is nothing quite like the first time you ride the tram up
to the top of Snowbird. If it is a typical day you will be
crammed in with 120 powder crazed souls. The savvy tram
rider will try to get close to the opening side of the
gate, this allows you first entry and the chance to grab
some space at a window. Be prepared for a stupendous ride
up with a great view of the Cirque near the top.
Once at the top you have to choose which side of
the mountain you wish to ski. A recent addition is the
Mineral Basin chair, this lift provides access to the
South side of the mountain. Mineral Basin adds 500 acres
of snowriding terrain. The Mineral Basin high speed quad
takes you up 1429 vertical feet in 4 minutes!
Snowbird can be a very unforgiving mountain and you can
get in trouble if you are not careful. Many times inviting
looking stashes lead into dead-ends on cliff tops. Be sure
where you are going and donít go blindly smoking down
unfamiliar terrain. Most skiers will find the ratings for
the runs here are sandbagged, the blue runs at Snowbird
would be blacks at many other areas. Before you venture on
a double black you had better be very confident of your
That said, the Bird can be a very fun area in which to
test your skills! Expert skiers will find plenty of steep
challenging chutes. The Upper Cirque has many tight lines
through the rocks, Great Scott is sickly steep and scary!
Once all the obvious powder lines have been taken, you can
usually find untracked snow on High Baldy. You have to
hike the ridge to get to High Baldy but it is usually
worth your effort. This year there should be some good
scary lines into Mineral Basin from this ridge. If you are
on the Gad 2 lift, Thunder Bowl usually will hold
untouched snow for quite a while. This area requires a bit
of a traverse but that is why there is good snow!
Intermediates that ride the tram will find Regulator
Johnson or the Road To Provo easiest way down. Chips Run
can be somewhat intimidating, it is a narrow cat track
that winds down the beginning part of the Peruvian Gulch.
If you can negotiate the cat track it gets much mellower
Beginners can start on the Chickadee lift and move on to
Baby Thunder or Mid Gad. Snowbird is mostly geared to the
expert skier and does not have much in the way of beginner
or intermediate skiing.
Staying at the resort can be a great advantage on powder
days, while all the locals are trying to get up canyon you
can be out skiing! There are a number of lodges and condos
in the Snowbird and Alta vicinity. Check their websites
for more information.
A good place to eat lunch is the Fork Lift, it is located
on your left as you come down into the tram plaza. They
have good food at typical resort prices, you should wait
till after the noon rush for faster service.
If you are looking for a place to party the night away
there isn't much here. The Canyon Inn is a good place to
have a drink, it is located at the mouth of the big
cottonwood canyon. Downtown Salt Lake City has a pretty
happening scene, there are clubs of all kinds to suit
everyone. Contrary to what everyone says you can get a
drink in Utah. Although I must admit it is a bit strange
here! To get into a club you must be a member, you can get
a temporary membership, but they still charge you. More or
less the Utah way of making a cover charge. Port of Call
is my favorite downtown bar, they have good food and a fun
The ticket prices are $56.00 for a tram pass and $47.00
for a chairs pass. Two children 12 and under are free with
each paying adult. You can get discount lift tickets at
Gart Sports and Smithís grocery stores in town.
If you come skiing to Utah a trip isnít complete unless
you skied the BIRD!
Ski & Summer Resort
Atlas and Gazetteer
Tracks: A Century of Skiing in Utah
Salt Lake City and Beyond: Including Park City, Deer Valley,
Alta and Snowbird
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