I'll start this review by admitting my wife and I have not been on a ski destination vacation in 8 years. Before we moved to Ontario we lived in Montreal and did all the big resorts in the east.
So this trip was our first time skiing on shaped skis and visiting a resort where true powder skiing is the norm.
And based on the experiences we had at Snowbird from March 31st 2009 to April 5th we both agree there could have been no better way for us to get back into skiing!!!
Location:Choosing to go to Snowbird is made simple by the fact that the place is only a 45min drive from Salt Lake City Airport. The only problem that can arise is that the Little Canyon Road might be closed for avalanche prevention work. But if you schedule yourself to arrive in the late morning or early afternoon you should have no problems.
The road can get VERY busy. I recommend you schedule your arrival for a late afternoon to avoid the traffic.
There was one stormy night where the road was closed by 8:00PM. Thus my recommendation for a late afternoon arrival. At this point I'd also like to point out the importance of taking the trip insurance Snowbird offers when booking. Because if the road is closed when you try to arrive they won't credit you the night you missed. Or if you miss your flight home due to a road closure. We got lucky this time not taking the insurance but if we go back it's an extra $50 expense we'll be happy to pay.
Accomodation: We stayed at the Cliff Lodge. My wife was there on a business conference so she got a conference rate on a deluxe room. The room was spectacular. We were on the 7th floor. Our view of the mountains was unforgettable. Thing is if we had tried to get a room like that at the regular rate, we could have never afforded it. Strangely enough although all of the Snowbird structures are made of solid cement with the rebar visible( re-assuring when you're sleeping in a valley that is prone to avalanches!) sound travels between the rooms quite easily. We had a family in the room next to us and we always knew when they returned to the room. The Cliff Lodge is a bit of a weird shape and takes getting used to. A big help would be maps to help find your way around for the the first couple of days at least.
Food: Is very expensive! Since the resort is so close to the town of Sandy rent an SUV so you can head down to the Walmart super center and stock up on snack items and drinks.
If you're staying at the Cliff take advantage of the valet parking. Having your vehicle brought down from the parking structure where it's protected from the snow is a great service. It's built into the room price but the attendants work for tips.
Back to the food. I'm not much of a food critic but you'll see some of our thoughts in our point list we made up and included in this review.
Service: No complaints. Housekeeping, desk staff, restaurant staff, all helpful and friendly. Ticket booth staff, lift operators, mountain guides, again all helpful and friendly. Our only complaint would be about the rental equipment staff in the Cliff lodge. We acknowledge the staff are all young kids living to ski and snowboard. But there should still be a more senior representitive there to ensure customers who are spending the kind of money it takes to stay at the Cliff are being treated appropriately.
The skiing: Wow. After 47" of snow in 48hrs we headed out Saturday morning to a day of skiing that the local regulars were describing as EPIC! It was our first time skiing in powder snow like that. And what a memorable experience. Snowbird rates the moisture level of the snow that is falling. They take their powder snow seriously. And it's easy to see why. Skiing thru the stuff is effortless. At some points the untracked stuff we got into on the Gadzooks that morning was between our knees to our waists in depth. And even after it got well traveled the remaining "chop" was still easy to ski thru.
Lift lines were minimal and the staff work well to keep the lifts running. One thing we noticed was that of all the people skiing or snowboarding there not many were beginners.
Snowbird is not a resort for beginners. If you want to enjoy your time skiing or boarding there your best bet is to ensure you are an advanced intermediate level of skier/boarder. True there are some Blue square runs but most of those are the narrow lane "traverses" that skiers use to get across the mountain. The grooming staff are committed to ensure those "roads" are in excellent shape and in our opinion that comes at the cost of having some of the runs not getting sufficient grooming.
Taking the tram to the top is not much fun when the visibility is low. Especially if you are unfamiliar with the resort. If you get a clear sunny day with great visibility then head to the top. But if it's your first time and the visibilty is poor, save the money and ski from the chairs only.
Overall bang for the buck: Like I said, we're pretty sure that if we did not get that room at the business conference price there is no way we could have afforded our trip to Snowbird. If that huge snowfall in the preceding days and during our visit had not occured our review of the skiing would have been different. There are ways to make a trip to Snowbird cheaper. Stay in Sandy and use the buses to get upto the resort. Pack in your food. Don't bother using the Tram.
But if you've been saving up and looking for that dream ski vacation that's easy to get to and offers a pretty solid guarantee of great skiing then put Snowbird at th etop of your list!!
Here's our point by point quickie hit/miss list:
My wife arrived Tuesday March 31 my wife used Canyon Transport.
I arrived Wednesday April 1
Air travel no problems. Checked baggage was checked right thru. Only did security and customs once at Pearson.
my wife checked in. First room was on 2nd floor. my wife asked for a room on a higher floor. She got room 7*3, corner room, close to elevators.
Parking is Valet, free, need to tip: recommended.
Road upto resort is curvy but kept well cleaned during the day.
Road is often closed for avalanch maintenance. Cannons can be heard between 06:30 and 8:30.
Accomodations and food
Room was excellent!! Clean, modern, but dry! We had a humidifier but it was a bit overwhelmed.
Bed was fantastic.
Wireless internet in the rooms sucks. Go to the sitting area outside of the variety store on the “C” level.
Hotel could use some orientation maps posted. It's very confusing to find the way around.
Plenty of elevators, no waiting when we were there.
Atrium is beautiful. Great place to spend time
Building isn't exactly beautiful but it's built tough. Solid cement with the re-bar visible. If an avalanche hits the place it should stay intact.
Food is EXPENSIVE. But..it's very tasty.
my wife had continental at the conference.
I had continental at the Espresso...expensive. Depending on how much you eat, $18 buffet at Arie might be best bet.
Forklift..Chicken and corn soup was delicious recommended. Its certainly a meal in itself.
Rendez-vous. Pasta bar,salad bar in a cafateria?!! Delicious, recommended
Bird feeder... not recommended.
El Chanate ... Taco salad, Black bean Nachos...recommended
Shallow Shaft...Pork and steak...recommended
Wildflower...chicken parmisan and lasagna. Lasagna not great. Restaurant was empty because road had been closed at 8:00PM. But Aerie was booked solid with 45 min wait.
On to the skiing
Rental help: We checked the rental shop at Cliff Lodge, but the dudes didn't seem too serious about our business. We then went to Creekside at the Snowbird Centre. They were very professional.
We made our rental arrangements at 3:30 pm for the next day. Parked our skiis at Snowbird Centre free. Used the lockers at Cliff lodge, also included in the price of your stay. We were helped by the dude there to make sure our lock worked. Boot dryers in the lockers!
There is also a ticket booth right inside the Cliff Lodge. True ski in /out to the ckickadee lift. You can ski free on that lift as long as you stay at the Cliff which is whatmy wife did for an hour just to enjoy the weather one day.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Nestled in a comfortable mountain setting, The Cliff Lodge and Spa has 514 accommodation options, three restaurants, two lounges, two swimming pools, four hot tubs, extensive meeting space and Snowbird’s only ski-out, ski-in accessibility. The Cliff Lodge is the flagship of the four lodging properties at the resort. Guests of the Cliff Lodge don’t have to worry about toting their gear back to their room as each room and unit is assigned a convenient indoor locker. Lockers includes boot dryers, shelves and plenty of space for your skis and snowboard. Camp Snowbird is the resort’s comprehensive, state-licensed daycare facility with an on-premises kitchen and nursery for infants 6 weeks and older. Camp Snowbird offers a seamless integration with the resort’s renowned Mountain School to smoothly incorporate lessons on the nearby Chickadee Run and throughout the mountain with customary daycare offerings such as games, movies, arts and crafts and naps. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Expedia APAC, Hotels.com, Wotif.com, getaroom.com, Hooroo Pty Ltd and lastminute.com.au so you can book your The Cliff Lodge & Spa reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- The Cliff Lodge And Spa
- The Cliff Hotel Snowbird
- Cliff Hotel Snowbird
- Cliff Lodge Utah
- Snowbird Cliff Lodge
- Cliff Lodge Snowbird Utah
- The Cliff Lodge & Spa Snowbird, Utah