When it comes to ski areas, the phrase “a real sleeper” usually connotes great snow and terrain—along with the scruffy brown-bag rooms and slow lifts of beloved local hills. But Snowbasin, a 3,000-acre, 3,000-vertical-foot spread of six peaks that’s still off the radar despite hosting the 2002 Olympic downhills, is not most ski areas. One reader dubs it “the underpriced Ritz of Utah,” if the Ritz were empty as a ballroom on a Sunday morning.
Here, you can glide up to any of the gondolas, trams and quads all day without waiting in a single line (Lifts rank No. 3). The daylodges—with golden sconces and English carpet—are “primo.” And then there’s the “first time I ever saw someone take a photo of a resort bathroom!” And the mountain food (No. 2) trends toward pommes frites, not fries.
As for the snow, though its 400 annual inches doesn’t beat Little Cottonwood Canyon, the powder lasts for days, not hours. Terrain Variety gets fairly high marks, with runs that range from chutes like Lone Tree to “loooong” mellow cruisers off the Strawberry Express to steep tree runs under the John Paul quad. So why haven’t you skied here? Probably because you can’t stay here: The nearest lodging is 15 miles away in Ogden—“not nearly as local as you’d like.” You can’t really do après, either. In fact, “there’s not much to do besides ski.” Locals would be happy to keep it that way. “Don’t tell anyone!” several plead. We’ve tried to, but no one believes us. —Evelyn Spence
What’s New: Recycled features for the progressive terrain park system.
Mandatory Run: The Olympic Grizzly Downhill was called the Kitzbühel of North America—freaky fast and dangerous. It’s been tamed but still drops fast.
Don’t Miss: The hearty cioppino and great views from the John Paul Lodge.