Dining for the Whole Family at Needles Lodge

A great family ski day can depend on many things. Weather. Snow conditions. Hassle factor in getting on the slopes. And of course, good food! After a fun morning of adventure my kids are always eager for a warm lunch and special treat. But as a parent, I’d like something more than just a cafeteria meal. Being more romantic than our kids, my husband and I love a beautiful lodge with great scenery AND great food.

Family Dining at Needles Lodge

Needles Lodge, Snowbasin

At almost 9000’, Needles Lodge is one of my favorite dining experiences in the Wasatch. This beautiful log style lodge is perched just under Needles Cirque and has amazing views of the Northern Wasatch, Pineview Reservoir, and Morgan and Ogden Valleys.

But it is also a fantastic destination for the hungry family. Being a mom of three young kids, we spend most of the day on the Little Cat Express and Becker lifts at the bottom of the mountain. But a fun ride up the Needles Gondola delivers us into the heart of high alpine territory.  If you purchase a beginner ticket (good on the Little Cat and Becker lifts), you may still ride the gondola up for lunch. Just leave your skis at the base and ride it back down when you are finished. And gondolas are like alpine amusement rides for the young at heart.

Water at Needles Lodge

When arriving at Needles Lodge you will find large comfortable chairs and tables with expansive views out the windows. You can take any wet clothing and place it near the stone fireplace to dry.

Downstairs you will find additional seating and oversized sofas for lounging. We’ve even seen families “set up camp” with their infant in Needles Lodge, while mom and dad take turns making runs off the gondola.

Family dining at Needles Lodge,Snowbasin

Insider Food Tips

While all the meals we’ve had at Needles Lodge have been excellent, we do have a few family favorites. I would highly recommend any of the soups or burgers. Specifically the Creamy Tomato Basil Soup and Clam Chowder, when it is available. If you are looking to feed the entire family, the signature wood-fired pizza is always a favorite with our kids and one generous order of french fries usually satisfies this family of five.

At either of the upper mountain lodges, opt for a ceramic coffee cup rather than paper and enjoy free refills. This is part of Snowbasin’s new program to limit the amount of waste produced each season.

Whether skiing off the top, or just enjoying a beautiful gondola ride, make the Needles Lodge a must-visit for your family. I promise you won’t regret it.

Family skiing at Needles Lodge, Snowbasin

 

When Storms Align [and its parents day off!]

dropping in to powder bliss

Time for a little confession. I spend way too much time scrolling my Instagram feed, dreaming of being on that beach, in those mountains, in knee-deep powder, above those clouds.  And while my life is full of the outdoors, my life is also full of family, in the form of three young kids. Their smiles enchant me. Their minds teach me to see the world in ways I never would have. But when the storms roll through the Wasatch and my single, kid-free friends head out the door in search of untouched lines, I feel a twinge of, “ugh”. And when they return full on stoke, I glance around the house, bidding my time.

Confession number two. I have learned from experience, that a few “adult days” a year make me a better parent. And by Monday of last week, the weekend couldn’t come soon enough. This time it was Chris and my turn to hit the slopes kid free! I didn’t even care what the weather brought.

By mid-week, I was quietly holding my breath, as storms and moisture were rolling across Utah. It looked as though something more than luck was guiding my week. Our randomly planned ski day was lining up with 6-12” of new snow. I could hardly believe it!

Sunday morning we dropped two kids off for a full-day of ski school and our youngest at the Snowbasin day care. The instructor looked me straight in the eye and said, “I’ve got them from here, you hurry and jump on Needles! There is still fresh powder out there for ya!” Ah… nothing like the presence of kindred spirits! He knew just what I was thinking.

And it turned out there was more than a little leftovers. Having been closed the previous day, Strawberry opened at 10:30 and we had fresh tracks all morning long.

I was finally IN those Instagram photos. I was living in my own special paradise.

Looking off Elk Ridge, powder day fresh tracks off Strawberry

When the powder was all devoured. When our tummies were full on creamy soup and hot pizza from John Paul Lodge. When our souls were brimming over with mountain glory, we returned to our three kids.

Three kids who rocked all day lessons, made new friends, excelled at new skills. We returned to instructors that were still smiling despite a long day on the job. We returned to a toddler who took a 1 hr private lesson in the middle of the day, and then spent the rest of her time making crafts and playing. We returned to the friendliest day care employees I’ve ever encountered and kids who didn’t want the day to end. Secretly I didn’t want it to either.

But paradise will be waiting for another day.

Don’t sit at home wishing you were elsewhere. Make a plan. Get out there. Snowbasin wants to give you the day off. This next powder storm might just be yours.

Parents day off on the slopes

Come join the Snowbasin Resort Snowsports Coaching Staff!

Are you passionate about skiing or snowboarding? Do you enjoy the mountain environment? Can you share your enthusiasm with others? If the answer to all these questions is “Yes” then maybe you have what it takes to become a Snowsports Coach. Snowbasin Resort has an excellent Apprentice Training Program that runs at the beginning of each season and it will teach you all you need to know to deliver an exceptional experience to Snowbasin Resort’s guests.  Joining the Apprentice Training Program will improve your personal skiing or riding skills and will teach you how to coach others to improve their skills.  

Join us in the Grizzly Center Children’s Center on Sunday 23rd March 2014 at 12.30 to find out whether you should join next years Apprentice Training Program and become a Snowbasin Resort Snowsports Professional! (The small print: The Apprentice Training Program is designed to improve your personal skiing and riding, however, you should be able to ski parallel on blue terrain or ride blue terrain before considering joining the program)  

For more information please contact Luke Handman at 801.620.1015

Like….Totally 80’s Weekend!! April 12th & 13th

Neon pink, head bands, pinned jeans, feathered hair……..it must be the 80’s.  Yes, it is that time of the year again where we get to dust off the old-school retro gear, get that pastel suit dry cleaned, and make our way up to Snowbasin Resort for the 2nd Annual Totally 80’s weekend throw-down.  And new this year, we have added the ‘splash-down’, our 1st spring Pond Skim.  Both Saturday and Sunday the Resort will have activities for all ages that will be both funny and free – so c’mon up and work on that goggle tan and sport that goofy retro gear you’ve been just itching to put on and take out in public.  For this weekend, you’ll fit right in!

Saturday April 12th :

  • Photo booth on the patio with 80’s props with photos taken by our friends at FaceShots Photography
  • Retro Music and Retro ski films in the Cinnabar
  • Live Music from an 80’s tribute rock band “The Breakfast Klub” from 3-5pm on the Earl’s Lodge patio. To get a dose of what they bring in 80′s rock fun check out their video!

Utah 80's Band

Sunday April 13th:

  • Photo booth on the patio with 80’s props with photos taken by our friends at FaceShots Photography
  • Retro Music and Retro ski films in the Cinnabar
  • 80’s Splash-Down Throw-Down Pond Skim from 12:00-2:30 up the mountain from Earl’s Patio.
    • Registration at 8am-11am in Earl’s Lodge.
    • Registration is FREE is you are dressed up in proper Retro Attire, if not it is $5.
    • Limited to 100 participants and first come first serve
    • Prizes for:
      • Best crash and ‘yard-sale’
      • Best Style – hint hint, costume and gear go along way with this category
      • Best Costume
      • Awards Ceremony on Earl’s Lodge Patio.
      • After awards there will be a live DJ on the Patio spinning all those 80’s classics starting at 2:30 with a costume and dance-off contest where the grand prize winner will receive a Snowbasin 2014-2015 value season pass.  Other prizes will include Snowbasin Swag and Gift Cards.  And Bragging rights, let’s not forget about that.

First Annual Burger Challenge March 30th

Like Burgers and fries?  Like to ski/ride? Then we have the perfect event “stacked” up for you!  For a $40 entry fee, you will get to experience the thrills of the mountain, while enjoying the delectable bites of Snowbasin Resort’s Signature Burgers in all three of our majestic lodges.

Here’s the deal:

You start at the base of Needles Gondola by the Moose at 11am and take the Gondola up to Needles Lodge.  Upon entry, you will be treated to the incredible Needles ‘Bomber’ Burger which is a half-pound of all natural grass fed beef from Idaho flat grilled and topped with 1000 island dressing, sauerkraut, 6oz of grilled corned beef, Swiss cheese, on a toasted brioche bun with pickles (yes you have to eat the pickles).

As soon as you are done – which is a totally clean plate – you grab your gear and ski or ride down to the base where you will have to take the John Paul Express Quad to your next Culinary Adventure.  At John Paul Lodge, the Signature Burger, the JP ‘Mondo’ Burger, will be ready for the next round of food inhaling.  The John Paul Burger is a half-pound of flat grilled all natural grass fed beef topped with marinara, a 1/3 pound grilled Italian Sausage, and provolone cheese on a toasted brioche bun.  If you can choke down the JP Mondo Burger, then your last stop awaits at Earl’s Lodge.

At Earl’s Lodge you will be greeted like warriors returning from battle from our Culinary Team.  The final monumental food-gasm will be the mighty Basin Burger from Earl’s Grill which is a half-pound of all natural grass fed beef flame grilled topped with 4 slices of bacon, 1/3 pound of house smoked pulled pork, BBQ sauce, crispy Fried onions on a toasted brioche bun.  Just to sweeten the pot, you will have to eat a full portion of fries along with 2 Kobe Beef Sliders from the Cinnabar – in one seating.  If you finish first, you claim the prize and bragging rights for life.  Are you ready for the challenge?

Prizes include:

  1. 2014-2015 Season Pass
  2. NEFF Jacket & Dragon Goggles
  3. Helmet
  4. Snowbasin Swag
  5. More Snowbasin Swag

Cost:  $40 – limit to the 1st 40 participants

Advance Registration by calling Tim Eastley at 801-620-1045 or teastley@snowbasin.com

Day of Registration on 3.30.14:  Huntington Room in Earl’s Lodge from 8:30-10am

**All Skier Responsibility codes are still in place including staying in control and observing all ‘Slow’ skiing zones.  Snowbasin Resort is not condoning unsafe skiing/riding, or skiing out of control.

On-Snow Demo to Benefit Snowbasin Adaptive Sports March 15th

Snowbasin Resort in conjunction with the Snowbasin Adaptive Education Foundation will be hosting an On-Snow Demo on Saturday, March 15th featuring 16 ski and snowboard manufactures such as BurtonRossignol and Head.  The cost is $20 to demo different equipment all day with “Proceeds to Benefit Snowbasin Adaptive Education Foundation”!  So come out test some great ski and snowboard products and help donate to a great cause!

 

5 Safety Tips For Families On the Slopes

Tips for Successful Family Skiing

Every fantastic adventure is made successful (in part) by abiding certain guidelines. For instance, backcountry skiers require knowledge of terrain, avalanche conditions, and rescue for a successful day.

But what about a simple family trip up to a resort? We’ve found the same goes for families and our in-bounds ski/snowboarding adventures. As our kids have progressed beyond the bunny slope, we’ve found it helpful and somewhat necessary to set some guidelines. Below are rules that everyone, kid and parent, should know.

1. Set a meeting place.

This is a great tip for large groups and families. Set a meeting place in a centralized location just incase you lose someone. It is incredibly easy, especially on busy weekends, to lose your kid or your friend. Before you even jump on the lift, make plans for lunch (time/place) so everyone can reconnect. Do the same thing for the end of the day. Don’t rely on cell phones! There have been many times where I lost service, or battery power, and wished I’d relied on “old-school” principles.

2. Discuss with your kids a safe place to stop on a run.

Kids (and beginners) do not naturally know where/when it is safe to stop and when it is not. This can be an abstract concept to explain but here a few tips:

  • Stop on the side of runs, not the middle.
  • Stop before you drop below a hill, not just after.
  • Be aware of skiers to the sides and behind you, before coming to a quick stop.
  • If you can see the uphill skiers above you, then there is a good chance they can see you.

3.Know the rules in Terrain Parks

I love, love, love that they are making terrain parks for kids and beginners, not just the experts. My kids spend hours flying off the jumps and attempting rails. But there are certain ‘rules’ that many kids are not aware of.

For instance, they should stop at the top of the terrain park and wait in line for their turn. Not just blow through unaware of the other riders waiting.

They should also be aware of signals they might see and/or use. Arms crossed if a skier is down, arms in a circle if it is safe to proceed. If your kids are really young, stay with them in the terrain park so you can signal to other riders if they fall in a blind spot. I had to do this once or an adult rider would have landed on my 5-year-old son had I not thrown up the “crossed-arms” signal.

Terrain Park Rules, Kids should know

4. Discuss ways to cross a run and looking for uphill traffic.

Unlike crossing the street, the skier who is crossing a run does not have the right-of-way. In fact, the uphill skier does. But I cannot tell you how many times my kids have (and still do) charge into a run, completely unaware of riders coming down at them.

I like to think of this like crossing a street. Stop. Look. Proceed with caution.

5. Help your kids identify “safe strangers.”

This tip piggy-backs off our first point, set a meeting place. But what if you forget too? What if you never meet up? What if you lose a kid?

My husband and I spend some time asking them who is safe to ask for help should they become injured or separated from us. Ski Patrollers, Lift Operations and Guest Services workers are great examples of “safe strangers.” And at many resorts, these people have noticeable jackets or uniforms making them easy to spot. Help your kids become acquainted with resort employees should they need them at some point.

Guest Services at Snowbasin

A few simple tips and rules, can save you time, hassle, and worry when exploring the slopes with your kids and friends.

What are your tips?

Life Lessons on the Slopes

Riding the Little Cat Express

Muhammad Ali said,

“Friendship is not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.”

Friendship. That one great connection we seek as individuals.

It is easy, as an adventure family, to forget that my kids are made in the same mold I am. Sure I want to hit the slopes, taste the powder, and breath the bluebird skies. But what I treasure most are the laughs between chair tower 9 and 10. In short, the camaraderie of adventuring with friends.

As our kids have grown, we’ve worked tirelessly to keep the bar high on our “adventure quota” as a family. But I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t often think of bringing my kid’s friends along. Sometimes I am barely managing those who dwell within the walls of my own home!

But kids are motivated in the same ways we are. If you are looking to motivate a reluctant skier, bring their friends, and their heart will come along with them.

Bring a friend on ski days

This last weekend, we brought a friend (and his mom) and introduced them to Snowbasin for the first time. After all it is “Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month.” So why not spread the love? My son and his friend enjoyed a morning ski lesson with the Grizzly Cub Kids and then skied together the rest of the afternoon.

And while it was just another sunny ski day for me, it was probably the highlight of the season for my kids. It was their turn to whoop as they aired off the rollers under the Little Cat Express. To giggle themselves into snowbanks and laugh between chair tower 9 and 10. It was crazy and chaotic and fun.

It is priceless to watch them grow in their friendships… and to realize I have a few things to learn about friendship myself. Like the fact that even though I have a “friendship” with my kids, I will always be their mom. They are motivated from their friends in a way they aren’t from me. That is OK. It will be those friends that dig them out of a tree well or shadow them down a chute when I am far too old to keep up anymore.

So ski with your kids and invite a friend! Give them an mountain experience. Give them the gift of friendship on the slopes.  Give them something they can only learn in the school of the mountains.

Kids skiing together, friendship

 

 

 

 

Intro to Avalanches with the UAC

Snowbasin Resort is teaming up with Amer Sports and Utah Avalanche Center to offer a Intro to Avalanches Class.

What: Learn how to safely travel outside the resort boundaries. This workshop begins with a three hour evening class followed by an on-the-snow field day. Taught by Craig Gordon and several others from the Utah Avalanche Center and members of Snowbasin Ski Patrol. Plan to learn the following:

·       Understanding types of avalanches and how they happen

·       How weather affects avalanche risk

·       How to identify and avoid avalanche terrain

·       Using the local avalanche forecast to understand current conditions

·       Identifying dangerous avalanche conditions in the field

·       Safe travel protocol

·       Understanding how we make decisions in the backcountry

·       Companion rescue techniques

Where – Thursday 6-9 pm at Amer, Saturday 8:30 to 4:00 at Snowbasin Resort

When- Thur February 6th  (indoors)  and Saturday February 8th  (on the snow)

Cost- $50 (does not include lift ticket). Registration is limited to 25 people.

For more information or to sign up click the following link: Intro to Avalanches

5 Tips for Battling Cold Weather [Family Edition]

Powder and storms on Middle Bowl

There have been times in recent years that we were a “fair weather” ski family. We’ve all heard of “snow snobs”… those skiers that only come out for powder days (not that I blame them.) And we were “sun snobs”, only taking our family out on sunny days… warmer weather meant more skiing and less tears.

But this season we’ve been wrestling a busy schedule and picking only sunny days means we aren’t skiing much at all. So I’ve embraced the idea that,

“There isn’t bad weather. Only bad clothing.”

In fact, many of our favorite ski days have looked like this:

Snowy Day at Needles Lodge

Snowy Day at Needles Lodge

Last Friday when the wind gusted at 40 mph, we still made it up to Snowbasin and had a fantastic day skiing. Here are my tips for keeping your kids (and yourself) warm and happy.

1. Get a balaclava. A.K.A a ninja hood. Our bodies loose heat most rapidly from the head, the groin, and the armpits. SO…keeping the head and neck covered helps keep the whole body warm. Even a lightweight balaclava will keep your head, neck, and face significantly warmer and protect you from the wind. In my experience, a “ninja hood” style balaclava works better than a Buff or gaiter.

2. Keep those ski socks dry. As a mom, the thing I dread most about skiing is getting all the kid’s gear on. I would like to save time by putting socks and boots on before we leave the house. But on cold days that is a bad idea. It is hard to keep sweaty feet warm. Better to let the kids ride up in socks only and put the boots on right before getting out of the car.

3. Get a helmet, even for the really little ones. I’ve often thought, “why does my toddler need a helmet? She barely moves and I hold her up most the time.” Until someone ran into my husband and her. So, sure, we all know helmets are a safety thing. But they are also very warm and many brands have vents for warm days.

Powder Day off Needles Express

4. Invest in good layers. A few basic rules I live by when it comes to layers: First, layer a high-wicking fabric close to the skin, like Patagonia Capilene or REI midweight long underwear.  For exceptionally cold days I add a fleece layer. Fleece bottoms or ¼ zip tops. Finally, down jackets are warmer than synthetic. Down Jackets are also compressible, meaning they pack easily, are less bulky, and can be used year-round for camping, hiking, and backpacking. Here are my favorite kid jackets.

5. Not all chemicals are bad. Don’t be afraid of the chemical hand warmers. They are great for keeping kid’s hands warm! Just exercise caution when using with a young infant or toddler who cannot communicate if they become too hot.

In the end, embracing the weather is part of embracing the adventure. Howl into the wind and trek off into the white… dressed to conquer.