Snow Basin, Utah

31 03 2023
Snow Basin covers the entire range shown here!

After visiting my friend Ed in Park City, where I skied Deer Valley and Alta, I began to make my way back to Oregon, so Snow Basin was next. Snow Basin is about 30 minutes outside Ogden. It is a super easy drive from downtown. I’d been there maybe 8 years before and had fond memories of it. It is even more luxuriously appointed than Deer Valley. The lodges are over the top beautiful with chandeliers, comfortable couches and roaring fireplaces. All for the plebeians just like me. No membership required!

They’ve even raised the bar in the bathroom. They have country club style hand towel dispensers!

The terrain and snow quality is top notch, too. Snow Basin was designed by Alf Engen, who designed the trail system at Alta. His trail design takes advantage of the natural contours of the mountain, instead of just chopping straight trails. So the experience is more flowing and natural. They have two gondolas and a number of chairlifts. Lots of room to spread out.

Snow Basin also has a convenient parking system like Big Sky. No matter where you park, there is always a shuttle coming to whisk you right in front of the lodge. And no reservations nor any payment needed!





Alta, UT – I Made the Pilgrimage

27 02 2023

ALTA. To passionate skiers, that word is almost holy. At a minimum, legendary. Year after year, snowstorm after snowstorm, Alta UT serves up the deepest, driest snow on Planet Earth. There is something about its place geographically. It even receives more snow than its neighbor, Snowbird. One drive up the windy Little Cottonwood Canyon to its end, where Alta sits, and you are in an alpine world completely different from other Utah resorts. The mountains are big, steep, and you can hear the thump thump thump of helicopters lifting riders to greater heights in search of that lifetime run. Also, this place was designed by Alf Engen, who wound the trails down the mountains following natural contours. Unlike many resorts which seem to just chop and slash trails to make a ski area.

It was here, in the 1990s, that my friend Tully and I got to Alta one morning when the canyon opened after it was closed for 24 hours due an avalanche. And the snow kept coming. Once on the slopes, I was simply flabbergasted to be able to ski in snow up to my waist, and sometimes flying right over my shoulders. It is so feather light you can do it. You just have to experience to believe it. You’ve got to have momentum to turn. And to get momentum, you have to point directly downhill. And you don’t actually need to see your skis! Trust. You have to point your skis downhill and trust that the snow will be your brake.

I got to Alta on a Monday in February 2023, and the temperature was seriously cold, maybe 5 degrees, and while the snow wasn’t brand new, it was still that legendary quality! There was plenty of parking. Even at 10:00.

There are some tips I can offer about Alta. The first is to try to ski on a weekday. If you have to go on a weekend, get started up the canyon at 6:30 a.m. Otherwise, catch a Utah public bus. Try to catch it at one of its furthest stops, so you can get a seat on the bus! Either way, experience this place. Then you too can bring home legendary stories!





Deer Valley, Utah

27 02 2023

I skied a couple of days in February at Deer Valley, UT. It’s in Park City, about an hour away from Salt Lake City. My buddy Ed lives steps from the base at Park City Mountain Resort. This year, the region has had one of its coldest and snowiest seasons in 10 years. Residents are constantly digging out!

The walk to my car from Ed’s house. Lots of snow!

One of the convenient aspects of the town is its free bus service. The nearest stop was a 5-minute walk from Ed’s house. And within 15 minutes, I was at the Deer Valley base lodge.

I skied one day by myself. I found lots of powder and some tree runs. One steeper run was in the middle of a pine forest, where I encountered 4 kids, one of which was stuck in a tree well! I helped them out. Later, I ran a super easy peasy stand of aspen trees. The snow was so gentle and soft!

Deer Valley prides itself on grooming, and it’s true they do a good job. I’ve been there a few times, and I kind of had moved it down my list because I like fresh, ungroomed snow. But I learned this time that the trail crew leaves quite a few areas untouched for skiers like me. And, my friend Ed showed me some places at Deer Valley away from where the crowds are. I left with a renewed rating for Deer Valley!

The 2nd day it was fully sunny. No new snow, but plenty of fun and it’s always welcome when there is a sunny day with no wind!

Another thing worth mentioning! There was a World Cup Tour freestyle competition going on. Dual moguls and inverted aerials. I mentioned online that on my 1st day I accidentally blundered into the setup for the moguls run, and ran it. And Hannah Kearney, the Olympic gold medal moguls champion, saw my post and “liked” it! That was super fun!

Skis du Jour were my Line Sakanas. I LOVE these skis! They are great in powder but carve trenches, too! I think they are the most fun skis I have ever owned. If you ever get a chance to try a pair, DO IT!