Snowbird Ski Resort is located in the heart of the Wasatch National Forest in the Rocky Mountains, near Salt Lake City, Utah, in the United States. It has been one of the most popular resorts for alpine skiing and snowboarding since it opened in 1971, and offers wild, snow-packed slopes for the most hardcore skiers. That’s not to say they don’t offer slopes for beginners, who can find gentle slopes in the lower part of the ski area.
Snowbird Ski Resort
Snowbird Ski Resort shares the Little Cottonwood Canyon with Alta. Since 2002, the two US resorts have offered the possibility of purchasing a joint day or season pass, allowing full access to both mountains. However, this joint pass is only available to skiers, as Alta has a no-snowboarding policy. In addition, these two resorts have arid climatic conditions that allow for very dry, powdery snow, making Snowbird ski resort a favourite destination for powder skiing enthusiasts. By the way, here’s a bit of information if you don’t know what the different types of snow are.
The Snowbird ski resort is also known for offering the longest season in Utah, starting in mid-November and ending in May. This is not surprising when the resort has had almost two metres of accumulated snow in May, as it did in 2011. However, despite having such a long season, this resort is not designed for everyone, as the difficulty of its terrain means that most of the slopes are designed for intermediate and higher levels.
The Snowbird ski resort slopes
Snowbird offers a total of 143 skiable slopes along a spectacular terrain and plenty of powder. In fact, due to the difficulty of the terrain, most of the slopes at this resort are for expert skiers and snowboarders, or at least intermediate skiers and snowboarders. However, even though most of the slopes are black, beginners need not worry, as one third of the resort is groomed for them.
Thanks to the resort’s weather conditions, most of the slopes are open for what is Utah’s longest season. To access the slopes, 14 lifts are available: 10 chairlifts (6 high-speed detachable quads and 4 doubles), 3 conveyor belts and 1 aerial tramway. The aerial tram has become a tourist attraction at the resort and it is a tradition for many skiers to want to ride it at least once during their stay.
The Snowbird Aerial Tram has been open to the public since 1971 and is a tourist attraction in the resort. On it, you can take a 2.5 km ride at an altitude of over 880 metres, discovering the resort’s surroundings in a different and unique way. During the ride, you’ll enjoy views of the snowy slopes and Salt Lake Valley on a 10-minute ride that takes you to the top of Hidden Peak and The Summit.
You can also experience heliskiing at Snowbird, an adventure that combines ski-touring with a helicopter. On this adventure, the helicopter will take you to skiable areas that are otherwise inaccessible so you can enjoy slopes with challenging terrain. This experience is certainly not for beginners.
Another activity for those who are looking for something different is snowcat skiing. Thanks to the snowcat, you can enjoy ski touring on untrodden terrain in small groups of up to 8 people. This activity includes 5 areas of the resort: Sinner’s Pass, Pagan Basin, Borussia, Miller Hill and Mary Ellen Gulch.
As backcountry skiing is dangerous and Snowbird are aware of this, they have also provided skiers with an avalanche safety training course. You can take a 3-day course with AIARE certification (there are 3 levels) or a 1-day avalanche rescue course.
But if you don’t want to do the courses and still want to enjoy backcountry skiing, the best way is to go on guided tours. There are Snowbird-only tours available, tours that include a total of 6 Utah resorts or even ranger-led tours —don’t miss out!
Finally, if you’re looking for something a little further away from skiing, you can enjoy fishing with Salt Lake Fly Fishing Company. This experience is also guided by professionals, although the trip can be customised depending on whether you are a beginner or if this is a common activity for you. The trip includes all fishing equipment, water and snacks, and if you’re spending the whole day on the river, lunch is included too!
Snowbird resort services
Ski and snowboard school
The ski and snowboard school at Snowbird resort offers both one-off and multi-week lessons. The latter are only for children and teenagers up to 17 years of age, although various levels are offered. However, for those of you who want one-off lessons because you are only visiting the resort for a weekend, there is the possibility to book private or group lessons depending on age.
Firstly, there are classes for children between 3 and 4 years old or between 5 and 6 years old. Classes for the first group, 3 and 4 year olds, start at 8:30 am and finish at 4 pm. On the other hand, classes for children between 5 and 6 years old are from 9:15 am to 3 pm.
The next age group is from 7 to 15 years old, where children will be grouped according to their level and abilities. The aim is for children to be able to have fun while learning to enjoy skiing and snowboarding in a safe way.
There are also classes for adults over the age of 18. These classes are designed both for those who have never skied before and for real experts who want to learn new tricks and perfect their technique. You can book these lessons either in the mornings (from 10am to 12:30am) or in the afternoons (from 1:30pm to 4pm).
It’s also possible to hire all the equipment you need for skiing at Snowbird —whether it’s individual accessories you’ve forgotten or complete equipment— thanks to the many rental shops close to the resort.
Firstly, at the Snowbird Sports shop you can try out ski equipment from top brands such as Dynastar, Rossignol, Volkl, Burton and Cardiff. In fact, one advantage of this shop is that you can change your equipment depending on the conditions of the day.
Another shop is Cliff Sports, which is located in the hotel at the foot of the slopes, The Cliff Lodge. Not only can you rent equipment from top ski brands, but they also have a repair shop where they promise to repair your skis overnight.
Located at the base of the valley, Creekside Sports Rental and Repair offers not only the equipment you need to ski Snowbird, but also souvenirs and accessories to remember your trip.
Finally, at the Christy Sports shop you can choose all the equipment from the professionals who will help you choose the best for you. Here you can rent not only the skis themselves and accessories such as poles, but you can also rent clothing and boots. In addition, during the summer it is also open for you to rent what you need for hiking in the resort.
Where to eat at Snowbird
There are plenty of restaurants and cafés to stop for lunch and dinner at Snowbird, so there is something for everyone. Firstly, we would like to highlight the SeventyOne restaurant, which has different menus for breakfast, lunch, dinner, children’s menu and even a late-night menu (for after dinner). In this restaurant you will find a retro atmosphere with the best grilled American specialities. For all these reasons, this is the perfect place to enjoy a relaxed meal or have a drink with friends.
Another restaurant of note is The Steak Pit, which despite its name also includes options vegetarian and seafood lovers. And of course, there is also a menu for the little ones. Here, you can enjoy generous portions of fresh salads, sample delicious steaks from local farms or savour a trout fresh from Idaho’s streams.
Also worth mentioning is The Forklift, located next to Snowbird’s most iconic lodges, which offers delicious breakfasts and meals as well as a lively après-ski atmosphere. It is a traditional American bistro with a focus on contemporary cuisine: soups, salads, sandwiches and burgers. And, weather permitting, you can enjoy your meal outdoors while taking in the mountain views.
If you’re looking for something quicker so you don’t have to waste time skiing, the Tram Car Pizza is for you. It specialises in large slices of pizza, hearty fresh salads and hot sandwiches that will keep you energised as you head back to the mountain. Plus, there are always daily specials on the menu that include food and drink combos.
Finally, the Mid-Gad restaurant is another good option when you’re in a hurry to get back to skiing. This restaurant only offers lunch, not dinner, but has excellent views overlooking the heart of Gad Valley. In fact, the restaurant is located in the middle of the mountain, so you can access it via the Gad 2, Little Cloud and Gadzoom lifts or by skiing. Here you can enjoy delicious burgers, sandwiches and wraps, salads or grilled specialities.
Sustainable development at Snwobird resort
Snowbird’s Director of Sustainability, Hilary Arens, was recognised as a “Sustainability Hero” by the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) in 2019. This is not surprising as Hilary Arens, who has only been in her position since 2016, has managed to implement ambitious environmental measures at the resort.
Among her most notable measures was the creation and implementation of the R.I.D.E. (Reducing Individual Driving for the Environment) programme, which involves the launch of a mobile app to improve air quality by reducing traffic congestion. Moreover, Arens also promoted the installation of charging points for electric vehicles and has designed several glass recycling and plastic waste reduction programmes.
In addition to carbon footprint reduction programmes, Arens has spearheaded water quality improvement projects, tree planting projects and has involved Snowbird in the Snow de Flow campaign, a Utah initiative focused on water conservation. To underline the work of the resort in all these endeavours, Hilary Arens herself said:
“SNOWBIRD’S SUPPORT OF THE SUSTAINABILITY MOVEMENT IS REMARKABLE, AND HOW THE RESORT IS CONTINUALLY LOOKING FOR NEW AND BETTER WAYS TO IMPROVE THE ENVIRONMENT, BOTH LOCALLY AND NATIONALLY.”
Without a doubt, Snowbird is an eco-responsible resort that advocates climate action. In addition, the resort has been keen to educate and involve guests and employees in environmental protection, which is why they joined Protect Our Winters in 2018.
Discover Snowbird resort in summer
In summer Snowbird is full of life and never stops its activity. Although skiing is no longer possible, the resort has plenty of activities for holidaymakers to enjoy. For starters, the Aerial Trim and Peruvian chairlift are still open for family, couples and friends to enjoy the wonderful views of the resort from above. Another relaxing summer activity is hiking, either on your own or with a guide. However, the rest of the activities are designed for fun-lovers, as during the summer the Snowbird resort turns into an adventure playground.
For starters, there are numerous attractions such as a roller coaster, an alpine slide, the wrecktangle (a kind of obstacle course), a trampoline for high jumps, summer tubing, a vertical drop at full speed, a “spider mountain” for the kids and a bouncy castle for them too. Of course, Snowbird is for the more adventurous!
And that’s not all, there is also an exclusive treasure hunt where you will have to find precious stones, tree climbing (and for the kids mini-trees), a climbing wall, or a ropes course (with a mini version for the kids). You can’t miss these adventures!
Hotels at Snowbird Resort
The Cliff Lodge ****
The Cliff Lodge at Snowbird is one of America’s most iconic ski lodges. From its stunning rooms you’ll have views of Little Cottonwood Canyon, whether you’re facing the ski slopes of Snowbird Resort or looking out over the Salt Lake City Valley. Located at the foot of the slopes, this hotel allows you the convenience of skiing in and out of the resort.
What’s more, this family-friendly hotel is not only the best place to unwind after a day on the slopes with over 30 treatment and salon services, but it also complements the services of the ski resort itself. We are referring to the fact that there is a ski rental and repair shop at this hotel, as well as a free ski locker to contribute to the maximum comfort of the tenant.
Iron Blosam Lodge ***
The Iron Blosam Lodge offers everything you need for a successful holiday: an outdoor swimming pool, an indoor jacuzzi, a gym, a restaurant and a lounge. The rooms come in 16 different types, from studios for 2 people to suites for 8 people. In addition, some rooms have the possibility to add adjoining rooms.
As for the gastronomy, the hotel has on the third floor The Wildflower restaurant, where you can enjoy Italian food with pizzas, snacks and a varied selection of wines and spirits. In fact, this restaurant offers the best après-ski atmosphere of the Snowbird resort while maintaining a gastronomy that is also suitable for families.
The Cliff Club
The Cliff Club, located in the west wing of The Cliff Lodge, is a collection of 54 luxury condominiums designed to accommodate 2 to 10 people. It is located at the foot of the resort’s slopes, so you can enjoy skiing in and out of the resort without taking your skis off. Also, as part of The Cliff Lodge, you can enjoy services such as ski rental and repair, and ski storage.
It’s worth noting that the Cliff Club rooms are perfectly decorated in Mission style, with Persian carpeting, cherry wood wardrobes and king-size beds. Also, there is a large lounge area that offers the peace and quiet to enjoy with your family or friends in a comfortable environment after a day of activity. In addition, the complex includes a kitchen with a fridge, microwave, oven and dishwasher so you don’t have to worry about where to eat —and there’s a hot tub on the balcony!
Strengths of Snowbird ski resort
A perfect ski resort for advanced skiers, with plenty of expert-level runs.
It offers the longest ski season in Utah, starting in mid-December and ending in May.
It is characterised by dry powder snow, perfect for ski tricks and snowboarding.
A multitude of services: ski school, equipment rental and restaurants for all the needs and tastes of visitors.
A multitude of accommodation at the foot of the slopes.
Wide variety of activities in both winter and summer.
It is an eco-responsible resort that takes numerous measures to reduce its carbon footprint and protect the environment.
Snowbird offers a joint ski pass with the Alta ski resort.