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Tell Me About Snowbasin

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
Our trip to Utah is now booked for Feb. 28 to March 6. 6 nights. Will surely hit Alta/Snowbird and Deer Valley and hope to make the trip to Snowbasin. I've never been to Squaw Valley but, as I surf the sites Snowbasin, for some reason, looks comparable to Squaw??
What has been the experience at Snowbasin of those who have been??
Also, I see that at Powder Mountain there is a deal for $150.00 that gives you an all day lift ticket and 1 Heli-ski ride of 3,000 vertcal feet. Anyone done this?? We are considering it.
I am beginning to realize 6 nights won't be enough to get it all done. That's life. Surely will be a trip to remember.
post #2 of 34
only skied squaw a few days many years ago, but i would think of squaw as having some more challenging terrrain. snowbasin is lower elevation than the cottonwood, and only the far left(John Paul) looking up faces due north, so it gets some exposure. Snowbasin is all on one mountain with these spines running down it, and they break up the big wide face. It is an advanced intermediates delight with plenty of cruisers, but good advanced terrain to keep an expert happy for the day, esp john paul. Lot's of little places to explore, esp on each end. IMHO, not known for big mogul fields.

what makes snowbasin unique are: the two 8 person gondolas which wisk you right up the hill in no time and make for some nice chat with ski people. also, when i've been there, lift lines have always been non-existent on the strawberry and easily manageable or none on the main gondola. the lodges really make the place, quite luxurious with nice unique menus, bathrooms unlike any other resort i've been to, very friendly staff and service. built by a billionaire, Sinclair Oil, place has been very quiet for years(formerly was long-time smaller resort), apparently condos are in the works, can't believe he has been making a profit when i've been there.

snow not as good as cottonwoods, but always decently comparable for my trips. worth the drive, i doubt a travel agent would ever get you there, so it is somewhat of a locals or utah skiers secret.

it doesn't have that high alpine scenery as alta/snowbird, but it is quite nice on top. make sure you take the little gondola and do the mens downhill from the tippy top and imagine the boys bombing it!
post #3 of 34
Some friends and I took our first trip to Utah two years ago at the end of February and skied Snowbasin, Solitude, Alta and Deer Valley. Snowbasin was our favorite! Lots of very long runs, an excellent lift system (especially the gondolas) and the best lodges anywhere. Be assured that you will not regret making the trek up there! We are hoping to make a return trip this winter!
post #4 of 34
Thread Starter 
BuckEye Fan.......I like your choice of mountains. Could trade Deer Valley for Solitude?? Which should we do?? Solitude, Brighton or Deer Valley.
I think Deer Valley.
post #5 of 34
I'd hit Alta/Snowbird, then possibly Solitude and or PCMR.

Snowbasin should w/o question be on your list. It is one of the most impressive "sleepers" I have ever been to. The terrain is an Adv. Intermediate / Expert paradise and you can get plenty of action in finding the little out of the way stashes all over the place.

Most of the people I ran into there were pass holders...crowds were non-existant and the facilities were amazing. Don't miss Snowbasin.

You can find discount tickets at Canyon Sports in downtown Salt Lake City.
post #6 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sugaree View Post
BuckEye Fan.......I like your choice of mountains. Could trade Deer Valley for Solitude?? Which should we do?? Solitude, Brighton or Deer Valley.
I think Deer Valley.
If it were my decision (after skiing DV 1 day last year) I would definitely not opt for DV. It was pretty boring except for some nice long bump runs. I would go for either Solitude or Brighton (though Brighton is known for being a boarder's mountain and DV = no snowboarders). I was looking forward to DV but was disappointed. Condos everywhere, bad skiers...

Also skied Snowbasin for the 1st time last year and liked it alot, though the snow was really bad (no snow for 2 weeks & snow was baked). I recommend Snowbasin, interesting mountain with a lot of places to explore.
post #7 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Louie View Post
...and you can get plenty of action in finding the little out of the way stashes all over the place.
This is what I remember most about Snowbasin...great mountain.
post #8 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by TerpSKI View Post
If it were my decision (after skiing DV 1 day last year) I would definitely not opt for DV. It was pretty boring except for some nice long bump runs. I would go for either Solitude or Brighton (though Brighton is known for being a boarder's mountain and DV = no snowboarders). I was looking forward to DV but was disappointed. Condos everywhere, bad skiers...

Also skied Snowbasin for the 1st time last year and liked it alot, though the snow was really bad (no snow for 2 weeks & snow was baked). I recommend Snowbasin, interesting mountain with a lot of places to explore.
I'd second the above.

I hit DV one day last winter, wanting to see what all the fuss was about. Other than the nice folks who carried skis from my car to the rack - not much. McMansion condos everywhere, a turnoff, and nice enough terrain, but what troubled me most was the TERRIBLE skiers here. In other words I hit DV, but DV hit back! I had two kids with me, both advanced, competent, and predictable skiers; within twenty minutes they each got clobbered by out of control morons blasting full speed ahead into an uncrowded loading zone (one knocked out of her bindings and flat on her face; the other just had his tips run over while he stood next to the rope). This was not a crowded day -- just a lot of crappy skiers here. On the other hand this means very little traffic in trees or on ungroomed (if you can find it, they do a lot of grooming). But in my book DV is not worth the premium price or the risk of skiing with yahoos like that.

Solitude has nice groomers too, great service and uncrowded (but slow) lifts. The backcountry in Honeycomb Canyon looks great (though I haven't skied it yet).

And Snowbasin is the kicker -- big enough you'll find plenty of untracked whenever you want; long, well groomed runs for high speed cruising; fast, well designed lifts with no crowds; and great lodges and food (equal if not better to Deer Valley). And they'll carry your skis to the rack too if that's your thing.
post #9 of 34
Snowbasin has lots of interesting short steep nooks and crannies, but on the whole I found it to be a very flat mountain. I have skied there several times and it is worth a trip to check it out for a day, but terrain-wise it is the exact opposite of Alta and Snowbird with no sustained steep pitches anywhere on the mountain. The luxuious on-mountain lodges are a trip, especially the bathrooms with thieir night club quailty black marble urnials and cherry wood full door stalls. The place is very uncrowded and with a little climbing you can have get some very steep short shots, but from my experience it was about 85% an intermediate crusier mountain. If that's what you like you can have vast intermediate runs almost to yourself. I don't think it gets near as much snow as the Cottonwood Canyons areas, and it tends to be very windy at times.
post #10 of 34
Snowbasin is definitely a world class resort. The lodges are fabulous, the ski patrol there are very helpful, and the gondolas are very, very nice. From SLC it's probably an hour's drive, but you can't go wrong there at all!
post #11 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by ts01 View Post
I hit DV one day last winter, wanting to see what all the fuss was about. Other than the nice folks who carried skis from my car to the rack - not much. McMansion condos everywhere, a turnoff, and nice enough terrain, but what troubled me most was the TERRIBLE skiers here.
I feel myself being backed into the odd position of defending Deer Valley.

First, let me say DV is not my favorite mountain, and I really, really, really want to ski Snowbasin someday. Nonetheless, I don't think DV deserves the bashing it gets.

The key is to get to the upper mountain (esp. Empire Canyon) as quickly as possible. The bottom 2 lifts are lined with incredibly tacky McMansions.

The blue groomers are wide, consistent, and boring -- but guess what? They are supposed to be. The one true intermediate in our group said DV was his favorite mountain of the three we skied.

I don't blame ts01 for being soured by people hitting his kids -- just question whether its really worse at DV or just bad luck that day.

I talked about Daly Bowl/Chutes in a different thread. There is definitely top-end challenge there.

The run under the Empire lift is the best learning-level mogul run I have ever seen anywhere. (At least it was that day.)

I think the bottom line is that any of the SLC areas will have some wonderful terrain. In fact, I have not been to any Western ski area I would not jump at the chance to go back to. (Slight exaggeration - there was one in Colorado that was kinda boring, but my memory is fuzzy so I'm not going to name names.)

We now return you to your Snowbasin thread, already in progress.
post #12 of 34
I'll pileon and give the n to Deer Valley too. I skied there for the first time last year, just to do it, and it wasn't for me. Tons and tons of kids, never seen such a kiddy palace in Utah, including BCC, only plus is lots of MILF's riding herd on them. The moguls runs were fine but they got bumped up high and hard quite quickly, and when I skied the LCC the next day the snow/bumps were much, much sweeter with no new snow. Deer Valley got trashed quite quickly! Also, I don't like the whole layout with the condos all around and even food/wood smell in the air in many places. Their expert terrain was fine, but short.

The expert above who nixes Snowbasin, I disagree. Although it doen't truly compare to LCC, (what does?, esp the bird), I find plenty to keep me satisfied for a day. John Paul lift is good(but not that wide) and their is lots of nice terrain off the spines(although not super steep) and chopped up funky, ~backcountry "junk"(baking) crud in the Strawberry area. It is a good place to have a hard top to bottom run. But you do end up on some flat cruisers through it all. I always want to hit it for a day on my trips and I prefer it to PCMResorts. I would like a nice powder day at Snowbasin, which I have never yet hit. I bet that's the place to be! Because I often find lines many days after the last storm.
post #13 of 34
Thread Starter 
Wow!! Deer Valley is shifting to the bottom of the pack.
How about this.........Solitude or Park City MR or The Canyons??
Fill me up.....
post #14 of 34
Sugaree --

OK I'll admit my take on DV was random but seeing someone else mentioned crappy skiers there, I thought it worth mentioning crappy and dangerous. But as mdf points out it was basically just bad luck. There were a lot of people on the mountain who did not run into my little darlings. Plenty of competent skiers; but a lot of others as well, who seem to be attracted by the glitz and luxury.

If you're flying in and landing in the morning then you owe it to the good folks at the Park City Chamber of Commerce to ski one of the PC resorts on their freebie deal (http://www.parkcityinfo.com/skiing/quickstart/). That's why I went to Deer Valley. I haven't skied the other two (but plenty others here have done so and will weigh in) but the main thing if you're there for a half day is The Canyons is closest to the airport ... next time that's where I'm heading, I'd guess you could be skiing 15 or 20 minutes faster that way coming from the airport.
post #15 of 34
I think you owe it to yourself to ski one of the Park City resorts for a day, and you are staying right there, maybe the day you are not that motivated to get early and at it. Either Canyons or PCMR would be fine, don't kill yourself with the choice. Jupiter lift/Bowl is real nice country! Also, remeber Alta opens at 9;15 or 9:30, forget which. I would not ski anywhere twice on your trip. Solitude/Brighton are fine skiing, esp conditions, and the ride up the BCC is nice scenery, but there is a reason they don't draw the crowds that the LCC does. I like the BCC resorts for my half days.

Also, I don't think the PC resorts give a free 1/2 day when your going. check it out.
post #16 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by ts01 View Post
...but what troubled me most was the TERRIBLE skiers here...
Not that DV's my favortive place either, but remember that the vast majority of skiers are tourists from the East & West coasts (#1= CA, #2 = NY, #3 = FL; source - PC Chamber of Commerce), so it's a reflection of your own backyard.
post #17 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowbirdDevotee View Post
I think you owe it to yourself to ski one of the Park City resorts for a day, and you are staying right there, maybe the day you are not that motivated to get early and at it. Either Canyons or PCMR would be fine, don't kill yourself with the choice. Jupiter lift/Bowl is real nice country!
As I said elsewhere, I liked PCMR a lot. I'll post a few pics when I get around to it. My defense of DV is not necessarily an endorsement of it over PCMR. Each had things I liked.

One other DV feature I forgot -- Rossignol has a free on-mountain demo center. Just give them a HUGE deposit on your credit card and ski away - took less than ten minutes.

(Since I don't expect everyone to remember who says what, I'll repeat that we did not go further afield than the 3 PC areas for group-dynamic, logistical reasons. But I would have liked to.)

I did not like Canyons, for an accumulation of non-skiing reasons. Bad bottleneck getting away from the parking lot; confusing to get around; McMansions half way up the mountain (in some ways more disconcerting than DV - you come around a corner and boom, there they are, unlike DV where you can outrun them); the worst, most expensive cafeteria food. I did ride lifts with a lot of passholders who love the place, but I think it takes too much investment (of time and thought) to get the most out of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowbirdDevotee View Post
Also, I don't think the PC resorts give a free 1/2 day when your going. check it out.
If I recall correctly, they did participate, but there are quite a few black-out dates. I think the chamber of commerce sponsors the program. Not completely sure, tho...
post #18 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Powdr View Post
Not that DV's my favortive place either, but remember that the vast majority of skiers are tourists from the East & West coasts (#1= CA, #2 = NY, #3 = FL; source - PC Chamber of Commerce), so it's a reflection of your own backyard.
Makes sense. The lift line massacre at DV reminded me of boarding the subway at Grand Central.

BTW our backyard has Whiteface, Gore, Plattekill and some other fine spots. So I'll blame it on Florida, if you don't mind.
post #19 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Powdr View Post
Not that DV's my favortive place either, but remember that the vast majority of skiers are tourists from the East & West coasts (#1= CA, #2 = NY, #3 = FL; source - PC Chamber of Commerce), so it's a reflection of your own backyard.
Insert the words "wealthy once a year skiers" in place of tourists.......and after East & West coasts add "and everywhere else" and we've covered it.

I have to admit...I haven't looked over my shoulder as much as I did skiing DV since I stopped teaching. Sugaree...I'd skip DV and the Canyons. There is a ton of good skiing at all the other areas within striking distance of SLC. Go have fun !
post #20 of 34
Sugaree,
Between Solitude and Deer Valley I liked Solitude better. Deer Valley felt a little spread out for my liking. At Solitude I really liked the runs off of the Summit chair and the Eagle Express. And Honeycomb Canyon was nice too.
I like a wilder feel when I'm skiing, i.e. no houses along the ski runs, so that also contributed to why I like Solitude better. Deer Valley is nice, but given the choice between the two, I'll take Solitude. (Plus the lift ticket is quite a bit cheaper!)
post #21 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Louie View Post
Insert the words "wealthy once a year skiers" in place of tourists.......and after East & West coasts add "and everywhere else" and we've covered it....
Doesn't that pretty much sum the demographics of all skiers? Yes, not Bears, but just about everyone that goes to the big destination states fit that description. Again, most of these areas experience decidedly out of state skiers.

Powdr
post #22 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdf View Post
...McMansions half way up the mountain (in some ways more disconcerting than DV - you come around a corner and boom, there they are, unlike DV where you can outrun them)...
I understand what you are getting at about the fishbowl feeling at these resorts, but I would not characterize them as McMansions. They are humongous palaces that sit empty 50 weeks of the year. Most are above 10,000 sq ft and go all the way to 40,000. McMansions (at least to me) are those cookie cutter 'starter mansions' mashed next to one another in upscale gated neighborhoods across the country that baby boomers insist on living in. The palaces of the PC area are second homes to the ultra riche, where throwing away $10 - $25 million on these places doesn't make them even finch. Just a clarification.

Powdr
post #23 of 34
alta,snowbird,solitude,snowbasin,andpowder mountain(do the cat skiing and get one of the free mountain hosts to show you around powder mtn. as it is huge and confusing. Tip the host/guide if you have fun with him/her.)Just don't tell 'em that you know me, my darling sugaree!
post #24 of 34
In terrain quality I would rate in order Snowbird, Alta, Snowbasin, Solitude. PCMR is probably next because of Jupiter Bowl area. Weather/conditions might modify your choices some. If it's warm the more sun exposed places like Snowbasin, The Canyons and the lower part of Park City will suffer. Deer Valley and Brighton should move up in consideration then. With a dump it's worth your effort to get to the less competitive environment at Powder Mt.
post #25 of 34
My group has skied snowbasin 4 days over the last few years on our annual Utah trip. We normally go to Alta for most of the week, but usually venture out to one or two other places as well.

If snowbasin was in LCC or BCC, it might be our #1 area. But it just doesn't get the consistantly good snow conditions that the 4 cottonwood canyon ski areas get. We have just never hit a good day with new snow. I am sure it has its days. It has been either mushy (lower altitude), very foggy, or icy.

Having said that, the terrain is interesting, and it is large enough to keep you busy for many days. It is a great place to ski. The lodges are very classy and well done (I was more impressed with snowbasin lodges than deer valley), food is excellent, and staff very nice. It is an easy drive from SLC or Park City. Well worth a visit, especially if conditions are good. Best bet is to check the report in the morning, and then decide where to go. It gets different weather than the SLC or Park City resorts.
post #26 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by cbgarrett View Post
My group has skied snowbasin 4 days over the last few years on our annual Utah trip. We normally go to Alta for most of the week, but usually venture out to one or two other places as well.

If snowbasin was in LCC or BCC, it might be our #1 area. But it just doesn't get the consistantly good snow conditions that the 4 cottonwood canyon ski areas get. We have just never hit a good day with new snow. I am sure it has its days. It has been either mushy (lower altitude), very foggy, or icy.

Having said that, the terrain is interesting, and it is large enough to keep you busy for many days. It is a great place to ski. The lodges are very classy and well done (I was more impressed with snowbasin lodges than deer valley), food is excellent, and staff very nice. It is an easy drive from SLC or Park City. Well worth a visit, especially if conditions are good. Best bet is to check the report in the morning, and then decide where to go. It gets different weather than the SLC or Park City resorts.
I think this is an excellent, objective review of Snowbasin. I happen to absolutely love the place, but others don't seem to have the consistently fun conditions that I find when I go there.

The suggestion of checking the snow reports and following the new snow (assuming you're lucky enough to have some when you're there) is a great one. The one thing I'll add is that if the snowfall amounts happen to be roughly equal in the Cottonwood canyons versus Snowbasin (believe me, it DOES happen), then go to Snowbasin. Especially if it's a Saturday or Sunday.

If you can hit Snowbasin on a snowy day, you'll ski untracked snow all day long (if you're looking for it) and you won't fight the frenzy that you'll run into at Snowbird or Alta.

Just my opinion, of course.
post #27 of 34
Thread Starter 
To everyone...Thanks for the input. It's all good stuff.
We will hit Snowbasin, for sure. It's my #1 pick. Hope the conditions are full on. If not, we'll make the best of it.
As to the morning snow reports.....are they on the radio, online, posted in town??? What report is the most accurate and via what media??
post #28 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sugaree View Post
To everyone...Thanks for the input. It's all good stuff.
We will hit Snowbasin, for sure. It's my #1 pick. Hope the conditions are full on. If not, we'll make the best of it.
As to the morning snow reports.....are they on the radio, online, posted in town??? What report is the most accurate and via what media??

We usually bring a laptop and check it from our hotel room. Most hotels have one computer for guest use, as well. Also, compile a list of the ski area snow report phone numbers before you get to Utah. Most ski areas post a new report by 6-6:30 AM.
post #29 of 34
When I was there I noticed that the local morning news on TV would show the daily snow reports for the various ski areas.
post #30 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by BuckeyeFanDan View Post
When I was there I noticed that the local morning news on TV would show the daily snow reports for the various ski areas.
Not to be trusted, the reports on the local news aren't always correct. Same with skiutah.com, I don't think they update enough.
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