About a week ago, my boy and I arrived at Snowbasin, pretty much, having read and heard so much about it. The advice given to us by folks on Epic was dead-on perfect right down to where we stayed in Huntsville. Anyway, this is our report. Short Video (5mins) is below, and we do have pics of the lodges and the picturesque vistas.
Arrive early morning from Silver Lake using Asap Transportation, excellent service, and genuinely competitive pricing, to our condo hotel, Lakeside Resorts (whose locale and coordinates were supplied by CliffK on Epic). Arrive, dump our bags, we were already ski-geared up, put on boots and off to the mountain to rendezvous with Jr4ster of epic and who also happens to be the eminence grise of instructors at Snowbasin. We arrive on day post rain (we got that at Deer Valley the day before), and are off pretty quick on the "gondola". And yes, the lodge at the base was just the best we'd seen in North America. Took Needles up did some warm up runs off of Needles (strawberry was closed). Then 4ster took us on the John Paul lift and to see if the WC downhills were good, looked really daunting, frozen and steep, so our way out was Hollywood Bowl, and while it had some softer snow, all crust, 4ster and my boy were ok, I could'nt make turns as skis kept getting stuck. Though when we got down, viewed that as one heck of an experience, to write home about. Then we continued off Needles and also John Paul lift but using Mt Ogden Road way down. Did Wildflower bowl and 4ster and my son did some more gnarly stuff (Dad wisely stayed on the easier terrain!). Sweet Revenge and other blue and some black runs down are really a delight. It was amusing for people from Utah, conditions were definitely not pleasant and for us from the NY metropolitan planet, we could'nt stop skiing. As usual, Dad went to relax around 330pm, and son closed the Needles gondola.
Day 2, we arrive and do the Needles warmup, Strawberry opened, but as you will see in video below, we arrived up there as a weather front moved in, wind and ice, but we could'nt get enough. Memorable event was 4ster taking me to just inbounds terrain called WFO (it stands for exactly what you might think it is .. Way the F*** out), we traversed there across from the Needles top. Now for this skier, that was major extreme terrain, rock hard, flat light, bowls and steep ridges, actually got vertigo briefly because of light. When we got on traverse back (called "last chance") towards base, had not felt so good in a long time. Well, the day continued, and Dad retired as usual around 330pm, and son closed the lifts with 4ster! In lodge, a native resident asked me how the day was, I replied "tremendous", looked at me like I was crazy, well, we were rocking!
Day 3, snowed about 8-10" the night before, and continued to snow through the day. Now, conditions were Utah-esque, soft creamy, ice cream snow, did the Men's downhill from John Paul top, Allen express to top closed due to winds. What a run, and then lapped that a few times, and incredibly we did the Women's downhill in dense fog, visibility 5ft, no jokes, 4ster navigated on instinct, son in the middle, and Dad brought up the rearguard. On every run, one just felt like it was a new adventure, and then one gets the ice cream and lets it rip. There was Utah powder finally as one expects normally on Day 3.
We ate at the base lodge, top of Strawberry and John Paul, food is par excellent, and just such fantastic facilities. So comfortable, and intelligent (have radiant heating under the stone floors outside so snow does not accumulate..always thinking, the architects of Snowbasin). And yes, bathrooms are as advertised, better than anything else anywhere.
In Dad's view, Snowbasin is the best place he has skied in Utah, though my boy, who is Mr Lift-closer himself, said Alta and Snowbasin are kind of equal.
Will put it this way, Snowbasin has multiple easily accessed (inbound) continuous vertical which is longer than the other Utah ski areas, and has an incredible amount of seriously extreme terrain, a hike or traverse away or actually off the lifts too, Strawberry and John Paul. The food is superb, and having 4ster as our guide/instructor, we made a new friend and loved the area, and will be back, hopefully soon, for real Utah dry snow. Snowbasin note has no slopeside lodging and Lakeside was really convenient,and note, most comfortable and the folks who run it, run it well, and its a lot less expensive than most other places we have been to in Deer Valley, Alta and Solitude. Shuttle to slope was timely, reliable, and since Dad does not cook, we ate in Ogden, strange kind of funky town.
What a place and what a joy. We did ski Deer Valley 3 days before Snowbasin, totally different experience and that was enjoyable too. DV is like a sure thing, and son as usual tackled serious terrain there (Centennial etc..) but Snowbasin just is hard to beat.
Edited by dustyfog - 1/29/11 at 4:00pm