Great Skiing. Terrific Views. America’s Fanciest Loos.

The Needles Lodge and Gondola at SnowBasin on a bluebird day. Credit: Jon Weisberg
The Needles Lodge and Gondola at SnowBasin on a bluebird day.
Credit: Jon Weisberg

SnowBasin is the expansive, exceptionally beautiful Utah area that most out-of-staters never get to ski. They’re attracted to the bigger name resorts just 45 minutes east of the airport. Head north, add 10 minutes, and you’re at MAGNIFICENT, SnowBasin—site of the 2002 Olympic Downhill events.

At the top, looking over its 3,300 acres, the cliffs and outcroppings suggest Europe. The vertical is 2,950 feet.

From this reviewer’s perspective, it ranks high for older skiers.

Snow and Terrain

  • There is much here for every ability: trails, bowls, glades. On powder or post-powder days, freshies await.
  • Lifts are fast and modern, including two gondolas and a short tram serving a vast black diamond area.
  • Ample snowmaking assures good coverage while nature sleeps. Elevation can be an issue. Its base is 6400 feet. Alta’s is 8530 feet, meaning more snow. But when conditions are good, Snow Basin is great.
  • Visibility is another issue. When it’s not bright and bluebird, its vast, treeless spaces produce unusually flat light; disorienting to anyone with compromised visual acuity.


  • Easy to reach lodge and lifts: The resort runs a frequent shuttle service delivering skiers a short distance from base lodge and lifts.
  • Parking is well organized: lots of personnel guiding you to your spot.
  • A fleet of large plastic garden carts is available to transport equipment and grandkids.

Day Lodges

Taking a break at Snow Basin
Taking a break at SnowBasin

These are not your typical lodges. They’re every bit as luxurious as Four Seasons hotels. Finishings. Furnishings. Flooring. You name it. No expense was spared, either at the base (Earl’s Lodge) or on the mountain (John Paul Lodge and Needles Lodge), where the luxe interiors and glass enclosed patios have spectacular views.

Food is several steps up from most resorts. House-made soups can stand up to most big city eateries. Look for Snow Basin’s Dining Discovery Series with sustainable farm-to-table selections. More on that on the resort website under “Events”.

Loo Review

Clean, classy luxury in every lodge! Men’s Rooms have a foyer with upholstered furniture, a washroom with gold-plated fixtures, and fully-enclosed commodes. Every place you go has shelving and hooks for gloves, helmets, and parkas.

Culture and Practicalities

From parking attendant to ticket window to liftee, there’s a culture of friendliness and helpfulness. Some areas don’t seem to care or have personnel who don’t even bother to sweep snow from chair. Snow Basin has trained its people to make the interaction truly enjoyable.

Unfortunately, there’s no onsite lodging. Condo rentals are available at nearby Pineview Reservoir. Many hotel/motel/other options are available in the city of Ogden, 20 – 25 minutes away.

Best to get there by auto although inexpensive public busses run three times a day between Ogden and the resort.

Bottom Line

Click here for more SnowBasin information

Trail Map Click Here 


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