Utah’s signature Greatest Snow on Earth is scattered around the state in various places, some better-known than others. We at VIP Limousine and Going Local like to highlight everything in our backyard, and if necessary, beyond. Hence we wanted to write about the silent giant in northern Utah: Snowbasin Resort, a majestic place with great scenery and years of staying power.
Seriously though. Snowbasin’s origins trace back to the 1930s, making it amongst the oldest continuously-operated ski areas in the United States. Alf Engen’s mark in 1938 has remained ever since. The resort steadily grew over the years, with some of the first chairlifts in the country being installed here as early as 1946. That lift, Wildcat, has been through several iterations and is being upgraded to a brand-new high-speed six-person chairlift just in time for the 2017/2018 season. The resort is also making upgrades to the Allen Peak Tram. Both projects are being built by Doppelmayr out of Salt Lake City and Wolfurt, Austria.
Snowbasin was once owned and operated by the same group that has now become Vail Resorts, but is currently owned and operated by the Holding Family. It’s famous sister resort, Sun Valley, sits up north in Ketchum, Idaho, and the two share many of the same great qualities. One of the most obvious places is in the guest experience. Snowbasin doesn’t skimp on their day lodges and food. Their plush restaurant areas and menus are sure to brighten up even the gloomiest of ski days.
Not that there’s much to gripe about. Snowbasin days are best known for a few things: great snow, great views, and no lift lines. With 3 detachable chairlifts, 2 high-speed gondolas, and a tram, Snowbasin’s lift network quickly whisks skiers and boarders alike to the top for access to No Name, Allen, Strawberry, and Demoisy peaks. Of course, nobody has to go up that high, as the resort provides ample terrain for all levels. But why wouldn’t one want to, with that view?
For a long time, Snowbasin sat in the shadows of many other resorts, with a bit more of an old-fashioned flair. But then came something which would make any competitor or corporate relative jealous: the Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. Snowbasin was selected to host several very prominent competitions, namely the Downhill, Combined, and Super-G events.
Facilities saw massive upgrades, with the lodges rivaling those of some of its ritzier neighbors. The chairlift network saw a massive influx of changes, with the John Paul Express, Allen Peak Tram, Needles Gondola, and Strawberry Gondola all being installed in the same year. Opening up terrain and improving access does wonders for any ski area, and Snowbasin was no exception. The resort now has nearly 3,000 feet of vertical and 3,000 acres of skiing spread out over 104 different runs. It’s no wonder it skis bigger than the stats suggest.
So what makes Snowbasin so special? For the locals, it has a lot to do with the fact that in spite of having summer operations, fast gondolas, and nice facilities, the area has been able to maintain qualities that make it a major draw. There’s no massive development for lodging at the bottom. There’s no nightlife. There’s no complicated ticket systems. There’s no night skiing. All of these factors keep Snowbasin simple and quiet, and sometimes, after a hard day on the slopes, that’s exactly what guests ask for. Sure, the Utah Transit Authority has a bus running from nearby Ogden, and there’s no shortage of people from all around the world who come visit here (including some of our own clientele). That’s one of the beauties of a locally-grown business, and it’s why we at VIP Limousine, as well as others, love Snowbasin.