This weekend a few of us were chatting about the upcoming ski season, and a girlfriend mentioned she had never skied Snowbird because it is just too “intimidating.” I hear you my friend. At one time, I felt the same way: “The Bird is for those hard core skiers who use words like ‘pow’ and ‘shred,’ for skiers who hike up mountains with skis on their backs and float effortlessly through the powder . . . it’s really a resort for skiers on vacation, not locals . . . plus, where in the world do I park if I DO want to ski Snowbird – there are FOUR different entrances!” These were a few of the thoughts racing through my mind, and I believed Snowbird was just too intimidating for a local Salt Lake girl, so I stuck with the resorts I knew so well. Comfort zone is a good thing. Right?
Wrong! A few years back I discovered Snowbird. I’ll never forget that afternoon – I was blown away by the pure majesty of those mountains, the killer terrain, and the ease of getting around the resort. Now, as a Snowbird season pass holder, I have to share WHY I love to ski the Bird . . .
Julie’s Top 10:
10. Customer Service. What other ski resort offers to call the shuttle just for you, with the expectation that the driver takes you right to your car. Indeed, that was one of my first parking lot experiences. I was headed out of the Snowbird Center with skis on my shoulder, poles in hand, and gearing up for the walk to the car when the shuttle dude asked if I need a ride. “Um, well, I was just going to walk to my car,” I explained. He immediately told me, “no, you don’t have to do that, he’s on his way.” Seconds later I was boarding the shuttle and telling the driver to keep his eyes peeled for the white Sequoia up the hill. Very nice. Plus, they also bus your tables at Mid Gad, AND if you need a little help adjusting your bindings, someone is there with a screwdriver and advice. Nice.
9. Friendly Lift Operators. The.Best.Ever. I love the lift operators and ticket scanner folks at the Bird. Always friendly, always asking how you’re doing, always happy, and if Jared is working (usually manning the Wilbere lift), you’ll be rewarded with a great joke if you ask. Bonus!
8. The Food. Yep, GREAT food at the Bird. My favorite spot for lunch is the Mid Gad Restaurant, located right off the slopes on the Gad Valley side of the resort. Awesome food (oh, those fries), huge portions (girls, share a sandwich and save $$), and unbeatable views from the dining area. If I’m looking for a little more of a dining experience (while still in ski gear), it’s all about sitting near the fire and enjoying a salad or burger at The Forklift (off the Plaza).
7. The Cliff Lodge. If you purchase your season passes pre-season, you’ll receive a FREE night at the Cliff, so take advantage! Breathtaking views of the mountains, fantastic restaurants, unbelievable rooftop pool & hot tub, as well as a world class spa. Plus, the Aerie lounge and restaurant on the top floor is the perfect spot for apres or a romantic dinner. Just perfect after a day on the slopes.
6. The Plaza. I love, love, love the plaza. Grab a table, put up your feet, watch the tram descend from Hidden Peak, and enjoy the people watching. This is where the community of skiers and boarders come together to relax, mingle, and grab a bite (the Birdfeeder and Tram Pizza are excellent choices for something quick).
5. Baby Thunder. The idea of piling into a crowded tram on a powder day sends me into a panic attack. I did that once, and barely survived. However, the tram isn’t the only place to head after an overnight dumping of the white stuff. For claustrophobics like myself, we head to the lesser known and out of the way lift, Baby Thunder (look for it on a trail map). Yes, it’s a great lift for the little ones, but if you’re searching for some untouched pristine powder in the trees, this is it. Plus, it’s a great spot to practice your turns in knee-deep powder without the crowds. LOVE!
4. Hidden Peak. Views. Views. Views. This is where you will get that unforgettable picture with the family or ski buddies. The 360 degree views at 11,000 ft are unparalleled as you view down into the Salt Lake Valley on the west and into Mineral Basin on the West, with Twin Peaks to the south and Mt. Baldy to the North. Absolutely gorgeous on a bluebird day, so have that camera phone ready!
3. Terrain. You’ve heard it said that Snowbird’s terrain is some of the best in the world. Truth. Whatever you are in the mood for, you can find it at the Bird. Want steeps? Looking for trees? Want to take it easy, relax, and cruise groomers? Looking for out of the way moguls still soft with powder (think Dalton’s Draw)? Need to traverse to find that perfect line? Ready to hike for fresh tracks? It’s all here, one stop shopping, and THAT is what makes this place so special. Whatever I’m in the mood to ski, I can find it at the Bird and it doesn’t disappoint.
2. Summer at the Bird. Did you know Snowbird becomes a full service summer resort once the ski season comes to an end? Summer is the perfect time to really explore and become familiar with the resort. Take the tram to Hidden Peak (free with season pass) and hike the spectacular mountain trails while enjoying the views, bring the family to enjoy the summer activities (alpine slide, coaster, ropes course, mountain flyer, etc.), come for a Friday night movie on the plaza, or bring the bikes for some incredible mountain biking. Watch for summer info in May at www.snowbird.com!
1. Mineral Basin. The first time I came to the end of the tunnel and viewed Mineral Basin I was blown away by its stunning beauty. It’s simply breathtaking. There is something magical about skiing in Mineral Basin, it’s truly an elixir for the soul and definitely my favorite part of skiing Snowbird. Mineral Basin offers skiing for ALL levels and never disappoints. My most memorable moments skiing the Bird have happened here, so don’t forget to make it into the basin when you ski the Bird. Pure magic.
There you have it, my top 10, and ten reasons that will make your ski experience at Snowbird one to remember, not to mention, much less intimidating :).