Alta (pronounced AL-ta, not AHL-ta) is a skier’s paradise (snowboarding is not allowed) with no end of hidden nooks and crannies to explore. Even locals can uncover new lines. Feeling like a throwback to another era, Alta is one of the oldest major ski resorts in the U.S., yet it remains true to its initial mission: "To provide an authentic skiing experience in a natural mountain environment." And that it does. Offering arguably “the best snow on earth,” Alta has added just the right balance of high speed lifts for convenience but few enough to preserve the powder. Major plus: the terrain variety is exceptional. In fact, we are hard pressed to find other resorts with a comparable choice of wide-open groomers, glades and steep, narrow chutes, all accessible from the same lifts.
Despite its unrivaled terrain and world famous powder, Alta has a friendly vibe and is welcoming to families. The Alf Engen Ski School offers top-notch lessons for beginners through seasoned experts seeking to go off-piste. There are 5 lodges at the base, 4 with ski in ski out access, and the Peruvian Lodge has easy shuttle access. The après scene is social, more focused on board games than live music, with most skiers keen to recount their days on the slopes and turn in early for fresh tracks in the morning. Alta offers 5 or 7 days on the Ikon Pass or 2 or 3 days on the Mountain Collective.
Authentic skier's paradise with some of the best values for lift tickets and lesson packages anywhere
Reliable snowfall with well above average odds of finding powder. Alta averages18 snow storms a year with 12 inches or more and annual snowfall of more than 550 inches (Source: Alta Blog Oct-2018)
Excellent terrain variety (esp. compared to Snowbird)
Seasoned skiers can find incredible slopes alongside families and novices
Unless you are with a local, or know the mountain well, we recommend a guide. Alta becomes more fun the better you know it and the more you are able to experience the hidden nooks and powder stashes. "If you can ski it, you can ski it!"
The Alf Engen Ski School offers reasonable packages to explore the backcountry. Advanced skiers and experts should head to Collins to join a 2.5-hour afternoon workshop for off-trail skiing (think powder, bumps, steeps) for $95
Consider the all-access pass to Alta and Snowbird. It's only $25 more and easy to ski between the two (Sugarloaf Peak connects to Baldy Peak and into Mineral Basin). This allows more variety and visibility and snow conditions can vary. NOTE: Only advanced skiers should access Snowbird from the lower mountain. Blackjack path (from Collins mid-station) is gladed, secluded and narrow in some places
The new Snowpine Lodge is the most luxurious; the Rustler is charming and very traditional for Alta. The other lodges are simple and comfortable. Everything is in walking distance
Be friendly, the crowds are generally chatty and even willing to share info on the best places to ski
Lodging options are limited, and there is not much to do outside of skiing
The après ski scene is contained to a few places. It can be relaxing after a rigorous day on the mountain, but if looking to party, this is not your spot
Snowboarding is prohibited
GETTING TO & AROUND
Alta is a short drive from Salt Lake City. There is no need for a car if you plan to stay within the Alta / Snowbird area - it is compact and free shuttle service is available. Uber / Lyft are available and cost effective. We recommend using shuttle services for driving in the snow.