Skiers looking for incredible snow quality and an emphasis on the art of skiing will find their powder nirvana at Alta Ski Area, Utah. This beautiful ski district in the Wasatch Range will charm your family with its hospitality, amazing snow conditions, and ski-forward ambiance.
If you love to ski, you’ll adore skiing at Alta.
This season, Forbes ranked Alta (along with it neighbor Snowbird) as the #2 Resort in the United States. The major criteria for the ranking was “Awesomeness.”
The snow quality has a lot to do with that awesomeness factor. The snow is powder dry, light, deep and plentiful. You can cruise through knee-deep powder with a gentle swoosh as you cruise your way down. But beware! This is serious ‘ego-snow.’ The type of deep powder snow that trips up skiers who normally power their way down the hill.
2. Challenging Verticals
The tagline ‘Alta is for skiers’ is appropriate. Alta is one of only three resorts in the United States that doesn’t allow snowboarding. With an average seasonal snow fall of 551 inches, or 1,400 cm, great snow quality, and a steep vertical of 2,000+ feet, skiers flock to Alta to enjoy such conditions.
Fans come to ski, ski, and ski again. Seventy-five percent of the terrain is challenging and fabulous for advanced and intermediate skiers. But don’t worry, newbies will find enough beginner runs to keep them happy too, including younger ones just perfecting their snowplows.
If you need to perfect your turns or learn how to ski in deep powder, the Alf Engen Ski School has instructors for every ski ability and age group. You can choose from group, private, children’s or telemark lessons.
Harry, our own private ski instructor, happened to come from my old hometown back east. He had great ski stories, and even better tips for navigating the long runs. He helped me regain my ski groove, and convinced me to trade in my snowboard for skis, twenty years after giving them up. Now that’s effective instruction!
3. Cosy Alta Lodge
Alta Ski Area has a number of base lodges, condos and vacation homes to choose from. We enjoyed the wood-panelled cosiness and amenities of Alta Lodge. With true ski-in, ski-out access, excellent food, friendly staff, and afternoon tea and cookies, Alta Lodge’s traditional ski hotel vibe is a perfect choice for skiing families. There’s a good reason why 70% of guests return each winter.
A stay at Alta Lodge includes a full skier breakfast with hot and cold items, as well as a 4-course dinner. A selection of wine and beer is available for an additional charge. This Lodging Dining Package is unique in Utah. Rooms are cosy and comfortable, with views onto the mountain or slopeside. Each room includes a humidifier, which is a must for the dry air at this altitude. You won’t find televisions, and I don’t think they’re missed. Videos can be signed out at the front desk, and there’s Wifi of course if kids need to ‘self-entertain.’
Their complimentary Kids Club is included in your family’s reservation. For kids 4-12 years old, the Club includes après ski activities, a kids dinner at 5:30, movies, game and crafts in a dedicated Club room. Kids are welcome in the two hot tubs overlooking the ski area, and there’s a hot sauna to warm up any cold fingers and toes.
The Sitzmark Club (adults only) is the perfect après stop after a hard but satisfying day on the slopes. This cosy bar, named for the mark that your behind makes in the snow when you sit or fall on your bum – is filled with happy revelers, sipping a Lavender Hive made with local gin under low wooden ceilings.
4. Ladies Program + Camps
Alta offers an exclusive, ladies-only ski program and camp during the winter season. The three-day, four-night camps are focused on intermediate to advanced skiers for three weeks, while the fourth camp welcomes advanced to expert skiers who are looking for more off-trail ski challenges and the company of other women who share their passion.
The camps include professional instructors from the Alf Engen Ski School, lodging, breakfasts and dinners, lift tickets and demo skis. Yoga classes are optional. They’re a great way for women interested in taking their skiing to a higher level to ski together in a comfortable and supportive environment.
5. Part of the Mountain Collective
Alta Ski Area is part of the Mountain Collective. Guests can purchase 1 Mountain Collective Pass, and use it for two days in each of 14 ski destinations in Canada and the US. Other Collective destinations include Sun Valley, Jackson Hole, Telluride, Ski Banff and Whistler Blackcomb. This is a pretty sweet deal ($419 adult pass, $99 for kids 12 & under), if your family likes to experience a variety of different ski destinations during the winter season.
Located just 40 minutes from the Salt Lake International Airport, Alta is one of the most accessible ski areas in North America. You can fly in from New York or Vancouver and be on the slopes within an hour of grabbing your skis from the baggage cart. It’s a short and scenic drive along the windy road through Little Cottonwood Canyon to the Wasatch Mountain range that hosts both Alta and Snowbird Ski Resort.
If you didn’t pack skis, no problem. Just arrange for Ski Butlers to meet you at the lodge with a variety of rental skis and boots to choose from for your stay. It’s easy peasy! Just call to reserve the gear you need, and Ski Butlers will meet you at Alta Lodge (or several other Utah resorts), size you up in your room, and then pick up your gear on your last ski day. You may never drag your skis through another airport ever again.
Photo Credits: Featured Image, Shutterstock
Disclosure: The Travelling Mom’s visit and stay at Alta Ski Area was graciously hosted by Ski Utah. As allows, my opinion is honest and my own.
Have you every skied at Alta Ski Area or at another ski resort in Utah? Tell us!