An Ideal Snowbird Date for Non-Skiers

Image: Otto Solberg

Author: Nina Groom

Published Date: 12/22/2023

Read Time: 3 Minutes

Nestled among the rugged peaks of Little Cottonwood Canyon, most people know Snowbird for its deep powder and expansive terrain, where winter-loving skiers and snowboarders spend their days making the most of chilly temperatures and snowstorms. So, what’s in it for folks who don’t like winter—or who don’t ski or snowboard? My partner and I went on a mission to find out. Follow along with us for an ideal date at Snowbird for non-skiers. 

A Scenic Drive, Followed by a Scenic Ride

Heading up Little Cottonwood Canyon the mountains loomed, creating an exciting backdrop for our cozy staycation at The Cliff Lodge. We were greeted by the lovely valet staff, who helped us unload our bags while we parked the car. We opted for free parking, which is just a short walk away from the building, but valet parking is available to guests to alleviate any stress around getting situated.

Winter Scenic Tram at Snowbird - rides for non-skiers

After leaving our bags securely with the valet staff, my partner and I walked a short distance to our first adventure of the day: a Scenic Tram Ride to 11,000-foot Hidden Peak. Admittedly, the claustrophobe in me was nervous about loading into the Tram with dozens of skiers and riders, but as we waited to board with everyone else, I felt the contagious excitement that comes with riding Snowbird’s iconic Tram all the way to The Summit. It’s worth noting that if you plan to ride up mid-winter, throw on that extra layer. My significant other learned this the hard way and got pretty cold as we waited for our turn. If you're looking to avoid the cold weather altogether, Summer Scenic Tram Rides are also available, along with the Tram rooftop balconies, which are the first of their kind in the US. 
As we waited for the Tram to arrive, my fears of being lost among the skiers and snowboarders rushing onto the Tram were quelled by a kind employee who escorted us to a roped-off area for those opting to take a Scenic Tram Ride, rather than to ski or snowboard. We felt like VIPs as we loaded into the very front, providing us with ample space and world-class views. 
“Dancing in the Moonlight” played on the speakers inside the Tram, and we marveled at the steep terrain and talented skiers below us as they jumped off cliffs and dropped into tight, rocky chutes. The whole ride took about 10 minutes, which was perfect because we were hungry and ready for lunch at The Summit. Surrounded by excited skiers seeking a warm meal, we enjoyed a beer, a slice of pizza and a huge portion of grass-fed beef chili, which absolutely proved the best bang for our buck. With full stomachs and droopy eyelids, we hopped back on the Tram to ride down, eagerly awaiting our appointment at The Cliff Spa. 

Relaxation at Elevation

Couple visitng the rooftop pool at The Cliff Spa

I had long marveled at the heated rooftop pool at The Cliff but never ventured inside to learn more. Let me be the first to say: The Cliff Spa was everything I had dreamed it would be. We were greeted with a tour of the facility, as well as warm bathrobes, towels and spa sandals. We gave ourselves about 3 hours to explore the amenities, which are included when you book a spa service, as our couple’s massage wasn’t scheduled until the evening. Honestly, I could have spent all day bouncing around the spa, so give yourself at least a couple of hours before or after your scheduled services. You can also purchase a daily pass to The Cliff Spa to enjoy all the amenities without booking a spa service. Our flow looked a little something like:
  • Eucalyptus Steam Room
  • Dry Sauna
  • Heated Pool
  • Hot Tub
  • Heated Pool
  • Hot Tub
  • Steam Room
  • Sauna
  • Couple’s Massage
The spa experience was nothing short of magical. Snowflakes danced around us on the rooftop as we were surrounded by breathtaking views of Snowbird and Little Cottonwood Canyon. Complimentary tea and the subtle eucalyptus-infused steam room were cherries on top of this absolutely luxurious experience. 
I don’t say this lightly: I think this couple’s massage at The Cliff Spa was the best massage I have ever had. Shout out to Hannah and Gwen for their keen understanding of different pressure points. I swear we both walked out of there as entirely new people. Sometimes, I leave massages feeling unsatisfied, but 60 minutes was perfect with these 2 professionals. Afterward, we continued our relaxation by sneaking in a nap in our room at The Cliff Lodge before heading to dinner at The Lodge Bistro.

Picture-Perfect Eats (and Drinks)

The Lodge Bistro, located within The Lodge at Snowbird, is just a short walk or drive away from The Cliff. The valet driver was happy to drive us the short distance to dinner—an added bonus that meant we didn't have to move our snow-covered car. We celebrated a quiet evening together at this adorable, unassuming restaurant with a surprisingly high-class menu. The buttery goodness of the Escargot and the perfectly cooked Vegan Fried Cauliflower appetizer started us out on the right foot. (Seriously, I would go back again just for the Escargot!) Per our server’s recommendation, I opted for the Pan-Seared Trout, while my partner savored a perfectly cooked steak. We shared a bottle of wine that paired flawlessly with our meals as we chatted and reflected on our day. 

The steak at The Lodge Bistro, a great stop on your Snowbird Date

The service was impeccable, and the ambiance— with a quiet, dimly lit romantic charm—set the stage for an intimate dining experience. We noticed the inviting bar on the other side of the restaurant had a more casual atmosphere with TVs, providing an alternative option for those seeking a more laid-back setting. Overall, dining at The Lodge was a 10/10 for both of us. Our server even called it “the best-kept secret in all of Snowbird.”
At the end of a picture-perfect and romantic day, we relaxed in the coziest bed and watched the snowcats at work from our mountain-view room window. We both agreed that the experience was magical and, above all, rejuvenating. Around this time of year, I’m always yearning for a relaxing vacation, usually at the beach, but who needs a beach when Snowbird exists just a short drive from downtown Salt Lake City? I would definitely come back in the summer to escape the heat of the city and do this experience all over again, replacing snow-covered peaks with lush, green mountain views. 

Wake Up Mountainside

Before checking out the next morning, we went downstairs to SeventyOne for their breakfast buffet, which blew me away. We expected run-of-the-mill bacon and eggs, but were greeted with generous slabs of smoked salmon, homemade yogurt and granola, eggs Benedict and so much more. There was even an omelet station for custom-made omelets with all the fixings. I think it may have been the best spread I’ve ever had at a hotel, and I would highly recommend it to kick off a day of skiing or adventuring, even if you are not a guest at The Cliff Lodge. All in all, we spent a total of $300 on the entire dining experience (including tips)—that’s lunch, dinner AND breakfast. We both thought that was extremely reasonable, considering we ordered alcohol and starters with our entrées.

Snowbird Date- The sunrise in Little Cottonwood Canyon

Our mountain escapade proved that you don't need to be a skier to experience the wonders of a snow-covered landscape. Winter, it turns out, is not just for skiers. Especially at Snowbird.

About the Author

Nina Groom is a Massachusetts native who fell in love with the Wasatch Front. Over the past few years she has worked as a hiking/backpacking guide, freelance content creator and social media manager. Before spending most of her days in the mountains, Nina spent the majority of her time both on and off stage in the theater.

See all blog posts