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Alta in March/our first time

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Family trip to Alta in mid-March. There because good friends/better skiers had planned to go, we have the week in common. We are: an intermediate on-piste carving dad (me),a beginner mom, and 11 yr. old jr. racer in-training. Understand it can great for off-piste/powder, and hope to try that, but how 'bout the grooming? Wondering if it's too much mountain for us? Is there enough appropriate terrain for less advanced skiers? We have skied in Cortina and Lech in Alps, so I know we'll manage, but want it to be right, not just survive the week Just wonder what to expect, how to approach it. How difficult is it to ski the connection between Alta and Snowbird? Guide? Is that recommended or should we just forget Snowbird and figure out Alta? Is it worth having a rental car to try other places? If so which ones? Or should we just figure out Alta? Many thanks to all who reply.
post #2 of 22
They have groomers at Alta - it was enough for me. However there are other resorts like Brighton and Solitude that are very close. I never bothered with Snowbird as it seems pretty tough for the non-expert skier.

Where are you staying? If your staying in Sandy or Downtown Salt Lake I would get a car and check out several places. It's amazing how many good places their are to ski that are a short drive.

I plan to go back in March too - I am going to stay downtown and hit Alta, Solitude, Snow Basin.. Snow Basin is a longer ride but I have heard it might be the best one in UT in good weather conditions. I might even try DV despite the horrors I have heard about it. It does have a ton of groomers..

post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 
We are staying at The Alta Peruvian Lodge. While we're at it, anyone been there?
post #4 of 22
Oh. if your staying there it's more of a tossup. You might want to just stick with Alta and Snowbird. Personally I wasn't to impressed with any of the Alta places even the famed Rustler in which I walked around in to check it out. I choose to stay off mountain as my g/f is all about luxury and less about skiing. it kinda depends on your family. What your paying for is slopeside access.

That being said some people really love it..the whole communal feel you get from those lodges and so on.

post #5 of 22
Originally Posted by pookie View Post
We are staying at The Alta Peruvian Lodge. While we're at it, anyone been there?
Do a search and you will find lots of comments about it.

Personally, I loved my stay there. Great vibe.

Alta has OK groomers, but to me they are like paved roads in a park. Everything fun is off-road, and that is where you should spend your time.

Snowbird has lots of easy terrain in the Basin. Most of the front side is challenging for average skiers.

If you want groomers, Deer Valley is the place, but with typical snow fall, Alta and Snowbird will easily keep you entertained.
post #6 of 22
Alta has some very gentle green trails off the and Cecret chairs which are near the Albion base lodge. Alta grooms blue trails off every lift and most of the blues are not intimidating. I recall some of the groomed blues off the Sugarloaf being quite easy and being a good place for beginners to transition to a little bit more challenging terrain. A middlin' intermediate can ski from any lift and find fairly easy ways to get down. I would say that the amount of groomed green and blue terrain is not real extensive so if you're the kind of folks that want to try lots of different trails you might want to do some day trips to other areas. While Alta might not be known for it's groomed terrain, beginners and intermediates can have a terrific time there. I consider myself a pretty middlin' intermediate but really loved Alta.
post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 
I understand that the lodges are pretty bare bones. The specific comments about the runs is particularly helpful. It'll save us alot of time, figuring out the mountain. Anyone skied the Alta-Bird crossing?
post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 
from one intermediate to another, I appreciate those encouraging words. Any other thoughts on specific trails appreciated. I'm printing this out and bring it with me.
post #9 of 22
I meant to say the Sunnyside and Cecret chairs, BTW. Can't help you with the Alta-Bird crossing, haven't done it. I've found the lodges comfortable; not fancy but functional. For some odd reason Ice Queen seems to like the men's room at Albion base (inside joke here). I like Alf's (near the bottom of the Cecret and Sugarloaf lifts) a lot. Take a drive to Snowbasin if you want to see nice lodges. Absolutely amazing! They are the Taj Mahal of ski lodges.
post #10 of 22
Thread Starter 
Hear so many good things about Snowbasin, on and off the slopes. Seems like it's a bit of a sleeper among the more famous places. Will definitely make it there.
post #11 of 22
This will be my 3rd trip in 5 yrs (mid-feb. As for the skiing itself, had no problem whatsoever with either Alta, Bird or even on the other side w/Deer Valley and the others. (ya gotta check out The Canyons...great place) But heres my advice for the area for what it counts. I stay in SLC cuz I find most lodging unbearably high near slopeside...not too mention lots more places to eat: and shop at nite. I usally rent a car cuz the airport to lodging ride is just as high of a cost as if you'd just rented a car but it gives ya transportaion to git around. We drive to a Park-n-Ride and ride the bus systems up the canyons road for these reasons....Scarey road and most of the time most cars aren't allowed up due to snow conditions (must have chains, 4wd, snow tires ect...kinda a problem with rentals and riding the bus up takes care of that plus somebody else is driving down after a hard day of skiing!! Go to UTA.com gives ya the routes and times...$6.25 per person for an up-n-down trip per day..you can even buy the tickets on-line and have em shipped to your house ...got mine in about 4 days) Not too mention that road is a lil scarey lookin to us flat-landers!: lol But all-in-all....great place for skiing::....liquor laws a lil funny...gotta go to a State Store to purchase it.
post #12 of 22
Both Alta and Snowbird have plenty of groomed intermediate runs to keep you happy. Alta is better for beginners. The green runs in the Albion Basin are very scenic. I don't see the advantage to pay extra for the Alta-Snowbird ticket. Either area is more than enough to keep you occupied for a full day. Ski Alta one day and the Bird the next. The best blue trails at Snowbird are served by the chairs, so save a few bucks and avoid the tram ticket.
post #13 of 22
If you are looking for groomers........Solitude.
post #14 of 22
I really like the Peruvian, great vibe, great food and great service. There are plenty of groomers at Alta. Personally, I don't think they do a very good job of grooming there, but that's not why you go there.
The Alta/Bird interconnect is real easy but as an intermediate you really wouldn't need to buy it if you didn't want too. The Peruvian's van will take you to the base of Snowbird.
post #15 of 22


The Peruvian is old fashioned in a good way, but it is not for everyone. I have stayed there a number of times, and really like it.

The rooms are for sleeping in, only. They are tiny. On the other hand, the common areas are huge and comfortable, with numerous areas for conversation, board games, reading or just hanging out. There is one TV in the whole place, a large-screen HDTV that is used for showing movies, but does get cable.

The food is very good, and they serve three meals a day (not everyone comes in for lunch, but you can).

The ski shop is small, but has high end rentals, both regular alpine and AT equipment (no more tele gear, tho), and full ski tuning services, all for reasonable prices.

There is a bar, used in equal measure by guests and locals, very friendly and low-key.

As others have said, the vibe is relaxed, friendly, and you feel like part of a family rather than just a hotel guest.
post #16 of 22
You should have no problem keeping busy a t Alta for a full day. I would save your money and NOT buy the Alta/Snowbird ticket. Ski them on separate days. If you still do want to ski them both on the same day the trail is well marked and easy to find. Try skiing Mineral Basin at Snowbird. You can take the moving walkway through the mountain or access it via the tram I believe. Brighton and Solitude probably have some easier groomers but you should fare well at any of the resorts there.
post #17 of 22
The Alta Peruvian is one of my favorite places! Great atmosphere and fantastic food! The staff is wonderful (be sure to tip them!).
post #18 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies. I think The Peruvian will be cool, although no one has mentioned the outdoor heated pool. hmmmm? Anymore thoughts about best areas to ski for an 'adventurous' intermediate and his beginner spouse? Undertsand that some 'greens' are situated more up on mountain, not confined to the bottom of the hill. Is there a noticeable difference on the hill between Snowbird and Alta?
post #19 of 22
Alta in my opinon, is one of the easiest places for a beginner skiier in the Cottonwoods. It has some nearly flat runs. But I wouldn't ski Alta the whole time. Solitude and Brighton would be more fun for beginner/intermediates as if offers more.
post #20 of 22
If you guys are are at alta already for your wife albion basin, sunnyside and cecert will be the best for her.

For you depending on what you defenition of intermiate is almost any at alta should be within your grasp most of the green and blues at snowbird as well.

For your son enroll him in some sort of lesson, you guys will be holding him back. I dont know how alta's kids lessons are but I KNOW at snowbird he will have a great time and might learn something as well.

On the alta/bird ticket unless you just want the experince of skiing a huge area in one day I wouldnt buy it. Both areas are huge and cant be skied in one let alone part of one day.

As for differences on the hill, alta has a bunch of short steep runs accessed by long traverses and hikes of the lifts, and then tons of very easy blues and green right of the lifts. The grooming there is damn good and they groom alot of the lower angle stuff.

Snowbird for the most part the lifts take you up huge verticals and give you the option of meadering blue runs if you go alittle ways of the lift, or black to double black pitch with out any work at all. We have very limited terrain for wedge turners but once we get them parrarell that opens up a good bit of the mountain.

if you should want to 'try" some of that off trail or just want a guide, PM me and can see what I can do for you.
post #21 of 22
Thread Starter 
Bushwacker, did you get my PM? All others, thinking for this trip, might be a good idea (or least good excuse) to pick up a more off-piste/powder friendly ski than the Head Supershapes or Salomon X-Wing Tornadoes which I own. Planned on bringing the Tornadoes. Suggestions on a more versatile, wider ski more suited to the conditions we'll find at Alta for an "improving" (God knows I'm working on it) intermediate who wants to get off the groomed?
post #22 of 22
The outdoor heated pool is at the Peruvian is very warm. They also have 2 large hot tubs right next to it. Towels are provided near the pool. Get your free robes when you check-in and pack some flip flops. Buy some beer in the gift shop as the bar downstairs cannot serve you if you're using the pool (it's Utah...Don't ask).
Deer Valley grooms just about everything, which is why I hated it, but it might be great for a family or if there hasn't been much fresh snow lately.
Snowbasin is one of my favorite mountains.
Enjoy your trip!
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