Huntsville, UT - Utah's Snowbasin Resort has filed a Master Plan with Weber County's Ogden Valley Destination and Recreation Resort Zone to build a massive resort village at the ski area, finally realizing its plan to become a world-class ski and snowboard resort.
Founded in 1939, Snowbasin was largely a locals-only ski area until the lead-up to the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City Snowbasin owner Earl Holding, magnate of Sinclair Oil who in 1984 purchased Snowbasin while also owning Sun Valley Resort in Idaho, invested millions in Snowbasin to construct a first-class lift system that includes two gondolas and an aerial tramway, along with high-speed quad chairlifts to serve the men's and women's alpine skiing speed events that were hosted at the resort. He also built lavish lodges at base and summit that are second to none in the North American ski industry.
Those lodges, however, are for day use only. Instead of building a bed base at the resort, Holding invested his funds to construct the opulent Grand America Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City, some 45 minutes away from the slopes.
That's presumably about to change. The plan filed with Weber County encompasses a 11,800-acre parcel owned by Snowbasin that occupies parts of both Weber and Morgan Counties, upon which Holding's company hopes to build approximately 2,400 residential units. A significant ski area expansion would take place near the current Strawberry Gondola, with a second entrance to the ski area to be constructed in Morgan County, along Trapper's Loop Road south of the intersection with Snowbasin Road, which would shave about 10 minutes off the drive to the resort from the Salt Lake City metro area. The goal is for approximately 50 percent of the ski resort's guests to use the new entrance. Snowbasin officials have yet to file a permit application in Morgan County.
Most of the planned units would be clustered in what is being called Earl's Village near the existing base lodge that would include hotels, condominiums and townhouses, a retail and restaurant core, ice skating, spas and an amphitheater. Three golf courses, a wastewater treatment plant and a fire station would also be built on the property, the latter arising out of discussion that took place with the Weber County Sheriff's Office and the Weber Fire District and Emergency Medical Technicians in March, wherein the agencies expressed a need for on-site facilities. Employee housing would be built commensurate with need. Parking structures would be built to accommodate the anticipated influx of additional guest vehicles.
Off-season activities would be expanded under the plan to develop Snowbasin as a four-season resort, which would include new biking and hiking trails throughout the property along with new zip-line tours and pond fishing.
In addition to Earl's Village a small development of approximately 500 multi-family and single-family homes that would be built just to the southwest of Earl's Lodge, along with condominiums and townhomes at the base of the ski area's current Becker and Wildcat chairlifts. A new chairlift would extend down the hill and to the north to provide ski-in, ski-out capability.
Another 300 one- to two-acre single-family and multi-family home lots are being planned for a community to be called The Ranch near Utah Highway 39 at the base of Trapper's Loop Road. Officials also envision possibly a gas station, movie theater and other office and retail space built at this site. Further up Trapper's Loop Road, another 76-acre development pod to be called The Meadows calls for another 22 single-family lots as well as one of the proposed golf courses, which would extend into Morgan County.
The proposal calls for approximately 80 percent of the land contained within Weber County to be preserved as open space. Holding currently has approximately 600 development units approved on land near Pineview Reservoir nearer to Huntsville. The plan calls for these units within the Ogden Valley Destination and Recreation Resort Zone, which is designed to protect the rural quality of life in the Ogden Valley by allowing landowners to voluntarily submit properties suitable for development to the district while promoting wildlife habitat and open space, to be transferred to the ski area, where approximately 100 planned units are currently approved.
Nearby Powder Mountain Resort, a ski area straddling the Weber and Cache County border, has for several years pressed for a similar residential development, but has encountered strong resistance from residents in the Ogden Valley. Earlier this month, the Weber County Commission approved Powder Mountain's Memorandum of Understanding for future development. Unlike Powder Mountain's proposal, however, Snowbasin officials have been working with Ogden Valley's Growth With Excellence Mandate Committee (GEM) to gain their buy-in for the master plan proposal, some three years in the making.
If approved, Snowbasin's build-out plan is expected to take 50 years or more, depending on market conditions. Snowbasin is planning a number of public information sessions about the proposal in July.