North America

Elevate your Life – Ski Utah

written by | Posted on July 1st, 2009

Snowbasin possesses some of the best terrain and fastest lifts—two high-speed gondolas, one tram and six other high-speed, multi-chair lifts—which can combine to transport skiers quickly up to 2,950 vertical ft., accessing 3,300 skiable acres of highly varied and challenging terrain. Approximately 80 percent of the mountain is classified as intermediate to expert runs. Snowbasin also surprisingly possesses some of the finest cuisine of any ski resort in the United States. Clients can stop in at John Paul Lodge and experience an incredible alpine setting with savory Italian specialties. Strawberry Xpresso, meanwhile, at the base of the Strawberry Express Gondola, provides specialty coffees and pastries and is a great way to start the day.

Snowbasin represents Utah’s second biggest ski resort comprised of six linked peaks. Moreover, one of the main joys about this place is its lack of crowds. Perhaps it is simply a matter of geography. In a state with such an abundance of first class skiing terrain—seven world-class resorts lie within 15 minutes of Salt Lake City—being a little over an hour from the airport without much quality lodging nearby can be a liability. It is important to note that Snowbasin contains no lodging, but it is important to remember that a positive result of this is that crowds do not often appear at Snowbasin, which allows ski and board enthusiasts to seemingly have the place to themselves and avoid any lift lines.

Snowbasin is truly a beast of a mountain that provides a substantial variety of terrain providing skiers and boarders of every level the chance to truly challenge themselves. Vistas from the top and middle of Snowbasin are breathtaking from all angles. Recommend clients ride the top of Allen’s Peak (destination of the start house of the men’s downhill during the Olympics) and look over the mountain’s backside and catch amazing and unforgettable views of Ogden Valley and the Great Salt Lake.

Here, adventurers can experience the thrill of skiing the runs raced by Olympians, enjoy long cruising runs in the Strawberry area, and push themselves to the limits with blacks and double-blacks in the John Paul and Allen’s Peak/No Name areas.

One of the most unique mountain adventure destinations and an absolute must for serious powder lovers is the Powder Mountain Resort. Also accessed via Ogden Canyon, Powder Mountain can be reached via a 35-minute drive from downtown Ogden.

Powder Mountain, like Snowbasin, has no lodging and is a little farther of a drive from the seven major resorts closest to Salt Lake City. However, this area is unlike any other mountain in Utah and truly a special destination for any powder enthusiast. A word of caution—Powder Mountain relies solely on mother nature for snow (no snow-making facilities operate on this mountain), but she generally delivers the goods. This place gets over 500 inches annually. Its natural snow is the best and most abundant and readers ofSki Magazine agree, having consistently rated Powder Mountain among the best for snow quality and value. Uncrowded and not heavily groomed, powder hounds can access 5,500 acres of variable terrain (mostly ungroomed) by a unique combination of shuttle buses, snowcats, and traditional lifts. Powder Mountain is truly one of a kind for the ultimate Rocky Mountain powder experience.

Among the most special adventures a powder lover can have in Utah is to experience the Snowcat Powder Safari, a guided backcountry adventure on Powder Mountain. Over 1,000 acres of untouched backcountry terrain await guests. This guided adventure provides a full day of snowcat rides to untouched backcountry terrain. The snowcats provide for a unique “lift service” and deliver easy and comfortable access to the backcountry areas where conditions are often pristine throughout the day. The Snowcat Powder Safari is limited to 12 guests daily. The price is $300 pp ($280 pp in a 12-person single group) and is well worth the price and experience for any powder lover. A satisfying lunch is served during the day as part of the adventure.

For those who do not want to splurge for a whole day of snowcat skiing in the backcountry, Powder Mountain provides the Lightning Ridge Snowcat, which for $12 per ride can take skiers into 700 acres of steep, deep powder terrain and otherwise inaccessible challenging terrain.