Pros: Powder: light, plentiful and frequent; Ski anything you see (it's one big terrain park!); Breathtaking scenery
Cons: Not for those who go to ski resorts for the nightlife. Or snowboarders. Occasional poor manners on powder mornings on the High Traverse.
My husband and I were intermediate Eastern skiers when we first visited Alta. Not surprisingly, we never went back. To ski in the East, that is.
Alta is not for everybody. It's not a name-dropper resort like Aspen or Vail. It does not have a big resort feel, nor the nightlife some would like after a couple of hours ripping the cruisers. In fact, if you ski Alta the way a lot of folks here do, you have barely enough energy at the end of the day for a drink with friends and a nice dinner.
Alta has helped me grow from an intermediate skier to one who can handle pretty much any in-bounds conditions. (I don't claim to look good in some situations, but what the heck.) I've brought friends who are absolute beginner skiers to Alta and they have had the time of their lives (starting at the Albion Base). Alta is also home to some of the best free skiers I've seen.
The beauty of the mountain layout is that you can easily move up in difficulty in small steps. In fact, I would say the best part is that you can go pretty much anywhere you see unless there's a rope. This encourages natural exploration. Aside: I once overheard the patriarch of a family complaining that they had "skied every run" and were getting bored. Wrong. After almost 20 years, I still haven't skied every line. Adventures can be had here at every level of competence. And unlike at neighboring Snowbird or at Jackson Hole, it's difficult to get yourself in a position you can't get out of. You just need a bit of the pioneering spirit.
Alta has an especially age-diverse skiing population: from little rippers (it's not necessarily safe to follow that 8-year-old) to the Wild Old Bunch, a group of "mature" skiers with major skiing credentials. Everyone fits in, everyone is welcome.
Alta is gem of a ski area in a breathtaking, quiet canyon. It is one of the oldest ski areas in the US, and a training ground for the 10th Mountain Division during World War II. It still maintains a sense of that history. If for no other reason, this makes it a pretty great place to visit.