Insider's Guide to Sidecountry Skiing at Snowbasin

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Snowbasin is blessed with some excellent backcountry terrain just outside resort boundaries. These spots make for deeply enjoyable skiing when the resort is tracked out, although most of these runs are a pill to get back from (or have consistently high avalanche risk). So doing your research here is extra-important.

As always, check the avy forecast first, and run your itinerary by a ski patroller if you get the chance. They usually have the latest beta on conditions and safety. And ideally, you’ll bring a pal who’s a local and knows the lay of the land.


Sidecountry snowboarder
Sidecountry snowboarder Austen Diamond

The northeast bowl below No Name Peak, while avalanche-prone, is one of the easiest and most rewarding jaunts that actually has a simple return route to the resort. Only drop in if avy conditions are stable and you’re properly geared up. To access the bowl, just make a quick traverse and down-ski along the ridgeline from the Allen Peak Tram. Soon you’ll arrive at the out-of-bounds access point and can take a gander down at the goods.

If there’s a decent base of snow, there should be good coverage for the entire length of these 2,500 foot gullies and glades. As you near the bottom and things get a little thinner, cut hard right to start traversing back to the resort. You should land back at the John Paul Express lift if you aim properly. Then, you’ll probably want to do it all again, because it's awesome.


Above the clouds
Above the clouds Austen Diamond

From the top of the Strawberry Express Gondola, you can ski southward to Strawberry Peak and drop in to the south down Strawberry Canyon. If you drop in too soon, you’ll end up at the Strawberry Cliffs, which are aptly named and not ideal for skiing, especially if you’re new to navigating the area. But drop in farther to the south and ski down toward Strawberry Creek, and you’re set for business.

The only thing is getting back to the resort can be a bit of an undertaking. One of the better ways (besides skinning back) is to catch the road that traverses to Dry Creek and then down to UT 167. You might want to leave a car shuttle, or you can hitch a ride back to the resort.

A great resource on the Snowbasin area’s backcountry is the book Backcountry Skiing Utah by Tyson Bradley. Get detailed info before you go, and to shred safely, always consult the Utah AvalancheCenter’s detailed daily forecast.

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