Destination: Alta, Utah

destination: alta

Top Elevation:

10,550 feet

Vertical Drop:

2,020 feet

Annual Snowfall:

500 inches

Skiable Acreage:



25% beginner; 40% intermediate; 35% advanced/expert


2 triple chairs, 6 double chairs, 5 surface lifts



Getting There: Alta is 35-45 minutes southeast of Salt Lake City and the airport. From either, take I-15 or I-215 south to I-215 east to Utah 210 (Little Cottonwood Canyon Road). But a car is not necessary; shuttles operate to and from the airport and Salt Lake City and between Alta's two base areas.

Prices: One-day lift pass, $35; half day, $27. Alta Powder Card, $300 for 10-day transferable ticket, one use per day. Seniors 80 and over ski free.

Noteworthy: Alta's justly famous steep powder runs and expansive powder fields are complemented by extensive intermediate and novice terrain. Much of the expert-and-above skiing requires a traverse or hike, which helps keep novices and intermediates out of trouble. One last thing: Alta prohibits snowboarding.

Lodging: Alta's mountain lodges preserve the old traditions: large, communal lobbies, family-style dining, no TVs in rooms. They encourage mingling. A sampling: The Rustler is largest and most updated, with pool and spa. Alta Lodge is more traditional; rooms range from dorms to suites. Peruvian is the most traditional; many of the smallish rooms have shared baths. But the Peruvian also has a big outdoor pool and hot tub. Snowpine is the smallest and most intimate and has the most history-it's the only remnant of the original mining town of Alta. Mountain homes and condos are also available. Info: 888-782-9258.

Dining: Most lodging plans include breakfast and dinner with family-style seating. Of the independent restaurants, Shallow Shaft offers a well-rounded dinner menu; Joanie's serves up beer and pizza.

After-Ski: All manner of skiers descend on the bar in the Alta Lodge, with its deep, comfy seats around a big fire pit. Younger, rowdier crowds hit Goldminer's Daughter and the Peruvian; the latter hosts bands on weekends. The bar at the Rustler has great views of the mountain and great apps.

Salt Lake City: Of course, you can stay in SLC and commute to Alta; the variety of accommodations and diversions expands exponentially. Info: 800-541-4955; 801-521-2822.

Check out Alta Ego in the related links above for SKIING's story on how the new school is getting along at old-fashioned Alta.