Snowbird resort is a year-round ski and summer resort located in the heart of the Wasatch National Forest on the eastern border of the Salt Lake City suburb of Sandy. It is 29 miles from Salt Lake City 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 Little Cottonwood Canyon with Alta Ski Area to the east, just up the canyon over a ridge that separates the two. Beginning winter 2002, the two resorts offer a joint day pass and a joint season ticket allowing full access all of the terrain on both mountains: 26 ski lifts and tows and a skiable area of 4,700 acres (19 km2). The collaboration 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 had been skiable within the resort since 1999. The installation of Baldy Express in 2002 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 (no snowboards) policy. Both areas receive more than 500 inches of snowfall per year, due to lake-effect enhancement from the Great Salt Lake, making them the second snowiest ski areas in the United States (after the ones in the Cascades). In contrast to the humid and wet conditions in the Cascades near the Pacific Ocean, the arid condition of the Great Basin produces very dry and powdery snow, making Snowbird and Alta top global destinations for powder-skiing aficionados. Snowbird usually closes on Memorial Day in late May while the occasional ski year can last as long as the Fourth of July on the upper part of the mountain (accessed by the aerial tram), perennially offering the longest ski season in Utah. Snowbird has a skiable area of 2,500 acres with a vertical drop of 3,240 feet from the summit of Hidden Peak, which has an elevation of above 11,000 feet. Hidden Peak is serviced by an aerial tram from the base area. The resort covers three drainage areas: Peruvian Gulch, Gad Valley, and Mineral Basin. Snowbird is perennially celebrated by industry magazines for its exceptional snowfall, vast and wide-ranging terrain and easy accessibility from the Salt Lake City International Airport. Snowbird set a resort record of 776 inches of cumulative snow (mid-mountain measurement) in May 2011
Alta is a ski area in the western United States, located in the town of Alta in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah, in Salt Lake County. With a skiable area of 2,200 acres Altas base elevation is 8,530 feet and rises to 10,550 feet for a vertical gain of 2,020 feet. One of the oldest ski resorts in the country, it opened its first lift in early 1939. Alta is known for being very high altitude and receives more snow than most Utah resorts, its average annual snowfall is 514 inches Alta is one of three remaining ski resorts in America that prohibits snowboarders, along with nearby competitor Deer Valley and Vermont’s Mad River Glen.