Snowbird, located outside Salt Lake City, Utah, is known as one of the top ski resorts in North America. It’s far from a winter-only destination, though. It’s breathtaking scenery in the Wasatch mountains makes Snowbird a prime spot for year-round festivals, corporate retreats, and conferences. Whether people are tracking their ski runs with mobile apps, live-Tweeting a conference event, or just looking for added peace-of-mind as they explore nature, visitors demand fast, reliable connectivity—even in the mountains.

The need.

Several years ago, we deployed 15 miles of fiber and 13 small cell nodes in Little Cottonwood Canyon near Snowbird. Our familiarity with the area made us an ideal choice to partner with three major wireless carriers to identify coverage gaps and high-consumption locations at the resort. The addition of new fiber and small cells in and around the resort was an exciting prospect; however, challenges remained. For example, construction couldn’t disrupt regular operations or interfere with delicate ecosystems, leaving only a small window of time to work in an already challenging location. Additionally, any added infrastructure couldn’t detract from the natural beauty of Snowbird’s surroundings.

The solution.

We worked closely with the resort operators, wireless carriers, National Forest Service, Utah Department of Transportation, and other stakeholders to develop a plan that would ensure the project’s construction was completed within the small window of availability before ski season begins. This necessitated a highly responsive team on the ground that could handle requests in real time and make adjustments on the fly. Special accommodations were taken to ensure that construction wouldn’t disrupt water and power lines, and that visible infrastructure would blend with the aesthetic of the resort. The end result was a small cell network consisting of five new fiber connected nodes that will support the data demands of Snowbird’s guests and employees for many years to come.

The impact.

  • Snowbird’s guests have reliable connectivity that keeps them connected to their friends, loved ones, workplace, and essential emergency services—no matter where they are on the mountain.

  • Advanced connectivity helps maintain Snowbird’s status as one of the leading resorts in North America, helping raise the resort’s profile with significantly more people sharing their experience in real-time on social media.

  • The system helps keep resort employees connected, improving responsiveness.

  • The solution is designed to accommodate future increases in data demand, while supporting existing features including ski app SNOCRU and Snowbird’s proprietary ridesharing app, R.I.D.E.
  • The resort has a long-term communications infrastructure partner who knows the area and can quickly respond to future needs without the need for initial onboarding.

I found the Crown Castle team to be highly responsive, very professional, and very willing to do whatever was necessary to make it a smooth implementation here at Snowbird.

Dave Fields President and General Manager, Snowbird

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