Alta is a ski resort in the western United States. It is situated in the town of Alta, Utah, in the Wasatch Mountains. Alta’s skiable area is 2,200 acres (8.9 km2), with a base height of 8,530 feet (2,600 meters) and a summit elevation of 10,550 feet (3,216 meters), a vertical gain of 2,020 feet (616 m).
Alta is one of the country’s oldest ski resorts (it began in 1939), and it has retained some of its more traditional traditions, the most prominent of which being the restriction of snowboarders. Alta has preserved what some refer to as the “spirit of skiing.” Without real estate development on the mountain and a dearth of corporate clutter, one can only picture the thrills experienced by the pioneers of skiing when the natural beauty of the region was mostly unobstructed.
Alta may be the spot for you if you’re seeking for a ski getaway away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Alta, perched high above the Salt Lake desert in Little Cottonwood Canyon, is home to some of the world’s greatest skiing. Each winter, the 500″+ of snow that falls in Alta is among the driest on the planet. Indeed, the powder is so light and fluffy that Alta even publishes the snowfall’s water content. “Cold fog” snow is the norm here, and a skier would have to be very unfortunate to spend an entire week at Alta without experiencing at least one snowfall.
The Alta and Snowbird resorts now offer the Alta Snowbird Pass, which enables skiers to visit both ski slopes through the new high-speed quad in Mineral Basin, which lifts skiers to the saddle dividing Alta’s Albion Basin and Snowbird’s Mineral Basin and connecting the two resorts.
While the combined ski slopes of Little Cottonwood Canyon are rightfully recognized to have the greatest powder snow in the United States, Alta may not be the spot for you if you’re seeking for plenty of exciting nightlife. The lodges are traditional, comfortable meeting spaces for family and friends, but they are not particularly well-suited for those seeking dancing and drinking. Alta’s ski season lasts five months, from mid-November to mid-April. Take note that although Alta does not permit snowboarding, adjacent Snowbird does.
Alta info card
|Location||Utah, United States|
|Nearest city||Sandy, Utah, U.S.|
|Coordinates||40°34′51″N 111°38′14″WCoordinates: 40°34′51″N 111°38′14″W|
|Vertical||2,020 ft (616 m)|
|Top elevation||10,550 ft (3,216 m)|
|Base elevation||8,530 ft (2,600 m)|
|Skiable area||2,200 acres (8.9 km2)|
40% more difficult
35% most difficult
|Lift system||7 chairlifts|
– 2 hi-speed quads
– 1 hi speed triple
– 1 fixed triple
– 3 fixed doubles
5 surface tows.
|Total Piste||51 km|
|Longest Run||2 km|
|Snowfall||514 in (42.8 ft; 13.1 m)|
Skiing in Alta
Alta ski area is one of the top ski resorts in the United States. From novice routes at Albion Base to black diamond bowls off Sugarloaf, Alta offers a wide range of terrain, breathtaking views, and excellent dry snow quality.
Alta is renowned for its diversity of terrain, as well as for its breathtaking landscape and dry snow quality. There is a good deal of beginner and lower intermediate terrain, as well as several steep chutes and powder bowls that need some hiking to reach. The majority of beginning routes are accessible from Albion Base, with intermediates spread across the mountain and several excellent expert black diamond bowls accessible via the Sugarloaf quad lift.
Any discussion about Alta must begin and conclude with the subject of snow. Each year, 500″+ of it falls, and it is some of the lightest, fluffiest snow on the planet. “Cold Smoke” is a word that is often used to describe the snow in this area, although it does not do it credit. Indeed, the snow is so light that Alta reports not only the total snowfall in inches, but also the snow’s water content. Anything less than 6-7% is considered very dry. Alta often recorded snowfall in the 4% to 5% level, which is on the verge of vapor. Skiing Alta’s soft snow is a true delight for skiers of all abilities.
Snowbird, the neighboring ski resort, is the more aggressive of the two, however Alta’s ski slope still offers enough of challenges for skilled skiers.
Alta Skiing for Beginners
Alta’s novice skiing is centered on three chairs, the Albion, Sunnyside, and Cecret, located on the mountain’s looker’s left side. rooked Mile is perfect for novices in Alta since it allows them to ski at a higher elevation while still enjoying mountain vistas.
Skiers with less experience may reach the mountain via the Albion, Sunnyside, or Cecret lifts. Sunnyside’s triple chair serves a mile-long (1.6-kilometer) beginner path formerly titled Never Sweat and renamed Crooked Mile, which allows learners to ski at altitude and take in the mountain vistas. Each day after 3 p.m., beginners may ride the Sunnyside chairlift for free.
A nice novice day would be to take the Albion double chair and ski down Crooked Mile to the Sunnyside triple chair base, then take Sunnyside up and ski down the Sunnyside green path to Home Run, returning to the Sunnyside lift base. Then ascend Sunnyside once again, crossing across to the Cecret double chair along Dipsy Doodle. Ski down Rabbit or Sweet ‘n’ Easy from the Cecret lift to connect with Home Run down to the base.
It’s worth mentioning that Alta’s yearly snowfall of 500 inches might provide a double-edged sword for newcomers. Typically, the surface is powdery and soft. However, packing all that soft, dry snow might be challenging. As a consequence, the snow is more prone to being chopped up. This means that although specialists may rejoice at the prospect of new snow, some novices may complain that the skiing is more difficult than anticipated owing to the less flat surface.
Alta Intermediate Skiing
Intermediate skiers will like the trip up Supreme and the 360-degree views of Alta and the Heber Valley from the summit.
Alta’s topography is judged adequate for intermediates on 40% of its terrain, and there is sufficient to challenge expert intermediates and encourage beginner intermediates.
Intermediate skiers may reach intermediate and advanced slopes via the Sugarloaf quad. From Sugarloaf, ski the front of Alta by returning via Waldren’s Way, Devil’s Elbow, and Razor Back to the Supreme lift. From there, take the Supreme triple chair to some excellent blue and black diamond terrain. Alternatively, if you have the proper pass, you may descend from Sugarloaf to Snowbird’s Mineral Basin.
The ascent of Supreme is an adventure in and of itself. From the summit, you’ll get a 360-degree panorama of Alta and the stunning Heber Valley. From here, popular intermediate and difficult routes include So Long, Big Dipper, and No 9. Alta’s front side is served by the Wildcat and Collins lifts, which give additional blue trails. Aggie’s Alley, the Meadow, and Corkscrew are all accessible from the top of Collins. The Wildcat lift ascends to the summit of the Peruvian Ridge, providing access to mostly challenging terrain. Aggie’s Alley is a secondary access point off Peruvian Ridge.
Almost every path at Alta connects to an easy way down, allowing apprehensive intermediates to challenge themselves in the knowledge that an escape route is nearby.
Alta Skiing Expert
Alta’s excellent skiing is unmatched. Alta’s black diamonds are among the most enjoyable in the United States, with 500″ of snow and world-class steeps.
Alta’s advanced and expert skiers have plenty of options with 35% of the mountain devoted to black diamond tracks. The Collins quad allows you access to a broad range of challenging terrain. Race Course, Sunspot, Yellow Trail, Greeley Bowl, Lone Pine, and Alf’s High Rustler are all for advanced skiers.
Nina’s Curve, Schuss Gully, and Collins Face are among the difficult paths located underneath the Germania triple chair. Skiers may pick challenging tracks down Peruvian Ridge, Punch Bowl, Rock Gully, Wildcat Face, and the Westward Ho Area from the summit of Wildcat (which connects with Snowbird resort). Alf’s High Rustler has the most difficult moguls; Gun Sight has the steepest slope; and Greeley Bowl and Yellow Trail have the greatest powder.
Expert skiers visiting Alta are strongly urged to do the short climb to Baldy Chutes and Devil’s Castle. The chutes, which are popular with locals, are steep, technical, and sparkling in new snow.
The Alf Engen Ski School offers telemarking and high-altitude ski touring, while Wasatch Powderbird Guides offers heli-skiing.
Backcountry skiing at Grizzly Gulch
Since 2003, guided backcountry skiing (and boarding) in Grizzly Gulch, next to the ski slope, has been available. It’s a one-of-a-kind guided off-trail skiing trip. Check-in begins in the Albion base area and is followed by an orientation and continental breakfast at the Albion Grill. Then take a heated snowcat trip to the 10,500-foot summit of Grizzly Gulch (3,200 m).
The guided off-piste tracks send skiers and snowboarders down pitches with an average vertical drop of 1,500 feet (457 m). The group may consist of up to 11 skiers and snowboarders, as well as two guides. Snowcat skiing is only recommended for experienced and expert skiers and riders with significant off-trail skiing ability and experience. Powder skis are advised.
Alta, like other Utah ski resorts, prides itself on having “The Greatest Snow on Earth,” a boast that is undoubtedly justified. Ski Alta for the sheer delight of both amount and quality of powder, in part because Little Cottonwood Canyon traps all the dry snow dumped by the Lake Effect. Late February to early March is a particularly lovely time to visit Alta (Utah normally does not get very much snow in January), but any time is fine.
Many of the hills face north, which preserves the snow’s purity. The routes wide skiers’ left off the Supreme lift are an exception (e.g. Challenger). When we went, it had devolved into a ferocious ice mess.
Given the steep pitches and abundant snow, there is an avalanche danger when skiing Alta, and it wouldn’t hurt for anyone tackling the steeps to carry avalanche protection equipment. However, you feel secure since the ski patrollers are very cautious and experienced.
The community retains a strong sense of tradition. Alta refers to itself as a “ski area” rather than a “resort,” which represents the resort’s unpretentious atmosphere. While the amenities and nightlife are limited, they are more than suitable for families and anyone looking to concentrate their efforts on skiing. Alta does not appeal well to the Prada-wearing type, with minimal shops and day spas. Park City is ideal for this group, leaving the snow at Alta to the serious skiers. Additionally, in comparison to the Park City slopes (Park City, Deer Valley, Canyons), Alta ski services like as ski school and equipment rentals are affordable.
Alta’s après-ski scene, restaurants, and activities
Alta’s allure stems in part from the laid-back, carefree attitude prevalent throughout the ‘village.’ The mountain will fatigue you, and at the end of the day, all you’ll want is a swim, a drink or two, and some good meal before retiring.