Family Ski Resort Guide | Snowbasin Resort

Family Ski Resort Guide | Snowbasin Resort

Local Lexi

By Local Lexi \ December 16 2019

Near Ogden Utah lies a resort that feels worlds away from the hustle and bustle of city life, freeways, traffic, and civilization. Discover Snowbasin Resort, an official 2002 Winter Olympic venue known for its bowls, glades, powder stashes, tremendous groomers, fine dining, and luxe amenities.

With nearly 3,000 acres of terrain, Snowbasin has no shortage of topography for families to explore. Just try and see if you can ski from the top of the Needles Gondola to the bottom without stopping—we dare you—it’s a real thigh burner! When your legs need a break, enjoy award-winning dining at one of Snowbasin’s four scenic lodges. 

Relish the rich heritage of Snowbasin and test your mettle on the slopes that hosted the Men’s and Women’s Downhill, Super G, Combined, and Paralympic ski racing events in the 2002 Winter Olympics.

This resort contains a well-rounded mix of beginner, intermediate, and advanced terrain serviced by modern, high-speed lifts. This is the place to come stack some vertical, enjoy untracked powder, uncrowded slopes, steep glades, open bowls, and some of the longest groomers in Utah.

When you head indoors, soak in the luxurious décor, thickly carpeted floors, roaring fireplaces, and stonework. Take five in a plush wingback chair and just enjoy the upscale atmosphere. 

Snowbasin Resort is located over the mountains east of Ogden, Utah. Approximate driving times (in favorable driving conditions) and distances are listed below:
Ogden: 20 miles – 30 minutes
Salt Lake City: 42 miles – 50 minutes
Logan: 71 miles – 1 hour, 15 minutes
Provo: 86 miles – 1 hour, 30 minutes
St. George: 345 miles – 4 hours, 50 minutes

In a 5th Grader’s Words: “The terrain can be calm and cruisy with rollers that you can catch air on or it can be challenging with moguls through the trees. The runs are really long to practice turns and everybody can ski what they want.” -Emily, Age 10


TERRAIN & MOUNTAIN STATS

Skiable Acres: 2,950 Acres
Vertical Drop: 2,915 Feet
Number of Runs: 106
Terrain: 20% Beginner, 50% Intermediate, 30% Advanced, & 26 KM of Nordic Skiing Trails
Chairlifts: 6 Chairlifts, 2 Gondolas, 1 Tram, 2 Surface Lifts
Night Skiing: No

Snowbasin Resort is just 30 minutes from Ogden and 50 minutes from downtown Salt Lake, but it feels a world away from the hubbub of the busy Wasatch Front. It’s a worthy place to escape, enjoy family time, and savor a special meal together. It’s a great resort for families of wildly different abilities because the variety of terrain provides diversion for all skill levels.

Snowbasin has one main base area anchored by Earl's Lodge. With lodges located at the top or bottom of every major lift, it’s a cinch to meet up during the day at Snowbasin. Note that families with beginners or learners may want to meet at Earl’s lodge as there is no green-rated terrain off the Strawberry Gondola or John Paul Express. It is possible to download the John Paul Express if you’d like to take in the views and dine at John Paul Lodge.

You’ll begin your day by parking in one of the terraced lots and catching an open-air shuttle to Earl’s Lodge if necessary. Remember that carpoolers earn priority parking! At the base area, you’ll find grinning Snowbasin employees near the bronze moose statue, eager to answer any questions you may have.

Learners will either check-in 45 minutes early at Snowbasin Snow Sports School in the Grizzly Center for lessons or warm up on the Littlecat Express chairlift which services the Powder Puff green-rated trail. There are also two short surface lifts in this area for true beginners. If you’re ready to take it up a notch or start your day on blue-rated runs, hop aboard the Becker chairlift. The Slo Road to Bear Hollow to Snow Shoe runs are all gentle enough for learners to build their confidence. Intermediate skiers can drop into Willow or opt to head for the Strawberry Gondola via Bear Springs.

Intermediate skiers have tons of options with blue-rated terrain accessible from all lifts excluding the Allen Peak Tram. The Needles Gondola swiftly takes riders from the base to the Needles Lodge. Discover world-class grooming on the Needles Run. There are also three terrain parks accessible from either the Needles Gondola or the Wildcat Express.

At the south end of the resort lies the Strawberry Gondola with open bowls and lengthy groomers. Enjoy sweeping views of Ogden, the Great Salt Lake, and Ogden Valley.

Pro Tip: See if you can ski Snowbasin’s longest run without stopping, the Elk Ridge blue-rated run off the top of Strawberry Gondola.

Expert skiers and snowboarders will want to experience the double black terrain of Sister’s Bowl, Middle Bowl Cirque, and Lone Tree from Strawberry Gondola. There is also ample black diamond terrain accessible via the Porcupine and John Paul Express chairlifts. On the northern end of the resort you’ll find steep tree skiing and the world-famous Olympic downhill courses as well as incredible views from the John Paul Lodge.

Pro Tip: You’ll want to experience the ‘beer can’ style tramway that once dropped Olympians atop the Downhill Courses. The views from the Allen Peak Tram are also jaw dropping. If you’re feeling a little dizzy, you can ride right back down the tram.


PARKING & PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

Snowbasin has multiple parking lots; there are five terraced lots in Earl’s Lot adjacent to Earl’s Lodge, there are three terraces in the Maples lot, two terraces in the Canyon Rim Lot, and an additional Overflow Parking Lot. Open-air shuttles are provided by the resort to transport guests from the parking terraces to Earl’s Lodge where friendly staff will great you and answer any questions. You can also pull up front and drop gear into complimentary green wagons to simplify logistics before you locate a parking space.

Note that Snowbasin is offering preferred parking spaces for carpools with 3 or more people in Terrace A.

Consider riding the UTA Ski Bus to avoid driving and help reduce road and parking congestion. In the winter months, the Utah Transit Authority (UTA), runs daily service from November or December until March.

The UTA Ski Bus route 675 services stops from Layton and Ogden and the Kent Smith Memorial Park to Snowbasin. Check the UTA website for a current schedule and read our Guide to Ride the Ski Bus.



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BASE AREA & MAIN LODGE

Earl's Lodge is the heart of Snowbasin Resort and the main base area. Lift tickets can be purchased from the ticket window outside of the Grizzly Center, the equipment rental desk inside the Grizzly Center, or at the activities desk inside Earl’s Lodge. You can save a little bit of money by purchasing tickets in advance online and picking them up in the pre-purchase line outside the Grizzly Center.

Snowbasin offers an onsite basket check for gear on the lower level of Earl’s Lodge. The Guest Service Center also checks small and large bags or loose items for safekeeping during the day.

Rental equipment is located in the Grizzly Center adjacent to Earl’s Lodge. An overnight ski check is available here for $5.


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SNOWBASIN SNOWSPORTS SCHOOL

The Snowbasin Snow Sports School is situated in the Learning Center inside the Grizzly Center adjacent to Earl’s Lodge at the main base area. It is advised to arrive 45 minutes prior to your scheduled lesson if rental gear is required. In addition to ski and snowboarding lessons, Snowbasin supports a handful of annual Women’s Camps, Ski Team Programs, and programming with Ogden Valley Adaptive Sports. Visit the Snowbasin website for more information. For the best rates, you should purchase lessons in advance online. 

Learn & Earn
Snowbasin’s nationally ranked program guides students on a 3-year journey to take never-ever skiers and snowboarders to proficiency and total enjoyment of snow sports. Deals, packages, and specials incentivize learners to continue their progression and momentum.  Check out Snowbasin’s website to learn about the program and the incentives. 

Private Lessons
Offered in all-day or half-day formats, Snowbasin’s Private Lessons are unique in that you may include up to 5 guests. Snowbasin’s instructors strive to forge a personal relationship with their students and provide an exceptional experience to achieve target goals. One very unique and tempting aspect of Snowbasin’s Private Lesson program: guests can request early gondola/lift access one hour prior to the public opening.

Adult Lessons
Adult group lessons are all-day lessons available for every experience level for skiers and snowboarders aged 13 and up. Lessons run from 10 AM to 3 PM and there is an option to upgrade to the All-Inclusive Package which includes the lesson, rental equipment, and a lift ticket. Lessons can be purchased in one, two, or three day blocks.

Youth Lessons
Children are grouped by age and ability level in Snowbasin’s award-winning Snow Sports School. Instructors tailor lessons around the needs and abilities of all students aged 4-6 or 7-12. Multi-week programs are also offered for those looking to hone specific skills.

Dino-Mites, Ages 4-6
Available in half-day or all-day blocks, Dino-Mites focuses on stimulating a child’s enthusiasm for skiing or snowboarding. The maximum group size will be three students and rental equipment is available for an additional fee. Reservations are highly recommended as Dino-Mites frequently sells out.

Raptors, Ages 7-12
Focusing on the development of fundamental skills, Raptors teaches age-appropriate methodologies to provide children with the knowledge to safely navigate around the mountain. This all-day program includes lunch with the option to add rental equipment and a lift ticket.

Wildcats, Ages 7-15
The Wildcat Program is a multi-week program for older kids offered on Saturdays or Sundays. This recreational and non-competitive program fosters friendships, self-confidence, and a passion for winter sports. Kids will be grouped with the same instructor each week by age and ability level.


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SKI SHOP & EQUIPMENT RENTALS

Rental equipment can be picked up in the Grizzly Center adjacent to Earl’s Lodge. This ski and tune shop is your one-stop-shop for anything you may need or desire at Snowbasin. The shop also stocks a selection of replacement parts and can handle edge sharpening, grinding, repairs, deburring, polishing, waxing, binding mounting, binding adjustments, and ski check for $5 nightly.

Snowbasin Rental Shop maintains a top-of-the-line rental fleet just steps from the snow. A few tiers of equipment rentals and demos are available and multi-day rental packages can save some pennies. Don’t forget the All-Inclusive Package which bundles a lesson, equipment rental, and a lift ticket into one price. Snowbasin’s rental packages include skis or a snowboard, boots, poles, and a helmet. The following items are available to rent.
Snowshoes
Nordic Ski Package
Helmets (included in equipment rental packages)
Ski Poles
Adult/Child Ski Pants & Coats
Goggles

The Grizzly Center Retail Shop curates a wide selection of gifts, equipment, outerwear, accessories, logo gear, sundries, artwork, lip balm, sunscreen, and unique European brands including Dale of Norway, Obermeyer, Karbon, etc.


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LODGING AND DINING OPTIONS

Snowbasin Resort does not offer any slopeside lodging, but the resort has teamed up with top-rated lodging partners near and far to provide a memorable experience and excellent customer service. Snowbasin recommends Lakeside Resort Properties (with a complimentary ski shuttle), the Wolf Creek Rentals, and the new Compass Rose Lodge (pictured above). Visit Snowbasin’s website for further details and additional lodging recommendations in Ogden, Davis Valley, and Salt Lake City.


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It should be noted that outside food and beverages are not permitted in Snowbasin’s lodges. There are four different areas to dine, three of which are located on the slopes, making it easy to grab a bite from just about anywhere on the mountain.

In Earl’s Lodge from the main base area there are two dining options: Earl’s Servery and Cinnabar Lounge. Note that families or groups with beginners or learners will most likely want to eat here, as there are no green-rated runs to access the remaining three lodges. Earl’s Servery offers cafeteria-style dining in an upscale atmosphere with gorgeous views and six crackling fireplaces. Seating is also available outside with slopeside views and access. Breakfast is available (don’t miss the pastries) and the diverse lunch menu will keep even the pickiest eaters satisfied. Cinnabar is the après hub at Snowbasin. This gastropub features a family-friendly atmosphere with a full wine and bar menu. On weekends, plated brunch tempts patrons off the slopes in addition to live musical acts.

Pro Tip: The best dining deal at Snowbasin is the $25 loaded pizza at Earl’s Lodge. Feed the whole fam!

Upon exiting the Needles Gondola you’ll find the Needles Lodge offering a scenic mountain top lunch with a sunny outdoor patio. Views of the Ogden Valley are complemented with a southwest-inspired menu and a Tex-Mex station. Typical ski resort fare like hamburgers, sandwiches, soups, garden salads, and pitas are also available.

With equally stunning views, the John Paul Lodge is situated at the top of the John Paul chairlift. Diners can gape at dramatic 360-degree views and imagine Olympians blitzing down the adjacent 2002 Olympic race course; patio dining is available. Don’t miss the Belgian waffles for breakfast! For lunch the savory options include chili, wood fired pizza, delectable sandwiches, grilled meats, and fresh salads. The terrain off the John Paul lift is only appropriate for strong intermediate or advanced skiers, however rides down the chairlift are offered for those who still want to experience the John Paul Lodge and it’s epic views.

For those lapping Strawberry Gondola, there is the Snowbasin Strawberry Cafe at the gondola base, open until 2:30 PM. The gourmet sausages should not be missed. This is a great spot to stop for a latte, a pastry, or warm up with soup or freshly made wraps and sandwiches. There is a grab and go menu for those who are busy stacking vert.   


CHILDCARE

On-site childcare is not currently offered at Snowbasin. If you don’t want to book kids in ski or snowboard lessons, Snowbasin recommends the High Altitude Kids center nearby in Eden, Utah for childcare for toddlers 18 months in age through 12 years of age. This educational and recreational facility provides creative programming, developmental activities, and exercises to foster social, cognitive, and emotional growth in children.


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POINTS OF INTEREST

For a memorable visit, consider these unique points of interest when planning a trip to Snowbasin Resort.

Flowrider, Ogden, Utah
In Ogden at the Salomon Center, you’ll find an indoor hybrid waterpark with and endless wave. Combining the sports of surfing, skateboarding, wakeboarding, snowboarding, and bodyboarding, the Flowrider encompasses the thrilling sport of flowboarding atop a moving wave on a ramp. Sessions start every hour on the hour and reservations are recommended.

Ogden Nature Center
Located in the heart of Ogden, discover a 152-acre oasis, a nature preserve and educational center open to the public year-round. The Ogden Nature Center offers a wide variety of educational programming, walking trails, and workshops. Children will enjoy meeting birds of prey, a treehouse, bird watching from bird blinds, and the view from the lofty spotting tower.

Cross Country Skiing & Snowshoeing
Snowbasin Resort maintains 26 kilometers of free groomed Nordic trails for snowshoeing as well as skate and classic cross country skiing. Explore serene glades and meadows amid the stunning scenery of Snowbasin’s soaring peaks. Rentals and shuttles from Earl’s Lodge are offered and the trails are groomed on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Visit Snowbasin’s website for more info.

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