Alta is a resort which rewards those who are willing to earn their turns. If you come here on a powder morning you will be astounded by how fast the powder gets tracked! You have to get there pretty damn early to be close to the front of the line. Alta is definitely a local’s area, the great terrain and cheap lift tickets bring the Salt Lake people in droves.
As the day progresses those who are willing to put in the extra effort will find fresh tracks all day. This is a ski area that is very wide with few lifts linking large expanses of terrain. A great deal of the best skiing is only accessible by a long traverse or slog uphill.
In the morning the best tactic is to take the wildcat lift up to Germania. Ski the terrain off the Germania till its chewed out, then head over to the Greeley areas. Ride the Sugarloaf lift and ask the patrol when they are opening Devil's Castle. If you can stand the hike you will be rewarded. If there are a lot of people ahead of you don't worry just keep traversing till you get your own line. Then spend the rest of your day riding the Supreme lift. Supreme offers hair-raising steeps, ski the runs under the chair and you will see what I am talking about! Take a left after getting off the lift and hike up into Catherine’s area. In Catherine’s you usually can find untracked snow late in the day. You may have to traverse a while to find it but that is the beauty of Alta. If you are willing, it is there!
Alta has a lot of beginner and intermediate terrain. Several rope tows between the Albion and Collins area provide great room to teach the beginner. New this year is a detachable triple in the Albion Basin area, this lift replaces the Sunnyside lift. Alta chose a detachable triple to make the lift experience easier for beginners. Intermediates can find their way down from any lift in the resort. Alta is a great resort where beginner/intermediate skiers can get to the top of the mountain and see fantastic scenery. Be sure to check out view of Timpanogos from the top of Sugarloaf!
Although the best tactic for Alta is the powerbar in the coat lunch, you can get some good food here. For a mid-mountain meal stop in at the Collin’s grill. The Goldminers Daughter is probably the best bar in Alta. The nightlife in either Snowbird or Alta leave a lot to be desired. The Little Cottonwood Canyon is not the place to go if you want to party the night away. The Canyon Inn located at the base of the Big Cottonwood is a fun place to stop for an after ski drink.
At $42.00 for a lift ticket Alta is one of the best bargains in ski world! Hopefully your day looks like this...
Alta Snow Report
Utah Atlas and Gazetteer
Backcountry Skiing Utah
First Tracks: A Century of Skiing in Utah
Hidden Salt Lake City and Beyond: Including Park City, Deer Valley, Alta and Snowbird
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