First at Snowbasin
on December 12, 2006
After living in Utah for five years I finally skied Snowbasin today. I have always heard good things but just had not gotten over there until today. Snowbasin is known for having great terrain and lots of vertical with little skier traffic. It was the site of the 2002 Olympic speed events. The resort was also voted #1 in the Lifts category in the Ski magazine readers poll this year. They have two gondolas, high-speed quads, triples, and doubles. I went over there with some journalists and met up with the Guest Services Manager Kevin Stauffer for a tour of the mountain. Kevin took us up the Needles Express gondola and down a groomer called Blue Grouse. He also showed us a knob that we would later hike up to get some fresh tracks. Then he pointed out some stuff on Strawberry that will open after the next big dump. Kevin said, “Most of the real good terrain hasn’t opened yet.” Today just the middle of the mountain was open. On each side of the middle were chutes, rocks, and powder runs that looked pretty sweet. After cruising the soft groomers, we decided to go look for Pow. Skiers left of Blue Grouse we side stepped up a catwalk and found some fresh. The first run down it was untracked snow between a few bushes to dodge. Then we decided to stop for lunch in the impressive Needles Lodge. I had the German meatloaf with the Potato Beer Cheese soup. It was the best ski lunch I can remember eating. Definitely a big step up from the frozen peanut butter sandwich that I’m used to. After lunch we decided to check out that knob that Kevin pointed out earlier. There Tom Rassuchine from Couloir magazine and I found some pow turns skiers left of the knob. We came back around and dropped straight off the back for some more Pow turns. We also found a rock to jump off, which we hit a couple of times. The shot was “short and sweet” as Tom said. Then it was time for us to head back down. At the bottom I met up with Mary Rowland, the resort’s public relations director. She explained the new backcountry program, where patrol takes people on a tour of the backcountry. She also told me about the first chair program. She said people come from all over the country to ride a 7:45 a.m. chair to get a head start on a powder day or even just to ride groomers with nobody else around. Today I got a little tease of what Snowbasin is all about. I can’t wait to come back when the rest of the mountain opens to see what its REALLY about. By the way it started snowing today and it's supposed to keep coming for the next several days! Below is a photo of Kevin Stauffer (in red) showing me and some ski journalists the ins and outs of Snowbasin.