Inside Line: Snowbird, UT

Tucked in Utah’s Little Cottonwood Canyon on the road to Alta, Snowbird is known for hanging bowls, 50-foot cliffs, and over-the-head powder. Pros like Jenn Berg, Jeremy Nobis, and Sage Cattabriga-Alosa schralp the high-alpine cirques along with equally talented nobodies—humble locals on K2 Pontoons. With more than 3,200 vertical feet of steeps, tree-lined chutes, and roughly 500 inches of snow a year, this isn’t a place you want to drive by.
Snowbird Will be Open Until July 4th
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Powder Day: Be in line when patrol opens the Bookends, a series of steep, rocky shots that slide off the precipitous flanks of Mineral Basin’s American Fork Twin Peaks. Storm the traverse till you come to a 30-foot sidestep around a rock outcropping. Point it from there for 1,000 vertical feet of face shots.

Three Days Later: Take the High Baldy Traverse skier’s right from the tram to 11,068-foot Mount Baldy. Hike 15 minutes to the main chute or the narrower dogleg skier’s right. Both collect soft snow all season.

Park and Pipe: Last year, Snowbird bought a massive machine called the Pipe Monster that cuts a world-class pipe three nights a week. The rest of the Superpipe Terrain Park features 36-foot-long boxes, 20-foot-long rails, and a variety of big and little hits.

Backcountry access: Limitless. That’s how ’Bird locals describe the backcountry out of the resort. Reach the goods through the gates at the western edge of the Gad Valley’s Baby Thunder lift and the base of the back side’s Mineral Basin Express. Before you go, check conditions at Utah Avalanche Center.

Weather: Temps usually hover between 10 and 20 degrees in January and February, and slightly higher in March. Powder hounds can still get 10 inches of fresh in freak April storms.

Après: “I ski at Snowbird; I drink at Alta.” You hear that a lot. You can either head up the road to the Sitzmark Bar in the attic of the Alta Lodge, drink sake at the Cliff Lodge’s sushi bar, or pick up some tallboys from Snowbird’s general store and chill on the tram deck.

Fuel: Fill up between tram runs with a turkey, Gouda, and roasted red pepper panini at The Forklift, across the patio from the tram dock.

Up All Night: Little Cottonwood Canyon shuts down early, but night crawlers can shoot pool at the basement-level Tram Club, with fluorescent lights and retro ’70s furniture.

Digs: The 11-story concrete-and-steel Cliff Lodge has mountain-view rooms, four outdoor hot tubs, and a decent breakfast spread starting at $150 (

Elevation: 11,000 feet

Vertical: 3,240 feet

Snowfall: 460 inches

Acres: 2,500



Best Powder: Alta/Snowbird

Best Powder 2009: Alta/Snowbird

Alta and Snowbird usually receive between 400 and 500 inches of snow, depending on the season and where it’s measured. In 2008, Alta got 702 inches. That's nuts.

Portillo, Chile

Inside Line: Portillo, Chile

At Portillo, there’s a good chance you’ll share a Poma with Seth Morrison or Daron Rahlves. It’s the off-season training spot for the pros. It’s no wonder why. All above treeline, the terrain is point-and-go, from rock-lined chutes to wide-open bowls to impeccably groomed cruisers. Laps are punctuated by boots-off, white-tablecloth lunches, hot-tub soaks, Ping-Pong with the locals, and thumping disco. Stay at the all-inclusive, European-style Portillo Lodge, where ski history seeps from wooden walls decorated with trophies from the first World Cup races. Thanks to overnight flights from the U.S. and a two-hour drive from the Santiago airport, you can even ski the day you arrive.

Zone 5 Snowbird Anatomy

Anatomy: Snowbird Zone Five

When the good people at Snowbird make a “resort improvement,” they don’t just glade an intermediate run or groom a black-diamond pitch. They open 500-acre Mineral Basin. They blast a ski tunnel through 600 feet of rock. And now they’ve opened up Zone 5, a new hairball section of 40-degree terrain off Mount Baldy.

The Subaru North American Freeskiing Championships were held at Kirkwood, California on Sunday, Feb 27th and Monday, Feb 28th—two beautiful bluebird days after a storm

Inside Line: Kirkwood, CA

Kirkwood is off the grid in more ways than one. The whole place runs on generators. Lift lines are six people deep on a powder day. Sierra storms fill the ski-porn-worthy terrain, closing roads and shutting down lifts for days. But with inbounds runs slanted up to 42 degrees, the most reliable snow in the area, and chutes that make big-mountain skiers queasy, it’s hard to believe the resort stays so low-key. Thank the hourlong drive from South Lake Tahoe’s packed casinos and resorts, which ensures Kirkwood remains unsullied by the masses. Just the way skiers there like it.