Alf Engen Ski School
WHY IT'S GREAT Alta is all about powder and learning to ski it. The ski school is casual and informal, much like its congenial founder, Alf Engen, a famous ski jump champ and rolly-polly powder skier. The unofficial list of Best Powder Skiers of All Time, including Junior Bounous, consists entirely of Alta skiers. Like Taos, Alta feels remote, and it enjoys a stellar staff of instructors with specialized teaching skills. If you are intimidated and/or struggle in powder, spend a few days in Alta: These guys will straighten you out.
SCHOOL PHILOSOPHY "Alta believes in facilitating memorable experiences and building long-term relationships with guests. Ski school is under no pressure to develop 'quick fix' or 'guaranteed success' to entice people to take lessons. Skiing is about exhilaration and challenge. Rewards come from taking time to enjoy the journey."
DISTINGUISHING QUALITIES Alta has a small (fewer than 100), fully certified PSIA staff with an average teaching experience of 10 years per instructor. Sixty-five percent of students take advanced classes. This school bases its culture on honest value. Little Cottonwood Canyon, where Alta sits, arguably enjoys the best combination of terrain and snowfall on earth.
LEADER David "Hoopa" Robinson, Director
WHAT'S TAUGHT American Teaching System and Alf Engen Powder Technique
A GOOD DEAL Diamond Challenge, an in-area guide service for experts only. Cost: $50 for the morning session, $40 in the afternoon. The Alta Powder Pros forte is combining proven technique with the psychology of deep-snow skiing.