Destination: Snow Basin, just north of Salt Lake City, Utah
Drive time: around 9 hours heading north from Flagstaff along back highways past the Grand Canyon. We stayed off the interstate until we were close to Salt Lake so we could enjoy the beautiful drive. Check for road closures before you head this way.
The plan: leave early and drive all day Saturday (when Powder Alliance passes can't be used), with the goal of reaching Olympus Park in Salt Lake before dark to hit the rail gardens. Stay in Ogden. The closest hotels to Snow Basin and on the northwest side of the city, making an easy getaway for our next leg.
Lodging: Days Inn Ogden. Again we picked it for indoor pool and hot tub at a decent price, this time with free hot breakfast. But the place was quite old, and with it's old Holidome-style layout everything was dripping humidity. Out first room had a full wall of windows with a view of ... the nasty laundry room area. So we requested a switch to one overlooking the pool. If you stay here, be forewarned that it's run down (but fun for family hangout at the pool), and get a poolside 1st floor room, or one that looks out on the parking lot if you want peace and quiet. I wouldn't stay here again, though. Next time we'll rent one of the cabins that are along the route to the ski hill -- gorgeous area!!
Snow Basin: wow, so nice! Huge, probably bigger than Mammoth, with a gondola and a history of hosting the Olympics. Big mountain with a lot of medium sized parks. The lodge was beautiful with hands-down the nicest bathrooms I've ever seen in a ski resort. Food was gourmet with prices to match. Clientele was on the prosperous side with upscale tail-gating going on in the parking lots (if you show up with furniture to use in your tailgating, you've arrived). Lots of families with little kids; lots of dogs here as well. Small tubing area. Incredible scenery all around.
The town: we stayed in Ogden but weren't at all impressed. Maybe if we'd stayed closer to the historic downtown it would have been better. Of course Salt Lake is an option with a longer drive to the mountain. I'd skip the town and stay in the mountains next time; there are houses and cabins along the river on the drive from Ogden to Snow Basin and I'm sure plenty are vacation rentals.