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Snowbird. Rental car or shuttle?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I am planning a family vacation to snowbird for the upcoming season, but can't find any info on the town. Can anyone who has been to snowbird advise me to wether or not we'll need a rental car? or will a shuttle from the airport be enough.
Staying at the lodge at snowbird.
post #2 of 15
What town?
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
I guess that means I'll need a rental.
post #4 of 15
Definitely get a car. Both Park City and Salt Lake City are less than an hour's drive, and they're both worth visiting, at least in the evening. You will also be able to ski Alta, Brighton and Solitude more easily. If you go in the Spring, you might even be able to get in some golf in SLC after skiing.
post #5 of 15
Get a car...but make sure it's 4WD..and if you're going in the middle of a likely storm time, ask for chains - sometimes they close the canyon to all but the chained and SUV'd. Having a car will also let you hop over to Big Cottonwood, Park City and Salt Lake. The nightlife/restaurant options at the Bird can be a bit limited (see the 'what town' question above!)
post #6 of 15
You can take inexpensive public transportation to Snowbird Lodge, but it is sometimes inconvenient esp if in hurry or lugging lots of gear with young kids. The larger your party the more the cost of rental car makes sense, esp if you want to get out and around during your visit. However, there is plenty enough skiing at Snowbird and adjacent Alta to keep you happy for 5 days if your aim is to ski, eat, and sleep. Crank is right, there is no town at base of Snowbird, only lodges and condos.
post #7 of 15
Skip the 4WD and chains. Most of the time, the roads are dry. If it's snowing, stay right at Snowbird.
post #8 of 15
I guess it depends on how long you're staying and what type of skiers you and your family are. I'm waiting a few years, until my son is 12-14 and can handle the whole mountain. Not to say that there isn't a good amount of novice and intermediate skiing at Snowbird and neighboring Alta; but there is so much expert stuff towering around you, staring you in the face that, in my opinion, it would be a shame to see it yet not be able ski it.

There are a few different restaurants and shops around the base area, but if you're looking for a village to wander around and a wide range of choice - get the car.
post #9 of 15
Originally Posted by jdowling
Skip the 4WD and chains. Most of the time, the roads are dry. If it's snowing, stay right at Snowbird.
If your planning on staying in the canyon, just take one of the many shuttles up to Snowbird from the airport. You will not need a car up there if your staying put.

If your staying in the valley, or planning on staying at the 'Bird and going to other ski resorts other than Alta (which you can ride a free bus to), rent a 4x4. The canyon was restricted a lot this season. Days I would have not been skiing if I hadn't 4x4. Deeeeeep snow days. It's your ski trip, but do you really want to skimp on a few bucks and miss an epic powder day?
post #10 of 15
Last year I went to Alta (2 minutes up the road from Snowbird) with 4 guys for 4 days and three nights. We rented a Jeep at the airport drove it to our lodge and the Jeep sat in the parking lot for 4 days. When we go back we will take a shuttle because for our size group and the length of stay it makes more logistical and economic sense. If all you are going to do is ski at Snowbird and/or Alta you will do fine with a shuttle. If you are going to try other mountains you should get a car. Keep in mind that depending on how many kids and how much gear you have you might even need 2 cars.
post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the help.
The reason for the question is we've never been to Utah, much less snowbird, alta etc.
We're renting a condo w/ kitchen & in past trips have picked up groceries for breakfast & lunch. Then we usually go out for supper. Looks like sandy may be the nearest place for groceries? My kids will be 13 & 15 for the trip & ski up to blacks with me, but nothing harder. My wife, just intermediate. Night life is not what we're looking for this time, just high quality skiing. We've only tried the big resorts so far.
post #12 of 15
I'd probably stick with the shuttle. You can buy limited grocerys in the Snowbird/Alta area, they will be more expensive, but nowhere near the price of a rental car. Might even be able to get a shuttle to stop at a grocery on the way up, just ask. Those guys tend to live by the tip you give them, so offer an extra $20 to stop.

No matter what people tell you, Alta and Snowbird have quite a few intermediate runs. Black diamonds will be on par, and slightly tougher than other resorts you have probably skied. You will get the fell for the mountains pretty quick.

Have a good trip.
post #13 of 15
The decision on renting a car may need to be based on where you are from, and what you are used to. ...The bottoms of the canyons at Snowbird and Alta are cramped and have a confining feeling to them. -- Much like the feeling one might get from living in the city. ..Even though the skiing there is expansive and at times about as good as it gets, you might want to opt for a rental vehicle if you are not used to just being 'parked' in a confining atmosphere.

I would think that most city dwellers feel there is no problem with the situation of staying in the canyon, but I for one; found the confined atmosphere counter productive to what I look for in a ski holiday (wide open mountain vistas). I found that getting out of the canyons each day was a bit of a relief to the confined feeling I got while in there.

...Just another perspective!

Good Luck!
post #14 of 15
I would opt to use Canyon Transportation from the airport up to the Bird. They will make a supermarket stop for you on the way up if you reserve it in advance (don't know the extra charge). Cheaper and easier than a car. There's enough skiing at Snowbird and Alta to keep you occupied for many times longer than your trip, and as was said before, there is more inttermediate terrain than you think there. Take a lesson on your first day (the ski school is great) and look at it as hiring a guide- if you make your interests known to the instructor, you will see places on the mountain that you would not have easeily found on your own.

We stay in a condo at Snowbird when we go, and since we keep kosher, we usually just bring a couple of boxes of food with us. Then you can bypass the supermarket- shop at home! There is a large supermarket just of the highway in Murray (forgot the name) that is easy to get to once you are out of the canyon, if you do opt for a car. Although the road is usually kept clear, it can be really tough in bad weather (took 45 minutes for the shuttle bus between Alta and Snowbird last winter the day prior to the academy!)
post #15 of 15
I've been a local passholder at Alta & Snowbird for the past 14 seasons. As far as I am concerned, Alta & Snowbird have the best skiing (terrain & snow) on the planet. If you want the best in skiing and will be happy with good food and comfortable accommodations you do not need a rental car. If a choice of after ski bars, restaurants and shopping are important, you may want to spend a day or 2 at Park City. A rental car would be necessary to get to Park City which is about an hour drive with clear roads.
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