A Guide to Mineral Basin at Snowbird (7 Insider Tips)

If you’re heading to Snowbird, you probably fall into one of two groups:

  1. You’ve heard a lot about Mineral Basin and are curious to learn more about it.
  2. You’ve been to Mineral Basin and already know it’s one of the best parts of the mountain!

In either case, you should definitely check out this complete guide to the area. You’ll learn all about Mineral Basin, including insider’s tips to make the most out of your experience!

So, What is Mineral Basin at Snowbird?

Mineral Basin is the name of the back bowl at Snowbird.

It is 500 acres of wide open skiing, with over 1,300 feet of vertical.

The area has two chairlifts:

  1. Mineral Basin Chairlift: True to its name, the Mineral Basin chairlift services the majority of the bowl. While the trail map shows several named runs underneath this lift, in reality the area has less “runs” and is mostly just one giant, wide open area. Nearly all of this terrain is ungroomed, with legitimate black diamond steepness. Bowl skiing at its finest!
  2. Baldy Lift: Baldy services a small number of blue runs that all seem to funnel Lupine Loop, another blue trail. That said, along the way, there’s several side excursions for the black or double black diamond skier/boarder.

Overall, Mineral Basin is one of the most notable wide open bowls at any major resort.

Catch it on a powder day (which happens more frequently at Snowbird than just about anywhere else in the country) and it’s paradise for the confident intermediate to advanced skier!

Mineral Basin Trail Map

mineral basin trail map
How beautiful is that!? [Full trail map available at Snowbird.com]

History of Mineral Basin

For 30 years after Snowbird’s opening, resort skiers would look down at the fresh powder tracks laid by backcountry skiers on Snowbird’s backside with pure jealousy. (Although that jealousy may have faded once they considered the exhausting hike out!)

Then at the turn of the millennium, it all changed…

When did Mineral Basin open?

Mineral Basin opened in 1999, when snowbird installed the Mineral Basin high-speed quad. The area’s second lift, Baldy, opened in 2021.

7 Insider Tips to Ski the Basin like a Pro!

These insider tips will have you shredding Mineral Basin like a local.

1. You can reach Mineral Basin by lift, tram, or tunnel!

how to get to mineral basin

If you’re ready to ski Mineral Basin, there’s three ways to reach the bowl:

  1. From the top of Snowbird’s Aerial Tram
  2. From the top of the Little Cloud Chairlift
  3. Directly through Snowbird’s Peruvian Tunnel, the only ski tunnel in North America!

2. You can use it to access Alta

When Snowbird installed Baldy Express in 2002, it opened up a partnership with Alta, the world class resort next door.

From the top of Baldy, you can now ski directly between the two mountains. (If you’ve purchased an upgraded lift ticket for the interconnect.)

Considering skiing Alta on a trip to Snowbird? Don’t miss my detailed comparison of Alta vs. Snowbird.

3. Avoid “The Tourist Trap”

During busy days at Snowbird, Mineral Basin can build up the worst lift lines on the entire mountain.

It usually happens mid-morning, when visitors roll out of bed and decide they want to head to this iconic terrain. But there’s two problems:

  1. Everyone else had the same idea.
  2. Once in Mineral Basin, there’s only one way out!

The locals call the effect “The Tourist Trap.” The result is large lift lines on the Mineral Basin lift, always around noon. In fact, even I got caught in this trap several years ago on my first weekend visit to Snowbird!

4. If there’s a rope drop, prepare for chaos

The powdery steeps of Mineral Basin means that ski patrol sometimes has to leave the area temporarily closed for avalanche mitigation.

When they’re done, locals turn the area into a feeding frenzy, unleashing pure chaos as they all try to score fresh tracks.

Here’s a wild video of the insanity:

5. Don’t miss The Bookends!

Mineral Basin is over two miles wide. For advanced-expert skiers, one “must do” is the long traverse to the Bookends Bowl.

This double black terrain is the steepest part of the bowl. It’s also the most northern facing terrain, which usually makes for better snow conditions.

6. Watch out for Miserable Basin!

Mineral Basin faces entirely south. While the long sun is no problem during the dead of winter, during the later months, it can lead to tough conditions in the morning and totally soupy snow by the afternoon.

When it’s skiing like this, the locals nickname the area “Miserable Basin.”

7. And uhhh… Watch out for a Helicopter Crash!

Here’s the wildest Mineral Basin story of the decade. In 2022, two Black Hawk helicopters crashed right into the bowl, in the middle of a busy ski day!

Miraculously, neither the pilots nor any skiers were injured.