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How 'Phone Shot 3' Came to Be

Image: Chris Segal
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How 'Phone Shot 3' Came to Be

The Stories Behind Snowbird Trail Names

Imagine naming nearly 100 children! This was a formidable task that Snowbird encountered in trying to choose names for all of its trails and lifts when the resort opened in 1971. And with more runs and lifts added in the 49 years since, it's an on-going process. So how do they get their names?

Some trails are labeled after the obvious flora or fauna found on the mountain; some take on the namesake of local legends; others go to the highest bidder. Other names come from the canyon's bawdy mining history and a handful resulted from the Naming Party, a social event hosted by Dick Bass.

Powder Paradise at Snowbird Ski Resort

Hearing these tales of how names were chosen is like listening to folk legends and Dusty Sackett a former Snowbird Ski Patroller and local historian, tells the stories well.

"Chip's Run was named for the son of a Bass friend who died in the Vietnam War," says Sackett.

"Silver Fox took its tag from Ted Johnson, who bought up the old mining claims and was Bass' Snowbird partner during the resort's inaugural years. His hair was prematurely gray, so he was nicknamed the Silver Fox."

Several runs and a lift are named Wilbere, but who was that? "Johnson's former wife, Wilma, cooked in the kitchen of Alta Loge under the tutelage of a European chef who had a little trouble pronouncing her name," states Sackett. "He called her 'Wilber,' and the name stuck. An E was added at the end to feminize it. When Snowbird opened, she climbed Tram tower 4 and christened it with a bottle of champagne." Look for a plaque on the tower that commemorates the event! Bananas, Tiger Tale and Harper's Ferry came from the Naming Party.

Wilbere Bowl at Snowbird

Then there are mining names and a few have double meanings. West Second South refers to the red light district where women were easy, so as a trail it's an easy run. Big Emma was either a madam at Alta or a mine at Alta. Whoever she was, Big Emma is also an easy run.

Sackett mentions that, "Regulator Johnson and Black Jack were both mines. Gad Valley, Gadzoom and all the other gads refer to a pointed mining tool. A gad was used to break ore."

Regulator Johnson Ski Run at Snowbird

Dalton's Draw took its' name from Charlie Dalton, an Alta patroller who regularly skied from Alta to Snowbird. Alice Avenue is named for Dick Bass' wife, who he called "Sweet Alice from Dallas." Bassackwards is named for Bass himself.

Ski Lift Trail Signs at Snowbird, Utah

Geographic features are also namesakes. The Road to Provo heads south, the same direction you would drive to get to Provo. Phone Shot 3 is a bit more complex. Before the days of cell phones, there was a post with an emergency phone on it at the top of the run. The word shot is from the slang usage: "I'm going to take a shot down that run."

Junior's Powder Paradise gives homage to Junior Bounous, the resort's first ski school director and pioneer in the ski industry.

Ski Trail Names at Snowbird

So now you have the inside story on trail names. They're good conversation starters for the next time you ride a lift with someone you don't know.

About the Author

Harriet Wallis learned to ski on a dare when she was in her mid 30s. Since then she's been a ski writer and photographer forever for regional and national online and print publications. Off-season, she bikes, kayaks and chases trout. 

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