“Alta is for Skiers,” is how the slogan goes, and as one of the last three holdouts to not allow snowboarding, it’s something for which the resort receives both praise (from long-time clientele) and criticism (from the snowboarding community). Resort policies aside, there are a few things that can’t be criticized about Alta: It is quite possibly the best place in the country for consistent and deep snowfall, averaging 500 inches a year or mostly light-and-dry continental snow, and it’s managed to retain a small-ski-area feel despite being one of the most recognized resort’s in the world.
Alta’s 2,200 acres, of course, offers much more than just the Rustler ridge. Intermediates tend to flock to Sugarloaf, and the resort offers a Ski Free After 3 program for beginners, which allows free use of the Albion lift after 3 pm everyday. Throw in a joint pass with adjacent Snowbird, and you have more than 4,000 acres to explore.
Contributing to Alta’s classic feel is the fact that all lodging is owned separately from the ski area. This gives each lodge a unique feel and experience. A week at the Peruvian will offer up something different than a week at the Alta Lodge, the Snow Pine, the Gold Miner’s Daughter or the Rustler Lodge. If you’re travelling with the family, or a few families, check out the Alta Chalets for a variety of rental houses, most of which come with live-in chefs and house service. There is also a plethora of nearby lodging in the Salt Lake Valley, however if at all possible, you want to be in the canyon. Little Cottonwood Canyon road is prone to closures, and when that happens, you definitely want to be at the resort, and not waiting on Wasatch Blvd.