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Utah Celebrates Old & Newest Ski Resorts

22nd December 2015 | Becky Lomax

News Regions: Utah

Resorts in this article: Snowbasin

Snowbasin Resort - ©Snowbasin Resort

Snowbasin Resort celebrates its 75th anniversary this winter.

Copyright: Snowbasin Resort

Utah celebrates two resorts, one new and one old. As Snowbasin Resort relived its heritage during its 75th anniversary gala, the new Cherry Peak launched its first day of operation.

Snowbasin Resort

After Alf Engen handpicked a prime winter ski location around 9,570-foot Mt. Ogden in the Wasatch Mountains, the town of Ogden officially dubbed Snowbasin (originally Snow Basin) as the local playground in 1940. That same winter, the ski area became one of Utah’s oldest when it held its first race with 75 contestants vying for speed. Six decades later, speed again became a defining element at Snowbasin Resort when it hosted the 2002 Olympic Winter Games downhill, super G and combined races.

The Porcupine Saddle rope tow hauls skiers up Snow Basin in 1956. - ©Snowbasin Resort

The Porcupine Saddle rope tow hauls skiers up Snow Basin in 1956.

Copyright: Snowbasin Resort

Like most of the oldest ski resorts in the U.S., Snowbasin launched with tows. After World War II temporarily scuttled the installation of the mile-long Wildcat Chair, the single-chair lift finally carried its first skiers up the hill in 1946. Since its early decades, Snowbasin Resort has come a long way, spreading lifts and other amenities across 3,000 acres. Wildcat is now a triple, and other early tows have likewise been upgraded to lifts.

Especially in preparation for the 2002 Olympics, the resort boomed in constructing five lodges, Strawberry and Needles Gondolas, Allen Peak Tram and a snowmaking system than spans more than 600 acres. Today, the ski area totals 11 lifts with 104 runs. For jibbers, it contains four terrain parks. Non-skiers can enjoy sliding on the four-lane tubing hill, and cross-country skiers can tour 26 kilometers of Nordic trails.

Due to its location east of Ogden, Snowbasin Resort tends to see fewer skiers per acre than the ski resorts east of Salt Lake City. That means shorter (or non-existent) lift lines, plus more elbowroom and fresh stashes of uncut powder. Originally, a few dollars bought a lift ticket, but today, adult lift tickets cost $99-105. That ticket gives access to slopes that garner 300 inches of snow annually.

Snowbasin Resort plans to whoop up its 75th anniversary on Jan. 30, 2016, with family fun. Eat cake and win prizes on Earl’s Lodge Patio, and celebrate the milestone anniversary with a torchlight parade and fireworks. 

Cherry Peak

This week marked the launch of Utah’s newest ski area—Cherry Peak. On Monday, Dec. 21, 2015, the small, family-owned and operated ski area hosted its first skiers and snowboarders.

Cherry Peak opened in Dec. 2015 with 2 triples and a carpet. - ©Cherry Peak

Cherry Peak opened in Dec. 2015 with 2 triples and a carpet.

Copyright: Cherry Peak

While plans have been in the works for nearly 15 years, construction on Cherry Peak’s lifts and lodge began in 2013. Anchored by Grand Lodge, the 280-acre ski area has runs cut through aspen groves with a vertical descent of 1,265 feet.

Grand Lodge anchors Cherry Peak ski area. - ©Cherry Peak

Grand Lodge anchors Cherry Peak ski area.

Copyright: Cherry Peak

For its inauguration, Cherry Peak started up two of its triple chairlifts and the 550-foot-long magic carpet. A third lift is slated to come online next winter. Thanks to a combination of machine-made and natural snow, more than half of Cherry Peak’s 29 trails were opened for skiing and riding, including a handful of black diamond runs. Skiers and riders can test out a terrain park, powder bowls, nightly skiing and riding, lessons, and rentals. Adult lift tickets cost $49.

Different from other ski resorts, Cherry Peak is open Mondays-Saturdays but closed Sundays. Non-skiers can skate on the ice rink adjacent to the lodge and zip down the five-lane tubing hill. Operations are planned to run through April 10, 2016, this year. The resort is located outside Richmond and 15 miles from Logan.


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