Local Beta: Snowbird
Here’s the inside line on where to eat, sleep, ski, repeat
Hometown: Salt Lake City, Utah
Sponsors: Alta, Blizzard, Helly Hansen, Leki, Osprey, Snowbird, Tecnica
The term “sending it” gets tossed around pretty lightly these days. Marcus Caston, however, defines it. A former racer who now “pins it” down some of the burliest ski lines on Earth, Caston has made a hell of a name for himself in recent years. He’s transferred the skills he honed between gates to technical, no-fall zones—of which there are plenty at Snowbird, the resort Caston has gravitated towards since he was a kid. In fact, he says the little blue and green wings—you know, from the ski area’s logo—are in his DNA. Is there anyone better suited to dish the word on The Bird? We think not.
Best place to catch the sunrise: The top of Hidden Peak if you’re so lucky.
Best line: Great Scott, right under the tram. Classic techie Snowbird entrance to some rippable terrain. Stand there for a minute and you’ll see some 11-year-old punk jump in and make two turns to the bottom.
Best groomer run: I’m a Chips-to-Anderson’s-to-Who Dunnit kind of guy. That’s as long of a groomed run you’re going to find in the U.S.
Best lift to lap on a pow day: I’m going to lose my Tram Club cred if I say anything other than the tram. Top-to-bottom runs, baby. Three grand of vertical feet in eight minutes? Yes, please.
Best glades: What’s a glade? Is that a Colorado word? For the best steep tree skiing in the world, head to Gad 2.
Best place to scare yourself: How scared do you want to get? You can go “nucking futs” at The Bird if you want to. I say go test yourself in the Upper Cirque. There are no trees there, so when in doubt, straighten it out.
Best place to stay for fancy digs: The Cliff Lodge has an awesome rooftop spa and some great restaurants.
Best place to stay for affordable digs: I’m a fan of The Inn at Snowbird. It has an awesome bar and a great happy hour with half-price pizza.
Best coffee shop at the mountain: Baked & Brewed Café on the second floor of the Plaza. Grab a big peanut butter cup, too.
Best breakfast spot at the mountain: A General Gritts breakfast burrito with chipotle mayo, tomato and avocado is the only way to go. If you’re looking to sit down, go to the Forklift. But, breakfast burrito.
Best dinner spot on the mountain: The Aerie at the top of the Cliff Lodge; bring a button-down and remember, pinkies out.
Best après spot at the mountain: Wildflower for somewhere quieter and Tram Club to get rowdy.
Best ski shop: Up at the mountain, options are a bit limited. Christy Sports, right on the plaza, is convenient for obvious reasons. Otherwise, head to Sports Den down in Salt Lake City.
Best hot tub to poach: Cliff Lodge. Bonus points if you can get into the rooftop spa. If you can do that, you’re a Level 10,000 Ski Bum Ninja.
Best place to visit on a down day: Momentum Climbing Gym: girls, climbing and… girls. Did I mention the girls?
Best place to take your girlfriend or boyfriend: Stay clear of the Tram Club and go for the Aerie at sundown. You can melt into the cushy chairs and point out all your sick lines from Baldy and the Cirque as they light up orange in all their glory. One day, I’m going to have a girlfriend.
Best natural features to hit: The whole resort is a terrain park. Let your imagination go wild. But find the “High Speed Double” for official Bird initiation.
Best thing to do in Salt Lake City: Go see a concert at The State Room. Drink lots of whiskey and bring your dancing shoes.
Best thing about getting from the airport to the ski hill in 45 minutes: Right? Where else does that happen? Skiing same day means you’re effectively adding two shred days to your trip.
Best place to find Marcus Caston: I’m trying to figure out how to answer this in a way to get a free breakfast burrito… Gritts. 8:30 a.m. Be there. After that, I’ll be lapping the tram.