Alta Utah,skiers account

General Feel

Alta Utah has been called a skiing Mecca. As one of the US's oldest resorts, Alta is nothing short of incredible. You don't go to Alta for the cute villages or fancy shopping. You go there to ski – and to ski hard. It's a skier's paradise.

Located outside of Salt Lake City and up the steep Little Cottonwood Canyon, Alta offers some amazing scenery. But one thing that Alta does not allow is snowboarders on the mountain. Alta is one of a few resorts left that ban snowboarders. They feel that snowboarders ruin the snow, and it has caused quite a bit of controversy in the never-ending skier-snowboarder feud.

North Face of Mt Olympus east of Salt Lake City Utah

Skiing Magazine is impressed with Alta too. In the Reader's Choice Awards, Alta was voted #3 Overall, #4 Best steeps, #1 Powder, and #5 Backcountry. All of its rankings are combined with Snowbird because you can literally ski between the two mountains After a week, you may become an Altaholic too.

Quick Facts

  • Season: Mid November to April
  • Average Snowfall: 500 in / 12.7m
  • Acres: 2,200 acres
  • Runs: 116+
  • Lifts: 11
  • Vertical: 2,020 ft/ 615m
  • Elevation: Base – 8,530 ft=2596m/ Summit – 10,550 ft=3215m
  • Terrain
  • Beginner – 25%
  • Intermediate – 40%
  • Expert – 35%


A few things to consider when heading to Alta Utah are:

  • Lift tickets are affordable at almost half the rate of nearby Utah resorts.
  • Customer service isn't exceptional, but is on par with what a major resort should offer.
  • Be sure to check the road report. The only road that leads to Alta often closes due to winter driving conditions.
  • Lifts tend to be slow.

Terrain/Off Piste

Alta allows you to ski just about anywhere. It offers 3 backcountry access gates, if for some reason you choose to explore beyond the fantastic options the resort offers. One of the beauties is that skiers can leave the boundaries anywhere – gate or no gate. The location of Alta Utah ,is what makes it so superb. The Little Cottonwood Canyon blocks most wind, the Great Salt Lake wicks moisture into the air for deep, dry powder, and the snow is relatively stable compared to neighboring Colorado. Alta averages 500 inches of snow. That's roughly 85 inches a month! At that rate, big cliffs in the early season practically disappear.

The terrain at Alta is top notch. Anything you want is there – steeps, glades, flats, groomers, cliffs, steeps, chutes, cornices, moguls, or backcountry. There is also Grizzly Gulch Cat Skiing associated with the resort that will take you untracked powder nearby. As for inbounds, a few places that are a must are Baldy Chutes, Catherine's Area, Rustler Pitches, Glory Hole, Devil's Castle, Wildcat Steeps, or East Castle. Pitches often hit 50 degrees, with an average pitch of 44 degrees. For some terrain it is necessary to hike, but as with most hiking the turns you earn are well worth it.

Family Rating

One of Alta's best-kept secrets is its beginner and intermediate terrain, which covers 65% of the mountain. Most people visit Alta Utah to ski hard, scary terrain, which Alta has in abundance. But there is also plenty of terrain for the whole family.

The kid's ski school is one of the bests. Your kids will have a blast and learn something too. Remember that Alta's base is small. There is no fancy shopping or an abundance of things to do besides ski. Alta does not offer tubing or fun activities that other resorts offer. If you want to take a day off, try visiting Salt Lake City for their tourist attractions.


The nightlife scene at Alta Utah is minimal to say the least. When you are located at the head of an icy, isolated canyon, there is no room to build. If you must have a beer after the ski day try the Peruvian Lodge or Alf's Restaurant.


Due to the size of the resort and its isolated location at the top of the Little Cottonwood Canyon, there are not many eating options. There are only 8 restaurants. On Mountain there are plenty of options. Try the mountain's best French fries at Alfs. Eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the Peruvian Lodge. Get a cup of coffee at Alta Java. Or bring your own lunch and maximize your skiing.


Compiled exclusively for us by Mr DL, a skier of course.

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