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Snowbasin Resort, Utah

Above Ogden, Utah, lies Eden, a hidden mountain valley at the end of a spectacular narrow canyon bordered to the north and south by giant ski and snowboard areas blessed with what many call the world’s best snow. They have what are among the world’s best views too—from their tops you can see four states: Utah, Wyoming, Idaho and Nevada.

The thinly-settled Upper Ogden Valley gently spreads around the Pineview Reservoir with a smattering of less than a thousand condominiums and private homes with limited restaurants, hotels and almost no nightlife. Once a trading post for fur trappers and pioneers, the valley is slowly beginning its controlled development towards destination resort status.

Snowbasin, home to the men’s and women’s Olympic downhill, Super G and combined races in 2002, is new with a tram, two gondolas, a high-speed chairlift and a handful of fixed grip chairs. Groomed trails crisscross the area and the base lodge and John Paul Lodge at the top of the high-speed lift are spectacular, modern, massive log buildings. The resort also claims the largest and most modern automatic snowmaking system in the country.

The real bed base for both of these mountains is Ogden, only about 20-30 minutes down the mountain through the Ogden Canyon or around Snowbasin looping to the south. Ogden, envisioned as a Mormon town, was eventually developed by workers for the railroad in 1869. It has one of America’s most picturesque and storied Main Streets, Historic 25th Street, plus several hotels and plenty of dining options. In addition, the town is a center for the arts with galleries, theater, opera and orchestra performances throughout the winter. All this is only a half-hour north of the Salt Lake City international airport.