It’s a new year, and hopefully a turning point for skiers and boarders awaiting the true advent of snow season. As we’ve documented, Utah resorts are open and their snowmaking teams are doing all they can to help riders access new terrain, but Mother Nature has been stingy with the snowfall (to put it mildly). However, a recent storm has helped improve conditions, and I can happily say I enjoyed the best laps of my season this weekend at Snowbird.
Recent Trail and Lift Openings at Snowbird
During the week of Christmas/New Year, the Bird opened up the Peruvian Chairlift, which was a small miracle in terms of ridable terrain now available. With Chip’s Run and Chip’s Face open for the season, the human traffic jam on the Gadzoom slopes has been alleviated. The majority of the runs have a solid base, save for a few patches of rock and grass near the top of Upper Chip’s. The snow on Chip’s Bypass and Hubba Bubba was soft and the trails are stacked with fun rollers and side hits everywhere. Definitely worth some hot laps.
Additionally, the Little Cloud lift is now open for the season, which should help reduce some of the wait times for the Tram. Those of us with “Chairs Only” passes will now be barred from entry on the cattle car. After peering into Mineral Basin, my guess is that it can’t be too far away from opening up. Perhaps another storm will allow Snowbird to fire up both the Baldy and Mineral Basin quads lifts.
The Cirque is open!
Wait, what? Yup, the Cirque is indeed open for business…kind of. The Cirque Traverse is open with access to Middle Cirque, and you better believe this is where to find the best snow on the mountain. Additional access to the lower portions of the Cirque are also possible via the traverse lines beginning near Upper Silver Fox trail. It is worth your time and the rock gouges to make your way out there. You only collect a few hundred feet of vert, but the quality of snow makes it worth your effort.
Packed Powder Persists
All of the Gad Valley lifts are spinning, and have been for some time now. I won’t sugar coat it: it is icy as hell over there! Ok, it’s not terrible; there are some really nice turns to be had near the top of Gad 2 and just off trail in spots, but this is as close to East Coast skiing as I’ve experienced while living in Utah. While runs like Election and Middle Bassackwards are well covered, the same cannot be said for Bananas. Be prepared for some core shots if you dare to head down this one.
Yes, there are still plenty of “early season condition” areas at the Bird, but overall the last couple of weeks have been very encouraging. New terrain is open, the base is growing to a respectable depth, and riders no longer have to dodge each other with every turn. If January can deliver a more active weather pattern, skiers and boarders will still have plenty of season left to enjoy the Greatest Snow on Earth.