Skiing at Snowbird in Utah is one of the best ways to experience some of the best snow on Earth. Located in Little Cottonwood Canyon, Snowbird offers skiers and snowboarders time on the steeps. On my visit, covid-19 restrictions were in place, which included wearing face masks and most dining options were limited. Utah has multiple ski resorts and Snowbird is one to put on your list.
At over 2,500 acres, Snowbird offers 140 runs and boasts a 17,400 uphill capacity for riders every hour up the mountain. With the longest ski & snowboard season in Utah, Snowbird is a great choice for your epic skiing vacation. There are 15 dining options throughout the mountain, plus a general store just in case you forgot something or need a gas station snack. Here is my full winter review of Snowbird, which includes pros, cons, and tips for your visit:
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What I Enjoyed
Like the other cottonwood resorts, Snowbird expects 500” (1,270 cm) annual snowfall, offering the chance for some fantastic conditions. Purchase your ticket in advance and you will simply scan your confirmation email at a ticket kiosk where an rfid ticket will print and you be on your way. No need to stand in line at the ticket office!
Snowbird has just about everything you need. Ski lockers, restaurants, a general store, parking, quick ticket redemption, ski/board racks throughout the building, and space to warm up inside. While other resorts created reservations to control capacity during covid-19 restrictions, Snowbird opened all their event space. This created more options for guests to warm up with hot cocoa during snow days. Hands down a great decision by Snowbird staff!
Lodging options are geared for the skier or snowboarder, with easy ski-in/ski-out access or a short walk to the lifts. Stay here for hot tubs, lockers, and a great view to share on social media. Those of you with little ones will enjoy Cliff Lodge’s babysitting options.
Snowbird is equipped to handle skiers and snowboarders who want to genuinely enjoy their outdoor winter vacation. In addition to alpine skiing, you can find Heli skiing, guided backcountry cat skiing, snowshoe hikes, and more. If you have your avalanche training, there is so much more to do here on vacation.
What to Consider
Snowbird is known for its powder and keeps things au natural. So, do not be surprised when you get out there and the runs were not groomed overnight. That is not what this place is.
The Tram is a must-do experience for Snowbird, but it does not run when winds are too strong. There is a chance you will not be able to ride it to the top. During my visit, capacity was limited due to covid-19 restrictions so we only had a small group of 25 in each car, but on a typical day you can expect to be packed like sardines with 200 people.
Snowbird is located in Little Cottonwood Canyon, which means you might experience an interlodge if you visit during a heavy storm (Avalanche danger here is the highest in North America). During an interlodge, people are expected to stay inside while patrol and UDOT complete mitigation work in the canyon. This means that you have to stay indoors, cannot walk to and from the parking lot to other buildings, the road is closed, and you are not skiing (yet!). But, interlodge has a sweet ending, as you will have an epic powder day when the area opens & no one else will be around.
Tips for Your Trip
Ski the fall line. When traveling from one edge of the resort to another, you may be tempted to traverse across the ski run. Instead, ski until you reach the true traverse (which is really the green or blue runs here). This will create a better experience for you and others.
Save money: Purchase your day ticket online in advance or buy the Ski City Super Pass, which gives you access to Brighton, Solitude, Snowbird, and Alta without blackouts. Blackouts are typically around federal holidays.
If you are staying on-site, hire transport to and from the airport (the resort will help you with this), do not bother renting a vehicle.
If you are staying in SLC, the ski bus is best on snow days, especially if you have a front wheel drive vehicle. Only equipped 4x4s or chains are allowed (and will successfully arrive) up the canyon on snow days. Follow UT’s traction law or get fined. Follow @UDOTCottonwoods on Twitter for update on road conditions and closures.
Have you ever been to Snowbird? Let me know what you thought in the comments below.
The Basics – A Snowbird Guide
Best Time to Visit:
The cottonwoods typically have great snow, so it is hard to pick a bad time.
How to Get There:
Fly into SLC International Airport.
The resort is about a 45 min drive from the airport. Riding the train and bus will take about 2 hours from the airport. Instead, hire transport if you are not renting a vehicle.
Complimentary parking is available with reservations. Parking valet available with a fee.
Utilize Utah’s Ski Bus or schedule local transportation from the airport.
Those staying on-site will have access to area shuttles and the ski bus.
USD or your credit card
The Cliff Club – Slope slide accommodations with a rooftop heated pool and complimentary ski lockers. Ski-in/ski-out access.
What to Eat:
Smoothie at Baked & Brewed or Pizza Slice at Tram Car (2nd floor of Snowbird Center)
Burger and Hot Cocoa at Mid-Gad (on mountain)
Grab-and-go sandwich at General Gritts (1st floor of Snowbird Center)
Who Should Visit:
Advanced skiers & snowboarders who want the steeps and potential for an epic powder day. If you arrive with less skilled friends, they will be just fine – as long as they prefer to sit in Tram Club all day during their ski vacations. It’s not that less advanced shouldn’t come, it’s that they are going to tire easily and will need a break.
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