Snowbird's golden anniversary.
Skiing has changed. A lot. And yet while some things have transformed over time, many have not.
The soul of skiing and riding at Snowbird remains the same: it takes you to the edge, demands commitment and rewards risk-takers. Because Snowbird isn’t about trends. It’s about an attitude and a spirit that can’t be pinned to just a date.
As we reflect back and look forward, join us in a cheers to 50 years and what a long, strange trip it's been.
The Man Behind The Wings
The story of Ted Nagata, from growing up in a Japanese internment camp to later designing Snowbird's iconic and timeless logo.
Flash Your Pass
This mountain is so much more than its terrain. Snowbird is made up of the generations who have called it home and we thank our skiers and riders for making us who we are.
Submit a photo and share the story behind it. This page will routinely be refreshed to share your stories along with weekly highlights on our social media channels.
Share Your Story
Schussing Down Memory Lane
Building the dream of Snowbird. From the kitchen table to the Peruvian Tunnel, hear Kim Smart's first-hand experience of watching The Bird grow up.
Hellbent On A Dream
How Ted Johnson risked it all to build Snowbird. A story about a hardcore mining town, glamorous ski star and a chance meeting with a millionaire full of highs, lows and uncertainties. That’s part of it. The other part moves along steadfastly, from an orphanage and oppressive cotton field to a determined couple of visionaries.
What's New for Snowbird’s Golden Anniversary
Snowbird celebrates its 50th anniversary with new products and improvements including Fast Tracks, Wyssen Towers, Snowbird Power Systems and updated parking.
Ted Johnson & Dick Bass - 1971
Ted Johnson meets oilman, Dick Bass. They go on to found Snowbird.
Snowbird's first advertisement - Sept. 1971
Snowbird opens in December with the Tram, 3 lifts, The Lodge at Snowbird and the Snowbird Center.
Art Brogli, one of the originators of Oktoberfest - 1973
First Annual Oktoberfest is celebrated.
The Cliff Lodge with helicopter on the roof - 1974
The west wing of The Cliff Lodge opens.
Skiing in Gad Valley - 1980's
Major expansion of The Cliff Lodge creates 352 new rooms, The Cliff Spa, conference center and cogeneration plant.
Marketing poster of the Gad Valley terrain - 1971
Baby Thunder opens, expanding beginner and intermediate terrain.
Jo Nyman skiing in Snowbird apparel. Photo by Richard Price - 1990's
Gadzoom opens (first high-speed quad).
Scenic photo of the Mineral Basin & the Bookends - 2019
Mineral Basin Opens. Some pieces of the lift weighed as much as 16,000 pounds and took 4 snowcats to move into place.
Peruvian Tunnel opening to Mineral Basin - 2018
Peruvian Express Chairlift and Tunnel opens, showcasing North America's only ski tunnel. Creekside Lodge opens in Gad Valley.
Sunset at The Summit - 2016
The Summit at Snowbird opens on Hidden Peak.
Snowbird's newest restaurant, SeventyOne - 2019
Full renovation of The Cliff Lodge is completed, SeventyOne restaurant opens and Peruvian and Chickadee pedestrian bridges are built.
Snowbird Power Systems - 2021
Our Bird Fam
"This year marks my 20th consecutive year at the Bird! My dad taught me how to ski at Snowbird at the ripe age of 4 years old. Since then, it’s been a tradition to ski there (at least) once a year with all of our ski buddies. One of my favorite memories was lunch time at the lodge - everyone in our group was wrapping up their lunch and my soup was too hot to eat; but the slopes were waiting! So, my dad poured a little into the ketchup holders (pictured) and everyone in the lodge passed by and laughed as I took my “shots.” I’ve always called Utah, and especially Snowbird, my second home. It feels like everything is coming full circle as I will be starting medical school in Utah this coming summer - I can’t wait to live closer to the Bird, it’s a dream come true!"
"Seeing advertisements in ski magazines for Snowbird mesmerized me as a young teen. I begged my parents to take our family to Snowbird. I have been in love with The Bird since. Our favorite '70's pic. Taken in April 1977. I'm the shirtless overalls kid."
"About 20 years ago I said to my neighbor Bob Bonar, “Bob, my younger kids have learned to ski at Brighton and I’m bored with skiing there. It would be great if Snowbird created a ski school program whereas I could drop off my child for the day, I ski hard by myself, they improve their skills and I pick them up end of day”. About one year later Snowbird ski school created such a program and since then da Bird is the only place we ski."
"My family visited Snowbird in 1971 and immediately fell in love with this beautiful mountain. My parents, Alice and Jerry Kalal bought a condo at Turramurra Lodge (now The Inn) in 1972 and Snowbird quickly became our vacation getaway spot. My dad became an instructor with the Snowbird Children's program in the late 1980's and was fondly called Grandpa Jerry by his students and fellow instructors. My daughter learned to ski from some of his former co-workers, including Nancy Thorsen, who shared some Grandpa Jerry stories with her. The photo was taken on Chips Run in the early 1980's at what we called Sun Spot #1. My mom would catch some rays on the side of the mountain, while my dad and I took a couple more runs. We just spent my daughters's college spring break at Snowbird with my 88 year old mother Alice, who no longer skis but loves to come back to Snowbird every year to look at that majestic view and have lunch and enjoy the sunshine on the Plaza."
"After discovering Snowbird in 2013, my family and I were hooked. Coming back every season, we knew Snowbird would be our second home and biggest tradition every year. I have tried every season to take THE picture that captures the overwhelming beauty of the resort, but only this picture truly takes my breath away. I hope you guys enjoy!"
"I'm a 19-year-old tele skier who's been skiing at The Bird my whole life. I grew up skiing Park City and always making the trips to The Bird to get the goods whenever possible, but now I live in Salt Lake and ski Alta-Bird every day, although we all know the Snowbird has Alta beat. Nothing beats skiing at Snowbird, it has better terrain than anywhere else in Utah, more snow, and more vert, what’s there not to love. The best ski days of my life have been at The Bird and I always love ending the day with a Chip's wrap from the deli. Happy 50th to the best ski area out there. The image is of me getting some sick face shots at Shot 8 January 30th, 2021."
"I have been skiing and snowboarding at Snowbird for eight years. I just turned 15, and one of my best memories at Snowbird was having the opportunity to ski Pipeline Chute."
"Snowbird was my first resort when I was 2 years old and now I love working here every day."
"In 2014, I made one of the best decisions in my life: being part of the team at The Bird. It was my first travel abroad and my first time in the US. Utah welcomed me warmly despite of its cold winter and it became my home for three months. I never expected to have such a beautiful resort at the mountains as my first workplace, in which I felt part of a big family. I just want to thank again to all The Aerie restaurant staff for being such amazing people. I hope I can come back soon and enjoy it a lot more! Happy 50th anniversary, Snowbird! Much love from Lima, Peru!"
"I grew up in a skiing family, my parents were the founders of Hickory & Tweed in Armonk, NY so I got to enjoy many great ski adventures. One of my fondest memories was heading to the newly opened Snowbird with my dad where we skied with Dick Bass and some of the other founders of Snowbird during your very first season. I still have my 'Ambassador' pass from that first season and it is one of my cherished possessions. I have more wrinkles and less hair now but I still enjoy getting to Snowbird at least once a season or so even though I now live just outside of Aspen. Congratulations of fifty great years as one of America's finest ski (and snowboarding) mountains."
"We made some of our greatest friends at Snowbird over the winter holidays several years ago. Our family was eating dinner in the Lodge Bistro, and playing a game we'd brought with us. Our son, then 11, is an only child so my husband and I were playing the game with him, and we noticed a family across the room looking at us (we were laughing pretty loudly). We thought they might be annoyed with us, but soon the mom and one of their boys came over to say they just had to ask us what we were playing, because we were having so much fun. So, they joined in, and soon the first boy's older brother came over too. The rest is history: We've met at Snowbird every year since then (except 2020, of course), and we've even met other extended family, who joined in subsequent years. We don't live nearby and our Snowbird get-togethers have become annual touchstones that we look forward to all year long. Even though we didn't see each other during the pandemic (a trip for them to fly across the country to see us in the summer, as well as our regular Snowbird trip, were both canceled in 2020), we kept in touch regularly via Zoom and we can't wait to be back together on the slopes at 2021 holiday time."
"On the Little Cloud chairlift in 1993, Chris asked me to marry him. Dealing with the cold, gloves, poles, and being on a chairlift, getting the ring on my finger was pretty tricky. It was only fitting that our wedding cake was a replica of Snowbird mountain resort. Our kids learned to ski here, and we return multiple times every year. For us, Snowbird is home."
"It all started in the winter of ‘74/75 when I left NY and landed in Park City. Shortly thereafter it was the Univ of Utah and with that, I got “educated “and have called Snowbird my Home Resort since 1976/77. Some 45 years later, now retired you’ll find me at Snowbird as a Snowbird Host sharing my love of Snowbird and being one of the many happy faces, you’ll find there on a Bluebird Day as well as that POW Pow Day."
"In mid-May, 1975, a late spring snow storm hit Little Cottonwood Canyon. The snow piled up by the feet all week and Snowbird announced they would re-open for the weekend. I dusted off my season pass and was on the first tram Saturday morning. Thick fluffy clouds rolled around the Twin Peaks, the snow was deep and on the west side, but who cared. I sped down the mountain on my orange and black Head TG-Ms hooting and hollering, sprinting onto the tram and checking the speed of my runs on the big clock high on the wall in the tram building, happily ignoring the burning in my legs. My unspoken goal was to ski more runs than ever before. If my timing was good, I could walk right on to the tram. Otherwise, there might be a short wait admiring the magnificent white mountain with a few dozen of my fellow non-golfing compatriots. Then it happened. Serendipity indeed. Over the loudspeakers came a song from the new Sergio Mendes album I had been wearing out on my JVC turntable. This miraculous ski day was complete. Echoing through the tram building, “If I ever lose this Heaven, I’ll never be the same.”
"Imagine the setting-- Spring Break 1977 with 110 9th thru 12th graders with only two chaperones loaded on a plane from Texas headed down for a week of spring skiing and frolicking at Snowbird. Noticing a shortage of chaperones equipped to "spread the word about the Bird," Dick Bass decides to be the Pied Piper for the entire group during the week... which means total mayhem and turmoil in the lodges behind his back when he is not otherwise regaling all at the top of Hidden Peak, encouraging the celebration of Nature's beauty and Coming of Age in the mountains!"
"In their 1974 Astro van named The Beast, my mom's family made multiple cross-country trips from Chicago to Snowbird. Seven avid skiers that ranged in age from 3 to 73 piled in The Beast with their skis pointed toward powder and steeps each season. Having fallen in love with Snowbird at a young age independently of each other - my mom on these trips and my dad on a high school trip - they decided that spending four years together at the University of Utah was a no-brainer. Despite returning to raise us six kids on the icy slopes of Wilmot in Wisconsin, my siblings and I have made Salt Lake and Snowbird our permanent home. I have been an employee at Snowbird for over nine years and I am grateful for the Little Cottonwood traditions that brought us here."
"My skiing Snowbird began when my father started attending a conference at the bird because I liked to ski. After a few years, he learned to ski at Snowbird. A picture with my father from the late '80s or early '90s. The tradition continues and so here's a picture with my older son on the mountain. And my Snowbird shell is back in style again:-)."
"Snowbird has been a crucial part of my life. My family's week-long trip has always been the highlight of my years. Going through tough times I always thought only __ days until Snowbird. The natural beauty of the mountain will always have a special spot in my heart. This is a photo of my mom and myself on Chickadee."
"Mom and Dad have worked up at Snowbird for 45+ years. Jerry and Nancy T. My Momma has worked there since it opened. My Father would come out every season with the Minnesota boys and ski. One season he had one look at my Mom when she was a Snowbird Ski Guide back in the day. He never left Utah. Here is a pic of them as ski instructors in the early '70s. Lol. The funny thing is I married the son of the Ski Coach, Kevin C., who has worked at Snowbird just as long. Love is in the air or powder at The Bird."
"Happy anniversary, Snowbird! My parents taught me how to ski at Snowbird in the 1980s and last year I taught my own children how to ski on those same slopes. Somethings never change - parents yelling "turn! turn!" and "make a wedge!" and hot chocolate breaks at The Birdfeeder."
"In December 2005 I rented a week at the Ironblosam. After my tax return came back in early 2006 I took the whole thing, without running it by my wife, and bought a unit at the Ironblosam. When the paperwork to be signed came from cottonwoodcanyonsrealty I had to come clean. On the way to the bank my wife would not speak to me and once in the car after I got the cashier's check to mail to Heather, she ripped it up! Yes, into little pieces. Needless to say I am pretty persistent and got a new check from the bank and enjoyed the couch for a while. The rest is family history at the bird every year since 2005! Good memories, good fun, good friends and at least one powder dump every year without fail! Thanks for the memories."
"My best friend asked me to marry him on top of a mountain! I said yes of course. Then tore my ACL/MCL the next day but wasn't even mad because I was so ecstatic to be engaged with the most amazing ring!"
Thanks for the Memories
Because of our loyal passholders, guests and employees, we have 11,000+ reasons to be thankful for our incredible Bird Fam. You've been with us since day one (or better said '71), and over the years, we've shared some of our most cherished moments together. The steep terrain and deep powder may be what visitors flock to, but the heart of Snowbird has grown out of generations of skiers and riders that have called these slopes home for the last 50 years.
We want to hear about some of your greatest memories at Snowbird, so share a story, a favorite photo or one of your first season passes and we'll be featuring them here along with @snowbird to commemorate the deep snow and even deeper generational bonds of friendship and family that have developed in Little Cottonwood Canyon. We'd be honored to have you share your memories with us.
By checking the box below, you grant Snowbird permission to use the stories, photographs and any other material you submit under "Share Your Story" to be featured on Snowbird.com or Snowbird-owned channels.