Skiing in Snowbasin

Snowbasin Ski Area

Snowbasin Beginners

Though just 20 per cent of the terrain at Snowbasin is classified as beginner friendly, this figure doesn’t do justice to the enjoyable experience Snowbasin has to offer beginners.

Snowbasin boasts a dedicated beginner’s area, providing novices with access to the resort’s seven beginner friendly green trails, while also giving advanced beginners the opportunity to progress onto the many manageable blue trails that Snowbasin has to offer. Indeed, the entire beginners’ area consists of wide, gentle terrain, and the sheer length of some of Snowbasin’s green trails means there is a deceptive amount of space in which beginners can hone their skills and gather confidence.

As can be expected of Snowbasin, the easy access from the main lodge area means the beginners’ area has a family friendly feel to it, and while there are a few black trails which punctuate the far side of the beginners’ area, there are plenty of warnings to quicker skiers instructing them to slow down before the trails merge.

Situated by the Littlecat Express Quad, the Littlecat and Powder Puff runs are ideally suited to beginners wanting to learn the basics of skiing without any distraction from quicker skiers, before progressing onto the green trails off the Becker and Wildcat lifts once ready to practice these skills.

Snowbasin Intermediate Skiing

Snowbasin boasts an impressive proportion of intermediate-friendly terrain, with half of its trails classified as suitable for intermediates, though it is the resort’s long cruisers which make it a favorite among many skiers.

Snowbasin is well known for its long well groomed trails, with an abundance of gentle cruisers to choose from. A number of these long cruisers can be accessed from the Strawberry Express Gondola – Elk Ridge and Main Street being the notable favourites. This is the least crowded part of the mountain, meaning it is possible to get a few runs in despite their length.

A series of interconnected blue trails can be found closer to the base area beneath the Needles Express Gondola. Though predominantly suited to intermediates, there are plenty of more challenging options within this area, including both black trails and untracked powder areas which make for some great skiing at the start of a sunny powder day!

Intermediates at Snowbasin typically avoid riding the John Paul Express Quad, which serves almost exclusively advanced terrain. Indeed, with the exception of the Mt Ogden Road blue run, all of the runs beneath this chair are black trails, making the area below the Mt Ogden Bowl suitable only for advanced skiers and experienced intermediates.

Snowbasin Expert Skiing

Snowbasin’s expert skiing is some of the best in Utha. Snowbasin has the third largest vertical drop in Utah and hence there is plenty to entertain expert skiers and boarders. Thirty per cent of Snowbasin’s ski terrain is classified as suitable for experts, with challenging skiing to be found both on and off piste.

Snowbasin has a seemingly endless number of double black diamond trails, most of which are accessible via the John Paul Express Quad. The clustering of black and double black diamond trails on the north side of the mountain means that advanced skiers are likely to be very familiar with the John Paul area by the end of their stay, though there are plenty of other challenging spots across the mountain.

Indeed, at least one black trail can be found at the top of seven of the resort’s eight lifts – the only exception being the beginner friendly Littlecat Express Quad. The single diamond chutes below the top of the Strawberry Express Gondola tend to be popular with advanced skiers.

The chutes beneath Snowbasin’s numerous peaks offer a further source of challenging skiing, though most of these require a short hike. The two most northerly peaks can, however, be accessed via the Allen Peak Tram, which serves the popular Fingers Chutes, as well as the 2002 Olympic downhill course. The tram also gives skiers the chance to ride the ridgeline across to No Name – a favourite among regulars to Snowbasin for the fresh powder frequently found in this area.

Any skiers wishing to head down Hells Canyon on the other side of No Name should be aware that they are heading out of the ski area and are required to carry avalanche safety gear.

Snowbasin Boarding & Freestyle

Snowbasin is one of Utah’s leading resorts for snowboarders, with three terrain parks and plenty of wide, open trails.

Snowbasin introduced a new progressive terrain park system for the 2009/10 season, offering three terrain parks of varying difficulty. The gentlest of these parks is the School Hill Park, and – as the name suggests – is frequently populated with ski school groups. The park offers an 18 inch pipe and is cut at least twice a week.

The idea is that skiers and boarders will be able to learn park basics in this small park, before progressing on to Littlecat Park (Rail Garden) – a medium sized park designed with intermediates in mind. The park stretches from Showboat to the bottom of the Needles Express Gondola, and consists of fifteen rails and four jumps of varying sizes.

Advanced riders should head to the Coyote Bowl Park in the Strawberry area, which features five large rails and one jump. Despite only recently being widened to accommodate better rail sets and jump lines, plans are afoot for further expansion of the Coyote Bowl Park.

In addition to the resort’s three terrain parks, there are a number of natural half pipes dotted across the mountain. These half pipes are clearly marked on the piste map.

Snowbasin Mountain Restaurants

There are a total of six mountain restaurants at Snowbasin – three up on the mountain and three at the base area.

Situated above the John Paul Express Quad, John Paul Lodge is a great place to stop for lunch on the mountain. Both the food and the surroundings are impressive at this beautiful lodge, with guests able to choose between a seat at one of the Italian marble tables in the main dining area, or a place on the patio which surrounds the restaurant. The four-sided fireplace gives the dining area a very cosy feel, and the food won’t disappoint either, with a wide selection ranging from soups and salads to pastas, pizzas and burgers.

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