Oktoberfest at Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort
It’s about more than just bending elbows. Oktoberfest at Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort is a family-friendly affair with activities, food, and, of course, brews for days — weeks actually, The highly-anticipated festival begins each August and lasts for eight weeks, taking place every Saturday, Sunday, and Labor Day. It’s probably the greatest beer festival Utah has to offer, so don’t miss out!
“Oktoberfest at Snowbird is one of Utah’s greatest cultural events,” says Bob Bonar, President of Snowbird. It's been a Utah tradition since 1973.
What’s more, Snowbird’s annual festival was voted one of America's 10 Best Oktoberfests by Men's Journal Magazine.
No matter who’s voting, it certainly is one of the most picturesque:
Snowbird’s Oktoberfest attracts more than 60,000 visitors each year making one of the largest festivals in Utah. Every Saturday and Sunday, you can party and play with between 3,000 to 7,000 attendees, drinking everything from American pale ale to stout made with a wide variety of hops and brew methods. Admission to Oktoberfest is free, and the event runs from noon to 6:30 p.m.
The origins of Oktoberfest date back to 19th-century Bavaria, when King Ludwig called for a state fair in Munich to celebrate his autumn marriage. The festivities were dedicated to the fall harvest and beer, of course. With its success, Ludwig decreed that every October in Munich be a festival, and as such, Oktoberfest has been held annually ever since. The Munich festival has grown into one of the largest beer fests in the world, with attendance of more than 6.3 million people annually.
Here in Utah, it wasn’t until 1973 — the year after Snowbird opened — when the festival took root. Several gentlemen from the Olde World came upon the magnificent mountains at Snowbird, and it reminded them of home. They knew they wanted to bring the celebrations of Oktoberfest to this beautiful setting near Salt Lake City and Park City. Equipped with little more than a few yodelers, accordions, and a Bavarian band to entertain patrons eating grilled bratwurst at a few tables on the plaza, Utah’s first Oktoberfest was a success. And it has grown steadily ever since.
The annual festival includes a biergarten offering more than 50 varieties of beer. This includes traditional German-style beers and those made by Utah breweries, including Moab Brewery, Bohemian, Uinta, and Squatters; the latter brewer makes the Snowbird Dunkelweiss. Save a few dollars on beers by reusing your previously-purchased, 1-liter Snowbird Oktoberfest beer stein or mug. Or buy a new mug, keep coming back every year and start a collection — either way. For other libation options, visit the wine garden and a Jagermeister tent.
Oktoberfest food choices include select German favorites, such as bratwurst, weisswurst, sauerkraut, apple strudel, spaetzle, beef rouladen, pretzels, and Bavarian roasted almonds. Beer and food are purchased a la carte.
Don’t miss the live music from two stages, with traditional-esque German music (and a few dancing guests) in the large food tent, and local artists performing on the Chickadee stage. The famous alphorns billow beautiful notes from the top of Hidden Peak daily at 3:15 p.m.; take the Aerial Tram up to enjoy the show.
Der Marktplatz offers more than 25 local and regional artists display and sell cool handmade arts and crafts. And there’s a number of summer activities for all ages, including favorites the Alpine Slide, Mountain Flyer, bungee trampolines, and kids’ inflatables. Snowbird’s epic trails remain open for mountain biking, scooters, and hiking — to burn off all of those beer and brat calories.
Every Saturday & Sunday, and Labor Day, August 13 through Oct. 9 (2016);
Additional Planning Information and Parking
Snowbird offers free Aerial Tram rides to active and past military personnel and their families, for the first two weekends of Oktoberfest. Military personnel must present their military identification to the ticket office on the Plaza Deck for a Tram ride.
Grand Oktoberfest will take place Labor Day weekend with yodelers and accordion players. A Grand Procession will take place at 2:10 p.m., with the official keg tapping and toasting.
As of 2016, due to the overwhelming popularity of this event and limited parking at the resort, we strongly encourage guests to consider carpooling with friends and family. To that end, during these event days, Snowbird will be charging $5 (cash-only) for parking in lots accessed via Entries 1, 2 and 4.