Snowbird, Utah: Rank 16 West, 1998

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Charlie Parker said "If you don't live it, it won't come out your horn." With 500 annual inches of Utah snow, a diehard local attitude and an Alps-like smorgasbord of terrain, Snowbird lives it. This is no Deer Valley nursery-room mountain. With runs such as Great Scott, High Baldy and Upper Cirque, "it's as tough as you can handle," a reader warns. Intermediates can rock on Chip's Run and Bassackwards, but the riches of Snowbird are best mined by the fit and the brave. Readers rate Snowbird's snow as No. 2 in North America, which is reason enough to visit. The resort's 125-passenger tram is more hype than heaven. But last year's Gadzoom high-speed quad provides a needed option. Unfortunately, there's no alternative to Snowbird's autopsy-like nightlife, though The Tram, Keyhole Junction and the Aerie do offer some relief. "Not for the party crowd," a reader laments. That doesn't mean Snowbird isn't trying: A new pool complex adjacent to the Cliff Lodge helps keep families busy, while guided snowcat skiing into the gorgeous Mineral Basin area gives skiers another excuse to call it an early night. "A must go," a reader critiques. And with the Salt Lake Airport just 29 miles away, you won't find an easier commute to a major mountain. "With a ski resort like this, who needs après-ski?" a reader correctly points out.

What's New Gad Valley terrain park; Cliff Lodge ice rink, expanded snowmaking.
A Good Deal Save up to 30 percent off lodging and lifts from Jan. 3 to April 1; package includes two- to five-nights' lodging, lift tickets and air travel. Arrival must be Sunday through Wednesday. Call (800) 640-2002.
Medals Gold Snow, Terrain, Challenge, Weather, Access; Silver Service, Scenery.
High/Low Rank Snow (2); Family (56).
Don't Miss Night luging on Chickadee. (Wear ski pants.)
Reader Remarks "Best resort in the West for skiing. If you want to ski steep, expert terrain, this is the place." "Bring your own nightlife¿not much here."