Top 10: Off-Piste
Alta, Little Cottonwood Canyon’s skier-only gem, claims one of the most loyal followings in all of skidom, who never fail to give this mountain high praise for its tough terrain, plentiful powder, easy access, and great value. New snowmaking machines will ideally get the slopes open around Thanksgiving, and the resort plans to keep the lifts spinning into May again if the snow gods provide. Don’t miss the high-speed Supreme chair, which services some of the best terrain in the West.
Alta is on the Ikon Pass and the Mountain Collective. Ikon Pass holders get 7 days with no blackouts; Ikon Base Plus pass holders get 5 blackout-restricted days. Alta is not accessible on the Ikon Base pass. Mountain Collective pass holders get 2 days at the resort, with 50 percent off additional lift tickets.
From lodging and and dining to off-slope activities and local tips, here are the SKI editors’ picks for what to do in Alta, Utah.
Alta’s big news is that the Sunnyside and Albion lifts are being replaced with a high-speed six-pack. The fixed-grip lifts served the ski area’s beginner terrain, and the higher capacity allows for the two lifts to be reduced to a single chairlift.
Much higher up on the slopes, the resort is installing towers equipped with remote explosive devices, which will make for safer, faster, and more efficient openings of the steep terrain on Mount Baldy, including Baldy Chutes, Ballroom, Main Street, and Tombstone.
Finally, the resort is now requiring $25 parking reservations on Fridays in addition to Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. Check the details here before you go.
This season, the Alf Engen Ski School debuts two-hour afternoon adult lessons for beginners through intermediate skiers for $114.
Sitting at the top of the canyon, Catherine’s Area traps the most powder in Little Cottonwood, making it the place to find powder stashes days after winter storms.
Seniors ages 80 years old and up have earned the privilege of skiing for free. We salute that.
Head to the P-dog to take a shot-ski, listen to live music, and bump elbows with the locals. You might even run into your favorite pro skier.
We’ll spare you the details about how amazing the fare is at Collins Grill and leave it at this: the Heart of Darkness Cupcake. Trust us, it’s worth every calorie.
Ski the Alta-Snowbird Connect via Keyhole or Mineral Basin and take in the giant scale of Little Cottonwood Canyon’s high peaks.
Ski to Alta Java at the Albion base for a Susie’s Special (dirty chai, extra espresso, extra love, and semi-secret ingredients) before taking another Highboy lap.
Alta’s iconic Highboy run (officially called Alf’s High Rustler) is T2B—top-to-bar, that is—meaning you can ski the advanced, ungroomed run all the way to the deck at Goldminer’s Daughter.
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