For our last day in Utah, we decided to check out Snowbird. After my character building day at Solitude the day before, I was apprehensive about going to Snowbird because of what I had heard from people in this forum and even the locals I was talking to during our chair lift rides at Alta and Solitude. Apparently, Snowbird is the steepest of the Cottonwood Canyon resorts. In the end, I thought you only live once and might as well go do what your heart tells you to do, even against better judgment.
We started the day early and was at the lift by 9:10 am. I had wanted to go find the Baby Thunder Lift and test out the family-area greens on the far right side of the mountain. Since we couldn't find it, we got on the two-seater Mid Gad Lift and got off at mid-station to test out West 2nd North and West 2nd South. We then tried our luck at Big Emma. I had read on this forum about Big Emma and wanted to give it a try. Let me just say that is the BADDEST (in a good way) green trail I've ever been on. Wow, that Big Emma has BAD INTENTIONS. Just the sheer length of the trail should be a blue on the east coast. You pick up so much speed off that drop it's ridiculous. I had a great time skiing Big Emma and actually counted the number of turns I did from the top drop to the last slow sign (22 turns). My friend hit 21 and caught some air before falling face-first. Great times
After giving some more love to Big Emma, we wanted to at least see the Tram and experience the tunnel before finishing our day at the "Bird". We skied down Bass Highway to get to the Tram. Since we went on a Sunday, we were hoping that the crowd wouldn't be as big for the people who attend church, but we were packed like sardines in the Tram. Once we got to the top though, the view, once again, was breathless.
For whatever reason, I didn't panic like I did at Solitude. We skied down Chip's Run to the tunnel. It's on Chip's Run that my weakness was exposed. I can't make sharp, short turns to control my speed that well. Chip's Run kind of meander and winds itself around the mountain, so if you're not careful, you'll be going off-trail on stuff steeper than what I'm accustomed to. I stopped a couple of times because it was the only way for me to control myself without falling off to the side.
We got to the tunnel and went to Mineral Basin while we stood on conveyor belts. I took the time to take pics like a tourist. It's very interesting, is the tunnel created so people can take the Peruvian lift through the tunnel in the event that the Tram is busy?
We skied all the greens on Mineral Basin: Lupine Loop, Luckey Boy, Claim Jumper, and Bird's Nest. We also skied the lower part of Bassanova to get to the Baldy Express. They had an "action photographer" stationed at the bottom to take pictures. We had taken the lower part of Bassanova at least 5 times before, so I was confident I can ski down it without much fanfare. On my 6th attempt, I crossed my skis (don't ask) and fell down like a champ. Unfortunately, the action photographer happened to change his equipment as I was falling, and missed my modeling pose on the slope
I am willing to bet that my friend would've bought the picture just so he can rub it in my face. That's what friends are for right?
We had to be back at the hotel around 2:00 pm, so we started heading back to the Creekside Lodge around noon. We took the Mineral Basin Express back to the top. Our plan was to ski down Chip's Run to Who Dunnit to Skischool Lane. The trail map does not justify how long these runs are. It took us at least 30 minutes to get back, and got lost on the way. I ended up taking the bottom part of BlackJack but we still made it back to Creekside in one piece. I also went off the steeper part of Chip's Run instead of following the trail that snakes around the mountain. I had learned to point my skis down and JUST SKI over my fears. It was a small redemption to my earlier day at Solitude.
Overall, it was a great day of skiing. The conditions were blue-bird skies with packed/groomed trails. I was a bit surprised that Snowbird doesn't use the keycard entry that Alta and Solitude uses, but it was not as inconvenient as I thought it would be to have people checking your lift ticket (by the way, I am NOT taking off my Snowbird lift ticket off my jacket
I was also a bit taken off by their $4.00 charge to rent lockers, but they do provide you with all-day access throughout the day. Their chili-dog at the Creekside lodge hit the spot.
Looking back, there are so many blue and black trails we didn't do on the mountain. We were limited to the mountain exposure due to our skiing ability. Hopefully next time we head back, I'll be able to ski more of the mountain and experience Snowbird in a different way!