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Skiing:  Snowbasin

Snowbasin was the site of many alpine ski events in the 2002 Olympics. This honor Snowbasin Ski Resortwas the impetus for many improvements in both the base area and on-mountain facilities. What was once a rather small spartan resort has been transformed into a full fledged destination. While the resort is still lacking in lodging facilities, everything else has been upgraded to a level approaching, if not exceeding, Deer Valley.

The new lodges at Snowbasin rival anything in the skiing world. Earl’s Lodge Earl's Lodge at Snowbasin(located in the main base area) borders on the opulent; one wonders if they should be there when entering. If the cavernous fireplaces, towering ceilings or expensive furnishings don’t ooze enough decadence, take a journey to the bathrooms. I don’t think I’ve ever relieved myself in a plusher environment at a ski area. Each user has their own individual lockable kingdom of brass and marble.

Aside from the new lodges the real reason to visit Snowbasin should be the skiing. Snowbasin has some of the best terrain in the state of Utah. Along with the addition of the new lodges, the lift and snowmaking systems have been substantially upgraded. Two new gondolas, one new high-speed quad and a jig-back tram have all been added to the original four triples and one double.

The addition of all these lifts enlarged the area to 2660 acres. The Strawberry and John Paul lifts bracket the old resort area, these lifts added quite a bit of additional De Moisy at Snowbasinexpert and intermediate terrain. Strawberry is the place to be on a powder day, walk-on gondola cars are the norm. The Sisters area, Middle Bowl Cirque and De Moisy all contain fun lines and your choice of fresh tracks. Intermediates will enjoy the long groomed cruising runs off Strawberry as well. Elk Ridge and Main Street both offer
long runs at a tame pitch.

At the top of the John Paul high-speed quad you will find both the John Paul Lodge and the Mt. Allen Tram. The John Paul Lodge is a great place to grab a lunch on the mountain. The Mt. Allen Tram rises to the top of the Grizzly Downhill, one of the most technically challenging downhill courses in the world. The short hike to No Name is well worth it on a powder day.

Middle Bowl Gondola at SnowbasinThe Middle Bowl Gondola is a great way to get to the top of the mountain in the morning. The eight person gondola eats up any lift lines and disperses skiers to a central part of the mountain. Intermediates should find plenty of terrain to their liking off this lift as well. Laps using this lift will have your thighs begging for mercy.

If there is one thing lacking at Snowbasin it would be beginner access to the upper mountain. Beginners are relegated to mid-mountain and below. Don’t get me wrong, there is still plenty of terrain to learn on, just none at the upper reaches of the mountain. True novices will find the Little Cat double the best places to learn technique. After they learn the basics they can ride the Becker or (if it’s open) Wildcat lifts. Snowbasin has a very competent ski school; be sure and sign up for lessons at the desk in Earl’s Lodge.

If the skiing isn’t enough to bring you to Snowbasin, the food should definitely help entice you. Snowbasin’s lodges all feature the cuisine of Italian chef, Elio Scanu. Chef Scanu has elevated ski lodge food to heights previously unheard of in the skiing world. Even the standard cheeseburger has certain flairs not seen at any other resorts. The food prices are in line with most other resorts, at a far higher quality.

Snowbasin also harbors a very nice tubing hill, young and old alike will thrill to riding down the five tubing lanes.

One last thing to be noted is Snowbasin’s snowmaking abilities, which are quite impressive. The snowmaking system covers over 600 acres of terrain. This system relies on information from 104 weather stations situated around the resort. Even though the base of Snowbasin is 6,400 feet, the snowmaking system guarantees a good base all season long.

If you are taking a ski trip to Utah, a visit to Snowbasin should definitely be on the itinerary.

Additional Resources

Snow Report

Snowbasin Snow Report








Utah Atlas and Gazetteer

Backcountry Skiing Utah

First Tracks: A Century of Skiing in Utah

Hidden Salt Lake City and Beyond: Including Park City, Deer Valley, Alta and Snowbird

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vertical drop = 2,950 ft.

ave. snowfall = 400 in.


1 aerial tram

2 gondolas

1 high speed quad

4 triple chairs

1 double chair

2 surface lifts





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