America’s First Rooftop Tram Ride Opens at Snowbird, UT

Anton Lengyel | | Industry NewsIndustry News
snowbird tram
The new Snowbird Tram with the new Rooftop Balcony. (Credit: Snowbird Facebook)

Snowbird, UT, opened its aerial tram for summer operations on June 17, 2023. This year, a new feature has been added to the tram: a rooftop observation deck. For the first time in the United States, visitors can fulfill their childhood dreams and ride on top of an aerial lift, like a mechanic. Riders can now experience the 10-minute tram ride in the open air with epic 360° views of the Wasatch range and the canyon below on specially-built rooftop balconies.

The Aerial Tram climbs 2,900 vertical feet to the top of 11,000 feet Hidden Peak, connecting the base in Little Cottonwood Canyon to the summit of Snowbird. The tram was originally constructed in 1971 by Garaventa for a whopping $3.5 million, and it quickly became an iconic symbol of Snowbird. It had an unparalleled capacity of 125 people (now reduced to 100) and became one of the most recognizable aerial tramways in the world.

old snowbird tram
The old Aerial Tram cabins. (Credit: Snowbird)

In 2022, Snowbird upgraded the tramway with state-of-the-art Doppelmayr cabins. These new cabins feature floor-to-ceiling windows, three glass floor panels, and a rooftop balcony with a modern look. However, Snowbird decided to paint them in the original blue and red colors to preserve the old tram’s legacy. The new tram opened for summer operations in 2022, but only the blue tram ran due to an incident with one of the trams. The tram fully opened in November.

new tram
The new tram cars debuted this season. (Credit: Snowbird).

The base ticket for a Tram Ride costs $37 ($42 on peak weekends). It’s an extra $20 for the Rooftop Ride, but the unique opportunity is worth it. Passengers must be over 42 inches tall to access the balcony. Snowbird also offers all-day passes as well, but they do not come with the rooftop ride.

This weekend also marks the closing weekend for winter operations. Due to unusually warm temperatures, Snowbird, unfortunately, decided to end its record-breaking ski season this Sunday. This year, the ski area received an incredible 838 inches of snow, shattering the resort’s previous record. However, only the Little Cloud Express and the Tram are open for skiing the last ski weekend.

It would be great to see other ski resorts follow in Snowbird’s footsteps, but for now, only Snowbird visitors will be lucky enough to participate in this unique experience.

old and new tram
The legacy and the new tram together. (Credit: Snowbird Facebook)

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2 thoughts on “America’s First Rooftop Tram Ride Opens at Snowbird, UT

  1. I worked at Snowbird for 24 years and had always wanted to ride on top of a car. Unfortunately I never got to do it. Now, if I ever get back there again, I can! Just curious though, what happened to the tank that was on the old car? How is water getting to the peak now?

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