire 2,900 vertical down 78% grade
steeps, over technical turns, and radical gulches. Bernard Russi, crazy Swiss
course designer and Downhill champ himself carved out the spectacular Grizzly
men’s downhill and Wildflower women’s course, designed for speeds of 80 mph. Its
okay to take longer than the requisite two minutes to ski the course, stopping
to contemplate the sheer madness of this event, or to enjoy the view.
Next board The Needles Gondola for a swift 2,300-foot vertical ride in an
enclosed gondi, each one emblazoned with the name of a former Olympian. The view
of Mount Ogden, and the Needles, are dramatic from the comforts of your “Bode
Miller” gondola car. Head east for deliciously sweet Strawberry Bowl. It reminds
me of Aspen Snowmass’ Big Burn - a perfect intermediate pitch with soft snow,
fabulous open glades and stunning panoramic views. Strawberry Bowl is
scrumptious, often coated with light fluffy powder. Here you ride another plush
eight passenger 2,400 vert Strawberry Gondola, this one emblazoned with Winter
Game countries in fun alphabetical order.
Lunch in one of the decadent mountaintop lodges, Needles or John Paul Lodge –
our favorite. The views of Mt Ogden and the ski-able chutes are jaw-dropping.
Its cafeteria style under grand gold chandeliers by a big beautiful fireplace –
very nice, and the food is too- and surprisingly affordable versus say Vail’s
Two Elk with a similar food court format.
Finally explore the western flank of the mountain for vast glades and chutes off
No Name Peak. Après ski, go to the sumptuous Cinnabar in Earl’s lodge, or enjoy
the patio and fire pits. Cinnabar has live entertainment weekends and holidays
and a full bar, big leather chairs, very inviting – hard to leave to drive down
the Mountain road (which is highway like). To be sure, a powder day at Snowbasin
leaves no one disappointed. Like the more popular Snowbird and Alta, there are
miles of secret stashes for the extremists. Overall, Snowbasin is vast and
offers classic Utah snow and terrain like the more famous Snowbird and Alta and
Park City, except with very upscale Sun Valley-like lodges and the most
sophisticated snowmaking in Utah.
Slopeside lodging is years away still at Snowbasin- even though the Holding
family has a hotel background and plenty of privately owned surrounding land.
For now the mountain resort is pristine. Huntsville is just 8 miles away, and
Lakeside Resort Properties is the place to stay to ski Snowbasin. This townhouse
style condo resort is located on the shores of Pineview Reservoir – hence the
name Lakeside. Each condo as its own car port, fireplace and its own outdoor hot
tub. Our unit was beautifully decorated in rocky mountain regal leather and
antlers, with a spectacular view of Snowbasin’s slopes. Other units have a water
view. Luxury amenities are provided, its not daily housekeeping, but it’s a
lovely set up – very private – a home away from home. From Lakeside, you’re a
short drive to the historic Shooting Star Saloon – the oldest continuously
operating saloon west of the Mississippi. Have a burger ( that’s the menu) and
beer (warning 3% on tap) while you admire the authentic funky décor. You will
have dollars left for the jukebox or to decorate the ceiling. Eden is a few
miles beyond with a Valley market and liquor store, and a few fun Mexican
joints. Ogden City is 17 miles from the mountain, and offers a quirky frontier
town city, renowned as home of the east-west railroad’s Golden Spike. Ogden has
a Marriott steps to the historic 25th Street - fun walk after skiing, whether
you are up for Greek, Italian, or a brew at the old train station.
During a Snowbasin ski trip, go ski nearby
Powder Mountain in Utah,
25 minutes away in Eden - this authentic alpine ski resort is cool, with plenty
of Powder - aptly named- and no snowmaking. You can also visit Utah resorts of
Park City, Deer Valley, Snowbird / Alta, and Solitude.