Alta Ski Area

Ski resorts in USA
The independent and family-owned Alta Ski Area is situated right outside of Alta, sitting at the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon, by State Highway 210, deep within the Wasatch Mountains. The resort is 25 miles southeast of Salt Lake City, and about 45 minutes from Salt Lake City International Airport.

Drop the name Alta and what comes to mind? Dry, light-as-a-feather, ever-so-deep powder? Free refills? Five-hundred-forty-seven inches on average is a piece of snow statistics to remember. It often dumps so much that when skiers finish their runs, they realize that they can do the same run again with absolute fresh tracks.

Where it's located, the resort makes for a perfect snow trap when the almighty winter storms come in, offloading feet after feet of white fluff. Of course, the winter storms can be a real hazard if you're trying to get to the canyon and the road is closed off because of an avalanche.

There's 2, 614 acres of rugged, steep terrain, 11 lifts and 116+ trails. , and you can pretty much get flats and steeps in the very same run. The skiing takes place on Mount Baldy's, and Point Supreme's peaks. The area is reserved for skiers only, so snowboarders don’t need to apply.

Founded in 1936 (as the area's silver-mining days were coming to an end), through the help of skiing legend Alf Engen, it's the country's second oldest ski area, after Sun Valley. It has managed to keep its authentic spirit, where it's all about skiing, which is world-renowned. The motto goes: Ski. Rest. Repeat. An additional advantage is that both slopes and lift queues are devoid of crowds, big or small. To find the best lines involves a lot of traversing and real intimate knowledge, so try shredding with a local where possible. Alta can easily boast of having some of the gnarliest in-bound runs in the country.

One of the definitively more famous expert runs on the mountain's frontside is High Rustler. If you're looking for technical, tight chutes, Hourglass Chute and Eagle's Nest also run on the front.

If it's open, do the roughly 45-minute hike up to the summit of Mount Baldy and hit Baldy Chutes. The cliff face of Devil’s Castle is rugged, dark limestone, the backdrop to the Albion Basin. But skiers know Devil’s Castle best as for the powder-filled, wide-open bowl formed at its lower slopes.

(If, for whatever reason Alta isn’t enough, you can head over to Snowbird, accessible via a public bus or the gates).

Alta is a place that you can happily return to year after year. Not just because of the powder but also because 80-year-olds and 80+ skiers shred for free. Now, that's the way to spend your golden retirement.

Alta Ski Area Snow forecast

  • Thursday
    0.6 in rain
    Sol och regn
    1 mph
  • Friday
    0.7 in rain
    Rain showers
    1 mph
  • Saturday
    0.6 in rain
    Rain showers
    3 mph

Facts about Alta Ski Area

Slopes (Total: 119)
Green circle Easiest:25
Blue square Intermediate:0
Black diamond Advanced:40
Double black diamond Expert Only:35

Lifts (Total: 6)
Chair lifts:6
Lift capacity:  11000 persons/hour

Vertical drop
Alta Ski Area Vertical drop
Mountain high: 11066 ft
Vertical drop: 2539 ft
Mountain low: 8527 ft
Skiable vertical drop: 2018 ft (The vertical drop you can ride in one go on skis)

Start:18 November
End:30 April

Cross country skiing
Tracks:3.1 miles
Lit tracks:0 miles
Artificial snow:0 miles

Childrens area:2
Country: USA
Region: Utah

Reviews for Alta Ski Area

What do you think about Alta Ski Area?
7 reviews
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A mysterious place for powder lovers, they were someone who wrote earlier, better one can not describe this place. I was unlucky to get there after 3 weeks of radiant sun so they were not particularly soft in the offpiste. But they really feel that the snow is snowy and considering the 3 days long snowfall that came the last days, I can imagine that there are a lot of cushions in view of the huge offpiste surfaces.

The difficulty levels are really varied, ranging from plastered slopes to the more challenging "chutes" ..
When you can go over to Snowbird, it's a plus. Snowbird really had really hard days worth trying.

I was there over the "presidents day" a 3 day weekend (?) In the United States ... I thought I would get a helilyft ... but they had to book 1 year in advance to have a chance to fly. ... so be out in good time is a tip!

Lars (Guest)
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Alta is clearly the most overrated ski resort in Utah. The mountain is very good in itself, but it suffers from a weakness: People. Lots of people who also need to run powder. In fact, so many people that they must have cows that act like a military barrack with a guard calling for one to come forward. Admittedly, I was there on a Saturday with a cannon weather, but every new area that was opened was run out of time by all the powder dogs. We were eventually forced to drive "out of bounds" to find something that was not completely upset.

If you want to drive powder, go to Snowbird (located right below the little cottonwood or Solitude (Big Cottonwood). Utah has far too many great places to just go here. Overall, it's a lot of good driving and a lot less people in Snowbasin and Powder Mountain. The latter is a must.

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A mysterious place for powder lovers. Now we managed to arrive a few days after a dump so we got a bite and slant a bit to find untouched snow. Yes, the snow is different and super easy. In many places, where there were still some, the skis went as if they were untouched. Fantastic! Alta's reputation is largely due to the low lifting capacity and some musepads for lifts that make the puddle last longer. Of course, there are nice places to knock, but it also does in the Snowbird neighborhood. So my 5th I give Snowbird and 4th to Alta.

Malin (Guest)
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Prior to the trip to Salt Lake City, I was looking for reviews written by someone who was more like me = girl and half beginners on pillows but otherwise "good" skiers. So if there are more like me out there, I'll write my comments here.

We arrived when it was high season and had no problems with the fact that there were a lot of people or we were not let in. Should the problem still pop up, Snowbird is right next to it and if you absolutely want to go Alta, you can buy your ski pass for both places in Snowbird instead.

Alta was really amazing and I'm not kidding when I say that you had to breathe in the turns because of all the light snow that otherwise ended up in the lungs. I've heard of it before, but thought it was an exaggeration ... it's not. Then the snow begins to fall, make sure you have wide skis. I myself had acquired "powder-skis" but they were too narrow.

Are you the nice girlfriend who is going to accompany the boyfriend and is afraid of fear, Alta is probably not the place for you, or you'll see it as a challenge with steep traverses and chairless chairs. I do not have such a horror at all but wandered me all the way, but it felt at first.

Alta was an incredible place, but due to the amount of powder tourists and that Solitude is as close, Alta does not get the highest rating of me. Even locals recommended us to go to Solitude instead if we wanted to get untouched pillows for a long time. In Alta there was a chance on the first yard, then it was more or less unaware.

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If you buy Super Pass and live at any motel in Salt Lake, you will get the free shuttle up to Alta (about 1 hour). Then it does not matter that the parking lot is full. Then the super pass applies both in Snowbird, Solitude and Brighton, in addition to Alta, that buses go to all places. Salt Lake has an NBA team Utah Jazz that can be fun to season the trip with. Do not forget to have breakfast at Albino's barbecue, really messy burritos and pancakes. Nice to snowboard is forbidden. When we were there in March we had sunshine, snowstorm, hail, lightning and blown. What Salt Lake likes like, at least those who like skiing, are when it starts blowing really a lot because then they know it's snow on time. Alkhol can be obtained from most of the restaurants. Alta, I would like to go back to!

Jonas Emilsson
Jonas Emilsson (Guest)
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Absolutely watched little ski resort at the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon off Salt Lake City! Good challenging ride with a huge amount of inbounds offpiste, and because snowboarding is prohibited, you do not need to be crowded with people sitting on the slopes with the board.
The resort has a snow statistics which is completely out of the map - 60-80 cm dumps are not unusual overnight, and this season (2004/2005) they had over 3 meters of snow already at the beginning of November.
I have nothing but positive to say about this gem, and it is clearly one of the best pillows in the United States!
Please read my article from Alta here:

Mvh Jonas

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Alta a favorite place to eat, but many people know about it, but few get to know. Season from mid November to last April. 70% of the ski-patrol-controlled surface is offpiste so there are plenty of surfaces. Difficulty levels on slopes are suitable for all skiers. Everything from green pistades to 45 degree chutes.
The negative is that when parking is full, no more will come up.

Otherwise, Alta and its powder is something I want 365 days a year!

Most popular photo

Rider: Robert Hortlund Photo: Henrik Liljeqvist

Trail map

Trail map Alta Ski Area

Nearby ski resorts

Snowbird1.2 miles
Brighton Resort2.5 miles
Solitude Mountain Resort3.1 miles
Park City7.5 miles
Deer Valley Resort8.7 miles
Sundance13.7 miles
Snowbasin44.7 miles
Nordic Valley Resort51 miles