Snowbasin

Snowbasin, Utah

Written by Greg and Heather Burke

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 a 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. It's 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 verticle Strawberry Gondola, this one emblazoned with Winter Game countries in fun alphabetical order.

Lunch in one of the decadent mountain top lodges, Needles or John Paul Lodge – our favorite. The views of Mt Ogden and the ski-able chutes are jaw-dropping. It's 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 has 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, it's 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 the 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.

Elevation

Base
6400 feet
Base
Summit
9350 feet
Summit
Vertical Drop
2950 feet
Vertical Drop

Lifts

Gondola & Trams
3
Gondola & Trams
High Speed Quads
2
High Speed Quads
Triple Chairs
4
Triple Chairs
Surface Lifts
2
Surface Lifts

Terrain

Beginner Runs
11 %
Beginner Runs
Intermediate Runs
43 %
Intermediate Runs
Advanced Runs
24 %
Advanced Runs
Expert Runs
22 %
Expert Runs
Total Runs
104
Total Runs
Terrain Parks
4
Terrain Parks
Longest Run
3 miles
Longest Run
Skiable Terrain
3000 acres
Skiable Terrain
Snowmaking Area
625 acres
Snowmaking Area

Opening and closing dates

Season Open Date Close Date
2017/2018 11/28/2017 (estimated) 04/13/2018 (estimated)
2016/2017 12/01/2016 04/16/2017
2015/2016 11/25/2015 04/17/2016
2014/2015 11/27/2014 04/05/2015

Lift ticket and season pass prices

Category Age restrictions Price (USD unless otherwise stated)
Adult 13 - 64 $109
Child 6 & under Free
Child 7 - 12 $59
Senior 65 - 74 $85
Senior 75 & over $39
Season Pass
(Premier Season Pass)
$1,299

Overall Rating

4.4 / 5 based on 19 reviews
Steve Krambule

Great resort with great lifts/gondolas. You get up the mountain super fast and warm! Lots of different terrain to ski with fun for the whole family. Highly recommend this resort.

Posted on Nov 12, 2017
Tony

Great place just over priced. Food is amazing, the service is great, and the gondolas are great for anytime of the year. They keep the trails groomed well and they are always nice. Just a ripoff

Posted on Nov 11, 2017
John Stinson

no real town, not much lodging, a bit of a drive but not bad, some great off piste skiing, needs base lodge music entertainment and apre ski scene - currently there is zero.

Posted on Nov 09, 2017
Spencer Jensen from Utah

Snowbasin is my favorite place to ski in Utah. The mountain is big and well maintained, with plenty of great runs and killer lift-accessed side country. It rarely feels crowded, and it's so fun to ski.

Posted on Oct 20, 2017
Peter from Maryland

Simialr in many respects to Vail only there are no people. They needc a base village big time

Posted on Jan 21, 2013
Bruce horowitz

Great place for beginners and experts. My favorite Resort winter & summer. Lots of terrain, no attitude. Stellar, luxe facilities. Terrific food. Easy to get to but just far enough to keep tourists at PC or snowbird. Parking could

Posted on Nov 11, 2017
paul lanyi

Snowbasin sits far from the maddening crowds of SLC and the major resorts. I think I've waited in 5 minute lines there 2x. Long runs. Good food. Lifts are terrific. And the resort is just luxe at a mid-level price. Owned by the same group as Sun Valley and just as luxurious with no crowds -- except locals who come up on the Weekends.

Posted on Nov 10, 2017
Chris Koogler

This place is the bomb. Don't go here, leave the snow, great terrain and huge vert for us. Tricky visibility sometimes, but great food and clean, welcoming eateries. Just beautiful.

Posted on Nov 05, 2017
Dana from Michigan

-well-maintained -not crowded -great smow -close to big airport -relaxed atmosphere -great spring skiing

Posted on Apr 18, 2013
Debbie from California

This resort is the best kept secret of any ski area. It has incredible terrain, views, exquisite day lodges, gondolas and everything is NEW!

Posted on Dec 18, 2012