Uncrowded, Beautiful Views, Variety Of Terrain, No Hotels.

Most of the trails at Snowbasin wind up at the Needles Gondola. Credit: Tamsin Venn

Older skiers would really like Snowbasin outside Ogden, UT. You have nearly 3,000 acres in which to avoid other skiers and 3,000 vertical feet to get some rhythm going. A remotish location keeps lines short midweek. Lifts whisk you up to the top of six scenic, craggy peaks: two high-speed gondolas, three high-speed chairlifts. You can dine on really good food at a choice of three swank lodges, all glass and timber, wall-to-wall carpeting, stone fireplaces, and chandeliers. Locals think about skiing elsewhere, but why bother?

“You ski on a Tuesday here, even on the biggest powder day, and you’re looking for somebody to ride the lift with,” says new General Manager Davy Ratchford, quoted in Powder Magazine.

The layout is easy to follow. Most of the 106 tree-dotted trails end up at the base of the Needles Gondola. The mostly intermediate and expert trails include a fun variety: wide groomed boulevards, low angle chutes to dip into, hikes to cirques and chutes close to lifts, such as the popular Lone Tree. Typically the area gets 300 inches of snow a year.

Stop at the top to view four states: Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Nevada. At the Strawberry Gondola, take the longest Elk Ridge trail at 3.5 miles. Flat light can be a problem up top on weather days, but low visibility markers lead you back to the base area.

Snowbasin hosted the downhill at the 2002 Olympics. You can hurl down the course if you like. Credit: Tamsin Venn

Snowbasin hosted the men’s and women’s downhill in the 2002 Olympics. Take the 15-passenger tram up to Allen Peak (9,465 feet), stare in awe over the precipice looking down at Ogden’s grid and Great Salt Lake. Then heart in throat, hurl yourself down The Grizzly, start of the men’s downhill. The less ambitious can take the tram back down to the newly widened and graded Mt. Ogden Bowl Road, a lower-angled return.

Snowbasin is not new. About 50 minutes north of Salt Lake City, it opened in 1939, and is one of the oldest continually operating ski resorts in the U.S. Utah native Earl Holding (of Sun Valley) bought it in 1984, made a large investment in lifts and snowmaking over the years, then pulled out all the stops for the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Snowbasin has no lodging. In nearby Huntsville, the newly opened Compass Rose Lodge, run by skiers Jeff and Bonnie Hyde has 15 bedrooms and its own observatory to take advantage of nearby North Fork dark-sky park. Grab a beer and burger at the No Name Saloon, oldest bar in Utah.

Or stay in Ogden, 30 minutes away, once a key stop on the transcontinental railroad. It has historic hotels like The Roosevelt, many ethnic restaurants, craft beer breweries like Roosters Brewing Company, and Social Axe where you can throw axes with your friends for fun. UTA public buses run up Ogden Canyon to Snowbasin and nearby Powder Mountain.

The Facts

Snowbasin has gone Epic. The 2019-20 Epic Pass provides seven days of skiing each at Snowbasin and Sun Valley, no blackout dates, and 50 percent off lift tickets once days are used.

Day pass senior at window (65-74) $89. 75 plus is $45. Midweek season pass (all ages) $439. 75 plus is $49. Snowbasin will close this year on April 21.

Click here for Snowbasin Trail Map.

Click here for Snowbasin Webcam.

Not too crowded big mountain skiing at Snowbasin. Credit: Tamsin Venn





  1. Tom Harrer says:

    I need to know where to stay, any ski in and out. Do you have shuttle service from airport to mtn. Also, from hotel to mtn. Where to eat…can you eat on the mtn.

  2. Tamsin Venn says:

    Dear Tom: At this time, there is no slopeside lodging, but the big news is that it is in the works. There is a shuttle from the Salt Lake City airport. Many people stay in Ogden 30 minutes down the mountain, and there is a shuttle service that takes people to the mountain from several downtown hotels. There is also a public bus. John Paul and Needles lodges at mountain-top and Earl’s Lodge at the base all serve great food. You can get more details for transportation and lodging through Visit Ogden https://www.visitogden.com/. By the way, the name of the great old historic hotel in Ogden is the Bigelow, not the Roosevelt… my senior moment.

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