Mr. Luxury Ski

Snowbird's Aerial Tram is closed while the resort makes repairs. (Matt Crawley)

Snowbird's Aerial Tram is closed while the resort makes repairs. (Matt Crawley)

Have a good look at that beautiful Aerial Tram, because yesterday she was shut down for the foreseeable future while Snowbird replaces every inch of cable, some 8,600 feet at 12 LBS per foot of cable.

The project kicks off on the heels of $35 million in upgrades in 2015 and news that the resort is expanding into 500 acres known as Mary Ellen Gulch.

The shuttering of the Tram has shifted the paradigm for spring skiing in Cottonwood Canyon as runs below the Tram, including High Baldy Traverse, are closed.

“The safest and quickest way for us to replace the Aerial Tram track cables requires shutting down Peruvian Gulch entirely,” says Snowbird Vice President of Resort Operations Dave Field.

While the tram is closed, all terrain underneath is also off limits. (John Collins)

While the tram is closed, all terrain underneath is also off limits. (John Collins)

While the resort upgrades the Aerial Tram, it’s prepping for another massive undertaking: The expansion into Mary Ellen Gulch. First, Snowbird’s southern border will see Mineral Basin Express replaced to increase uphill capacity significantly. Next, a new lift in Mary Ellen Gulch will access Sunday Saddle, which borders both Mary Ellen Gulch and Mineral Basin. Finally, the expansion plan calls for a new gondola spanning from Hidden Peak to Mary Ellen Gulch; it will also support one of the highest elevated zip lines in North America.

“We’re very excited about the permit approval from the Utah County Board of Adjustment, the new lifts planned for Mineral Basin and Mary Ellen Gulch will greatly expand the year-round recreational opportunities at Snowbird,” said Snowbird CEO Bob Bonar.

The expansion should start in two years after the resort completes a comprehensive water analysis of the entire gulch, said Bonar. “We have over 45 years of proven stewardship in Little Cottonwood Canyon, the same balance, protection and in some cases recovery of the environment will be practiced in Mary Ellen Gulch.”

Despite the closure of the Aerial Tram and terrain below it, a good chunk of Snowbird remains open to skiing and snowboarding and the resort is reporting a 96-inch base. They're open through May 8, so log on to the Snowbird Mountain Report for the latest conditions.

🎿