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Snowbird Ski Resort Review

Written by Andrew Mitchell   
Wednesday, 11 February 2009


If Henry T Ford had invented skiing he would have surely designed Snowbird.  Designed for the mass market, the resort of Snowbird has all the charm of a concrete bunker designed to withstand a direct nuclear hit.  If the concrete box that houses the cable car (somewhat confusingly referred to as a ‘tram’) doesn’t raise an architectural eyebrow then the shipping container that greets you at the top will surely drop a designer jaw.  Charming it aint.

Convenient, however, it is. Despite the queue to get on the ‘tram’ (don’t they normally come with a railway?) the trip is quick, efficient and very scenic. The trip to the top is over before you’ve solved the problem of where to ski. With 89 trails, 2500 acres of skiable terrain and over 3000ft of vertical drop, Snowbird is one of the largest resorts in the area.

Intermediate skiers will enjoy the front bowl off the Gadzoom Express – particularly the Bassackwards run. Advanced and Intermediate skiers will enjoy just about everything, but the Peruvian Gulch and Mineral Basin is definitely worth a look. Beginners and families are well advised to stick to the Baby Thunder area unless skiing down narrow cat trails is your thing.

Plan your day when your drive – there’s a car park devoted to car pooling with 3 or more people (or drive your Henry T inspired Suburban up to the valet parking) – and plan your exit point. There are numerous shortcuts to reduce the walk back to the car.

If you leave your car at home you can always stay at one of the square concrete boxes (did Henry do ski accommodation too?) that serve as on site accommodation. Alpine village it ‘aint, but convenient it is! That said, a trip to Snowbird is well worth the trip. Don’t go for the old world charm, but do go for the reliable snow and wealth of skiable terrain.

Ski Area Details

The vast majority of skiing at Snowbird is on the slopes extending up from Little Cottonwood Canyon Road, however, a visit to Snowbird would not be complete without exploring the Mineral Basin area. An interesting way to get there is via the tunnel at the top of the Puruvian Express. Inside the tunnel is a magic carpet. To get back from Mineral Basin, take the the Mineral Basin Express to the top of Hidden Peak.

It is difficult to pick out areas that are particularly good as the entire mountain is full great trails, mostly following the fall line. This is one of the strengths of Snowbird over its cousins in the Park City area where the mountains seem to undulate a bit more, producing some rather flat run-outs which are particularly frustrating to advanced skiers and snowboarders.

Alta and Snowbird with one Pass

Alta and Snowbird have recently introduced a combined ski pass that allows you to access their combined terrain - a total of 4700 acres and 205 trails.

Avalanche Threat

The Little Cottonwood Canyon landscape near Snowbird is particularly steep and threatens avalanches even near the resort base. This is the reason for the heavyweight concrete engineering of the base facilities and lodging. Maybe Henry knew a thing or two about avalanches as well.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 12 February 2009 )


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