Let me add a couple observations -- I spent 3 weeks at Alta last year, one with my beginner-level wife. While I focused on the spectacular skiing, we both found many things to appreciate about the place in general.
The main strength of Alta is that it provides a wonderfully simple and authentic ski experience with a lot of heritage. Though it's got a great system of lifts and modern facilities, you can feel and see the history you only get at a 70 year old ski resort that many consider to be one of skiing's true "Meccas". Skiing there can be a life experience. I don't think everyone can appreciate it, but for those that do, it's like a religion. Sign me up as one of the crazies -- I fell in love with the place.
Alta does not allow snowboarders, and that was a major plus (especially to my wife). That might be an important factor to some people.
They have a great section of groomed green trails (Albion Basin and Cecret Area) that my wife really enjoyed. I think this is often overlooked. They have many blue trails, and many opportunities for skiers to push their limits a bit without taking too many risks. The more difficult terrain is among the best I have skied, and the variety is amazing. I never came close to getting bored there. I did have several ski days that were among the best of my life.
We stayed at the Goldminer's Daughter, and enjoyed the experience. Meals are included at the GMD, as they are at all of the lodges at Alta (meal plans vary). The breakfast buffet was a great way to start the day (both my wife and I get into hearty breakfasts). There is an afternoon "tea" with some great snacks, and it's a good time to unwind when the slopes close. After the tea, we usually hit the bar for a beer or two. Dinners were great, with huge portions and some great choices (the lamb shank was awesome). The whole atmosphere at the GMD is relaxed and friendly, and everyone -- guests and staff alike -- just glow with enthusiasm for the skiing. It's not fancy and the building itself is almost dorm-like in many ways, but it's got a lot of charm. This is one example -- you will hear similar stories about the other lodges at Alta. They all have a unique homey atmosphere.
We used Alta Shuttle to get to and from the GMD. They can arrange that when you make a reservation. It was about $50 per person round trip if I remember right.
We weren't interested in nightlife, nor did we have time, but it seemed pretty limited. I don't think people go there for nightlife. We kept totally busy with all the skiing and eating, and conked out hard at the end of the day, ready to do the cycle over again the next morning.
Note that when you lodge at Alta, you will be sleeping at about 8500 ft elevation. We had headaches the first night and a bit of restlessness, but were fine the rest of the time. It's important to drink a lot of water and eat well when staying up at elevation. If you or your wife were disposed to altitude sickness in a major way, you probably wouldn't want to lodge at such a high elevation.
So overall, I'd say that if you want a life experience and can appreciate the stuff I mentioned above, Alta is worth a trip.
Here are some pics from the week my wife was there with me:http://hunter.pairsite.com/craig/alta0308