Delivering full service and luxury amenities, high style Snowbasin in Ogden, Utah maintains a clubby, five-star hotel atmosphere which attracts a select crowd of snowsports devotees. This unusual mountain resort was developed by Earl Holding, long-time owner of Idaho’s legendary Sun Valley resort, who still knows how to have fun in the mountains.
Best yet for families, Snowbasin offers all this at warmer temperatures and at lower altitudes than its more famous, neighboring Utah mountain resorts.
Luxury Starts at Snowbasin’s Base
Just 90 minutes from Salt Lake City, you can pull in and park next to Range Rovers and BMWs. If you’re dressed and ready, the clean-shaven, smiling staff will hoist skis and snowboards into the gondola basket. Smiling guides with trail maps, typically senior skiers drawn to Ogden by this solicitous resort, love to assist wayward guests with directions or a bit of mountain guiding.
Relax or reunite at Snowbasin’s grand split-log base lodge, which is illuminated by Murano glass chandeliers and big stone fireplaces. At meal time, tasty, healthy fare can be brought to soft leather chairs and couches clustered on Persian carpets. It’s a posh place for your family to catch up on the day’s adventures. Outdoors, there’s peak-view, comfy seating and gas fireplaces on Earl’s Patio.
For lunch among the peaks, three other on-mountain lodges feature more of the bronze sculpture, wrap-around patios, fine home-made food selection, water stations and other comforts found below.
Super Groomers & Olympian Steeps at Snowbasin
Snowbasin, in the Wasatch Mountain Range, is a big, gentle mountain whose steep expert and tree-laced intermediate terrain is cushioned by excellent grooming and tons of fresh powder. It has 3,000 skiable acres and a 3,000-foot vertical drop from a peak that’s at about 9,000 feet; perfect for long runs and varied trails without the extreme altitudes that often bother children and older visitors.
The blue and black runs off the Needle Bowl quad chairlift (9,010 feet) are groomed to perfection as befits its gentlemen, prince and princess skier crowd. There are 65 rails and features, many built of recycled materials, in four terrain parks that provide a progression for freestyle riders and skiers to learn on. The express chair and tiny glass tram that take skiers to the top of Allen Peak (9,465 feet) soar above the Mens and Womens Downhill Race runs used in the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics. (Our expert guide told us it took him 15 minutes to descend the same slope that Olympians did in 96 seconds.)
Locals spend their days at Strawberry Peak (9,265 feet) and Sisters Bowl, where steep pitches, glade skiing, and hundreds of inches of powder are considered some of the best in the state.
Welcoming Environment for Novices
For families and the many multi-generational groups it attracts (Ogden seems to be a favorite place for grandparents to retire), Snowbasin is the place to teach everyone in the family to ski or snowboard. It’s comfortable, relatively cheap, easy to manoeuver.
Parents of beginners, and novice adults as well, will appreciate its very successful Terrain Based Learning teaching style. The rental shop and ski school are conveniently clustered by the base lodge and parking. The mountain also encourages beginners with bargain rates, great classes and lots of enthusiasm.
Snowbasin’s Family Facilities Permit Toddler Snowboarding
Snowbasin also runs the High Altitude Kids Center, a state-licensed childcare for ages 8-weeks to 12-years operating daily during the season. Run by an experienced staff, the activities program charges $75/day for infants and toddllers, and $65/day for those over 3, including lunch, with reductions for season pass holders.
The adjacent Snowbasin ski school teaches skiing and snowboarding to ages 3 to 6 with terrain-based learning techniques and special gear. Starting at the specially groomed Burton Dinosaur Riglet Park with riders ages 3 and up (skiing begins at age 4), it trains one of the youngest classes in the industry. Kids use Burton’s preschooler-friendly, double rocker snowboards whose beveled edges allow small children to glide more easily without getting their edges caught in the heavy powder. One instructor supervises every four children at the ski school’s private slope, and a magic carpet lift helps to make it fun. Just take a look at their video:
Learners ages 7- to 12-years, who go out in groups of five or six, have their own slopes near the base, as well as off the Becker chairlift mid-mountain, so they can appreciate the views while remaining separate from the expert skiers. The resort has a full roster of private lessons, womens clinics, a Nordic Center, and its own impressive Adaptive Ski Program as well.
Planning your Snowbasin Trip Summer or Winter
In summer, the 70-year-old resort uses its gondola for sightseers and mountain bikers who thrive on its steep pitches. Novice bike riders and small kids will find rental equipment and beginner trails to try together.
Some of the mountain’s national forest trails are reserved for hikers only, and free shuttles operate on weekends only to extend the range of walks for mountain hikers and trekkers.
An organized Children’s Mountain Adventures program operates from the ski school facility during summer for school and camp groups. Families who’ve got the whole brood in tow can customize their own guided experience using the Snowbasin staff.
With so much to offer and lots of land still to be developed, it’s hard to imagine that there is no lodging base right at the mountain.
Fortunately, Snowbasin guests can stay about 40 minutes away in Odgen, Utah. Until the resort builds its own hotels, spas and condos, we recommend that families consider Ogden’s fun attractions and convenient hotels as a base when planning their Snowbasin visit.
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