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Game plan for Snowbasin Easter Sunday?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

The family and I are going to be there this Easter Sunday to ski Snowbasin for the first time. Any advice on how to avoid the crowds on a Sunday, i.e. "Take lift X up first thing in the morning. Ski ?? area until it starts to get crowded then move over to Y lift, etc. etc.". I'm hoping that because it is Easter Sunday and it's late in the year, most folks will be home spending time with their families instead of out on the hill?

We're all advanced intermediates. Anything short of chutes and cliffs we ski with no problem.


Thanks in advance.


Moderator Note: Moved to General Skiing

post #2 of 10

I've give you my thought, having been there a couple yrs ago, mid season, including a Sunday.


1. I'd make a strong assumption, Easter Sunday in Utah would be a very

uncrowded situation.  Not sure its' one of those mountains that most out of state visitors

to Utah put on their radar, they are focused more on Alta/Snowbird/Brighton/Solitude/Park City/Canyons.


2. I'd just get an early start, parking was free/close (at least couple yrs ago), we were a

stone's throw away from the main lodge.  Even if not crowded, that's #1 thing to get

good parking, and good full day of skiing anywhere.


3. It wasn't busy when we were there mid season.  I don't remember any significant line at any

lift.  The gondola was the longest wait cause it's a slow load/unload.


4. Food was reasonable few yrs ago, much better than most of the other big resorts.  I think getting

a whole pizza (and they had many pizza options) was a good financial choice. We seemed to have no problem

finding a table in the main lodge.  Great facilities.  Nicest restroom I've even been to at a ski area (downstairs at main lodge).


5. Great mountain, be sure to both the far left/far right side of mountain.  If conditions are good(?)

really run terrain on those sides.   A unique gondola ride up to the start of the Olympic downhill start(s).

If conditions are not great, ask the local workers for whats holding up best.  (I think some of the storm hit there

this week?).  What was odd, don't think there was a single bump run to be found.


Have fun.

post #3 of 10

Nice, should be a fun day! I don't think you'll run into many crowds unless it ends up snowing a lot on Saturday. Sunday should be reasonably warm, so here's what my recommended game plan would be:


1 - When you're all set to go, check out the lines. If the line at Needles Gondola is still contained within the maze, take it, then ski down Sweet Revenge (or one of the trails branching left--just not Porcupine Traverse or Boardwalk), then Bear Hollow down to School Hill (or Harold's, Stein's, or Becker Face if any look nice). These will all lead you to the base of the Wildcat lift (which probably won't be running) and the Becker Lift (step 2).

..... If the line at Needles is too long, check out the line at John Paul. If it's not bad, go up there, then traverse out to Wildflower Downhill and look for a spot that looks good to cut right (John Paul, Parson's, or Draba Drop runs, although the last two aren't marked). You'll get to the bottom of the Porcupine lift and keep going down, then take the run marked Showboat on the map (the sign says Blue Grouse). That'll take you down to step 2.

..... If there's a big crowd at both Needles and John Paul, just skip it and go up Littlecat--you need to escape that crowd.


2 - Go up the Becker lift, check out the view right in front of the lift to decide whether it's worth traversing out Philpot Ridge to The Diamond. Then ski down Bear Springs.


3 - Lap the Strawberry gondola until you don't want to any more. It'll get mushy if it warms up, and the weather can be pretty brutal at the top of Strawberry, and it can collect lines when it's nice, so explore it while you enjoy it, then head back to the main area by riding up Strawberry and following the signs on Main Street for "Base Area." Keep some speed on your way to Dan's Run, or you'll end up poling.


4 - By the time you leave Strawberry, any first-rush crowds on John Paul will have died down, so give it a try.


The triple chairs can be great for lapping nice areas if either the top or the bottom is particularly nice, and they shouldn't have much in the way of lines, but they also move a lot slower than the high-speed lifts. Porcupine and Becker serve unique terrain; Middle Bowl just serves the upper half of the Needles Gondola terrain. Wildcat probably won't run, but it's worth coasting/shuffling up to try out some of the fun runs there (take Boardwalk or else follow Needles Run to the junction with one sign saying Needles Run and the other saying Middle Bowl, and follow the Middle Bowl sign)..


Also, I'd definitely recommend going up the Allen Peak Tram at least once, and taking pictures at the top. Your group is probably strong enough to enjoy skiing down, but anyone who wants can just ride back down the tram if they're not up for the goat trail or the steeps.



post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

Great, great advice, New2Utah. Exactly what I was looking for. I'll print this out and put in my jacket pocket. I don't think we'll have to worry about any snow on Saturday. Forecast shows nada. Looking at the temps, I think that we're in for a day of classic spring skiing -  a high of 50 and sunny. I'm hoping that sun forecast will keep the upper mountain fog free.

post #5 of 10
The crowds? At Snowbasin?

The only real strategy I'd recommend is avoiding Needles gondola if the line is more than five minutes. Strawberry is a better alternative. Otherwise, grab a trail map and explore!
post #6 of 10

This IS Utah, Sundays are typically quieter in general. They are having some Easter activities on the mountain that day, so keep an eye out to either avoid or participate. Easter egg hunt at 11, reservations-only brunch running most of the day. We'll be up all day with our daughter.


There is a small storm rolling in tonight and tomorrow that could bring some of the crowds out, but seriously, a major religious holiday weekend in UT usually means pretty quiet on the hill. The snow is holding up really well, at least on the groomers, this week. It's stayed cold enough. More on the way!


And Snowbasin has had record crowds this year, particularly on Saturdays in January.

post #7 of 10
I try to avoid weekends, but I can literally count on my one hand the number of times I've ever waited in line for more than 5 mins over 8 years. It helps to be able to ski the whole mountain, of course, and sometimes not getting there early is better - late afternoons get so empty it can be eerie.

Was there today - groomers were nice all over, ungroomed not so much - heavy slop and choppy re freeze down low. Hiked to some higher stuff that looked nice (no tracks) but was wind blown chalk without any depth. Damn near slid my way down Middle Bowl. There's still nice, soft snow mixed in here and there, but I wouldn't spend much energy searching for signs of the 11 in from earlier this week. Was a bit disappointed, but mostly because last week set up high expectations.

Looks like it's supposed to get colder next week with a little possible snow Mon/Tues. Are you skiing the week or just Sunday?
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 

Good info, thanks. We're skiing the week. Going to head down to the Cottonwoods for the rest of the week, where it looks like there's going to be some storm action. 


The area you hiked to, was it the No Name area? Looking at the trail map, that looks like it might be work a look. 

post #9 of 10

I'm pretty sure the only stuff worth hiking to right now is technically out of bounds, so if you do go that route, you need to be prepared with avy gear. Didn't see much action on No Name today which usually tells the story of how it is, but there were a fair number of skiers hiking the cirques. My husband did Middle Bowl Cirque and said it was just OK. Hit quite a few scratchy, blown off spots. The groomers, however, were fantastic. Not as good as earlier this week, but still really good. I'd expect more of the same tomorrow, with the slush starting earlier in the day as its supposed to be about 5 degrees warmer.

post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

Skied Easter Sunday and it was the definition of empty. I've never been anywhere where there were so few people skiing on a Sunday. And it was a Bluebird day, too. I was surprised how well the snow held up all day. It was only really soft at the bottom near Needles gondola. I will say that the conditions were really variable from top to bottom on each run, as you would expect this time of year. 


And you were right about the No Name area - I'm pretty sure that it was closed as there was no one on it all day. It was really thin towards the bottom, so I"m not sure you could have made it back to the John Paul lift, anyway. 


All in all, a great day. Heading to Alta/Snowbird tomorrow. Forecasts are calling for snow off and on for the next couple of days with colder temps, so conditions should be great. 

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