Snowbird Retires its Historic Wildbere Chair Lift

Snowbird Retires its Historic Wildbere Chair Lift

Featured Image: Otto Solberg, Courtesy of Snowbird

After over a half-century of service, the historic Wilbere lift at Snowbird, Utah, has been officially retired. If you’ve ever made turns at The Bird, chances are high that you’ve taken a ride on Wilbere. The lift, named after founder Ted Johnson’s wife and partner Wilma, has been a local staple since its original installation in 1971. Planted to the left of Gad Valley, Wilbere was the beginning spot for many ski careers in Little Cottonwood Canyon. The double seater serviced some of the more tame terrain at Snowbird but was affectionately known as the spot where any skier could have a fantastic day.

Dedicated locals flocked to Wilbere for a last hoorah.

While the event was closing a chapter, it was hardly sad. Riders dressed in epic attire enjoyed over 500 hot dogs throughout the day, courtesy of Snowbird. Much to our relief, the terrain serviced by Wilbere will remain accessible as the resort is beginning construction on the replacement lift. A new quad chair and relocated loading area are part of Snowbird’s plan to make the lift more efficient and accessible from the parking lot.

Wilbere is a nostalgic relic of a bygone era. The technology has changed quite a bit, as has almost every other facet of skiing. There’s something beautiful about picturing the stoic two-seater stationed above the Salt Lake Valley, remaining the same year after year as the valley changes beneath it. This romantic vision, as alluring as it is, cannot last. But that isn’t a bad thing. Embracing the change is how resorts move forward and how skiing survives. We’re thrilled for the next generation of Snowbird rippers who get to enjoy the new and improved chair, forming new memories as the cycle continues. Check out the full photo gallery from Wilbere’s grand finale below.

From Snowbird –

“Snowbird’s original Wilbere Lift—installed for the mountain’s opening in 1971 and named for Founder Ted Johnson’s wife and partner, Wilma—is scheduled for a replacement starting in the late spring of 2024. The current fixed-grip double chair will transform into a fixed-grip quad chairlift, increasing the uphill capacity. The loading station, featuring a conveyor belt loading system, will move from its current location on Creek Road to the Creekside base area near the Bryce Astle Training Center, making the chair more accessible from parking lots. The top station will remain near its current area, accessing the same terrain.”

Photo Gallery

Images: Otto Solberg, Courtesy of Snowbird

SKIER: Lexi Dowell
SKIER: Drew Gilmore
SKIER: Ryan McSwain

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