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Utah's Snowbasin Eyes New Lifts, Trail Work For Future

Snowbasin powder houndAfter celebrating its 75th birthday this season, Snowbasin Resort is planning its next era with on-mountain projects designed to make it easier for skiers and snowboarders to get where they want to go.

A list of seven projects – all within the northern Utah resort’s existing boundaries -- has been submitted to the U.S. Forest Service for public comment and environmental review. Designed to “address recognized contraints on the resort operations,” the projects include one new chairlift, one replacement chair and trail improvement work.

If final approval comes in, the premier project will be a new high-speed quad chairlift that will provide an alternative for the Strawberry Express gondola. The gondola on the south flank of the mountain often has to be shut down due to high winds – taking away some 35 percent of the resort’s uphill capacity and easy access to the resort’s wide-open terrain.

"In the past, snow cat shuttles have been necessary to evacuate stranded skiers from the Strawberry (area) when the gondola has suddenly closed," the Forest Service said a 2009 master plan.

The new chair will unload skiers and riders about 675 feet below the summit of the gondola, reducing exposure to high winds but still maintain access to all but the highest r

The Wildcat fixed-grip triple will become a high-speed quad chair – doubling capacity and improving flow to front side trails. One of the primary ways to get up to mid-mountain, the existing Wildcat lift is more than 40 years old.

Other projects slated for review are:

· Widening of Mt. Ogden Bowl run, a blue traverse from the top of the John Paul Express to the bottom of Powderhorn Bowl and access to Porcupine chair. The existing trail is very narrow and difficult when visibility is limited.

· Installation of 15,000 feet of buried water line to bring snowmaking to terrain under Wildcat lift.

· Upgrading hiker-created trails along the ridge at the western boundary, known as Circle of Cirques, to ease erosion and safety issues.

· Improving visibility along return-route Penny Lane and Snowshoe run.

· Re-contouring upper mountain slopes under Porcupine and John Paul lifts.

Photo: Snowbasin is taking initial steps to get you to powder easier (Snowbasin/Facebook)

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