From Montana to Arizona, several Rocky Mountain ski resorts added upgrades for this winter. The result is mountaintop dining facilities that wow and a new lift that reduces congestion.
Dining high on a ski vacation just got gained huge elevation. The new Summit Restaurant at Snowbird opened in December 2015 at 11,000 feet. The stunning 23,000-square-foot glass building was designed for top-of-the-world views.
Construction of the restaurant took the past two summers, mostly due to its remote location on Hidden Peak. The perch for the glass building takes in the surrounding Wasatch Mountains and overlooks Salt Lake City. Skiers, snowboarders and non-skiing foot passengers can access the new Summit Restaurant via the Aerial Tram.
With seating for 400 inside, the Summit restaurant serves breakfast and lunch via cafeteria service. On the lunch menu, find pizza, stews and salads, plus gourmet entrees from the French rotisserie. A 10,000-square-foot deck outside, which includes a heated patio, adds more seating for sunny days. Couples planning a wedding will want to put this year-round facility on their radar.
The Summit House at Snowbird opened in late December 2015.
Copyright: Matt Crawley
Whitefish Mountain Resort, Montana
The summit of Whitefish Mountain Resort may have one of the best scenic panoramas in the country when sun glints off the chiseled peaks of neighboring Glacier National Park. The resort’s Summit House was built to relish the mountainous view. A revamp of the summit buildings this summer brought a cohesive look to the resort’s mountaintop, and more seating capacity was added to the Summit House with a mezzanine. On sunny days, grab a main floor window seat for Glacier Park gazing, and on inclement days, eat in the new mezzanine overlooking skiers in the plaza where the summit lifts unload.
While the Summit House menu carries the usual refueling staples of burgers, chili and burritos, broader international flavors are appearing. Pho in Montana? You bet. It comes with Asian condiments on the side to amp up the heat index as high as you can get it.
The Summit House also hosts a full moon experience. Visitors can dine on a specialty menu and then take a guided ski down the mountain by moonlight.
Expansion of the Summit House at Whitefish Mountain Resort yields a new look.
Copyright: Whitefish Mountain Resort
Intermediate skiers have something to celebrate at Arizona Snowbowl. This winter marks the inauguration of the ski resort’s first new chairlift in 30 years. The Humphreys Peak chairlift is also the resort’s first quad, and it serves mostly intermediate terrain. The lift extends from Agassiz Lodge up a vertical rise of 775 feet to let skiers lap new runs cut in 2011, such as Pluto and Route 66.
The new lift opened just in time for holiday skiers and riders, and While it allows quicker access to buffed groomers, the biggest advantage is its impact on reducing lines on the Agassiz chairlift. Those heading to the Humphreys terrain no longer need to ride to Midway on Agassiz to ski the long cat track across the mountain. That means more time for more laps on Humphreys.
In addition to the new lift, the $2 million upgrades to Arizona Snowbowl beefed up snowmaking on runs leaping off Ridge Trail.