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Highway 210, Little Cottonwood Canyon Alta, 84092 us (801) 359-1078 website:
Four feet of powder in three days! Not much more to say.

Reviewed by

Nov 06, 2008

avg. snowfall

500 in

number of runs


base elevation


peak elevation


vertical drop


skiable acres


Alta inspires a near-religious reverence in its throngs of fans: They throw around words like “mecca,” “heaven” and “nirvana” to describe a classic, minimalist, hardcore hill that brings in pilgrims from all over the world who are in search of one simple salvation: powder. Goose-down powder. Lots of it. Drifted onto 2,200 acres of fan-shaped bowls, steep glades, and low-angle fields.

If snow is your obsession, Alta—No. 1 in the category—needs to be at the top of your life list. Readers rave about the “no-frills atmosphere” and “true ski culture,” which translates into cheap lift tickets, funky lodges and a stubborn but celebrated ban on snowboarding (“no knuckledraggers!!”). The terrain ranks high in Challenge (No. 5) and Variety (No. 8)—and low for grooming (No. 31)—adding up to a playground that expert skiers thrive on.

But it’s not a perfect paradise: A lot of great runs are only accessible by hikes or long traverses, some of which are rocky (“Alta eats skis”). With such a go-get-’em skier population, the legendary white stuff often gets ribboned by noon. And extras like nightlife, lodging and dining—because to the Alta diehard, these are extras—tend to be “mediocre” and “claustrophobic.” But let us not forget the most important measure of all: Alta ranked No. 1 for Overall Satisfaction, so the goods must be pretty darn good. In fact, one reader spoke for his fellow disciples when he noted Alta’s biggest weakness: “It’s too far from my house!” —E.S.

What’s New: Improved snowmaking on Sugarloaf for better early-season skiing; continued work on the “miserable” ropetow that connects the base areas.

Mandatory Run: Take High Traverse from Collins out to Eagle’s Nest for a tree shot that plunges to the base.

Don’t Miss: Sit-down lunch at the Collins Grill.

reviews of Alta
My Rating:
I personally love Alta. It's dry, endss fluff is unbeatable, and the best part is... The lack of snowboarders. Try East Greeley on a powder day for some great unthoched stuff. The dining is not superb so I personlly brown bag it.
My Rating:
Been skiing in Utah since 1982. Tried all the resorts. Been getting a season's pass at Alta for many years and hardly ever ski anywhere else now. Sure I'd love to travel everywhere and follow the storms but second best is to nest at my condo in the valley, (finally got a hot tub) and ski Alta as many days as possible. It is home to me now. Got an Alta tatoo on my back - my kids think I'm hardcore. But it is just what I love to do. Anyone who knows the high of skiing 12-16 inches of fluffy hero snow knows what I mean. Be there in one week for the whole winter. Does it get any better even at 60 years of age? Watson's shelter fries (yeah I know its now called collins grill) are the best any where. Just wish people would converse more on the chairs like the old days. Got some 2012 Line SFB at 184 cms and can't wait to shred. Hi T to west rustler is awesome. Lift line is sooo over looked. Sugarloaf has great shots when only 4-6 fall. West Rustler also so overlooked. Great shots everywhere but the best is skiing in the storm. Tourists go in and locals not there in droves. The Bird just doesn't compare. The Cram sucks. Little cloud is awesome but whats with the 30 year old lift servicing the best runs on the hill. Little Cottonwood canyon is stunning.
My Rating:
If there is Heaven on Earth, Alta is it. Living in Utah with all the other ski resorts, Alta is the only place I ski. I can't get enough of this place. I hate when the season is over and can't wait for it to start. I love the pure skiing that it provides. The lack of grooming is my favorite. I am speechless when it comes to describing this place. Words don't do justice to it, you have to experience it.
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