It’s time to pour one out for the Wilbere chairlift at Snowbird. In Snowbird’s press release that detailed their improvements for the 2023-24 season, the Utah ski resort announced that Wilbere will be replaced by a new fixed-grip quad chairlift with a loading conveyor. Opened back in 1971, Wilbere is named after Wilma Johnson, who’s the wife and life partner of the founder and visionary of Snowbird: Ted Johnson.
What’s notable about the new chairlift is that the base terminal will have a completely different location. The current Wilbere chairlift is situated in the middle of the Creek Road trail. Its new location will be next to the Bryce Astle Training Center, making it easier to access from the parking lots. The new chairlift will have a carrying capacity of 1800 people per hour, a notable improvement over the old fixed-grip double chairlift. The replacement process will begin next spring, with an expected opening during the 2024-25 season. These chairs will be sold to the public, with more details coming in the future.
In terms of what’s coming to Snowbird for this coming winter, their new projects are aimed at honing the guest experience.
The Snowbird Center, which is home to the tram, restaurants, and various shops, is seeing a lot of improvements. The big addition is the new Mountain Center, which is located on the plaza deck. This is where guests can make dinner reservations, book a snowcat or helicopter seat with Snowbird Mountain Guides, schedule a lesson, buy lift tickets, and more. Snowbird Sports has been moved to the second floor, giving them more space to offer a wide array rental and demo gear. A new shop, Tram Sundries, will debut next to the tram dock and ticket office. This will have grab-and-go snacks, beverages, and necessities.
Eight new Wyssen towers will be added to the Bird’s fleet. These are being added to various parts of the mountain, including Mount Baldy, Wilbere Bowl, and the Road to Provo. Snowbird’s first Wyssen tower was installed back in 2021, and they now have 17 of them. These new towers are part of Snowbird’s phasing out of military artillery that’s been used for avalanche mitigation.
The other big news is that Woodward Mountain Parks will return during the spring of the 2023-24 season. Last spring, Snowbird and Woodward, which are both owned by POWDR, set up Woodward Mountain & Peace Parks in the Mineral Basin. They also hosted the Woodward Peace Park Championships.
For adult season passes, they introduced the first-of-its-kind Kids Freeloader Pass program. Aiming to reduce barriers to entry for snowsports while also embracing different kinds of youth support systems, the Kids Freeloader Pass program gives anyone ages 18 or under a free Snowbird Season Pass when linked to an Adult, Military, or Senior Snowbird Summit Pass. This program means that a Snowbird Summit Passholder can give their Kids Freeloader Pass to a dependent, family member, or community member at no cost, with no restrictions.
In addition, a new heli-skiing package will allow guests to experience the backcountry terrain offered by Powderbird. Along with the heli-skiing access to amazing terrain, the two to three-day packages include lodging at The Cliff Lodge, access to The Cliff Spa, breakfast and lunch at the Powderbird Heliport and dinners at The Aerie. On inclement weather days, guests will get premium, guided access to Snowbird’s 2,500 acres of terrain.
Dave Fields, who’s the President and General Manager of Snowbird, summarized these major improvements in the press release:
“With a number of short- and long-term projects in the works, we are taking great strides to make our mountain more accessible, more efficient and more engaging for our passholders and our community. We are committed to growing the next generation of skiers and snowboarders with our Kids Freeloader Pass, are making our mountain simpler to explore with our new Mountain Center and are dedicated to providing the experiences our community wants with collaborations like a springtime Snowbird x Woodward park and multi-day Helicopter Skiing packages with Powderbird.”