Had you asked me previously if I'd enthusiastically plan a winter getaway for five weeks I'd say "hell no!". I made all these wrong assumptions about this magical season based on my personal experiences with winter in New York City where the skies are constantly grey and the snow that hits the ground instantly turns into ice piles of dog pee and cigarette butts. Snow in Manhattan also causes insane traffic, difficulty navigating sidewalks, and just big, massive headaches. Yet, there are all these wonderful winter destinations in our country where the sun shines bright, the skies glow in beautiful, blue hues, and the snow maintains a perfectly pristine purity. Despite low temperatures, it never feels too cold, and rather than staying in my apartment stuffing my face I just want to be outside all day. A week in Snowbird solidified my new love for this sensational season.
Snowbird Ski Resort is a massive mountain that draws advanced skiers and snowboarders to shred its one hundred-forty trails comprised of champagne powder. There are just a couple of green level runs and the trails are all on the rather steep side. On the back end of the mountain is Alta Mountain Resort which is for skiers only. There are lifts from the base of Snowbird that connect the mountains. Between the two mountains, skiers have two hundred-sixty powdery trails spanning thousands of acres to rip through. This is considered the premier skiing destination in Utah.
The main square of the village is comprised of an unassuming three-story building that has a small grocery market, a pizza shop, an indoor dining hall, and a few basic ski apparel stores. There really isn't much exciting shopping to do here. The emphasis is clearly on the mountain and the resort has done a fantastic job leaving no distractions in its path. Snowbird, home of Utah's longest ski season, is a well-branded ski resort that has a cult following of die-hard skiers/snowboarders. Incidentally, every employee that I spoke to on the resort, many from the east coast, came out here to ski years ago and never left. Snowbird is not just a place, it's a lifestyle.
Where to Stay in Snowbird:
There are two main ski-in/out lodging options in Snowbird. For a more family-friendly option, The Lodge at Snowbird offers several room configurations that connect. They also have rooms with full kitchens which makes eating healthier, and more affordable, very convenient. We were able to have a double queen room connected to a studio suite with a pull-out couch, kitchen, and dining area. Adjacent to this room was another double queen room. With five beds, three separate living areas, three bathrooms, and a massive balcony with stunning views we were very comfortable here. I also really like their Icelandic minimalistic decor and the combination of materials incorporating concrete and wood throughout the exterior and interior of the building that seamlessly blends into the mountain landscape. The rooms have a more than usual amount of shelving and drawers which made fully unpacking a dream. Finally, for those of you who enjoy soaking in an outdoor heated pool when it is fifteen degrees out, The Lodge has one for you to relax your muscles after a day on the slopes. On the flip side, they have a rather small onsite gym. For my workouts, I opted to walk over to The Cliff Lodge and use their fitness center instead.
Nearby is The Cliff Lodge, a much more luxurious lodging option that does not offer rooms with kitchens. If having a kitchen isn't important to you, I recommend staying here. The space is stunning, has two trendy and beautifully decorated restaurants, sprawling areas where you can easily find a private nook, and most importantly a lovely spa that boasts an outdoor rooftop heated pool, a fantastic gym with breathtaking mountain views, yoga classes (which I signed up for daily) and a menu with full-service spa treatments. The Cliff Lodge is just a five-minute walk from The Lodge. I made my way there daily to exercise and get some work done in a gorgeous setting. We got the best of both worlds, a room with a kitchen along with the top-notch facilities of a neighboring hotel.
Where to eat in Snowbird:
Because Snowbird is a small ski resort there aren't many dining options on the property. Unlike Jackson Hole, there is no major food scene here although there are a couple of very solid options.
The Lodge Bistro is on the first floor of The Lodge. The highlight of our meal was meeting our awesome waiter who we chatted with for a big chunk of our dinner. He, too, is from the east coast and fell in love with Snowbird's trails when he came out to ski here a few years ago and decided to stay indefinitely after falling in love with it. We easily connected as free spirits who love a nomadic life full of adventures. I just love meeting others who live unconventional lives and follow their dreams, which don't necessarily comply with societal norms. These are the people who truly inspire me. They possess the freedom that I aspire to have one day too. Back to the food; we ordered the night's special of red bell pepper soup, coconut fried shrimp, Korean cauliflower, crispy chicken sandwich, braised wagyu short rib, two beyond burgers, and the Utah trout served over Israeli couscous. Everyone was overall pleased with their dishes and we left satisfied and satiated. Most memorable was our server's recommendation of Warren Miller films. We never heard of this legendary American ski and snowboarding filmmaker and suddenly had him in our lives regularly as we started watching nightly clips of his movies.
SeventyOne is one of Snowbird's newer establishments located on the bottom level of The Cliff Lodge. The interior design epitomizes a retro-modern atmosphere and exudes the seventies in the coolest way possible. Even their bathrooms, outfitted with a throwback television (playing Warren Miller films!) are playful, aesthetically appealing, and whimsical. I love this space for both apres-ski drinks and bites or for dinner. Make sure to try their spicy buffalo cauliflower, fried shrimp, and wedged fries with fondue cheese and a homemade spicy sauce for dipping along with one of their delicious cocktails to wash them down with. I also personally loved their Asian salad. My kids are obsessed with their veggie burgers. Seriously, you can't go wrong here.
At The Aerie, also in The Cliff Lodge, you'll find an elegant space with fantastic service, mesmerizing rooftop views, and delicious dishes using seasonal and organic ingredients that ultimately deliver very satisfying modern-American gastropub cuisine. We ordered the beet salad with hazelnuts and beehive cheddar cheese, the housemaid gnocchi with roasted mushrooms, the Hamachi Crudo with fried jalapenos, the spicy tuna with fried rice, the night's special of a T-bone lamb with cheese grits, a local trout pan-seared with organic vegetables, and a creme brulee trio to finish off the great meal.
The Atrium in The Cliff Lodge lobby was my office for the week. You can spend hours here working remotely while soaking in the sunny skies and mountainous landscapes seeping through the glass windows. The cafe whips up great lattes and healthy grab-and-go items like the chia see pudding I ate each morning after my work outs at the upstairs spa.
Snowbird Ski Resort is a gem. This ski haven has a very unique vibe that we haven't experienced yet at the other resorts we have visited. The village is tiny with just the two lodges that I mentioned but it offers incredible slopes on enormous mountains that challenge even the best skiers. Between everything the two hotels on the resort offer there is no need to ever leave. There is also something incredibly spiritual about this place. I found myself more centered and grounded this week than I have anywhere else over the past 179 days of traveling. The towering mountains spoke to me, the magical sunrises took my breath away, and the sparkling stars that overtake the skies each night whisper sweet messages. In one week I stayed put on this small resort but made such enormous personal changes. Our planet is beyond beautiful, our lives are such a gift, and the more we get outside the more we truly connect to ourselves and the incredible energy around us that heals, rejuvenates, inspires, and gently guides us.