The Snow Report
Snowbird flies highest in the realms of hospitality and environmentalism. This is a place where you’ll get ski valets, high-caliber instructors who give private lessons, Flaik GPS devices (to track location and vertical feet skied), staffed kids’ programs (they take babies as young as six weeks old)—and a staff-to-guest ratio of one to one, which is almost unheard of at a ski resort. To boot, most things are decently priced or at least not outrageous, especially considering the quality of the staff.
In service to nature, Snowbird helped fund a mining-area cleanup, established a significant recycling program, and has done much to conserve energy. In return, the snow gods send down 500 inches per year—the ski season here is longer than at most places—and arrange for a powder-day rate of 11 percent.
With 85 trails that keep skiers of every level entertained, the ‘bird’s 2,500 sporting acres span 3,240 vertical feet by way of 11 modest-capacity lifts, including a new high-speed quad. Five rental locations stock riding gear too, and a terrain park is outfitted with kickers and rails. You can also go snowshoeing, snowmobiling, take a backcountry-skills class, or ride a brand-new alpine coaster. Should you get hurt, the resort offers a 24-hour emergency service but the ski patrol is pretty tiny and the nearest hospital is 11 miles away.
Of the four onsite hotels, Cliff Lodge is the only ski-in/ski-out property and just got completely remodeled, but the Lodge at Snowbird, the Inn, and the Iron Blosam (a condo lodge) are walking distance from lifts. Before tucking in for the night, dine at one of 15 resort eateries—the newly redone Aerie sits atop the lodge—and head to the Tram Club for dancing, karaoke, and generously priced beverages. And yes, you can drink in Utah, though base altitude is 8,100 feet, so it’s wise to take it easy on the bottoms up.
On New Year’s Eve, the Torchlight Parade is a sight to behold, as hundreds of skiers and riders zigzag down the hill creating a moving mosaic of fiery light.
CONTACT: (800) 232-9542, snowbird.com
SEASON: Mid-November to late May
TICKETS: General: $78 (reduced-price half-day tickets offered), children: $42, ages 65 and older: $65, ages 6 and younger: free