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Alta

Check out the Unofficial Guide to Alta for details on things like secret stashes, best places to ski, avoiding lift lines, and other local insights on the mountain. 

 

 

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Trail Map
Trail Map
trailmap_med.jpg
 

Transportation
Transportation
AIR TRANSPORTATION
Airlines operating from Salt Lake City include American Airlines, Continental, Delta Airlines, Frontier, JetBlue Airways, Skywest Airlines, Southwest, United and US Airways.
LOCAL TRANSPORTATION
 

Directions  

 

Lodging
Lodging
 
Name Description Maximum Occupancy Price Range

Alta's Rustler Lodge

 

 

 

This lodge offers 85 rooms, wireless high-speed Internet in all rooms and a Business Center. They have an outdoor heated pool, indoor jacuzzi, steam room, fitness center and  a full service Day Spa. Complimentary shuttle to Snowbird is provided.

Extra person charges may apply

 

$149 and up 

 

 

Alta Lodge

 

 

 

 

 

The lodge has 57 rooms and offers a full breakfast, afternoon tea and four course dinner are included. Convenient on-mountain location allows guests to ski right to Alta's lifts. In addition the Lodge offers free wireless internet, saunas, hot pools, and the classic Sitzmark Club bar. Complimentary Kids' Program.

 

 

Extra person charges may apply

 

 

 

$109 and up

 

 

 

 

Homewood Suites by Hilton, Midvale

 

 

 

 

This all suites property offers 98 suites with complimentary Suite Start hot breakfast every morning and a Welcome Home reception serving a light dinner and beverages each Monday through Thursday evening.  Amenities including in door heated swimming poo and whirlpool, membership to a full service gym, business center, meeting room, public transportation, wireless high speed Internet access.

Extra person charges may apply

 

 

 

$109 and up

 

 

 

 

       
       

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Dining

 

Alf's Restaurant

 

Collins Grill

 

Watson Shelter

 

DEALS
 
 
WHAT'S NEW
 
 
 
ACTIVITIES
 
 
SERVICES

 

Rental Equipment

 

Adult Lessons

 

Snow Cat Skiing Rates

 

 

 

Alta
Description:

Known for deep powder and superb terrain, Alta is a definite locals favorite. A great powdery environment, and close proximity to Salt Lake City make Alta one of Utah's premier resorts. Located at the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon, Alta promises beautiful scenery and panoramic views from its slopes. Alta takes skiing seriously. No frills - just the best snow Utah has to offer. Alta offers two ski-in ski-out restaurants and a rental shop. Snowboarding is not permitted here. At Alta, a variety of terrain and snow conditions provide skiing opportunities for every level of skier, including beginners. Families can enjoy the slopes together no matter the ability or expertise. Alta has teamed up with Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort to enable skiers to have access to double the terrain. Alta is located 25 miles southeast of Salt Lake City at the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon, State Highway 210, approximately 45 minutes from the Salt Lake City International Airport.

Details:
DetailValue
Snow making percent
Lifts-Surface Lifts-Magic carpet1
Lifts-Surface Lifts-Rope tow3
Lifts-Surface Lifts-Poma
Lifts-Surface Lifts-T bar
Lifts-Surface Lifts-J bar
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Single
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Double3
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Triple2
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Quad
Lifts-Chair Lifts-High speed quad2
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Five person
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Six person
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Eight person
Lifts-Gondola
Lifts-Tram
Lifts-Other
Lifts-Total number of lifts11
Lifts-Total lift capacity
Trails-1-Beginner25%
Trails-2-Intermediate40%
Trails-3-Advanced35%
Trails-4-Expert only
Trails-5-Terrain park
Trails-6-Half pipe
Trails-Total116
Runs-Steepest run
Runs-Longest run
General-Base elevation8530'
General-Vertical drop2020'
General-Owner
General-Mountain rangeWasatch
General-Annual skier visits
General-Back country access
General-Total area in bounds2200 acres
General-Snow making coverage
Models:
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC

Posted

Pros: Terrain, snow, views, accessibility,

Cons: No "double black" designations, no snowboarding, runs not super long, need to traverse a lot to get to much of the terrain

First let's discuss the snowboarding. My wife and I enjoy both snowboarding and skiing and have many friends that only board. We love to ski so we had a great time there, but we would also like the option to snowboard. The other SLC-area resorts seem to have about 20% snowboarders. At the same time, a lot of people choose to ski Alta due to the lack of snowboarders so the effect on crowds is a wash at best. I hear a lot of absurd stereotypes about snowboarders spouted as reasons Alta's ban is a positive ("They scrape off the snow", "One hit me", "They sit in the middle of the run"). What these transgressions have in common is that plenty of skiers are just as guilty of committing them.

 

There is a wide variety of terrain for all ability levels and it was well-covered by snow when I was there, even in a down year. Unfortunately, they choose not to distinguish between black and double black diamond trails on their map. There is a huge difference between their easier and harder blacks. Virtually every other ski resorts offers this higher level of granularity. It is hard for a skier to start venturing off blues when they have no idea if a very steep run with potentially tight trees or high moguls is right over the horizon. 

 

Alta has pretty average lifts. No real fancy gondolas or trams and some of the chairs are pretty dated. There aren't a ton of them so traverses are often necessary. They also don't serve a ton of vertical so runs aren't extra long. 

 

As with all the SLC-area resorts, the drive from the airport/SLC is quite short and the mountain pass is quite benign. 

 

Skier density was fairly low when I was there (Mon & Tues), but I have no idea how it is on weekends.

 

Although Alta is known for its dry powder. I will mention that when I was there the snow was quite heavy. The odds of dry powder are good, but remember its all just averages, you can get sticky wet snow at Alta.

Posted

Pros: Powder, Terrain, small crowds

Cons: A lot of traverse, main powder runs track out fast.

The powder doesn't get better than Alta, the terrain is varied and challenging.  The only downside is that the main runs get tracked out quickly, especially on weekends.  You have to know your own secret stashes if you want lasting powder.  A lot of traversing required, other than that, you can't go wrong at Alta.

Posted

Pros: Terrain, terrain, terrain, snow, snow snow

Cons: HUGE crowds after even a 12" dump

My son and I skied Alta for the second time in our lives February 27-28, 2014.  It snowed on us all day 2/27 and continued most of the night apparently.  Visibility wasn't great but good enough that we could ski everywhere we wanted to ski and have fun.  Feb 27 was a great day, enough powder to make skiing really fun, the trees had lots of untracked snow and the only time we waited for a lift for more than maybe 5 minutes was when we got on the Collins lift at the midway loading area after lunch..  Friday, 2/28. we woke up to blue skies and were really excited to head back up to Alta.  Unfortunately, it seemed the entire population of SLC decided to do the same thing.  Adding to the chaos was the fact that patrol was shooting avalanches and the lifts didn't start running until about 9:45.  By then there were enormous lines at the Collins, WIldcat and Sunnyside lifts.  Albion lift wasn't running at all, guess they only use it on weekends.  The lift lines really didn't thin out until around 12:30-1:00.  Some of the runs felt downright dangerous due to the volume of traffic.  I still like Alta because of the terrain, but I doubt I will go back.  Grand Targhee is much closer to where I live, is a lot less crowded and I like the terrain there just as much.

Posted

Pros: World's best variety of outstanding terrain from beginner to expert; Outstanding snow quality; Best powder skiing on the Planet; No Snowboarders!

Cons: Lift pass, as with most epic resorts, is way to damn high. $75 for an all day pass when about a decade ago it cost $25? Sad.

A pioneer resort in the global ski industry, Alta has set the standard for steep 'n deep since 1939.  The resort does not allow snowboarders so there's more powder for skiers, and superb mogul runs still exist with tight, skier's patterns - undefiled by snowboarding hack jobs.  It's all about Alta! icon14.gif

Posted

Pros: snow, cliffs and more snow

Cons: avalanches

Alta is a great place. It was brilliantly sunny when I was there, on 3/9/11. They had about 20" of fresh snow. I felt more like I was in Chile or Australia than someplace in the US.

 

Boarders are not allowed at Alta. I think only Deer Valley and Mad River Glan are like that. I don; t mind boarders even though one hit me at Heavenly Valley, but it is kind of nice for an old timer like me to ride up and not have a board half sideways into my skis. 

 

It's cool to see the heli skiers lift off the pad upslope from the main lodge. It's a nice old school mellow vibe - they play nice classic rock in the lodge the day I was there. It reminded me of Alpine Meadows in California.

 

It's sobering to see the avalanches on the steeper slopes. Wear your avalanche beacon if you go back country.

I have wanted to ski Alta for about 40 years. Now I can check it off my list... if you go there I hope you enjoy it.

 

 

 

 

Posted

Pros: Best powder, awesome advanced and expert terrain

Cons: Limited intermediate terrain, slow lifts

Alta get tonnes of snow every year so chances of a powder dump are very high.  It has great terrain and bowls to traverse to.  It had old fixed speed lifts (may have upgraded by now) so lifts lines could get long on a holiday weekend.  Not much easy and intermediate terrain, although more than their neighbor Snowbird.  Does not work too well for skiers of different levels, but is excellent for advanced and expert skiers.

Posted

Pros: Everything

Cons: nothing

Alta is a skiers mountain (sorry snowboarders...still not allowed yet).

It is easy to sum up an Alta experience. Snow, snow....and lots of snow!! Alta averages over 500 inches of snow annually. This is not Sierra Cement or Colorado Krud, no siree folks, its legendary Wasatch Pow and it comes in massive dumps weekly. If you live to ski powder, then Alta is your destination. It's simply a powder skiers paradise. There is terrain for everyone but seldom do you see a beginner skier at Alta, Lift lines on the weekends can be long in the AM especially after a dump but the topography of Alta (there is a lot of traversing and hiking for the goods...earn your turns..right?) allows for these lines to thin out over the course of the day as people hike Devil's Castle, Supreme or even the Baldy Chutes (on rare occasions). Alta is a skiers dream and it's close to Salt Lake City (45 mins). If you haven't been, make it a priority this year or, as the great warren miller says, you'll be one year older when, and if, you do.

Posted

Pros: BIG ski area, convenient commute, wonderful snow

Cons: None I can think of!

Went to Alta for the fourth time 1/18/2011 - 1/23/2011. Alternating days of 15"/day snowfall and bluebird days. Had an awesome time on the mountain, snow was fluffy and light, no lift lines. Also not too cold, temps didn't get below 20F the whole time. Good selection of intermediate/advanced terrain, and a great ski school. Cheaper to get to than many other places, I typically stay in the SLC suburbs of Sandy or Midvale. There's a free ski bus that will pick you up from any of those suburb's hotels and drive you to the resorts and back, or rent a car when the weather is good. When it's snowing you NEED 4x4 or chains+good tires, the road to Alta is just 8 miles from mouth of canyon, but it's all uphill.

Posted

Pros: long, steep and challenging terrain. excellent snow quality and consistency. friendly atmosphere, LOW amounts of commercialism and cost.

Cons: I dont live there all the time!

After many years of waiting and wondering my first trip to alta blew me away.  It snow 17" of blower powder overnight, some of the lightest I have ever skiied.   Alta has many long sustained shots with excellent snow and features.  Most of the mountain is expert terrain.  Some of the advanced/black diamond favorites: Gunsight, Eddies High Nowhere, Alf's High Rustler, West Rustler, Devil's Castle, Supreme Bowl.    I will admit I have had some of the best days in my short life shredding the hell out of this mountain in ridiculous conditions!   The vert is great here if you know how to ski the mountain.

 

The groomed and beginner slopes are easy and there is ample groomed terrain with smooth courdoroy on every single lift.  The staff and people running the lifts, rentals and shops are friendly, courteous and enjoying every minute of work.  If you are a full beginner the resort offers free skiing after 3 on their easiest list, sunnyside.  There are rentals at the Peruvian Lodge, The Deep Powder House and the Alta Ski Shop and a full range of skis are available. 

 

Lodging is plentiful and Alta's are great:  The Peruvian, The Alta Lodge, the Goldminers Daughter and the Rustler are warm and cozy all inclusive places to stay.    Alta's nightlife is very limited and is confined to the Bar in the Peruvian lodge, the Sitzmark club (beware one of dan withey's party margeritas) in the Alta Lodge, and the bars in the goldminers and rustler. 

 

The feel of the place is very very homely.  Its not a over commercialized or expensive place.. its easy going, friendly and all about being outdoors and on the mountain. 

 

Come and see why this mountain is the crowl jewel of the rocky mountains.. well over 500" on average every year!