Sunny day at Snowbasin in February 2019
Snowbasin is located in the United States
Location in the United States
Snowbasin is located in Utah
Location in Utah
LocationMount Ogden
Weber County, Utah, U.S.
Nearest major cityHuntsville
Coordinates41°12′58″N 111°51′25″W / 41.216°N 111.857°W / 41.216; -111.857
Vertical2,959 ft (902 m)
Top elevation9,350 ft (2,850 m)
Base elevation6,391 ft (1,948 m)
Skiable area3,000 acres (12.1 km2)
20% easiest
50% more difficult
30% most difficult
Longest runElk Ridge 2.9 mi (4.7 km)
Lift system13
Chairs: 10
- 1 tram
- 2 gondolas
- 5 high speed quads/six packs
- 2 fixed-grip
Surface: 2
- 2 Magic carpet
- 1 Wildcat Handle Tow
Lift capacity14,650 skiers/hr
Terrain parks3
Snowfall350 inches (29.2 ft; 8.9 m)
Snowmaking600 acres (2.4 km2)
Night skiingNo

Snowbasin Resort is a ski resort in the western United States, located in Weber County, Utah, 33 miles (53 km) northeast of Salt Lake City, on the back (east) side of the Wasatch Range.[1]

Opened 85 years ago in 1939,[1] as part of an effort by the city of Ogden to restore the Wheeler Creek watershed, it is one of the oldest continually operating ski resorts in the United States. One of the owners in the early days was Aaron Ross. Over the next fifty years Snowbasin grew, and after a large investment in lifts and snowmaking by owner Earl Holding, Snowbasin hosted the 2002 Winter Olympic alpine skiing races for downhill, combined, and super-G. The movie Frozen was filmed there in 2009.

Snowbasin is located on Mount Ogden at the west end of State Route 226, which is connected to I-84 and SR-39 via SR-167 (New Trappers Loop Road).


Snowbasin is one of the oldest continuously operating ski areas in the United States.[2] Following the end of World War I and the Great Depression numerous small ski resorts were developed in Utah's snow-packed mountains, and Weber County wanted one of their own. They decided to redevelop the area in and around Wheeler Basin, a deteriorated watershed area that had been overgrazed and subjected to aggressive timber-harvesting.[3]

Lands were restored and turned over to the U.S. Forest Service, and by 1938 the USFS and Alf Engen had committed to turning the area into a recreational site. The first ski tow was built in 1939 and in service at the new Snow Basin ski park.[3] In 1940, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) crew built the first access road to the new resort, allowing easy access for the general public.[2]

In the 1950s, Sam Huntington of Berthoud Pass, Colorado, purchased Snow Basin from the City of Ogden and proceeded to expand the uphill capacity beyond the Wildcat single-seat wooden tower lift and the old rope tow. Overall, he installed a twin chair in place of the rope tow, and a platter-pull tow, later replaced by a twin chair, was installed at Porcupine, to the left of the steep rocky face of Mount Ogden.[4]

The fourth NCAA Skiing Championships, the first in Utah, were held at Snow Basin in 1957.[5][6] The downhill race course was set on the right side of the steep face of Mt. Ogden, on the slope called "John Paul Jones", named after an early Snow Basin skier. The John Paul Jones' run was only accessible with a 45-minute hike from the top of the Porcupine lift.[4]

Rep. Gerald Ford at Snow Basin in 1967

Anderl Molterer, of the Austrian national ski team competing there that weekend, approached Huntington and told him if a lift was built directly to the top of the John Paul Jones run, he would bring his world famous Austrian team to Snow Basin to train on it. Molterer said John Paul was the best downhill run in the world. Huntington rejected this proposal, and a lift to the top of John Paul was not to be built until Snowbasin received the rights to hold the alpine speed events for the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Huntington was killed five years later in 1962, as he was performing post-season maintenance, replacing an electrical fuse at the Porcupine lift.[4][7] Several Ogden businessmen purchased Snow Basin from the Huntington family.

One other major personality to come out of Snow Basin was M. Earl Miller, who ran the ski school from the mid-1950s until 1987. Miller played a key role in drafting the Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA) American Ski Technique in 1961.

Pete Seibert, founder of Vail, led a partnership which bought Snow Basin in 1978,[8][9] but ran into financial difficulty in 1984. The area was sold that October to Earl Holding, owner of Sun Valley in Idaho, and it became "Snowbasin".[10][11][12][13]

2002 Winter Olympics & Paralympics

Because it was to serve as an Olympic venue site, the U.S. Congress passed the Snowbasin Land Exchange Act in 1996 as part of the Omnibus Lands Bill.[14] The act transferred 1,377 acres (5.57 km2) of National Forest System lands near the resort to the private ownership of Snowbasin, and identified a set of projects that were necessary for the resort to host the Olympic events.[2] Six years earlier in 1990, a similar swap had been denied by the U.S. Forest Service.[15] These projects allowed Snowbasin to double in size in 1998 with new terrain expansions onto Allen Peak to the north and Strawberry and DeMoisy Peaks to the south.

During the 2002 Olympics, Snowbasin hosted the downhill, combined (downhill and slalom), and super-G events. The spectator viewing areas consisted of a stadium at the foot of the run, with two sections of snow terraces for standing along both sides of the run.[16] The spectator capacity was 22,500 per event; 99.1 percent of tickets were sold, and 124,373 spectators were able to view events at the Snowbasin Olympic venue.[17] During the 2002 Winter Paralympics, Snowbasin hosted the Alpine Skiing events, including downhill, super-G, slalom, and giant slalom.[18]


Mountain information

Super-G at Snowbasin during the 2002 Winter Olympics
Men's super-G
at the 2002 Winter Olympics


Snowbasin 2002 games seating
2002 Winter Olympics



Winter season

Summer season


  1. ^ a b Grass, Ray (March 11, 1982). "SnowBasin". Deseret News. (Salt Lake City, Utah). p. D3.
  2. ^ a b c Snowbasin Resort Company (2010). "Our History". Snowbasin Resort website. Retrieved 30 November 2010.
  3. ^ a b State of Utah. "History of Snowbasin". Utah History to Go. Retrieved 30 November 2010.
  4. ^ a b c Kadleck, Dave (March 5, 1966). "Snow Basin "natural" for Olympic ski site". Deseret News. (Salt Lake City, Utah). p. A5.
  5. ^ Aldous, Kay (April 1, 1957). "Same pattern: Denver atop NCAA ski standings". Deseret News. (Salt Lake City, Utah). p. B3.
  6. ^ "Denver nabs crown in NCAA ski meet". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. April 1, 1957. p. 10.
  7. ^ "Ski lift owner electrocuted at Snow Basin". Deseret News. (Salt Lake City, Utah). April 24, 1962. p. B2.
  8. ^ "Vail founder buys resort". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). Associated Press. October 21, 1978. p. 13.
  9. ^ Knudson, Max B. (March 20, 1981). "Snow Basin hopes Trapper's Loop will let cat out of bag". Deseret News. (Salt Lake City, Utah). p. D11.
  10. ^ Sevack, Maxine (April 1985). "Big Mountains: Snowbasin". SKI. p. 26.
  11. ^ "Sun Valley Co. buys Snow Basin resort". Deseret News. (Salt Lake City, Utah). October 11, 1984. p. 2B.
  12. ^ Grass, Dan (January 24, 1985). "Snowbasin is finally headed in right direction". Deseret News. (Salt Lake City, Utah). p. D3.
  13. ^ Grass, Dan (September 11, 1986). "Snowbasin". Deseret News. (Salt Lake City, Utah). p. D3.
  14. ^ "Snowbasin swap gets green light". Deseret News. (Salt Lake City, Utah). Associated Press. November 12, 1996. p. A1.
  15. ^ Grass, Ray (February 8, 1990). "Forest Service turns down swap, so Snowbasin halts resort plans". Deseret News. (Salt Lake City, Utah). p. D2.
  16. ^ Salt Lake Organizing Committee (2001). Official Spectator Guide. p. 64.
  17. ^ Salt Lake Organizing Committee (2002). Official Report of the XIX Olympic Winter Games (PDF). p. 75. ISBN 0-9717961-0-6. Retrieved 30 November 2010.
  18. ^ Salt Lake Organizing Committee (2001). Official Spectator Guide. p. 186.
  19. ^ a b c d e Ski Utah (2010). "Snowbasin, A Sun Valley Resort". Ski Utah website. Retrieved 17 December 2010.
  20. ^ a b Snowbasin Resort Company (2010). "Press Kit: Facts". Snowbasin Resort website. Retrieved 17 December 2010.