Snowbasin Terrain Parks | Family Fun for Everyone
When I grew up, terrain parks were just coming on the scene and wearing a ski helmet still wasn’t mainstream. The first terrain park, modeled after the tradition “skate parks” used for rollerblading and skateboarding, was built in the early 90s. With the introduction of slopestyle and halfpipe to the Olympic games, terrain park usage and popularity has skyrocketed.
Lets just say that when my family hit the slopes together, my kids headed straight for the terrain parks and I could have used a primer on where to start, what to expect, and a few common-sense safety rules.
Snowbasin Resort is a family resort, boasting terrain that will keep all ages and all abilities happy. For this reason, the four terrain parks on the mountain focus on small to medium features. Similar to traditional alpine slopes, terrain parks are designated by an orange oval on the maps and rated (S, M, L) based on difficulty of features. All of Snowbasin’s Terrain Parks show their designation and difficulty at the entrance to the terrain park.
An Introduction to Snowbasin’s Parks
Location: Under the Little Cat lift, on the Powder Puff Beginner Slope. It is accessed of the Little Cat lift.
Difficulty: Extra Small and Small
The Powder Puff park is the perfect place to start for those new to terrain parks or for young children. It is Snowbasin’s easiest and most basic park, with small berms, short jumps, and snow-level boxes.
Location: On the Powder Puff Run at the bottom of Orson’s
Difficulty: Small and Medium
Mini-Orson’s is a great place to start once you want the next step up from Powder Puff, and want to try short jumps and low boxes that are a step up from Powder Puff.
As you progress to medium-sized parks, you can expect the jumps to be more committing (10-30 feet) and jibs (rails, boxes, etc) requiring small jumps in order to mount them.
Location: Top of the Wildcat Lift
Difficulty: Small and Medium
Location: Orson’s run, accessed via the Wildcat Lift or Needles Gondola
Difficulty: Small and Medium
There are a few common sense safety tips that everyone should know before entering any of the terrain parks.
- Ski or snowboard within your ability. Start in the small parks before launching into the more difficult parks.
- Tim Eastley, the Snowbasin Terrain park manager, cautions us that “the snow ramps in front of the rails or boxes are not small jumps. It is bad practice to use them as such because it creates cross ruts for the rider using the feature as intended.”
- Do not stop or ski through the landing areas of jumps or features as it creates a hazard both for you and the rider coming down the hill.
- Learn the hand signals for safe communication with riders above or below you (as shown in the photo below).
Join us later this season for a behind the scenes look into the team that builds our terrain parks, their process, and what it takes to build and maintain a terrain park! See you on the slopes!
What to expect on your first day with the Snowbasin Learning Center
So this is the year! The year you decided to become a skier or snowboarder. Or maybe you are a parent and this is the year you signed up your kids for lessons, rented all the gear and now you find yourself staring into early light of a grey morning wondering if this was a good idea.
Trust me. It is. But like all first days, first days learning to ski or snowboard can be a little unnerving. As humans, we just aren’t comfortable with the unexpected or unknown. Today I am going to help a little bit with that.
What should you expect on your first day:
For an introduction to the typical first day in ski school, I caught up with Ashley Watts, the Snowbasin Snow Sports School Director and he shared these tips:
- Plan your morning. Arriving on time, unhurried, and prepared will set the stage for your day. To do so, Ashley suggests arriving an hour before your scheduled lesson if you are renting equipment. On weekends, holidays, or powder days, allow more time for snowy roads, traffic and possible delays.
- When you arrive at Snowbasin, head right into the Learning Center, a short walk from skier drop off or the shuttle drop off at the base. At the Learning Center you will check in at the main desk, receive your rental gear and meet your private instructor or receive your group assignment. If you are confused on where to go, please ask one of our awesome Guest Services workers in the yellow jackets.
- There is no need to pack a lunch, especially if you have children signed up for group lessons as lunch is included! Children will eat at the Learning Center. Adult participants will take a break around noon for lunch and often eat with their instructors at one of the on mountain lodges.
- A frequent question is, “will I be riding a chair lift or go up on the mountain during my first day?” The answer to this varies depending on the individual. "Most new-to-snow participants will ride the magic carpet very soon after starting their lesson. Most of the time, skiers or snowboarders will ride at least one other lift during the day," says Ashley.
- Make sure you layer your clothing for your first day. Even on the coldest days, your effort may be strenuous and you may find yourself wanting to drop a layer. Helmets and eye protection are also a must. While goggles are often preferred, Ashley suggests sunglasses are a great idea on day 1 as many students end up warmer than anticipated and their goggles tend to fog up.
- If you are a parent wanting to observe from a distance during the lesson, you are welcome to do so. However, it is critical that parents give the instructors plenty of space and don’t try to help out with the lesson. Ashley suggests that parents take a lesson as well or if guests book a private lesson, they can bring up to 4 extra people at no extra cost. If you would like to take a family lesson, where you are learning alongside your child, you can help the instructor most by modeling a good attitude and being actively engaged in the learning process.
We hope you this helps lessen the anxiety of your first day and leads to a successful season on the slopes of Snowbasin!
Safety Month at Snowbasin
January is National Safety Month in the ski industry and we are excited to raise awareness about different practices of how to be safe on the slopes. Every weekend we will be offering guests a chance to win cool prizes if they join us on a Safety Quest around the resort. The guests will have to visit all 6 different stations and turn in their card at the end of the day to win the prizes. We have partnered with Smith Optics to giveaway 2 helmets each day as well as Snowbasin Resort prizes that include deluxe tunes, gift cards, ½ off private lesson, ½ lift tickets, a dining discovery for two and more.
The guests who choose to partake on this Safety Quest will explore different aspects of the skier and rider responsibility code around the mountain on the weekends. Guests can pick up the Safety Quest card at the base area booth starting at 8:30 am and have to turn in their card by 3:00 pm. On Saturdays and Sundays, we will offer free cookies and hot cocoa in the morning while we talk about our SAFERmtn Team, where to go for the Safety Quest, Park Smarts, Sun Smarts, "Ride Another Day" and other key safety topics to think about while out on the slopes.
There will be five booths on the mountain will run from 10:30 am – 1:00 pm
Booth 1 is located at the top of Littlecat Express where our Snowbasin staff will be talking about lids on kids and lift safety.
Booth 2 is located at top of Needles Gondola where our Snowbasin Ski Patrol will be talking about on-mountain signage, the code and trail etiquette.
Booth 3 is located at the bottom of Herbert’s where the Snowbasin Ski Patrol will be at the beacon park to help guests do beacon drills and host dog demos at 1 pm. Something to make sure not to miss!
Booth 4 is located at the top of Blue Grouse where our Terrain Parks staff will be talking about our terrain parks and safety in our terrain parks.
Booth 5 is located at the top of the new “Family Zone” where our Snowsports instructors will be talking about skiing and riding in control and who has the right away when on the mountain.
At each booth, the guests will receive a punch on their card and can bring the completed card (6 punches) back down to the base area booth by 3:00 pm. We ask the guests to write legibly so we can notify them if they win.
Looking forward to raising awareness about safety on the mountain and continue to grow our SAFERmtn Team.
Wildcat Parking Lot Will Be Open on Weekends and Holidays
The Wildcat Lot formerly known as the Old Day Lodge Lot will be available for parking on weekends and holidays through the rest of the winter season. We have decided to open this lot to provide a safer and faster way to park cars in the base area on more popular mornings. The parking lot will open at 8:45 am and our staff will park cars there until it is full. We will be parking Wildcat Lot and our other lots around the bend simultaneously with about 30 cars towards the Wildcat Lot and directing 30 cars towards the other lots in the base area. This will safely expedite the flow of traffic off Snowbasin Road and getting the guests on the slopes faster. At 8:45 am Littlecat Express starts running, so if guests need to download to the main base area they can.
The Wildcat Lot will have NO SERVICES. Guests wanting restrooms, lift tickets, and rentals should plan to go around the bend to Earl’s Lots and Maples Lots. Guests who park in Earl’s and Maples Lots have access to a complimentary shuttle taking them from their cars directly to base area village.
There will be NO SHUTTLE running to the Wildcat Lot because Littlecat Express provides access from the base area. Littlecat Express will run until 4:45 pm to get guests back to their cars after a day on the slopes. Littlecat Express will be available for guests to download as a foot passenger if guests want to access the base area. NO EQUIPMENT will be allowed to download, if guests are in their ski and snowboard equipment, we recommend skiing or riding down the mountain.
Q: When is the Wildcat Lot open for parking?
A: Starting December 26th it will open at 8:45 am on weekends and holidays for the remainder of the season.
Q: Why 8:45 am?
A: This is the time Littlecat Express starts running, so if guests need to download to get to the main base area they can.
Q: Does it cost to park in Wildcat Lot?
A: No, this is a free amenity.
Q: How do I get back to my car after the lifts stop turning at 4 pm?
A: Littlecat Express will run until 4:45 pm to get guests back to their car.
Q: What if I need a bathroom, lift tickets or rentals?
A: We recommend you go around the bend to our main parking lots, but if a guest finds themselves in the Wildcat Lot and needing these amenities they can access Littlecat Express as a foot passenger.