ALTA RESORT REVIEW
Alta Expert Itinerary
Laps on Collins, Ballroom, Wildcat, High Traverse, Sugarloaf, and Supreme Bowl
From Wildcat Base – Collins Laps – Ballroom – Fred's Trees – Snack @ Baldy Brews – Wildcat Trees – Lunch @ Watson Shelter – High Traverse – Devil's Castle – Supreme & Catherine's Area – Return to Base
1. 9:15 AM – Dive into some of the World's Best Powder Skiing & Iconic Steeps on Alta High Traverse & High Rustler
The WILDCAT BASE AREA primarily services Blue and Black terrain while providing quick and easy access to the iconic steeps off of the Alta High Traverse and High Rustler. Begin your day here with a ride on Collins. If there is fresh snow, don't hesitate in moving toward the gates of Ballroom Traverse to access the huge, treeless bowl beneath Mount Baldy. If you get lucky, you’ll enjoy some of the best powder skiing in the world just here.
If a warm-up run is warranted, or Ballroom is undergoing avalanche mitigation, take the wide Main Street trail to orient yourself on this side of the mountain. Main Street will merge into Mambo and guide skiers past the Collins Mid-station.
From here, head left toward Collin’s Face, a dauntingly steep slope that can be groomed or dotted with shapely moguls. When conditions aren’t powdery, this run often holds nice, edgeable chalk snow or you can dip left into the trees framing the Wildcat Lift.
Bag another couple laps and be sure to investigate the sheltered snow in Fred's Trees, a stand of perfectly placed conifers along the top of the Collins Lift line. This is one of the best places to hang out if visibility is poor and you’ll never grow bored of exploring all the nooks and crannies. When returning to Collins, avoid the cluster of Corkscrew by dipping into the off-piste gullies of Nina’s Curve or Schuss Gully.
Classic Alta powder - "Alta Magic"
2. 10:30 AM – Hydration / Caffeination Break at Baldy Brews
Take a moment for a hydration/coffee break at the slopeside Baldy Brews, located in the bottom level of the Watson Shelter adjacent to the Collins Mid-station. Here you’ll find friendly local faces, delicious espresso, and lots of sweet treats. Hot chocolate connoisseurs won’t want to miss the opportunity to try the Italian Hot Chocolate.
3. 10:50 AM – Wildcat
From Baldy Brews, return to the WILDCAT BASE AREA via Nina’s Curve or Schuss Gully. Know that many a pro skier got their start in the mini-golf zones beneath the Wildcat Lift. This area is characterized by benches of short steep shots, powdery tree runs, sweeping gullies, and endless powder stashes. The terrain is very playful and all funnels back down to the base of the Wildcat Lift. This slower double chair is not a great bet for intermediates as it services primarily ungroomed black diamond terrain.
If you’re hugging the resort boundary lift line to the far skier’s left, keep an eye out for traverses near the bottom so you don’t have to walk back up the groomed cat road to the lift. Though there are not many named runs here, you can spend several laps and never ski the same line in Wildcat Bowl. Enjoy the classic tree skiing and take 2 - 3 laps here before bagging Stimulation down to the Watson Shelter for lunch at Collins Grill.
4. 12 PM – Lunch at Watson Shelter (see more on lunch options)
There are two eateries in the Watson Shelter besides the Baldy Brews café. For cafeteria seating and your standard ski resort fare, climb the steps to level 2 and the Watson Café. If you crave something a little fancier, keep climbing up to the 3rd floor and the swanky Collins Grill.
5. 12:45 PM – The Steeps of High Rustler (aka "High Boy)
After lunch, board Collins Lift at mid-station to swiftly return to elevation. This provides quick access to Alta’s famed High Traverse (the "High T"). Bag any of the lines off the High Traverse and you're bound to be grinning. However, if you want to ski Alta’s quintessential line, you'll have to navigate the entire length of the “High T”, wrap around the backside of GREELY BOWL and locate the tricky-to-find entrance to High Rustler. When in doubt, ask a local, but maybe call the run “High Boy”, as it is more fondly known. This nearly 45-degree pitch will dish up over 1,000 feet of high-adrenaline vertical.
6. 1:15 PM – Sugarloaf & Devil's Castle
After a lap or two off of the High Traverse it will be prime time to explore Alta’s eastern boundaries. Catch one last ride on Collins to take the Devil’s Way to Devil's Elbow groomer down to the Sugarloaf Lift. Pause near the ski patrol shack to determine if the red gates at the entrance to The Yellow Trail, on the skiers left, are open. If they are, skip Devil’s Way and enjoy this huge expanse of open snow. Then, use Glory Hole and Glory Gulch to arrive at the base of the Sugarloaf Lift.
Peering over the edge of "High Boy"
There are a handful of steep, off-piste black diamond pitches off of Sugarloaf, though the crown jewel of this area is the traverse** out to Devil’s Castle. If there is fresh snow and this highly-controlled avalanche area is open, don’t skip the opportunity to experience this iconic terrain. If Devil’s Castle is closed for business, take some time to explore Cecret Saddle to Amen or Extrovert. There is also a very fun and stimulating blue groomer off Sugarloaf, aptly dubbed the Roller Coaster.
**A note here: If your pace along the traverse is resulting in a stack up of locals, politely step uphill a few paces and allow them to pass, everyone will be far happier for this small act of courtesy.
7. 1:45 - 3:30 PM – Supreme Bowl & Catherine's Area
Cap off your day with SUPREME; use the Crecret Cutoff cat track to board the new Supreme Lift. As the lift climbs, examine the options beneath. If the nearby steeps to the left (Piney Glade, Sidewinder, and the Spiney Chutes Area) look intimidating or rocky, make a plan to take a short 2 to 3-minute hike into Catherine's Area which encompasses more gentle terrain and harbors far fewer cliff bands. Catherine's is classic Alta with its undulating and powdery pitches. Fear not as you head further into Catherine's, though it may feel isolated, all of the terrain funnels back into a gully which terminates in a cat track leading back to the Supreme Lift.
If hiking isn’t on the docket, head right along the cat track at the top of Supreme and the Upper Big Dipper groomer. There are several groomers in this area that are fun to explore and are a little less demanding on shaky legs.
Entrance to Catherine's Area
Be warned that the shots under the Supreme Lift line contain many cliffs and tight chutes. If you are not comfortable in this terrain it is best to steer clear, however for this reason, there are often lurking powder stashes. When you’ve had your fill on Supreme, maintain your speed along the Rabbit cat track and Home Run to return to the ALBION BASE AREA. Finish up here or use the Transfer Tow to return to the WILDCAT BASE AREA. Soak up the stunning views of this majestic canyon and revel in the history and that special feeling we call “Alta Magic.”
Dump your ski boots and make for après, but don’t forget to pound some water at this high elevation! If you’re feeling swanky, head to the brand-new Gulch Pub for craft cocktails in the completely rebuilt and renovated Snow Pine Lodge.