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SNOWBIRD — Snowbird Resort unveiled its newest addition Saturday with the grand opening of a new restaurant and shopping outlet in an unlikely location: on top of 11,000-foot Hidden Peak.
Located 6 miles up Little Cottonwood Canyon, Snowbird Resort was opened in 1971 by founders Dick Bass and Ted Johnson, according to Snowbird communications manager Brian Brown. The most iconic feature of Snowbird is the aerial tram, which provides a 3,000-vertical-foot ride in 12 minutes, Brown said. The tram will provide access to the new lodge located on the mountaintop.
Appropriately dubbed "The Summit," the new, 23,000-square-foot facility will offer indoor and outdoor dining options, as well as a retail outlet and an information kiosk. The second level of the building will provide private dining space that can be rented for weddings and business functions.
The Summit is part of a $35 million capital investment project that took place during the summer, Brown said.
"Skiers and riders all over the world have been anxiously awaiting the opening of The Summit here at Snowbird," Snowbird President Bob Bonar said in a statement. "This new year-round guest facility will provide stunning 360-degree views of the Wasatch Mountains and offer guests authentic French rotisserie cooking from an internationally inspired menu created by executive chef George Lackey."
Along with the new facility, Snowbird Resort made several other improvements this year, including increasing its snowmaking capabilities, remodeling over 350 rooms at the Cliff Lodge and installing a new radio frequency identification ticketing system. The new lift tickets look like a credit card and can be scanned through a coat, Brown said.
"It helps us move people around the mountain more efficiently," Brown said. "Gone are the days where you have your paper ticket that you have to fold over that little wire wicket that you have to feed through your zipper. The RFID ticketing is nice because before this year, on those cold, crazy, snowy days, you had to unzip your jacket and pull that pass out. Now you can keep all those layers zipped up and move through the line a little quicker."
Snowbird offers 2,500 skiable acres and 11 operational lifts, plus the aerial tram. Currently, only snowboarding and skiing are allowed at the resort. Brown said there are plans to install a tubing hill in the future for families to enjoy.
The resort offers almost 400 rooms that are available for rent in the Cliffs Lodge. The lodge also includes two restaurants, an atrium, a day care, and a rooftop spa which offers incredible canyon views.
While snow sports are the current attraction, Snowbird also offers a variety of summer activities. A regular chairlift and the aerial tram operate during the summer months and provide access to the mountain for hikers and mountain biking. There are a variety of mountain trails, the largest of which begins at the top of the aerial tram drop off and descends 3,000 vertical foot over a 7.5 mile trail. The resort also hosts an annual Wild Flower Festival in the Mineral Basin area that is typically held mid-summer.
Snowbird is also well-known for its annual Oktoberfest, which features authentic cuisine and German dancers. Oktoberfest typically runs for nine weeks from August to October.
Hours: Day skiing is 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Night skiing is 5:30-9 p.m. on Saturday and Sundays.
Prices: An adult lift ticket is $98. Night skiing is $13. Children 6 and under ski for free. Check the Snowbird website for the best deals.