Alta is a snowboard-free ski resort; however, for skiers, it boasts incredible powder runs at the top of the mountain and good beginner runs towards the bottom. There are 54 pistes running down a respectable 616-metre vertical, a terrain park, and excellent facilities.
Alta has two base stations with essential services and facilities, including a ski school and child centre at Albion base. The classic ski lodges at the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon have ski-in/ski-out accessibility and provide the resort lodgings and après-ski. There are additional rooms nearby, and Salt Lake City has an array of world class accommodation.
The 54 pistes at Alta ski resort are divided into 25 per cent for beginners, 40 per cent for intermediates and 35 per cent for expert skiers. There are plenty of gullies for experts to explore, as well as wide, groomed slopes for novices; the longest slope is 5.5kms. Additionally, there are five kilometres of groomed tracks for skating and classic cross-country skiing, as well as a Nordic Centre.
Other winter activities and facilities at Alta ski resort include: a terrain park with jumps, luge, box and rails; public and corporate racing; torchlight parades; heli-skiing; and guided snowcat skiing. There are eight restaurants offering French and American fare, and the après-ski is limited to the base lodges.
The mid-November to late April ski season at Alta resort has great snow throughout the season; rates change around the high season holiday weeks. The most practical travel option for getting here is to fly to Salt Lake City and, if you’re staying in one of the resort lodges, transfer for free via shuttle bus. Public shuttles are also available if you’re staying in the city.
Alta ski resort is located in Little Cottonwood Canyon, 40kms to the southeast of Salt Lake City, and is convenient to get to, whether by car or public transport. Salt Lake City is well-connected by road and rail, and the quickest way to Alta is to fly to Salt Lake and transfer
by shuttle bus.
Salt Lake City International Airport is a major airline hub, and flights arrive from across the globe. Those who are booked into one of the lodges should telephone ahead and arrange for a free pick-up by shuttle bus; public shuttles are also available and the UTA light rail and ski bus combine to offer alternative transport.
If travelling from the airport by car, take I-80 and I-215, exiting at junction 6, from where highways 190 and 210 go to the resort. If you’re self-driving from elsewhere, the east-west (New York to San Francisco) I-80 runs through the city as does the north-south (Alberta (Canada) to Los Angeles) I-15. Both interstates connect with numerous other interstates and highways for straightforward travel.
Travelling by train to Salt Lake City is also efficient, and there is an Amtrak service from the west coast (the California Zephyr), arriving in Salt Lake at 04:00, and a service from Chicago that arrives at midnight.
By bus, there are two Greyhound services a day from San Francisco to Salt Lake City (01:00 and 13:00 departures), taking about 16 hours, and three a day from Chicago (one morning and two afternoon departures), taking a day and a half.
Located in Little Cottonwood Canyon, to the southeast of Salt Lake City, Alta ski resort is a paradise for experienced skiers looking for powder and is known for its terrain of trees and sheltered gullies. Beginners are also welcome here but, unfortunately, snowboards are banned, which is somewhat ironic as Alta also boasts a terrain park.
The ski area covers the front and back sides of the mountain and two base stations. Wildcat base area is the first one you reach and has basic facilities, including a ticket office, restaurants, restrooms and ski patrol; while Albion base houses the children’s centre, ski school, restaurant, and retail and rental operations.
Accommodation is in traditional rustic lodges at Alta resort, with five base lodges offering ski in/ski out accessibility; vacation homes and condominiums are also nearby. Additional lodging and big city entertainment is in nearby Salt Lake City. The self-contained lodges offer the perfect ski experience and come with après-ski restaurants and bars.
Alta ski resort consists of 54 well-groomed trails as well as plenty of ungroomed powder fields. The longest stretch is 5.5kms and the emphasis is on intermediates and experts. Thirteen lift systems, including high-speed quads, have an hourly uplift capacity of over 11,000 people and operate over a 616-metre vertical to supply the pistes.
For alternative skiing and for snowboarding, Snowbird resort is next door, and there is some wonderful driving from the towering Timpanogos to the low shrub valleys of the region. Salt Lake City is the gateway to 10 national parks and is a thriving cultural centre, offering fine dining, noted attractions, historic sites and great shopping.
The ski season at Alta ski resort runs from mid-November to late April, with abundant snowfalls throughout. The best way to get here is to fly to Salt Lake City and transfer by shuttle bus or taxi; most lodges at the resort will transfer you for free.