History of Snowbird..

Before Little Cottonwood Canyon became popular with skiers, miners discovered deposits of silver ore within the glacial canyon. The history of Little Cottonwood Canyon and the town of Alta dates back to the 19th Century, when a soldier in the U.S. Army first prospected for silver in 1869. The tiny minerals he stumbled upon soon supported a massive industry. Little Cottonwood Canyon became one of the largest producers of silver ore in the Wasatch Mountains. Known as the Emma Mine and the namesake for the Big Emma run in Snowbird’s Gad Valley, the soldier’s find eventually produced more than $3.8 million in silver.

At its peak, 8,000 people lived and worked in the narrow canyon, which held two smelters, 138 homes, hotels, boarding houses, stores and even a railroad. The entire town was later destroyed by a series of avalanches.


Snowbird resort is a year-round ski and summer resort located in the heart of the Wasatch-Cache National Forest on the eastern border of the Salt Lake City. It is 29 miles from Salt Lake International Airport, 24 miles from downtown Salt Lake City and 4 miles east of the suburb of Sandy. The resort first opened in December 1971.

Snowbird shares the canyon with neighbor Alta Ski Area. Beginning in the winter of 2002, both resorts began offering a joint day pass and a joint season ticket, allowing skiers to fully access all of the terrain on both mountains (26 total ski lifts and tows and a skiable area of 4,700 acres.

The offer coincided with the opening of a new lift in Mineral Basin, a large bowl owned by Snowbird on the back of Snowbird’s Hidden Peak and Alta’s Sugarloaf mountains, that allowed access to Alta from the Basin. Other access points between the two resorts exist as well. The offer is open to skiers only, as a result of Alta’s skiers-only policy.

Both receive over 500 inches of snowfall per year, with a single storm capable of producing over 100 inches due to lake effect enhancement from the Great Salt Lake, making it the greatest area of snowfall in the mainland United States outside the Cascades.

Unlike the humid and wet snow of the Cascades near the Pacific Ocean, Snowbird being in the arid Great Basin is known for its unusually dry and powdery snow.

Snowbird usually closes on Memorial Day in late May while the occasional ski year can last as long as the Fourth of July.

The Little Cottonwood Canyon resort perennially offers the longest ski season in Utah. Snowbird has a skiable area of 2,500 acres with a vertical drop of 3,240 ft  from the summit of Hidden Peak, which has an elevation of above 11,000 ft. Hidden Peak is serviced by an aerial tram from the lodges.

The resort covers three areas, each with a unique character. The Peruvian Gulch side was the least crowded of the three until they put in the new Peruvian chairlift, but is still exceptional on a good powder day.

The Gad Valley has the widest range of skiable terrain, from the slow-skiing Big Emma to steep Regulator Johnson. The third, and most recently developed bowl, is Mineral Basin — which tends to be warmer and more open than the other two. The strong point of the resort is the aerial tram which provides access to 3,000 feet vertical.

Come stay with Wasatch Front Ski Accommodations at our fantastic affordable vacations home close to this amazing ski resort…

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