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Snowbird

Check out the Unofficial Guide to Snowbird for details on things like secret stashes, best places to ski, avoiding lift lines, and other local insights on the mountain. 

 

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SKIING
arrow_down.png TRANSPORTATION arrow_down.png LODGING arrow_down.png DINING arrow_down.png MORE

Trail Map
Trail Map
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Mineral Basin

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Conditions
Average Annual Snowfall: 464" 


 

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Skiing


If you are not comfortable skiing 25-30 degree off piste slopes you will not be able to ski any of the best runs at Snowbird. Snowbird is the Final stop on the Free Skiing Would Tour and for good reason. Top notch expert ski terrain, wonderful steeps and big faces, deep snow that is well preserved on northern aspects, and all of it so accessible and easy to ride from one of the best lift systems anywhere. This is an experts Paradise.

 

Sadly, there is limited terrain for the true beginner and intermediate cruiser. Most of the greens and blues you see on the map are narrow roads or cat tracks that traverse much steeper slopes. And with often variable conditions, the beginner and true intermediate, will be very limited in where they can go at the bird. For this reason mixed groups containing lower level skiers would be wise to avoid Snowbird.

 

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Transportation
Transportation
AIR TRANSPORTATION

Airlines operating from Salt Lake City include American Airlines, Continental, Delta Airlines, Frontier, JetBlue Airways, Skywest Airlines, Southwest, United and US Airways

 LOCAL TRANSPORTATION


Unless you are staying at the resort, Most skiers will want a rental car. I could not imagine staying in the salt lake valley and riding the bus up Little Cottonwood. I know its doable, but it would also take about 2 hours each way.

 

Lodging
Lodging
 The most cost effective way to ski the bird is to Stay in the Valley (plenty of motels in Sandy.), rent a car and drive up / bus up daily.

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Dining

 

The on mountain fare is unexceptional. Watson Shelter is a bit better than the other options, but that's mostly just for the location.

 

Good Dinner / Apres options in Salt Lake Valley:

 

Lone Star

Great Taco joint on Ft. Union.The fish tacos are yumy.

 

Porcupine Pub

Great Pub at the base of Big Cottonwood Canyon. Good beer selection and pub food.

 

 

REAL ESTATE
 
 
 
DEALS
 
 
 
WHAT'S NEW
 
 
 
ACTIVITIES
 
 
SERVICES

 

2012 - 2013 Rental Equipment Rates 

 

2012 - 2013 Lesson Rates

 

 

GOOD, BETTER, BEST
 
 

 

Snowbird
Description:

One of the USA's great mountain resorts, Snowbird was developed by Dick Bass, a man of means who has climbed the highest peak on each of the seven continents. The resort is more or less wedged into Little Cottonwood Canyon, and heavily fortified against avalanches. As a result, all the accomodations are very much slope-side, including the luxurious Cliff Lodge. The spectacular views up and down the steep canyon walls can produce vertigo, and the cost of staying at Snowbird is said to have the same effect. Not recommended for the inexperienced or budget-minded (except as a day trip), Snowbird is tailor-made for the well-to-do and ready-to-rip. Snowbird is steep, deep and none too cheap, but absolutely worth the trip.

Details:
DetailValue
Snow making percent
Lifts-Surface Lifts-Magic carpet
Lifts-Surface Lifts-Rope tow
Lifts-Surface Lifts-Poma
Lifts-Surface Lifts-T bar
Lifts-Surface Lifts-J bar
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Single
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Double6
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Triple
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Quad4
Lifts-Chair Lifts-High speed quad
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Five person
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Six person
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Eight person
Lifts-Gondola
Lifts-Tram1
Lifts-Coggle train
Lifts-Funicular
Lifts-Other
Lifts-Total number of lifts
Lifts-Total lift capacity
Trails-1-Beginner27%
Trails-2-Intermediate38%
Trails-3-Advanced35%
Trails-4-Expert only
Trails-5-Terrain park1
Trails-6-Half pipe
Trails-Total85
Runs-Steepest run
Runs-Longest run2.5 miles
General-Base elevation7760'
General-Vertical drop3240'
General-Owner
General-Mountain range
General-Annual skier visits
General-Back country access
General-Total area in bounds2500 acres
General-Snow making coverage
Models:
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC

Posted

Pros: great terrain, lots of vertical, beaucoup snowfall

Cons: eventually you have to go home

 
Snowbird offers skiers a wide range of options within its boundaries. Beginners, intermediates, and experts alike can find suitable runs for their liking. I have been skiing there for over 20 years, with family, friends, and would have to list it as my favorite Utah resort.
Somehow Snowbird, along with its brethren resorts in Big and Little Cottonwood Canyon, seems to attract huge snowfall like a snow magnet. The ‘lake effect’ is somewhat responsible, where a storm passes over the Great Salt Lake on its way east to the Wasatch mountain range and sucks up moisture off the lake surface and deposits it on the slopes. One would think this would result in wet heavy slush, but Snowbird usually garners the light fluffy variety.
For beginners, the Mid-Gad and Baby Thunder lifts serve some gentle terrain, and the green run Big Emma has been called the best teaching run in America. The Baby Thunder lift has been the site of many fun family ski days. Chasing my small kids through a tree-lined twisty run while I tried to keep up on straight skinny GS 205 skis was a source of amusement for the little mogul mites. With the addition of the tunnel to Mineral Basin via the Peruvian Express, additional green terrain was made easy to access. The Mineral Basin green runs are long, with spectacular scenery, so even beginners get a feeling they’re hitting the whole hill.
Mineral Basin is a backside playground that wasn’t open when I first skied Snowbird. It is a south-facing bowl with a plethora of runs that can wear you out in a hurry. Mineral Basin is best skied on a sunny day, as it is almost treeless and under flat light it can be disorienting. The two high speed quad lifts, Mineral Basin Express and Baldy Express, get you back to the top in about 4 minutes, so there’s really no time to rest. You’re back on top, ready to pound out another run. My favorite run in Mineral Basin is to take the Bookend’s Traverse out past the aptly named Hillary Step to the Bookends. Timing the ski patrol’s rope drop to this area on a powder day is worth it.
The Peruvian Gulch is an expert’s playground that really came alive when the new Peruvian Express quad lift was installed. Before then, it required either a two chair ride up Gadzoom and Little Cloud, or a wait for the Aerial Tram. Now you can access many intermediate and expert trails off this high speed quad. Taking the Tram leads skiers to the many signature black diamond runs off the Cirque, such as Silver Fox and Great Scott. Traversing even further leads to the superlative double blacks like Wilbere Bowl, Lower Cirque, and Mach Schnell. My favorite run at Snowbird is to take Primrose Path or Silver Fox down to the lower section of Dalton’s Draw, finishing up on Lower Silver Fox. That’s about 3,000 feet of pure pleasure.
The Little Cloud lift is a gem, accessing the area of Regulator Johnson and Road to Provo. This terrain is what makes spring/summer skiing so fun at Snowbird. The spring skiing here is usually open well into May, and I can’t remember when it wasn’t open on Memorial Day. This isn’t just flopping around in the slush to say you skied in April or May, but true expert skiing on challenging terrain that often gives up a powder shot well into the afternoon on a spring day. Gad 2 lift has some fun intermediate and expert terrain, and hides some stashes in Thunder Bowl and Tiger Tail that you’ll need to latch on to a local to find.
The Gadzoom lift is where the core intermediate trails originate. You can make runs on Bassackwards all day and never cross your own tracks. Dropping into the Black Forest is like a carnival ride, with this natural halfpipe providing thrills and spills galore. The Superpipe and terrain park is accessible from both Gadzoom and Mid-Gad. The Wilbere lift is a short one, but is truly underrated. The Harper’s Ferry runs are a blast to ski, and often sit under the clouds when the rest of the mountain is fogged in.
The pavilion by the Aerial Tram, known as Snowbird Center, has an indescribable ‘vibe’ to me. Often there’s a live band in the afternoon, and the feeling of utter exhaustion, mixed with the knowledge you are surrounded by some of the best skiers on the planet, is a natural skier’s high. Easy access from the Salt Lake airport, fine lodging, some of the best terrain anywhere – what are you waiting for?

Posted

Pros: Any terrain you want from a few beginner runs suitable for first timers to world-class expert steeps and World Cup level groomers

Cons: None



I visited Snowbird for the first time from Feb 24-Mar 1, 2014. The drive in from SLC was majestic and really set the tone for next day.

Stayed at the Cliff Lodge and simply cannot imagine a better setting for a true skier that is there to ski, not look for anything else but ski.

Cliff Lodge is built like a bunker and that ads to the flavor of the place making you wish to get snowed in there ad you know the lodge will hold off any wind or avalanche.

Around the lodge there are a few runs for family if they are not into steeps and the hot tubs and pool should keep your non-skier companions happy while you work hard higher above.

The Tram us a fantastic charismatic tool, which is fun to ride up on and if you are lucky like I was to have a sunny clear cloudless day as my first day. you'll step out of the tram into a view that just might have you stand for a while thinking to ski or just look.

If you decide to ski, warm up before you head to Regulator Johnson which feels like a World Cup level groomed steep which asked for race skis to even remotely handle the pace and grip. It was icy and hard, just like I like it and I could enjoy my race skis.

The next couple of days brought 15 inches of fresh and so I could practice my powder skiing on my narrow race skis on incredible steeps. Loved it.

All in all I spent 6 days in Snowbird and 1 day in Alta which to me is a mellow smaller version of Snowbird with many more beginner and intermediate runs and family fun.

Just go here, stay where you can, drive in if you have to, does not matter. Only Taos comes somewhat close to Snowbird albeit is smaller and much harder to get to.

Incredible place, simple skiers feel and great skiing that will be hard to beat anywhere else.

Snowbird is like nothing on Earth. Vail does not deserve that slogan, Snowbird does.

Happy skiing!

Posted

Pros: Superb terrain with many hidden treasure zones.

Cons: Difficult base ingress, egress, and lift access.

Third best resort in Utah... and that's saying something!  I've skied all over the Western U.S., and Utah--in the aggregate--boasts the best skiing all around.  (As to Snowbird's Third Place Finish... only Alta and Deer Valley beat it due--primarily--to their wise prohibition of snowboarders, IMHO.)

Posted

Pros: Steep, Deep, POW POW, Awesome Trees, Good Vibes, Awesome in bound Access

Cons: The Tram Cram

I have been skiing snowbird for three years now. The first season I was here was 2010/2011 which was unbelievable due to the 800 inch season, and the fact that I am originally from Vermont. I found that snowbird is a huge mountain that offers all types of terrain. Whether you want to ski the same lines as the pros that compete in the Freeskiing world tour, or just take some fast groomer runs snowbird offers it all. I enjoy skiing at snowbird everyday I go up whether it is a Pow day or just a bluebird day, Snowbird is one giant playground! I would highly recommend skiing snowbird if you ever get the chance to. Every year I have skiied there I have made it out 100 plus times and enjoyed every single time!

Posted

Pros: skiing, snow, beautiful

Cons: Misleading advertisement, not family freindly

Liars! Received a mailer for summer stay and play, 85 $ per person and kids stay free. So misleading about what the rate was, the rate they offered me was well over 300 after taxes. Breakfast is excellent and the skiing in the winter is fantastic. We have gone here each summer for several years and wanted to go this year, but this misleading promotion spoiled our plans. But for the Summer I would recommend paying a few dollars more and taking your kids to a major theme park, or pay a few dollars less and go to Park City where they have more options for summer activities.

Posted

Pros: Great Terrain

Cons: Nothing

Great resort. Short drive from SLC. I skied here with my wife for 2 days. My wife likes to ski blue and black groomers while I prefer to ski more off piste. In Mineral Basin we were able to ski our own thing but still able to ride the same lift.

 

I do agree that this is not the place to take a first time beginner skier, once they have some basic skills there is a lot of terrain where they can learn and work on improving their abilities.

 

I look forward to returning soon.

Posted

Pros: Execellent terrain for advanced and expert skiers

Cons: Limited intermediate and easy terrain

Snowbird has some scary steep and exposed terrain for those without dependents.  It is a paradise for advanced, expert and powder skiers.  The intermediate terrain is very limited so it is not a good option for a group with varying skiing levels.  The resort is well managed and the ski-in ski-out high rise is nice to stay at.  Snowbird gets a lot of snow so there is a good chance of getting fresh dry power.  The snow quality is as advertised; the best in the US.