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Snowbasin a Secret No Longer

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
We visited Snowbasin for the first day of a ten-day local's season pass Saturday. I have never seen crowds that bad at Snowbasin. Both parking lots were overflowing. The Needles gondola had a line extending probably 50 feet beyond the end of the regular queue all day long. And this was on a cold (around 5F at the top) and very windy day with horrible snow conditions. So much for my past experiences of having the mountain to myself. I'm kind of wishing I'd bought a pass at Solitude instead. Even Deer Valley is looking better.
post #2 of 23
You bought a pass for snowbasin living in Draper? Good God man! Hope you get good gass milage!!
post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonnie View Post
You bought a pass for snowbasin living in Draper? Good God man! Hope you get good gass milage!!
It's just a ten-day pass. It's not really that bad of a drive. I justify it by thinking it would take at least 2x as long to get to skiing from Denver if I lived there. My mileage on the ski vehicle is lousy which puts me in less of a good mood when I get up there to the crowds. Everywhere in Utah is crowded now. We moved up here two years ago (thereby compounding the problem) and it just gets more crowded every year. On a powder day at Alta, even if it's midweek, you're lucky to get one untracked line in.
post #4 of 23
Yeap, We have seen the Enemy and the Enemy is us !
post #5 of 23
How was John Paul?
post #6 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by rquick View Post
We moved up here two years ago (thereby compounding the problem) and it just gets more crowded every year..
BING, BING, BING, BING! We have a winner!

Quote:
Originally Posted by rquick View Post
On a powder day at Alta, even if it's midweek, you're lucky to get one untracked line in.
Looks like you need a refresher in crowd avoidance. I can still get plenty of good stuff for many runs with just a little hard work and patience.

Powdr
post #7 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Powdr View Post
I can still get plenty of good stuff for many runs with just a little hard work and patience.
Shhhh!!!
post #8 of 23
This is why in 2 weeks of skiing over the Christmas/New Year Holiday (most of which I stayed in the valley) I never bothered to leave Solitude except for 4 or 5 days of Backcountry tours in BCC.
post #9 of 23
What's That, Si? Did you say there are no crowds at Solitude?

post #10 of 23
Don't know about Saturday, but on Friday Snowbasin had 5,500 skiers. Note that it was the first significant snow they had in over two weeks, which will get you your crowds (especially with schools out.) By contrast, today they only had a bay and a half of cars in the lot.

The do seem to be doing a bad job of loading the gondola this year. It's aggravating when they only put three or four in a car when there's a long line.
post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by comprex View Post
How was John Paul?
I didn't go down any of the runs off of JP because the coverage was very spotty (especially on the lower half of the mountain). Compared to the Cottonwoods, the coverage at Snowbasin is much worse (and the Cottonwoods are hurting this year, too). I only took that chair up twice - once to see how the terrain was and another time for lunch. Usually that terrain is the best part of the resort.

Strawberry was an exercise in finding your way through strong wind gusts and the accompanying drifting snow and fighting around exposed rocks.
post #12 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Powdr View Post
Looks like you need a refresher in crowd avoidance. I can still get plenty of good stuff for many runs with just a little hard work and patience.
It's more than a course in crowd avoidance I need - it's more like a gigantic paradigm shift in how much work I'm willing to put into the uphill portion of skiing before I begin the downhill. I'm guessing there's a fairly large chasm between what you consider a little hard work and what I consider a little hard work. I'm willing to traverse a small distance with minimal uphill to get the goods. You're likely to find many more untracked lines than most others skiers and I just because you're not lazy like us.
post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by rquick View Post
...the Cottonwoods are hurting this year, too.
Really? Or is it just an average year but you're spoiled from the last two ?
post #14 of 23
Couldn't find the "Report" button so I am officially "Reporting" Ryan's post in this thread and asking moderators to remove it as it uses an obnoxious font and over emphasizes certain points that I think are best left understated (even though I am willing to be honest with friends here at Epic).
post #15 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodee View Post
Really? Or is it just an average year but you're spoiled from the last two ?
It's probably more a matter of my being spoiled than it being a bad snow year. I can't really comment because the only skiing I've done in Utah before March was the three seasons I've lived here. Last year spoiled me because the best snow day of the year was in early December.

I only expect a foot and a half of fresh the night before every planned day of skiing - I think my expectations are reasonable.
post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by rquick View Post
... I only expect a foot and a half of fresh the night before every planned day of skiing - I think my expectations are reasonable.
Ahh! I see we think alike!
post #17 of 23
First off, it's not a normal snow year with the snow pack currently running about 75% of normal. Second off, I skied both Friday and Saturday at Snowbasin and the big surprise to me was the crowd on Friday. Long lines at the Needles Gondola and Little Cat (the adjacent beginner lift) is becoming the norm on Saturdays. However, you still can avoid long lines by riding any other lift (with the possible exception of the Mt Allen Tram). Finally, I spent virtually the entire day Friday off trail and found the coverage to be fine on the upper half of the mountain (including John Paul) if you paid attention and avoided obvious cliff bands etc.
post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by SB77 View Post
First off, it's not a normal snow year with the snow pack currently running about 75% of normal.
Hey SB77 - what are you using to determine that 75% level? I'd like to find a qualitative way to determine the actual snowpack level. I've looked but I can't find a good place that shows the YTD stats and averages for LCC and BCC ... other than the Alta web site.
post #19 of 23
The local newscasts usually update the snowpack as a percentage of normal on a weekly basis. Channel 5 seems to do it most consistently (or maybe it is just because I watch it more frequently). I also just found this link on their website:

http://www.ksl.com/?sid=134181&nid=149.

I also found this on the NWS website. It has Snowbird at 67% of normal and Brighton at 72% of normal.

http://www.cbrfc.noaa.gov/snow/snow....,300?1 61,143

There are probably better resources out there but I hope this helps.
post #20 of 23
Two nights ago on the local TV weather report the Wasatch snowpack was quoted as being 30% of normal, the worst since the height of the drought. Snowbasin is definitely behind where we have been the last few years, particularly on the groomed areas that have snow making. I don't have any proof, but believe that the mountain did not lay down anywhere near as much snow as they could have considering the very cold weather we have had. I've been suffering from an inner ear condition that gives me vertigo so have been limited to moderate cruising on the groomers so far and have had to do several edge and base repairs. Hopefully the forecast for snow tomorrow followed by very cold weather will scare the timid away.
post #21 of 23
The weather at Snowbasin and other resorts in Utah is extremely variable in December and January. Febuary and March are much more predictable and have more snow days on average. The vibe at Snowbasin is kind of tense on the holidays and weekends these days what with all of the tourists but without them the place couldnt make it anymore. I'm sure the gaudy hotels are on the way soon.
post #22 of 23
Steelman, Lonnie, ZionZigZag, Utah49, Incahoots, etc......

I'll be at Snowbasin on 1/31 "workin' the tent".:

Don't know how much time I'll have to ski (usually in the afternoon), but PM me if you want to hook up.

HB
post #23 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by SB77 View Post
There are probably better resources out there but I hope this helps.
Try ftp://ftp.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/data/snow/update/ut.txt
I believe that it's updated daily, and the middle column shows percentage of annual snow water equivalent (what I believe climate folks and snow safety people consider to be snow pack). Not 30% by a fair amount... still, would always be nice to have more!
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