The cursed complex, battered by infinite delays and then Covid, is temporarily shuttered by fire
Man, first time I skied Snowbasin was in a three day midweek snow event/storm in 1994. I fit the place in a time gap in between Park City and JHole on the recommendation of locals on the lifts in SLC.. It is still one of my best powder experiences ever. The third day I walked up to the lifts at the old main base with two feet of Utah fresh up there, crystals paying in the air and, I swear, maybe eight people milling about at 9am. I shared a peace pipe with a local on the first chair, and he proceeded to show me the way. Maybe at the most, a few hundred people skied that day? It was awesome.
Now, eh, the Olympics really screwed that place up, with the bizarre lodges and the new road from SLC that brings in thousands. I encountered a powder day there a few years ago that was unreal. Longest initial lift line I've been in years. Ridiculous crowds, and I went there trying to escape SLC weekend crowds. But I was always amazed that they still had zero beds at the base. Well that's gone. At least those owners won't have to deal with the traffic.
SLC is being ruined by it's massive growth. There are way too many people that even eight ski hills can't absorb. Too bad. Nice snow.
I normally find myself in complete and total agreement with your takes, but have to disagree regarding Snowbasin. I guess I don't see their village plans as any sign of progress. Inevitable? Yes. But progress that meaningfully and positively impacts the skiing experience? No. This is likely destined to end up as a lifeless collection of buildings that are largely abandoned in shoulder seasons and with no inherent draw that creates a sense of place or community. It's basically just a cash grab for a resort owned by an oil tycoon billionaire whose estate doesn't need the money. That's fine and all - I'm all for capitalism - but let's not pretend that this is a net win for anyone but the Holdings and the few, very well off, individuals who will be able to afford to own a unit there. For the vast majority of others who will drive to the hill each day (locals, visitors staying in Ogden/elsewhere), this is a massive downgrade to their experience. "Yes! Yes I want to park 5x further from the slopes and then take a new short-lift that only serves the purpose of getting me to the lifts accessing terrain I want to ski!"...said no one ever.
Also, three addenda on your Timberline blurb:
- Mt. Hood Ski Bowl isn't technically located on Mt. Hood despite being just across the street from Timberline. It's on a combination of "Skibowl Peak" (which sounds unofficial) and "Tom Dick Peak" which sounds official and 3rd grade hilarious.
- You didn't include Telluride in your rankings of US vertical drops. Based on lift-served only, it would come in over 3,800' and rank #4 or #5 depending on how you classify Timberline + Summit rt now. With in-bounds hike-to terrain on Palmyra Peak, it's more like 4425', which would bump it up to #1 or #2.
- McCoy Park tops out well below the current summit elevation of Beaver Creek, so no change to the vertical there.
Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.