The History of Snowbasin Resort, Huntsville, Utah

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Mountain Real Estate Companies

After nearly 70 years of holding Snowbasin Ski Resort as one of Utah's own hidden treasures, it seems the entire world of skiers, snowboarders and outdoor adventurers have finally taken notice of this Utah masterpiece.

Glazed every winter with approximately 400 inches of heaven-sent snow, Snowbasin offers 2500 acres of powder bowls and lush glades, featuring 2959 vertical feet of ski trails. And, with twelve lifts, including two high-speed gondolas, two handle tows, a magic carpet and detachable quad, providing a lift capacity of over 14,500 skiers per hour, the wait in line is never long.

Snowbasin was born in the wake of serious flood damage in the area thought to be caused by over-excessive cattle grazing. At that time, concerned Ogden citizens founded the Weber County Watershed Protection Cooperative to educate land owners about the importance of conservation, and between 1940 and 1945, Ogden City, Weber County, the Ogden Rotary Club and the city's Chamber of Commerce together purchased almost 5000 acres in Wheeler Basin, transferring the land to the Cache National Forest for restoration and protection. Their goal was to create what one reporter then referred to as a "huge public playground", hoping to attract tourists from across the nation.

It was Alf Engen, Forest Service Recreation Advisor and ski pioneer, who in 1938 recognized Wheeler Basin as an ideal location for a ski area and set the wheels in motion to create it as such.

By 1939 "Snow Basin", titled by contest winner Geneveve Woods, was up and running with its first ski tow in operation. The following year they hosted their first ski race featuring 75 racers, an access road was build to the resort, more runs were cut, and construction of the mile-long Wildcat Chairlift had begun by 1941.

Consequently, the nation entered World War II and construction of the lift halted as the Forest Service closed the ski area for the war's duration.

Snow Basin reopened in 1945, and by 1946 the Wildcat chairlift was dedicated, bringing renewed excitement and a yearning to experience Snow Basin's pristine powder to the increasing number of recreational skiers.

During the 1960's Snow Basin saw the construction of the Glendale Inn Lodge, the Wildcat double chairlift was completed, and the original, antiquated rope tow was replaced by the Porcupine chairlift.

Since that time, Snow Basin has evolved in numerous ways, including several changes in ownership, the construction of new lifts, lodges and roads into the resort area, as well as the official name change to "Snowbasin" in 1978.

Faced with issues such as public demand for an extended ski season and concern for the safety of their patrons, Snowbasin has, in recent years, turned to modern solutions in the way of state of the art snowmaking machines and a high tech avalanche control system. The snowmaking system was installed in 1999 and is the most advanced snowmaking system in the world utilizing the most up-to-date equipment and technology. It consists of more than 300 miles of wiring, 50 miles of electrical conduit and 47 miles of pipe. Three one-million gallon underground reservoirs were built on the resort to feed the system. Pumps pull the water up, mixing it with air from one of three compressors that are capable of putting out 20,000 cubic feet of air per minute. That, in combination with a computer system that measures temperature, dew point and humidity variables to automatically adjust the air-water mixture, creates either dense snow or perfect powder. The system covers over 600 acres of terrain, making it one of the two largest snowmaking operations in North America.

The avalanche control program was also installed in 1999. Like the snowmaking system, Snowbasin's avalanche control system featuring Gazex also utilizes a computer. It is a French-made system that uses a combination of oxygen and propane gas to generate an explosion that is equivalent to 50 pounds of dynamite. It is currently the only such system in North America. The fiery explosions create shock waves that trigger avalanches on terrain below Snowbasin's No Name Peak. If you live or stay in nearby Ogden, be prepared for the rattling of your windows when the explosions boom!

In the year 2002, to the delight of the current owners since 1984, Earl and Carol Holding, Snowbasin had the honor of being the chosen venue for the men's and women's downhill, super G and combined races when Salt Lake City, Utah hosted the Olympic Winter Games.

Set in the idyllic town of Huntsville, Utah, Snowbasin is one of the easiest ski resorts to access from the Salt Lake City Airport due to the construction of Trapper's Loop in the late 1980's. Offering newly constructed timber laden lodges luxuriously decorated with massive stone fireplaces, Italian burl ceilings, gilted edges and
comfortable leather couches fit to sink into after an invigorating day on the slopes, Snowbasin exudes a rustic chic feel reminiscent of European ski resorts.

Nosh on gourmet fare at any of Snowbasin's three elegant yet relaxed lodges. And, for a complete European flavored experience, try dining at the Needles Lodge where they feature delicious Austrian specialties such as bratwurst, goulash, Weiner schnitzel with pommes frites and scrumptious apple strudel.

And, if you think Snowbasin is only good for winter fun, think again-in the summer months Snowbasin provides exciting activities like hiking, mountain biking, the yearly Xterra race, outdoor music concerts, fine dining, exercise classes and more. And don't miss the opportunity to enjoy a breathtaking sky-high ride on the Gondola. Visit snowbasin.com for a complete calendar of events.

Presently owned by the Sun Valley Company, the resort continues to thrive as people from around the world seek the thrills and adventure of skiing the "greatest snow on earth" in our "huge public playground", while continuing to maintain the original goal of being conscientious of the environment and the preservation of precious land and wildlife.

For more information on beautiful ski communities near Snowbasin Resort visit http://www.basinviewestates.com, http://www.lakesideresortproperties.com, http://www.trapperscrossing.net

And for more local information and all properties near Snowbasin Resort in Huntsville, Utah visit Mountain Luxury Real Estate.

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I have heard it is gorgeous in the area.  Many great opp's for ranch style lifestyle.

Sep 25, 2008 11:53 PM #1
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