While riding a lift at The Canyons with a British woman and her son, she asked me what resort I would recommend trying that wasn't in the Park City area. They had been here for a week and were looking to try something new. It seems that since my adventure at Snowbasin (the first time in years) I can't help but suggest it to anyone who's willing to listen.
“Snow what?" she said.
"SNOWBASIN. It's up north about an hour from here" I replied.
Turning to her son she repeated a number of times, "Snowbasin, Snow-basin, remember it's called Snowbasin...."
We parted ways but my mind took me back to the day at Snowbasin.
Pulling into the parking lot and entering Earl's Lodge at the base it's easy to see why the world came here in 2002 for the Olympics. But despite the falling snow accompanied by strong winds, 8" of new snow overnight and 14" the day before it seemed today that the world had forgotten about this slice of paradise.
The line for the Needles Gondola was about 15 people deep and didn't get any more crowded. And that in lieu of Strawberry Gondola being on wind hold and John Paul not open is saying something.
I had decided to hit Snowbasin with my 8 year old son, McKinley. Snowbasin has terrain for any type of skier including enough steeps like No Name, Mount Odgen chutes and De Moisey Peak to induce pucker factor. Today with my son it would be a blue cruiser day. He had never skied Snowbasin before so it would be a good test to see how kid friendly it would be. Joining us for a few runs was Kevin, the Guest Services Director. He pointed us in the right direction as we hit top to bottom runs like Herberts, Sweet Revenge, Dan's Run all found off of the Needles Gondola.
We moved over to the Strawberry area from the Needles Gondola and skied Main Street where we truly had the mountain to ourselves and then left the comfort of the gondola for a few runs on the Becker triple chair. Here we made a couple runs down Bear Springs and Willow Springs - the former yielding untracked powder on the edges of the runs and complete solitude once again.
Although sticking to blues, with each run covering nearly 2200' vertical it was exciting skiing for the both of us and with great off piste terrain in every direction the possibilities were endless, not to mention the untracked powder.
On Mountain Dining
Having worked up an appetite we headed for the Needles Lodge. With the wind howling outside we were cozy as ever inside. If you've not been in the lodges at Snowbasin it's a must see. They're nice enough that I hesitated to walk in with my ski boots. Yea, it's that nice.
The only challenge with the Needles Lodge Dining is choosing what to eat. McKinley had a tough time of it given all the great options. But alas, we decided. The spread tasted as good as it looked. My Smoked Trout and Potato salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette was unbelievable.
I couldn't resist and also tried the White Bean Chicken Chili which definitely gives Deer Valley's famous Turkey Chili a run for its money. Kevin got the Veal Snitchel seen on the left and McKinley went with the classic burger and fries.
After lunch we bid farewell to Kevin and McKinley and I skied multiple runs on Becker and Needles. The powder was really piling up as we ended the day with a run from the Needles Lodge to the base area via Porcupine. We saw one person the entire run - and this is the most centrally located run off of Needles.
We stuck around to watch the gondola cars get stowed under ground and then headed for home as the cold front arrived, which would bring another 12" to Snowbasin. On the drive home McKinley looked over at me and said,
"Today was like Christmas, just as fun. Next year can we get season passes to Snowbasin? I love that place!"
I guess the verdict was a double thumbs up. For this skiing dad, it was a stellar day. Snowbasin has so much variety of terrain and number of long blue and green runs that skiing with my boy was as good as it gets.