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Snowbird

Vast and wide-ranging terrain, easy accessibility from Salt Lake all covered in some of the finest, driest powder on planet earth.

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

At a glance: • Big ski area • Short transfers • Bucket list resort

Great for: • Experts • Powder skiing • Snow Sure

Vast and wide-ranging terrain, easy accessibility from Salt Lake all covered in some of the finest, driest powder on planet earth.

Snowbird Resort

A good century before skiers unearthed this powder paradise, fortune-seekers flocked here to make their fortunes in the canyon’s silver mines. A single mine here raked in over $3.8 million in the mineral, the biggest haul of any of the mines in the Rocky mountain range.

Snowbird resort’s founder was just another prospector when he arrived. But setting eyes on Little Cottonwood Canyon’s snowy bowls and swoon-worthy valleys, he recognised true treasure when he saw it: pure, unadulterated, waist-deep pow. Today, “Bird” and the adjoining resort of Alta are ranked the 2nd snowiest areas in the US, after the legendary Cascades. They’re buried in 500 inches of the stuff a year, and ski seasons here have occasionally been known to last until the flare of July 4th fireworks.

Since 2002, an Alta-Snowbird ski pass has covered both Snowbird’s Hidden Peak and Alta’s Sugarloaf Mountain, offering a total 25 lifts and 4700 acres of legendary terrain; almost too much to cover in one trip. Boarders be warned, Alta is one of a number of American resorts operating a strict no-boarding policy – but this hasn’t deterred Snowbird’s avid (intimidatingly accomplished) boarding community.

With such bountiful blessings from M. Nature, the focus here is, no question, on the winter sports. Down in the village, there’s no time for quaint, pine-clad constructions. Large, sensible, avalanche-proof buildings set the tone. There’s also little in the way of a main street; and you won’t catch many holidaymakers on evening strolls between restaurants and bars (which do exist in fair numbers, just tucked away inside). If you’re one of the majority, you’ve come here to ski, and ski hard on expert terrain and the high chance of fresh powder.

What the Bird does, it does well – including for the 2015/16 season, investing over $35 million in remodeling its lodges and upping its snowmaking capabilities.

Stats & FAQ

Location: Utah, USA

Established: 1971

Open: November - May

Downhill: 2500 acres / 169 runs

View our detailed Snowbird snow forecast or snow report and see all live webcams, piste maps, road and travel maps and lift pass prices. For a picture of historic snow conditions see the snow depths month by month with our Snowbird snow history.

Nearest Airport & Transfer Time:
Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC)29 miles, 40 mins
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced
  • 27%

  • 38%

  • 35%

Top Altitude:3352m
Bottom Altitude:2365m
Resort Altitude:2468m
Longest run:8km
Slope Orientation:
Vertical Drop:
Skiable Vertical:882m
Night Skiing:No
Glacier:No

Snow Report

  • Top
  • 5cm
  • Base
  • 206cm
  • Forecast
  • 206cm

Web Cam

Snowbird web cams
Downhill Runs:2500 acres / 169 runs
Beginner slopes:27%
Intermediate:38%
Advanced slopes:35%
Lift Pass Price: $106 -116 (adult pass per day)
Nearby resorts: Alta, Park City, Deer Valley

Skiing/BoardingSkiing in Snowbird

On paper, runs here are relatively evenly split between beginner, intermediate and advanced… But there’s no doubt that deep powder, steep chutes, challenging bowls and trees are where Snowbird really comes into its own; which is why this resort is on the bucket list of many an expert skier or rider.

That’s not to say that less experienced skiers are left wanting. Once you’re ready to move on from the sheltered environment of Chickadee and the Cliff Lodge, choose between the Baby Thunder area (for families) or the Mid-Gad Lift from which you can find your feet on long green trails like Middle Emma. For a real sense of adventure, take the famous Aerial Tram to the top and jump on the magic carpet through a 600ft tunnel (the only of its kind on the continent). This takes you to Mineral Basin and a slew of novice runs from the top of the Baldy Express lift (though be warned, to get back to base you’ll need to hop back on the tram).

All 9 of Snowbird’s immediate chairlifts lead to intermediate runs, but the top of the Mid-Gad lift is perhaps the best place to start, taking in the mountain scenery on long rolling Big Emma. From here, venture forth up the Tram to explore Hidden Peak and the Peruvian Gulch via the resort’s longest trail, Chip’s Run. This seemingly endless, cruisey number takes skiers back to the Bird for lunch.

By far the best the Bird has to offer is in the form of advanced terrain, with black diamond and double black diamond runs streaming down both sides of the mountain. Regulator Johnson remains a favourite among groomers (it’s one of the steepest trails in the US). Rugged, rock-strewn runs are a local specialty, and gullies like Great Scott and Silver Fox off the Cirque ridge are guaranteed to make your stomach drop. With the off-trail opportunities famously as good in nearby Alta as here (skiers come to blows over which resort is better), the possibilities are endless. If you’re lucky, the resort will still be running its “mountain host” programme; complimentary morning tours of the mountain to show you the best bits.

Boarders, don’t be put off by Alta’s snowboarding ban. Snowbird more than makes up for its less-friendly neighbour with two snow parks (one for beginners and one for experts), a 375ft superpipe and a variety of natural terrain that’s hard to beat.

Snowbird Apres Ski

With powder like this to wake up to, most of Snowbird’s skiers hit the hay pretty early. Still, there’s plenty of après to go around earlier in the evening. Things kick off on the Tram patio, where the picnic tables fill up with beer-quaffing revelers, often to the tune of a live band. When it’s time to take things inside, the Wildflower Lounge in Iron Blosam is a local favourite, while mexican-themed El Chanate in the Cliff Lodge has happy hour margaritas to put a smile on your face. From there it’s either to bed with you, or on to the downstairs Tram Club, a sports bar that fills up daily with resort regulars.

For a more sophisticated setting, take the elevator to the Aerie on the 10th floor of the Cliff Lodge, a fine-dining establishment complete with glass wall to gaze over Little Cottonwood Canyon (trust us, you want to get here while there’s still a light left in the day).

When it comes to activities, naturally the focus is on the area’s epic terrain. Tours deep into the stunning Wasatch Mountain scenery take the form of snowmobile, guided snowshoe and backcountry snowcat excursions. For some family fun, check out the ice-skating on the slopeside rink at Cliff Lodge, or the tubing hill adjacent to it, while night skiing (frequently available at weekends on super soft Chickadee) is always a thrill.

One of Snowbird’s founders is quoted dedicating his resort to the “enhancement of body, mind and spirit”. It’s no surprise, then, that one of the resort's crown jewels is the Cliff Spa, occupying 28,000 sq feet on the top of the Cliff Lodge. Here workout rooms include Kaiser pneumatic resistance equipment, and a 60-foot rooftop pool with giant whirlpool will ease your worldly woes.

Best time to go

Best time to ski Snowbird

When is the best time to ski Snowbird?

A walloping 500 inches (12.8m) of snow plasters the Bird every year, meaning sudden powder days are more than a possibility. Thanks to a phenomenon called the “lake effect”, winds passing over the Great Salt Lake gather moisture before moving up through Little Cottonwood Canyon and releasing their bounty. The result: the longest ski season in Utah, lasting from mid-November through May (occasionally until July).

Historically February and March have seen the most snowfall, and a well-developed base make these months a good time to visit. That said, this is famously snow-sure Utah, and snow dumps are also common in November and April – with the added benefits of early season (fewer crowds) and late season (t-shirt weather) conditions. December is usually the coolest month with average lows of -9ºC, while April sees milder lows of around -4ºC.

Peak Dates

If all you want for Christmas is snow, snow and more snow, Christmas in Snowbird is sure to deliver, with previous years including bonfires, fireworks and a tram-riding Santa to top it all off.

Torchlit parades have traditionally kicked off the New Year in Snowbird, before your pick of the live music or candlelit dinner options in the resort’s bars and lodges.

Half Term in Snowbird is a popular one, with families and friends making the most of the month’s legendary powder falls.

If Easter in Snowbird this year is anything like the last, you’re in for a culinary treat with special brunches across the resort and an Easter egg hunt at Chickadee

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Families in Snowbird

With full and half-day programs for kids including skiing, lunch, activities and more, the Camp Snowbird Center ensures everyone’s taken care of. Budding skiers meanwhile, will be inspired by the Mountain School’s dynamic instructors. See if they’re still offering “Kids Ski Free” passes (for the under 6’s) which can mean considerable savings. Once you’re on the mountain, the Baby Thunder area’s challenging greens, enchanting tree runs and hidden areas like the Mini Miners Camp are the perfect place to practice together.

Round off the day with a family ice-skating session on the Lodge’s outdoor rink, or if you haven’t had your fill of thrills on the mountain, try out the tubing hill just next door.

For parents in need of a little me-time, in-room evening babysitting is also an option in many of the local lodges –s o you can make the most of the Bird’s culinary options (and the Aerie’s extensive wine list…).

GroupsGroup Holidays Snowbird

Three basins, one of the US’s largest ski areas and a good mix of terrain all make the Bird brilliant for groups of mixed or advanced ability. Take things easy on the powder playground of Mineral Basin or challenge each other on the long tree-lined runs from the Little Cloud lift. It’s been said that the elevation is generally so good at Snowbird, it can turn an intermediate into a black run skier before the end of the trip – reason to celebrate, then, with beers and live music at the Tram Club.

For a ski trip that you’ll never forget, pool your funds and test out your new ski skills on a guided snowcat tour of the upper American Fork Canyon.

More Snowbird Holiday Resources


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