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Alta Ski Resort Guide

Alta ski resort is legendary for its steep terrain and deep snow. Located at the far end of Little Cottonwood Canyon, Alta receives heaps of light Utah powder every winter (551” annually!). One of the few skier-only mountains in the United States, Alta is home of many professionals and diehard local skiers. One of the classic ski areas in the United States. Alta should be on the bucket list of every skier.

Mountain Overview

Alta Ski Area

Alta has some solid beginner infrastructure, however, the advanced and extreme terrain is where the ski area really shines. It’s pretty hard to go wrong here. Wildcat, on the skier’s left side of the mountain is an iconic lift that accesses some really fun tree skiing, as well as Alta’s “terrain park.” There are no rails or big booters here, however, just natural jibs and built up lips. Watch the locals tossing big tricks, or follow them yourself. There is still plenty of powder for skiers who aren’t so into getting airborne, the trees out here hold fun stashes after snowstorms.

There is even more great terrain off of the Collins lift. Head down the high traverse and drop on either side for some great pow turns, parts of this area get skied out relatively quickly, but is lots of fun. Don’t stop on the traverse though, it’s a high speed zones, and there are locals that will not stop if you’re in their way. There are a lot of hidden gems in here that can be a bit tricky to access. Make friends with a local to get the inside info.

Further out to the skier’s right side of the mountain, the Supreme lift serves up more fresh powder and fun skiing. The Catherine’s area is a short hike from the lift and a great area for advanced skiers who not not looking for the most extreme terrain Alta has to offer.

Mountain Stats & Alta Trail Map

A Basin Trail Map
 Total Skiable Acres 2,200 Beginner Terrain 25%
 Base Elevation 8,530' Intermeidate Terrain 40%
 Summit Elevation 10,550' Advanced Terrain 35%
 Vertical Drop2,020'Runs116+
Total Lifts11Average Annual Snowfall551"

Travel Information & Directions

By car, Alta is just a 40 minute drive from Salt Lake City. Skiers don’t even have to drive to get to Alta ski area, however, the Utah Transit Authority runs two separate busses that bring riders to the slopes. The 994 route runs from downtown Sandy, while the 953 route runs from Salt Lake City. After big snowstorms, the Little Cottonwood Canyon can be closed for avalanche control work. Some skiers will head up very early in the morning to get to the slopes before the canyon closes in the morning. UDOT is very good at getting the road back open quickly most of the time.
Travel Resources:

Travel Directions Alta
UTA Ski Bus
Road Conditions

Lodging Information

While Alta is an easy place to day trip to from Salt Lake City, there are several lodging options in Little Cottonwood Canyon. These various lodges are great places to stay for visiting skiers and those looking for quick access to the slopes. The Peruvian, Rustler and Snowpine Lodges are favorites of visitors. Be nice to the staff and you may get the insider tips on where to ski, odds are these guys and gals are out there shredding every day.
Alta Lodging Overview

Our Favorite Jackets For Alta
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Local Food Picks

Some of the bars at Alta have garnered a reputation as big as the skiing itself. The Goldminer’s Daughter is a classic apres ski bar, where your bartender may very well be a professional skier, or at least they probably ski like one. The Peruvian is another local favorite, a buy a beer for a local and you may have just paid your guide to Alta’s secret stashes, that is if you can keep up with your new friend. The various lodges around the base area serve dinner, the Snowpine’s dinner is one of the more extravagant and tasty.
Alta Dining:

The Goldminer's Daughter
The Peruvian
The Snowpine

Our Favorite Skis For Alta
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Where to Find Lift Tickets to Alta?

Alta lift tickets aren’t the cheapest, however, they are cheaper than ski areas like Park City. Buying your lift ticket online in advance is a good way to save a little bit of money. For a little bit more money, a ticket that includes Alta and nextdoor Snowbird.
Alta Lift Tickets

Alta Weather Information

Alta receives a huge annual average snowfall of 551”, that’s nearly 46 feet of snow. With its location high in Utah’s Wasatch Mountains, this snow falls light and deep, perfect for powder skiing. Wind and winter weather can make for some bone chilling days, so make sure to layer up. The sun also makes plenty of appearances throughout the year, however. If you’re lucky you’ll get a combination of the dry Wasatch powder, and the Utah sunshine.
Alta Weather Resources

Alta Ski Report
Alta Weather Resources

It’s certainly not a secret that Alta is one of the best ski areas in Utah, and the Unites States as a whole. The awesome terrain, and even better snow draws in some of the best skiers in the world every year, from professionals to the hardworking ski bums that serve visitors at the area’s lodges and restaurants. The base lodges make for an awesome destination, while proximity to Salt Lake City means easy access, or planning for a multiple resort trip. Plan to knock this one off your bucket list ASAP!

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