Aerial Tram – Snowbird, UT

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Top dock.
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Red tram at the top.
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Towers 2 and 3.
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Tower 4 and the top dock.
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Tower 4 and the red tram car.
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Top terminal from below.
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Another view of the top station.
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Blue tram car and carriage.
In early 2022 the blue tram was replaced with a new cabin from CWA.
The new cabins feature glass floor sections and removable rooftop balconies.
Automatic doors and gates were also added in 2022.
Upper end of the new blue cabin.
Side view of new car.
New operator controls.
Bottom station integrated into the Snowbird Center.
New cabin seen from above.
For summer 2022, the new blue cabin operated alongside the old red one.
New carriage, hanger and cabin.
Cabin passing tower 4.
The new blue tram arriving at the top station.
Upper station.
Side view of the CWA cabin.
Oblique view of a cabin.
Tower 4.
The old red cabin with new hanger and carriage.
Different cabins from different eras about to pass.
Closeup of both cars.
Another view of both cabins and tower 3.
New blue tram.
Another view of the mismatched blue and red trams.
The east side of the new blue car.

25 thoughts on “Aerial Tram – Snowbird, UT

  1. Browns27 March 21, 2020 / 10:39 pm

    When will this beauty get replaced you think? Almost 51 years old and the main lift at the mountain, you think a gondola will replace it?

    Like

    • Carson March 22, 2020 / 10:38 am

      No not happening any time soon I think

      Like

    • skitheeast March 22, 2020 / 2:04 pm

      I do not believe there is a plan in place for a replacement in the near future, but there are a lot of similarities between this lift and Jackson Hole’s original tram, which was replaced 14 years ago after 41 years of service. I think the line is too windy to ever hold a gondola, so I am not sure if they would go with the more expensive tram like Jackson Hole did or the more modern 3S gondola.

      Like

    • themav March 22, 2020 / 2:46 pm

      Snowbird still has Wilbere lift from the same year as this, and Chickadee lift is only one year newer than both. Snowbird has hinted at replacing Wilbere as a race lift in the past, but nothing is finalized. As far as the Tram is concerned, it sees fairly regular maintenance. While it could use more capacity, the Tram has become an icon of Snowbird and as such it is unlikely to get replaced.

      Liked by 1 person

    • vons3 April 4, 2020 / 2:38 pm

      Snowbird’s tram was the most modern design of its age and has been regularly updated so I doubt it will be replaced for at least another 40 years especially considering the track ropes were just replaced a few years ago.

      Like

      • Somebody April 5, 2020 / 1:34 am

        40 years seems overly-optimistic. That would make it 90 years old when it’s removed. Maybe it’ll make it 25 more years. Wonder what they’ll do then, probably a 3s.

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        • Chris April 5, 2020 / 4:32 am

          Or with another tram? Just like Jackon did, or Innsbruck where two 78 year old trams were replaced with brand new ones in 2006, reusing the historic station buildings.

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        • pbropetech August 18, 2021 / 6:51 pm

          I think it’s possible. When things are regularly maintained and operated correctly, there’s very little extraneous wear on components. There could be issues with the concrete terminals and tower foundations later on, but with proper inspections they should be able to catch issues while they can still be corrected.

          Like

  2. Tom White April 5, 2020 / 5:43 am

    With only two cabins, by definition, trams have very low pph capacity. Are there any stats or articles about resorts replacing trams with 3S or similar multi-cabin lifts? The one day I skied at Snowbird, I avoided the tram because of the long lines. On the other hand, I used the Cannon tram often because the lines were short.

    Like

    • Billy B. April 5, 2020 / 12:01 pm

      The main example that comes to mind is Jackson Hole. JHMR considered a bicable gondola to replace the original Aerial Tram, which would have been a less expensive and higher capacity option. The owners made a great decision that the symbolism of a classic aerial tram was important for the resort and choose a new jigback system for the replacement. Here is an article about the Jackson Tram replacement. (https://www.jhnewsandguide.com/news/top_stories/resort-narrows-tram-options/article_c50eca1f-c51c-55f5-952b-104b2f1a5564.html) The article says that 20 alternatives were considered before a jigback tram was selected as the replacement.

      I would imagine the circumstances are similar at Snowbird. The Snowbird Aerial Tram is iconic and has value to the resort that cannot be easily measured. A 3S, bicable gondola, or even funitel could theoretically work at Snowbird but would take away the instantly recognizable symbol of the resort. Someone above has already mentioned that the Snowbird Tram is very well maintained with recent improvements like new track ropes and a modern Frey controls. I look forward to riding it well into the future. If the long lines of the tram are an issue, Snowbird has Peruvian as an alternative.

      Like

      • Tom White April 6, 2020 / 7:31 am

        Thanks for your comments and linked article. I forgot that I’ve ridden the Jay tram. But when that wait gets long, I chose other lifts. While having a thrilling ride is nice, the actual skiing is far more important to me. That includes, actually skiing, not waiting in a long line. Calling a lift “iconic” is not the reason I’ll chose a resort.

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        • pbropetech August 18, 2021 / 6:55 pm

          I agree, Tom. As a lift mechanic and lift geek, I certainly appreciate the ‘iconic’ lifts for what they are. But as a skier I prefer to get on the hill with a minimum of fuss and get after it. If that means I ride the ‘lesser’ lifts at a resort I certainly will.

          Like

  3. Micah August 18, 2021 / 4:17 pm

    Squad Valley tram is 50 years old and no word on replacing it

    Like

    • Utah Lost Ski Area Project August 18, 2021 / 4:36 pm

      Squaw Valley’s tram has had a few more upgrades than this lift. This lift isn’t really comparable to Squaw Valley’s tram in that the funitel is the main high capacity lift.

      Like

      • Tom White August 19, 2021 / 4:55 am

        Jay Peak has a HSQ (Green Mt. Flyer) that reaches most of the good skiing that the tram reaches. It is often a very cold ride near the top but the wait is general much shorter.

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  4. 9412vcummins December 24, 2021 / 12:33 pm

    The current tram cabins are holding up quite well, no need to replace them. If they do replace them, the locals will even be more angry ever since they closed down the bar directly underneath the lower tram dock.

    Like

    • Ryan March 1, 2022 / 2:17 pm

      Yup, they were holding up well, and will continue to serve I bet on the ground somewhere. The cabins are being replaced this year, per Peter’s great article. u

      Like

  5. Allen Pettee October 3, 2022 / 7:56 pm

    God, I hope Snowbird never removes the tram. Their tram and Jackson Hole’s are marvels of engineering and a joy to ride up to ski at two great ski resorts.

    Like

    • Coleen Appres October 12, 2022 / 11:13 pm

      I feel like a 3s gondola gives you the same experience and views tho at the same time giving you more capacity.

      Like

      • Andrew Barfield October 12, 2022 / 11:21 pm

        Also a 3S cabin is not being quite as much of a box of farts.

        Like

        • Ryan October 13, 2022 / 6:13 am

          well let’s hope it doesn’t smell like one.

          Like

  6. Tyler October 13, 2022 / 6:10 pm

    Anyone know why trams are significantly more expensive than detachable gondolas. Im no expert, but logically, a tram only has two cars, usually only 2-4 towers in North America which should be cheaper than having 15-20 towers with 100 gondola cars, and Trams have very basic and simplistic terminal stations without having any detachable tires, equipment, storage garage and fancy glass terminals.

    Like

    • Lucas G December 5, 2022 / 12:59 am

      you have to see it to really understand it. The infrastructure on trams is so much larger than that of a monocable system, and it’s also quite complex despite looking simple.

      Like

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