The 75th Anniversary of Snowbasin: A Natural Basin Gone Rogue!

Yes – the resort’s history is in the name.

The re-development of a deteriorated watershed around the Wheeler Basin area served as the catalyst for what is now known as one of the oldest ski resorts in the nation. It was Geneve Woods — a Ogden City native — who imagined “a natural basin filled with winter snow that would melt into clean, pure drinking water.” So it was no surprise when she won the contest for naming the new ski area, which is how the Snowbasin Resort got its name in 1938. It was one year later when Snowbasin had its first ski tow and began attracting an unprecedented amount of visitors.


So let the expansion begin!

Snowbasin was officially opened in 1940. By 1941 they opened their first ski school and began building their first mile-long chairlift (the Wildcat) — but progress terminated on the chairlift because of World War II, during which time the resort remained closed. In 1945 it reopened; and in 1946, construction of the Wildcat chairlift completed. With the war now over, and a multitude of highly energized soldiers with expert skiing abilities seeking to shed memories of war, recreational skiing quickly became a favorite pastime for many. As an honor to John Paul Jones — a Ogden native and fallen soldier with an affinity for the area, Snowbasin added a second chairlift and called it the John Paul Chairlift.

As time moved on …

The 50’s brought about very few changes at Snowbasin, but the 60’s welcomed quite a few new ones. Construction of the Glendale Inn Lodge took place in the same area as the original Forest Service shelter; the Porcupine Chairlift replaced a rope-tow system; and the Wildcat double chairlift replaced the single chairlift.

During the 70’s and 80’s, the resort changed ownership quite a few times. It was in this decade when the name got changed to Snowbasin (1978) from Snow Basin, essentially the same name, but with no space. How clever, a name change to the same name – who would have thunk it?

In 1979, Snowbasin moved on to add a new triple chairlift known as the Middle Bowl, and expanded the lodge by 2,700 square feet. Oh yeah, they were on their way!

Snowbasin goes R.O.G.U.E!

In 1985, with a new master plan in play, the Utah ski area went all-in with designs to develop a four-season resort. A land exchange with the Forest Service was also included in the plans. While study for the plans were underway, construction of a new road – Trappers Loop – materialized (1989), making the journey from Salt Lake International Airport effortless, and more accessible for visitors.

Then in 2000, it happened … the land exchange was complete, and Snowbasin was given 1,377 acres of land, and 11,757 acres of private land, and IT.WAS.ON! By 2002 Snowbasin was showcased to the world as the Olympic Winter Games venue for the men’s and women’s downhill, super G and combined races. In 2004 the resort celebrated its first summer opening – during which time Sunday afternoons became a day for locals to feast on Blues, Brews and BBQ … a weekly outdoor concert, free to the public, and a tradition that still holds true today.

But the big reveal for the 2015/16 ski season was an 11 million gallon snow-making reservoir, installed over 2.5 acres for the purpose of increasing snow-making capabilities.

With 3,000 ski-able acres; 3,000 vertical feet; two magic carpets; nine ski lifts (two of which are gondolas); one tram; a tubing hill with five lanes and rope-tow system; four mountain lodges; 26 miles of color coded hiking and biking trails; children activities; and so much more, Snowbasin has managed to position itself as one of the most exciting family friendly places to visit. . . not only during the winter, but all year long.

It was first a basin – then a name – then a “huge winter playground,” and now it’s the Snowbasin 75th Anniversary! What more do you need to know, and what more can you ask for in a resort? So don’t think, just go and experience the rich history of a beautiful area once home to the Ute and Shoshone tribes, loved for its wild game and fresh fish. Congratulations Snowbasin … you have arrived!