SNOWBIRD RESORT REVIEW

Snowbird Resort Overview

November 2020

**Snowbird Resort will be managing capacity by requiring all guests to complete a parking reservation. It is possible that during peak periods, the number of day tickets available will be reduced. Snowbird will eliminate most external ticketing channels. Only one reservation is needed per car, however you cannot visit Snowbird without a parking reservation. Anyone can reserve up to 7 days of parking access in advance (useful for those planning trips.) Visit the Snowbird website here for details and instructions. IKON and Mountain Collective passholders, with parking reservations, may proceed directly to the lifts.


Snowbird, aka "The Bird" is for serious skiers and boarders. This no frills resort is true to its roots as a haven for those seeking powder and steep, rugged terrain. The scenery is spectacular with 360º views of jagged peaks characteristic of the Alps. Hidden Peak (11,000 ft) is the highest lift accessible point in Utah. The light and airy snow is often supercharged by orographic lift or the "lake effect" phenomenon, courtesy of The Great Salt Lake. This, paired with the high elevation, arid climate, and consistent snow means Snowbird is perfectly positioned to receive boatloads of the "Greatest Snow on Earth." Fun Fact: You can find the exact same tram at St. Moritz and it was built in the late 60s by a team of Swiss engineers that spoke nearly no English. This iconic, Swiss-style aerial tramway carries about 100 passengers from the Snowbird Center base area to Hidden Peak in ~8 minutes. The Bird has one of the longest seasons in North America. Average annual snowfall totals 500+ inches and being located on partially on private land, Snowbird often remains open through May (note ski patrol does not perforom any avalanche mitigation in the Gad Valley after late April and it is considered backcountry terrain.)


Snowbird caters to Experts, though there are dedicated areas for beginners and early intermediates at Chickadee near the Snowbird Center and around the Baby Thunder lift (accessible via bubble tunnel from the Creekside Lodge). Intermediate terrain is limited and many Blues are either winding traverses or quite steep. Snowbird Center (the Main Base) has an institutional feel with limited, but high quality, lodging and dining options. There are four Snowbird lodges clustered around the base area, though The Cliff is the only option with ski-in-ski-out access. All are clean, comfortable and have good service (think, the Bandon Dunes of skiing). Snowbird offers 5 or 7 days on the Ikon Pass or 2 or 3 days on the Mountain Collective.

Snow Reliability

Snow-Making & Grooming

Travel Convenience

Terrain Variety

Extreme / Off-Piste Terrain

Ski School

Accommodations

On Mountain Dining

Quick Take

Let's Go

  • Snowbird is for the adventurous— fall lines are steep and long, the powder is deep, and the terrain is considerably rugged. In fact, you'll often spy mountain goats on Snowbird's rocky slopes in the summer months!

  • Logistics for a resort of this caliber don't get much easier. A short ride from Salt Lake City and the Snowbird Center has everything you need

  • Dedicated learning areas, private group options and mountain guides can improve your technique at all ages and levels

  • Come find "The Greatest Snow on Earth."

Hesitations

  • Limited terrain for Beginners and Lower Intermediates. Trail ratings are deceiving, this place is steep (Blues here are like Blacks at neighboring Park City resorts)

  • Crowds — the fine powder and steep fall lines are no secret. Locals flock after big storms and runs are skied out quickly

  • The après ski scene is small and mellow. It fits the bill after a rigorous day on the mountain, but if looking to party, this is not your spot

  • The children's lessons program is strong, but family friendly activities and alternatives for non-skiers are lacking

Insider Tips

  • Avoid long waits for the tram to Hidden Peak (esp. on weekends and powder days) by taking the Peruvian Chair to the Peruvian Tunnel (a conveyor belt that literally goes through the mountain), cruise down Mineral Basin and take the 4 minute lift to Hidden Peak

  • If visibility is poor, steer clear of The Cirque, Hidden Peak, Mineral Basin, and Little Cloud. Instead, head for the trees and protection offered around the Gad II chairlift or Baby Thunder

  • Intermediates and those newer to the Bird wanting a warm up can take Chip's Run from Hidden Peak. Chip's winds 2.5 miles to the base with several chances to try steeper lines between the winding segments to ease into the tougher pitches

  • The Cliff Lodge is the most luxurious of the four lodges. The other lodges are simple and comfortable, everything is in walking distance

  • Though Snowbird often remains open through May; ski patrol does not perform any avalanche mitigation in Gad Valley after late April; backcountry gates are established and it is considered backcountry terrain. Never exit any backcountry gate without a recent avalanche forecast, training, the proper equipment and the knowledge of how to use it.

Trail Map

For an in-depth breakdown of Snowbird's terrain, head to our Mountain Guide. Top trails and mountain stats included. 

Snowbird

Getting To & Around

There is no need for a car if you plan to stay within the Snowbird / Alta area — it is compact and free shuttle service is available within the area. Uber / Lyft are available and cost effective. We recommend using airport shuttle services for transit during snowier conditions.

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