Midweek at Snowbasin
by Paul Maraschiello


I flew into Salt Lake City, picked up a rental car and proceeded to drive north toward Ogden. I've skied in Utah on over a dozen occasions and always enjoyed my visits to Snowbasin, the view from the top of the mountain is spectacular. I love their Olympic Downhill Run. This ski area located less than 15 minutes from Ogden, Utah and because they do not have any lodging on the mountain, it is never crowded.

I was staying at the Jackson Fork Inn in Huntsville which turned out to be the 1st Inn you come to after passing the Snowbasin access road. This is a small interesting place with only 11 rooms. It is built in a converted dairy barn with a large restaurant on the 1st floor and the guestrooms are all up stairs. Everything about this place was unique. The name Jackson Fork Inn comes from a large hayfork, on display at the Inn. Located nine miles from Ogden, The Jackson Fork Inn is in an ideal location to be close to Snowbasin, Powder Mountain and Nordic Valley Ski resorts.

Upon entering my room and looking around, I saw the spiral staircase that led to a loft with another queen-sized bed. The room was furnished with antique dressers, a table and chairs, TV and private bath. This place was really cozy. There was a continental breakfast waiting for me in the morning and Vicki Petersen, the beautiful woman who runs the place was very nice and informative. Room rates range from $80 to $170. For reservations call (801) 745-0051 or (800) 255-0672 and tell them you read about them in the Ski Bum News.

The Mountain
Snowbasin is a Sun Valley Resort with 2,660 skiable acres and a 2,950 vertical serviced by 2 gondolas, 1 tram, 1 detachable quad 4 triples, 1 double and 2 surface tows that bring skiers to 53 trails that run off mountains with an elevation as high as 9.570 ft. Snowbasin does not allow snowboarders, so leave the "shredders" at home. Lift tickets are very reasonable with a $58.00 adult day pass. This resort has a Superpipe, two terrain parks, and a X-country ski area.

Although there are no on-mountain accommodations, the base lodge is one of the nicest base lodges I have ever seen with food that equals the best I have ever tasted. The cuisine included mesquite-grilled pizza, great burgers, Asian stir-fry, carving station (roast beet & turkey), and Austrian faire. The chairs have leather upholstery and the tables all have marble inserts. Napkins are linen and the fireplace and chandeliers are grand. The bathrooms are more like those found in grand hotels rather than those you usually find at ski areas.

The rental department fixed me up with high performance Volkl Mantra skis that I liked. They carved well on all the groomed slopes and performed adequately off-peste in the crud and in the bumps.

I skied all day and sampled everything the mountain had to offer. I warmed up with a run down the Ogden Bowl and then proceeded to do all the blue and black diamond trails and slopes on the five peaks at Snowbasin. Although there are officially 53 trails, there is a lot more to ski here because most of the terrain is open (thanks to avalanches clearing the trees). The entire 2,660 acres are skiable and it would a long, long time to ski every conceivable path down these peaks.

I took a few runs down the Grizzly Downhill run and Wildflower Downhill run which was both steep and groomed. You can go really fast down these well-groomed runs. I tried a few bump runs long with the steep groomers and really chalked up the vertical miles.

There are lots of blue slopes for the intermediate skier and even several beginner trails for the novice skier. Snowbasin is a BIG mountain that has a computerized state-of-the-art snowmaking system. They even have a Tubing Hill for those that do not ski and a X-country ski area for lovers of those skinny skis.

I was only at Snowbasin for a day but one day is not enough for this world-class resort. I have put this ski area on my "short list" and plan to be back there as often as possible. Everyone I met there was friendly and I had a real blast. If you go to Snowbasin you will spend your time racking up vertical miles rather than standing in lift lines, I guarantee it.