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Ski Resorts
Alta Ski Resort
Alta Ski Resort...A place for skiers

One of the few remaining ski resorts in America that cater to skiing purists (i.e. no snowboarding is allowed,) Alta Ski Resort has retained a "small resort" atmosphere with some "big resort" amenities.

High speed quad lifts and an electronic ticketing system (new in 2007) speed up the process of getting onto the slopes, but skiers can still find themselves all alone in some of the best powder on earth. In fact, one of Alta’s claims to fame is a ski-anywhere policy on it’s abundance of off-piste areas.

As part of the Snowbird-Alta area consistently rated number one in ski areas in North America by Skiing Magazine, Alta is a favorite of visitors and locals alike. (In 2010, Alta was awarded the number one resort for all-around satisacion.) Those who ski Alta, love the resort with a cult-like ferocity. On a fresh powder day, skiers line up waiting for the lifts to start so they get to areas like “The Ballroom” and “High Rustler” 'and have a go at un-groomed powder, hoping for the coveted “face shot” (powder blowing in your face).

Stats: The resort's statistics include 2,200 of ski-able acres, 116+ runs (with 25% Beginner, 40% Intermediate and 35% Advanced), 2 high speed detachable quads and an average snowfall of 500 inches.

Ticket Options: A variety of lift ticket options include all-area day or afternoon half-day, beginner area only, or an Alta-Snowbird pass (ski both resorts with one pass). Or, you can “Ski Free after Three” (no cost, no blackout dates, from 3 pm to 4:30 pm daily) using the Sunnyside lift.

Lessons: The Alf Engen Ski School offers several afternoon workshops specializing in conditions of the day. Learn to ski, or hone your technique with classes from “First Time on Skis” to “Black Diamond Challenge” and everything in between (even multi-day camps and specialty classes geared to kids, women or the telemark skier.)

Shopping: Several ski and accessory shops offer anything from Alta logo T-shirts or quality outerwear to the latest technology in equipment to postcards and sunscreen.

Good Eats: Several dining options await the cold, tired and hungry skier, from a quick hot cup of Joe to an elegant sit down dinner in Collin’s Grill (top floor of Watson’s Shelter, mid-mountain near the Collins lift.) The several restaurants and cafés include two on-mountain restaurants where you can have a burger and an unbeatable view. And, they use trans-fat free oil, so you can enjoy some of the best French fries around without the guilt of eating un-healthily.

Accommodations: Lodging is available at four lodges which offer the convenience of ski-in/ski-out closeness and a variety of condos or vacation homes. Amenities include outdoor heated pools and hot tubs, a steam room and exercise equipment and lounge areas with fireplaces and a lively bar. Vacation packages are available with deals on rooms combined with lift tickets.

Extras: There is an onsite medical clinic as well as a day care center (for those tots that are too young or otherwise unable to ski). Photographers are available at certain times at the top of Sugarloaf, Sunnyside, and Collins chair lifts. There is no shooting fee or obligation to buy and you can have your picture taken and then view those pictures at the end of the day.

Going Green: In recent years, in keeping with its dedication to sustainable environmental practices, Alta has taken extra steps in going green. They recycle everything that can be recycled (from plastic and aluminum to cardboard and paper), use energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs and are renovating with low-flow toilets (among many other small steps that add up to making a big difference.) The resort is the first and only ski area honored by Salt Lake City's environmental e2 program that recognizes businesses for their efforts to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

Let’s Ski: But the really fun part, the really important part of the Alta experience is the skiing! With a motto of “Alta is for Skiers”, you can be sure fun will be had by all.

Programs: A few special (free) programs await skiers who want to meet other like-minded people. “Ski with the Girls” is an informal group meeting at Baldy Brews (the coffee shop on the ground floor of Watson’s Shelter) at 10am on Tuesdays. Hook up with “Ski with a Ranger” (also free, weekends and holidays) and ski down a groomed slope while discussing Alta’s history or environmental issues. Another informal group calls themselves the “Wild Old Bunch” and meets at 11am at Alf’s Restaurant. Anybody can join up with the group and ski with some of Alta’s regulars.

Beyond the Lifts: Besides lift skiing, Alta offers cross-ountry skiing on a five km groomed track. Or, try your skills at skiing gates with either recreational racing (Fridays and Saturdays for $3 a run or $10 for unlimited runs) or the Town Race Series (an 8-race series with great prizes.)

A Few More Facts:

  • A season pass also gets you a free ride on UTA’s Ski Bus. Even if you don’t get a free ride, taking the bus is not only good for the environment, it also means you have less stress driving in bad weather or crowded road conditions, and the bus drops you off right near the lift.
  • There is only one road in to and out of Little Cottonwood Canyon. In the winter, there is often heavy snowfall that could result in travelers being stuck for several hours or overnight until the road is cleared or for avalanche control.
  • Don’t miss their pre-season sales where you can get deals on previous year’s equipment and apparel for pennies.

Hours of Operation for the 2010-2011 Season:

  • Nov 19-Apr 25:
  • Daily 9:15 AM -4:30 PM


    Alta Ski Resort
    State Highway 210
    (P.O. Box 8007)
    Alta, UT 84092

Backroads of Utah
by Theresa A. Husarik

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