Throwback Thursday – Snowbird Founder: “My Main Objective Was to do as Much Skiing as Possible.”

Robin Azer |

Released in 1972, this vintage promo film depicts the first days of skiing at Snowbird Ski Resort. Known for its preponderance of blower-light powder, the original opening day had to be pushed back due to too much snow – in the form of an avalanche.

Snowbird lies 20 miles southeast from Salt Lake City in Little Cottonwood Canyon. The resort was the dream of California native, Ted Johnson, who began buying land and acquiring land-use permits from the Forest Service in the late 1960’s. While at a party in Vail, Johnson had a fortuitous meeting with Richard Bass, a Texas oilman with deep pockets and a savvy understanding of the ski industry. Bass came to visit the intended future home of Snowbird and immediately had a vision.

“I was always looking for a place – a place that combined powder snow and sunshine.”

Dick Bass, Co-Founder of Snowbird

Credit: Snowbird
Credit: Snowbird

Snowbird was officially set to open in November 1971, with a 120-passenger tram and three chairlifts. However, due to an avalanche and tram failure, the opening had to be postponed for another month. This video captures the essence of Snowbird in the early days along with the free-spirited vibe of the early 1970’s.

*opening quote also from Dick Bass

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One thought on “Throwback Thursday – Snowbird Founder: “My Main Objective Was to do as Much Skiing as Possible.”

  1. Hi Robin,
    The great photo of skiing under the tram is from 1983-84 season and the photographer was James Kay. The skiers were Kay Kuchera. Who was the world pro freestyle, mogul champion, National telemark champ not to mention a pro windsurfer to name just a few of her accomplishments. The second skier is “Flyin” Brian Wilkes who was also the intermountain freestyle champ back in the Mid eighties. They are both amazing skiers who skied with style with finesse.

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