8 tips for a summer day at Snowbird
I love summer, but by August I’m tired of the heat. I’m also in the market for day trips and easy weekend getaways as we make the most of summer’s last days. If you live near Salt Lake City, or are planning a trip there, a visit to one of Utah’s mountain resorts is a super way to beat the summer heat.
Snowbird Summer Resort was a cool 75 degrees (F) on the August weekend we visited, and it is located minutes from Salt Lake City – making it an easy and welcome weekend getaway or day trip. It would also make a good family reunion destination.
Here are my tips for visiting Snowbird Summer Resort.
1. Ride the Aerial Tram up to Hidden Peak
If you do nothing else at Snowbird, ride the Aerial Tram to the top of Hidden Peak. The tram will take you to the top of the mountain where you will be treated to panoramic views of the Wasatch Range.
If your family enjoys mountain biking or hiking, Hidden Peak is the start of the new Big Mountain Trail, and other bike and hiking trails down the mountain. When we visited Snowbird a few years ago in July, two snowboarders joined us on the tram because there was still enough snow on parts of the mountain for them to board down. It was nearly 100 degrees (F) in the Salt Lake Valley, and we made snowballs that day.
At $17 per adult, the Aerial Tram is pricey for a single ride, but there are ways to bundle it for a discount. These include:
- Single-ride family passes for two adults and up to four children are $66. Children under the age of 7 ride free.
- Unlimited use of the tram is included in the All-Day Activities Pass (see Tip #3).
- The Aerial Tram is one of 13 top Salt Lake City attractions included in the Salt Lake Connect Pass. We used the 365-day pass on that snow-in-July day.
- Military families with ID ride the tram free on the first two weekends of Oktoberfest 2014 (August 16-17 and 23-24).
2. Ride the Peruvian Chairlift back down
From the top of Hidden Peak, hike a half-mile down the Peruvian Gulch trail to the Peruvian Chairlift. It’s included in your summer Aerial Tram ticket. Near the lift, there is a tunnel that gets skiiers and hikers to the other side of the mountain. You can walk all the way through and learn about the history of local mining and skiing from displays along the way and then walk back through to return to the chairlift.
My tween was in high-drama mode on Hidden Peak, and I was the lucky parent to climb onto the Peruvian Chairlift with her. But then… The mountains were green and majestic. We could see wildflowers in bloom and a babbling brook beneath our feet. Everything about our ride down was a special shared experience. As we approached the end, she said, “That was nice. I’d like to do it again.” The rest of us agreed with her. So we switched kids and rode the Peruvian up and back down again.
3. Consider the activities pass
Snowbird’s All-Day Activities Pass includes unlimited access to these fun activities, which can also be purchased on a single-ride basis:
- Mountain Coaster
- Alpine Slide
- Mountain Flyer (zip line)
- Ropes Course
- Climbing Wall
- Bungee Trampoline
- Aerial Tram
- Peruvian Chairlift
- Inflatables (for young children only)
The All-Day Activities Pass is best suited for families with school age children and teens. At ages 7 and 10, my children loved it all, but families with younger children should consider other options before purchasing a toddler or preschooler an All-Day Pass. Several of the activities, including the Mountain Flyer, alpine slide, ropes course, and climbing wall have minimum height, weight or age requirements. Children under age 7 can ride the tram for free.
Local businesses, such as Papa Murphy’s and Holiday Oil may offer discounts on the All-Day Activities Pass. See Snowbird’s coupon page for current offers.
4. Pack a picnic
Packing a picnic is budget-friendly, flexible, and often healthier than eating out. It’s also the sort of thing that just feels right on a summer day in the mountains. We packed a cooler of picnic supplies to Snowbird and stored them in our mini-fridge at Cliff Lodge. If a picnic is not practical for your family, Snowbird has several family friendly on-site restaurants where you can get pizza, burgers, sandwiches and more.
5. Pack sunscreen, water, and jackets
Snowbird Summer Resort sits at 8,000+ feet and Hidden Peak is 11,000 feet above sea level. At those altitudes, the sun is intense and the oxygen is thin enough to make many visitors feel a little woozy. Use sunscreen and drink plenty of water to help prevent sunburn and altitude sickness.
Summer temperatures are often a cool 60-70 degrees (F) at the resort, and even cooler at Hidden Peak. It’s a wonderful escape from hot summer temperatures in the Salt Lake Valley, but you might want a jacket. I didn’t wear mine, but my children were comfortable in theirs all day long.
6. Check the calendar for special events
Snowbird hosts a variety of special events throughout the summer, and many of them are FREE! Here are a few of the events on the calendar for August 2014:
- Outdoor Family Flicks (FREE) – August 15
- Oktoberfest (FREE) – Weekends, August 16 – October 12
- Stargazing ($10) – August 16 and 23
Check the Snowbird calendar to see what is going on during your visit.
7. Consider spending the night
Snowbird has several lodges open in the summer, and it was convenient to just walk back to our room at Cliff Lodge after Free Family Flicks. My family played in the pool the next morning during my massage at Cliff Spa. My husband and I enjoyed date night at El Chanate while the kids had Tram Car Pizza and a movie upstairs in our room. Cliff Lodge can provide child care through its licensed day care facility.
8. Consider leaving the kids home
I left Snowbird thinking my husband and I should return soon for a romantic getaway. Luxury rooms, fine dining, Cliff Spa and outdoor adventure make Snowbird an excellent destination for romance, or a weekend away with friends. Whatever getaway you’re planning, Snowbird Summer Resort is one of Utah’s premier destinations.
Good to Know
Where: Six miles up Little Cottonwood Canyon, near Salt Lake City, Utah.
When: June through August, weather permitting.
How Much: Prices vary, depending on age and activity. See Snowbird’s website for pricing on all activities. For an all-day activity pass:
- Over 42 inches tall: $42
- Under 42 inches tall: $32
How Long: A full day
Amenities: lodging, dining, shopping, guided activities
Disclosure: Snowbird Summer Resort hosted our family at the Cliff Lodge and Cliff Spa and provided all-day activities passes so that we could experience the resort and review it for other families. All opinions are my own.