Snowbird-Alt Snowbird Little Cottonwood Canyon Salt Lake City Original Master Plan, 1965-1969: Dan Kiley; Robert Bliss, Bliss & Campbell; James Christopher, Brixen & Christopher Structures, 1971-1986: Brixen & Christopher; Enteleki Architecture Planning Interior Design; Fowler Ferguson Kingston and Ruben; FFKR Many know Little Cottonwood Canyon as one of the premier destinations for world-class skiing near Salt Lake City, as well as summer activities. However, the history of the canyon’s success started with mining in the Town of Alta. At its peak, 8,000 people lived and worked in the narrow canyon, which held two smelters, 138 homes, hotels, boarding houses, stores and even a railroad. The Emma Mine and the namesake for the Big Emma run in Snowbird’s Gad Valley, eventually produced more than $3.8 million in silver, becoming one of the largest producers in the Wasatch Mountains. But as mining in the area declined, recreational opportunities were explored. Snowbird was imagined, named, and developed by Ted Johnson. For nearly a decade, Johnson managed the Alta Lodge in the town of Alta at the head of Little Cottonwood Canyon. During that period he explored the terrain below Alta in the Peruvian Gulch and Emma Mine/Gad Valley watersheds that later became Snowbird. Vision, drive, and fortuitous acquaintances made at the Alta Lodge made it possible for Johnson to begin development of the Snowbird Resort. Johnson met Dick Bass, a Texas oilman, in 1969, and the two of them opened Snowbird in 1971. Dan Kiley and Robert Bliss were were enlisted in 1965 to begin master planning the site for the first structures, which was completed in 1966. They were joined by architect Jim Christopher of Brixen & Christopher. At the opening, the Lodge at Snowbird and Snowbird Center including the Tram Building, designed by Brixen & Christopher, were the centerpiece. The Inn at Snowbird (formerly known as the Turramurra Lodge; Brixen + Christopher) and Mid Gad Valley Restaurant (Enteleki Architecture Planning Interior Design) were constructed in 1972, while the original (west) wing of the Cliff Lodge (1973) and Iron Blosam Lodge (1974), were completed also by Enteleki. Early renderings were done by J. Woodson Rainey, AIA, noted New York architect, and Frank Ferguson. Staff and maintenance buildings were also designed by Enteleki. The first addition to the Cliff Lodge, Snowbird Center bridge, and new master plan were completed by FFKR in 1986 after a three year effort. Recent work in the same style is being done by MJSA. Download a one page history of Snowbird. Download the article on Snowbird from the Heritage newsletter. Download Snowbird 1967 Master Planning Concepts. Download Snowbird Timeline for Planning and Construction. Download Snowbird Planning and Design Chronology. View the page and photos for the Snowbird: Vision for a Modern Resort tour. Information from,, and courtesy of FFKR Architects.

2 responses to “Snowbird”

  1. […] An excellent page with more info and photos can be found at the Salt Lake Modern website. […]

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