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Best time to visit Alta?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
...also, I know early to mid December can be risky for most mountains in the Rockies...when do you most of you consider the "risk" over? Late December? Mid-January? End of January?
post #2 of 16
post #3 of 16
Whenever they have the terrain open that you wish to ski. I spent a week there in January, March, and April last season, and they were all great. The first and last weeks were the best in terms of powder. On the March trip, we were between powder dumps but it was still awesome skiing.
post #4 of 16
Originally Posted by atantri View Post
...also, I know early to mid December can be risky for most mountains in the Rockies...when do you most of you consider the "risk" over? Late December? Mid-January? End of January?

You can keep an eye on the "settled snow depth" on Alta's snow report page:

Generally with a 100 inch snow depth everything "can" be open.

After that the only "risk" is the risk of no new snow when you visit.
post #5 of 16
Midweek. Thanks to proximity to SLC, relatively reasonable pricing, and fixed grip lifts, weekends can involve major lift lines.
post #6 of 16
I love Alta but, the crowds can be obnoxious.

In reality Alta has just 4 lifts servicing 2,500 acres. The terrain is out of sight and groovy where as the crowds are simply, well, out of sight.....meaning it's hard to find the end of the lift line. It's sad to me.

Mid week, I would guess, is the best time to be there.
post #7 of 16
On weekdays, I never saw a real lift line except for the early morning crowd lining up at Collins, and that moved quickly. I have never skied there on weekends though. I generally make sure my travel days fall on weekends so I can ski mid-week.
post #8 of 16
Anytime during the season Alta will be good. But the locals come out in force on the weekends.
post #9 of 16
Anytime after Xmass week is usually a good bet.

Collins can be a $hit$how on powder days and holidays, but that's what Wildcat is for. Also - being single really helps cut down on the wait. I really don't think the lines are all that bad at Alta, and if it does bug you there's always Solitude.
post #10 of 16
March and April

also if your a good skier there a better place next door that stay open till may and june
post #11 of 16
16"+ expected Saturday, more each day for four days, then more later in the week. I'd say Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, take a day off with the missus, repeat.
post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks Mr. Crab. Do you have a plane ticket I could have? Boston-SLC please.

I appreciate all of the info. Currently, I have a trip planned to Alta Jan 20-27. Staying in a small studio at the Blackjack Condos.

BushwackerinPA- the cheapest lodging I could find threw in a 5-day pass for free to Alta so I'll definitely be there most of the week and will ski one day at Snowbird somewhere in the middle.
post #13 of 16
atantri, how did you find your lodging? I am also looking into this planning my upcoming trip, but seems difficult to find something reasonable around the mountain.
post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
I basically ran down the list of lodging options on the Alta website and called every one of them. The lodges were filling up fast and were too expensive for me. I ended up finding a good deal at the Blackjack Condos. Website:

They have an online booking tool but I think it is best to call. There were some specials listed on their website like a 7 night free or free lift tickets etc. given certain requirements...but the only way I was able to actually apply them was by talking to them in person.

The two of us are staying in a studio which has a fireplace, full kitchen/bath, and murphy bed. Lodging + lift tickets (5-days) + transfer from airport came out to $2573 or $1286 per person. If we didn't have frequent flier miles for free airline tickets we would probably be staying in SLC/Sandy/Midvale.

If you have a bigger group they have bigger condos which i believe would bring the per person price down substantially.
post #15 of 16
when do you most of you consider the "risk" over?
80+% of Alta skis quite well on a 3-4 foot base. I was there in a lean Christmas (1986) and it was pretty good while Snowbird next door was a minefield for rocks.

By that parameter it depends on your definition of risk. During the extreme western drought of 1976-77 Alta was not OK until February. Every other year of the past 42 it would have been at least as good as I saw in 1986 by Christmas. I'd say the odds of Alta being worth the trip for an out-of-state advanced skier are 75% mid-December but no more than 50% Dec. 1.

Alta is an elite area in this regard. As many of you know, there are many western resorts that I do not advise advanced booking before mid-January.
post #16 of 16
I'm heading up to Alta today, first time this season. Coming in late January is a no-brainer. We didn't get as much out of this storm as expected, but the website forecasts 8-12" for tomorrow.
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