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Utah
Alta
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Alta l Deer Valley l Park City l Powder l Snowbasin l Snowbird l Solitude

Snowbird Utah

Snowbird is in many skiers’ top 10 places to ski list. With tons of terrain, and tons of dry fluffy Utah snow, Snowbird is a great place to spend a week. The terrain off the summit Tram is amazing, whether you ski the steep Cirque, over to Mineral basin, or down 2.5 mile long Chip's Run to the base. Snowbird has a very long season due to its 500 inches of annual snow, its high elevation and dry climate. Snowbird recently added two high speed quads at Little Cloud and Gad 2 and a 360-degree Summit Lodge with restaurant and bar at the 11,000' summit of Hidden Peak to show off the Utah mountain panorama!

Snowbird's tram ride is a head rush; the 125-passenger cattle car in the sky whisks you up 2,900’ vertical feet in six minutes. This lift ride is a panic for anyone who fears heights. As you follow the crush off the Tramcar, you are at the 11,000-foot summit of Hidden Peak where the air is thin, the view is fantastic, the new lodge is posh, and the downhill options are bounteous.

Snowbird's Chip’s Run is a staple - a 2.5-mile warm up run tradition to the bottom. Beating your tram to the base is another rite of passage, then ride back up to the summit to taste another side of the Snowbird snow cone.

Crossing over the Snowbird/Alta ski area border
(Snowbird’s abutting ski resort) is reminiscent of skiing from Zermatt, Switzerland to Cervinia, Italy. You are surrounded by incredible alpine peaks, but thankfully no language barriers or snooty Europeans. The high altitude ticket checker gives you a nod (and a trail map if you ask), as you enter all new territory – the classic “skiers only” Alta. Snowboarders are turned away at this border, Alta remains one of three areas that prohibits them, although there is a current lawsuit testing the legality of Alta banning boarders from US Forest service land. Alta has the flavor of a traditional skiers-only mountain from the 1960’s – it is retro from the chalet architecture at the base village to the earthy staff and hearty locals that like to hike to their stashes of snow from the lift summits.

Snowbird’s après ski is ultra laidback, like most Utahans you will encounter. The focus here is on skiing, not glitz, glamour, matching outfits or haute cuisine. After a brew with ski cohorts, while the kids play nearby in the snow, your feet are ready to escape the confines of your ski boots.
The Cliff Lodge at Snowbird’s base provides posh four diamond hotel lodging, a beautiful roof top spa for that après ski massage and soak, and top floor scenic dining including a high elevation Sushi bar - Aerie. For evening amusement, there is usually live music, a lecture series on topics like wolves or avalanche rescue, and sports on the big screen at the Tram Bar back in Village Center. Other lodging at Snowbird includes the Iron Blossom, The Inn at Snowbird, and Cliff Condos.

Snowbird is now majority owned by Ian Cummings, of Powder Resorts collection - think Mt Bachelor, Killington, Snowbird's founder Dick Bass, the Bird's original visionary, passed away in 2015. Deep pockets meet deep powder with this new regime of resort management, Cummings is a long time Snowbird skier, owner of Inn at Snowbird and the Elevator House in Little Cottonwood Canyon.

Located in the Wasatch National Forest in Little Cottonwood Canyon, Snowbird is a great snowy destination for a week of family skiing, easy to reach just 29 mile from Salt Lake City Airport. The Snowbird ski and ride school has excellent programs for your kids, and Big Emma is a wide open run perfect for beginners and intermediates. With interconnected lift tickets available to ski Alta, you won't run out of terrain, but you might run out of steam.

Snowbird Stats:
169 trails, 11 lifts including a Base to Summit Tram
Vertical Drop 3,240’
Summit Elevation 11,000’
Skiable Acres 2,500’ (4,700 with interconnected Alta)
Snowbird Annual Snowfall: 500"
Snowbird Opened in 1971
Snowbird Photos

Snowbird Ski Review:
Snowbird-Alta family ski review

Alta l Deer Valley l Park City l Powder l Snowbasin l Snowbird l Solitude

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All Stories by Heather Burke
All Photography by Greg Burke
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