Nobody beats the ‘Bird!

By By Jessica Dunn

By Jessica Dunn

Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort is what some call a “real mountain.”

They’re not lying. Snowbird has some of the best and most advanced terrain in Utah. It has a little something for everyone, from chutes and cliffs to high-speed groomers and mogul fields.

Snowbird wasn’t made for beginners. It’s truly a skier’s — or boarder’s — mountain. Most of the terrain is fairly steep, with a few narrow cat tracks winding through. The best place for beginners is Big Emma. Its wide open and more gently sloping trail gives everyone some elbow room and makes it easy to carve big turns without being run over by others sharing the mountain.

If you’re looking for something a little more challenging than a green run, you’ve come to the right place. The mountain is covered in black diamonds. Regulator Johnson under the Little Cloud Lift is a challenging steep on groomed days and a sweet spot on deep powder days. However, it will get tracked out fast.

The Cirque and Road to Provo bowl are two other well-known powder stashes. For first tracks, these are definitely worth waiting in line for, but even after a mid-week storm, you can’t expect it to stay fresh for long.

Mineral Basin is a little different. If you look hard or traverse far enough, you can usually still find powder days after a storm. A far left or a far right from any lift will most likely get you some fresh.

Everyone knows that the harder it is to get to, the better the stash. If that’s your way of thinking, you need to ride Gad 2 and head to the Tiger Tail area. Thunder Bowl/Thunder Alley might require a little walking, but it’s one of the longest untouched runs you’ll find on a powder day. It’s definitely worth it, but don’t tell your friends.

After a few hours of carving up the mountain, you’ll probably need to refuel, so check out the Mid-Gad Lodge. It’s located right on the mountain under the Gad Zoom Lift instead of at the bottom by the parking lots. The food is normal, decent and extremely overpriced, but at least you can save time and keep riding as soon as you’re done.

If the normal resort food doesn’t appeal to you, go to General Grits instead. They have a deli that makes the freshest and most delicious sandwich wraps.

When you’re finished eating, it’s time to check off the Snowbird must-dos. Make sure you take a Tram ride, even if it’s just a scenic passenger ride. Then go through the Peruvian Tunnel — North America’s first ski tunnel — and into Mineral Basin on the backside of the mountain.

If you’re looking for some park action, know that Snowbird downsized its terrain park this year to just a few jibs and the Superpipe on Big Emma. Don’t worry, though — Snowbird’s entire mountain is one giant, natural terrain park. For example, on the Peruvian side you can drop some cliffs, take a run through one of the many natural half-pipes and then hit some rollers.

Whether you’re looking for your next adrenaline rush or a top-secret powder stash, you’ll find it at Snowbird — it’s what real mountains are all about.

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