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|Ski area:||3200 acres|
|Gondolas & Trams:||3|
Snowbasin UT Weather:
Snowbasin (not Snow Basin) is a modern, stylish and upscale resort that was the location for the 2002 Winter Olympics (Salt Lake City) men's and women's downhill, Super-G, and combined events. It is a magnificent blend of history, elegance and a skiers mountain. Snowbasin is one of the oldest resorts in the country (opened in 1939), but as a showcase for the Olympics, the resort received many updates prior to the 2002 winter games. With one of the world's most advanced snow making systems, lifts, roads, and lodges, Snowbasin is an upscale resort, but with friendly prices. Located less than 50 miles from Salt Lake City, it is a short drive from the city, however, it's further away than some of the more popular and well known resorts in Utah, such as Park City and Deer Valley.
There are three base lodges: Earl's Lodge (main plaza area), John Paul Lodge and Needles Lodge.
Snowbasin has over 3000 acres of skiable terrain with about a 3000 vertical feet drop. Most of the resort is located on one side of the mountain, with the most difficult terrain at the top, and the easier terrain at the bottom. The view of Snowbasin is scenic and spectacular when looking at the face of the mountain with its jagged peaks at the top. The peaks are actually so steep and un-skiable that the lifts don't go all the way to the top, however, there are some which can be reached by a short hike from many of the lifts. Although there is terrain for every skier here, this is a resort with difficult terrain that expert skiers will enjoy the most.
The mountain resides along the edge of Ogden Valley with three distinct sections: "Allen's Peak" and "No Name" (trail map right serviced by "John Paul Express" and "Allen's Peak Tram"), "Needles" (center serviced by the Needles Express gondola) and "Strawberry Peak" (trail map left serviced by the gondola). Beginners and intermediate skiers will appreciate the "Needles" mountain center terrain.
Top of Needles Express Gondola
The easiest terrain is located on lower half of the mountain, especially on the left side (when facing the mountain). Take the Needles Express Gondola from the base and follow the Strawberry Traverse until reaching Sweet Revenge. This is a nicely groomed trail good for beginners. Another great trail can be reached by taking the Strawberry Express Gondola and take the Main Street trail all the way down to the same gondola. Then do the same run again, and again, and again... Yes, it's that good and skiers at most levels can enjoy this trail. Some parts are pretty steep for a blue trail, but there is no need to worry since it's nicely groomed. There are also nice off-chute trails that can be taken for more difficult terrain. On a powder day, check out the Coyote Bowl off of Main Street.
Run: Sweet Revenge (Blue groomed run)
As mentioned earlier, Snowbasin has a lot of advanced terrain. A good place to start is to take the Strawberry Express Gondola and ski to the right toward the Sisters' Bowl. It starts off steep, but then levels off a little to more open bowls. There are several good trails towards the bottom as well. Don't get too carried away when skiing these trails and pay attention to the signs so you don't miss the trail appropriately named "Last Chance" otherwise you will have to hike back to the Strawberry Express Gondola.... Don't bother asking how we know this...
For even more difficult terrain, take the John Paul Express Quad; then jump on the Allen Peak Tram. You will then be at the start of the men's downhill trail from the 2002 Olympics. From here you can ski down the first drop until you reach the lodge where the Allen Peak Tram starts, zip right by it until you see the signs for Grizzly Downhill. This is the actual downhill run of the 2002 Olympics and will automatically give you some bragging rights.
Allen Peak Tram at Top: Both the men's and women's downhill trails from the 2002 Olympics can be reached from the peak.
The never ending chute:
For even more difficult terrain, ski along (bear left) the Allan Peak ridge until reaching the start of the Woman's downhill race. Don't stop here, but keep following the trail behind the little hut towards No Name peak. It's a 5-10 minute walk. Don't worry, you will be well rewarded. The ski run down the bowl on the right is a good run, but it is even better to keep going a little bit until reaching the warning signs (always a good sign for the extreme skier). It starts out with a nice little bowl, then it turns into the longest chute we have seen in a long time. It seemed like it was several miles long, and at some places very steep and deep. If you don't make it back to the lift, catch a shuttle bus from the parking lot back to the lifts. The day we visited, the visibility was very poor at the peaks most of the day, so we were not able to explore the double diamond trails that are lining the peaks (please see trail map), but there should be plenty of hard core terrain here as well. However, these peaks are not lift operated, but we are sure the climb will be well worth it.
Photo sequence to the chute and down the chute:
From the Allen Peak tram ski along the ridge and past/behind the hut at the start of the women's downhill trail and hike up the hill....
... walk past this funny looking tree...
... and past the warning signs....
... Entrance to Chute. ..and let the fun begin!
... and yes, this chute does finally end.
There is plenty of tree skiing at Snowbasin. For more open tree skiing, stay on the left side of the mountain as there are plenty of places to cut in from a blue trail and into the glades. For denser woods, take the John Paul Express and ski down under the lift. There will be several good entries for some great tree skiing to the left. There are also some nice glades from the No Name peak.
Run: "Shooting Star" glade
Lift line run under John Paul Express Quad
This run has its' entrance under the John Paul Express Quad
There aren't a lot of terrain parks and there are no man made half pipes at Snowbasin, but who cares when there is as much great natural terrain as there is at Snowbasin. There is one terrain park near the base of the Strawberry Express Gondola and one at the main base area. For natural half pipes, take the John Paul Express Quad and ski down Snow King until reaching the half pipes.
Snowbasin won't be your top pick for Aprés ski or party activities. You will find entertainment in Ogden and further away at the Utah epicenter of fun in Park City.
Locally at base lodges:
The Main Plaza has shopping including the Grizzly Center ski shop and rental shop.
Lodging is available at Snowbasin and the surrounding Ogden, Huntsville and Salt Lake area.
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