Planning a ski trip? Snowbasin Resort is a great choice for families.
Snowbasin is the Utah resort that is closest to my home, and it is one of my favorites. It is located just a few minutes drive from Ogden, and it is absolutely beautiful. Did you know that it was an Olympic venue in 2002? Because of that, Snowbasin has world-class facilities, but it's also a manageable size.
Snowbasin doesn't have a lot of beginner trails, but Powder Puff at the base of the mountain is gentle enough to build even the most cautious skier's confidence. There is an easy terrain park for skiers and boarders along Powder Puff that my kids love. Littlecat Express services this hill and the “perfect” learning hill at the top of Powder Puff.
When you're ready to try something a little more challenging, take Becker Lift at the top of Littlecat. It has some fun and easy trails for beginners who are ready for a bigger challenge.
For experienced skiers and boarders, Snowbasin has miles and miles of trails and terrain parks for you. Looking to ski the same hill as the Olympians? Look for Men's Start and Women's Start at the top right of the Snowbasin Trail Map.
Take a lesson
Snowbasin is where I learned the value of a lesson or guide, even if you already know how to ski. On one of my first trips to Snowbasin, I skied with a guide for the first time in 30 years and was amazed by how much it improved my day. Ted helped me get rid of some bad habits, showed me that I'm not as bad a skier as I thought and was able to take me to the hills that were just challenging enough for my abilities.
Veteran instructors like Ted have clients who return year after year, because it's helpful to have a guide when you tackle new and difficult terrain. Snowbasin Resort offers group and private lessons for all ages. Snowbird offers early access to the mountain to groups of up to 5 who book a private lesson.
Take a ride to Needles Lodge
With or without skis, ride Needles Gondola to to Needles Lodge at 8700 feet for breakfast or lunch. Then ski or ride the gondola all the way down. Mountain views from Needles Gondola and Lodge are SPECTACULAR! Dining at Needles Lodge is typically casual, cafeteria-style fare. Officially, bringing your own food into the dining area is not permitted, but we did it on an uncrowded day and didn't have any trouble.
Check out the bathrooms
Bathrooms at Snowbasin are on par with any you'd find in a luxury hotel, and much nicer than I've seen at most winter resorts. If you spend a whole day at the resort, you'll undoubtedly have at least one chance to see them.
Ways to save
Skiing isn't cheap, but there are several ways to keep your costs down at Snowbasin. First, buy your lift tickets online in advance and save up to 30%. Snowbasin guarantees that you'll get the best price on their website www.snowbasin.com. Don't forget that kids ages 6 and under always ski free!
Do you have a 5th or 6th Grader? For a small administrative fee, these kids ski free at every resort in Utah. You don't have to be a resident. Learn more in my post about the Ski Utah 5th and 6th Grade Passports.
Don't pay for more than you'll use. Lift tickets are less expensive if you or your kids are beginners and will be sticking to Littlecat.
You'll get the best prices for equipment rental outside the resort. However, if convenience is your top priority, I do like Snowbasin's rental shop.
Snowbasin's Learn and Earn program is popular with first-time skiers who live near the resort. For $499, you get three lessons and rentals. Upon completion of the lessons, you'll receive a season pass and season-long rentals.
Finally, Snowbasin has joined the Mountain Collective. This multi-resort season pass gets you into 15 resorts in the U.S. and Canada for two days each. Snowbasin, Alta and Snowbird are located within an hour of each other and are all on the list. Kids' passes are just $99. Visit www.mountaincollective.com to learn more.
A few final tips
Snowbasin doesn't have on-site lodging or a large selection of services like dining, shopping, spas, etc. The resort is located just a few minutes from Ogden, but its immediate surroundings are rural. Non-skiers will not find a lot to do at Snowbasin Resort.
Snowbasin's restaurant list is short, but top-notch. The resort's on-mountain dining was ranked #2 in North America by Ski Magazine. The resort hosts special dining events year-round.
Snowbasin Resort has one parking lot, with shuttles and a drop-off/pick-up zone at Earl's Lodge. The UTA Ski Bus services Snowbasin from Layton and Ogden.
All trails eventually lead back to Earl's Lodge, so if your family skis apart during the day, there's no getting lost and it's easy to meet for lunch or at the end of the day.
Here's a short video clip of my kids' lesson. I love how their instructor effortlessly skis backward. We had a great day at Snowbasin and look forward to returning this season!