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Alta Ski Resort Guide

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Alta, United States

Rated: 3/5 (from 6 ratings)

Alta Ski Area Highlights
Recommended ForApres-Ski.
Highest Lift3,220m10,564ft
Resort Height2,610m8,563ft
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Alta at a glance

Legendary ski resort with legendary snowfalls, just over a mile from Snowbird, long established world-class skiing reputation spearheaded by the Alf Engen ski school.

 When will it snow in Alta?

There is currently no significant snow in the 7-day forecast for Alta.

See our Snow Forecast for Alta for the latest update, or   Join our Snow Mail Here

Alta Facts, Stats and Ratings

Alta Rated

Ratings for Alta
Expert Skiers
Intermediate Skiers

How High is Alta?

Max Vertical and Resort Altitude for Alta
Highest Lift3,220m10,564ft
Resort Altitude (Alta)2,610m8,563ft
Lowest Piste2,600m8,530ft
Max Vertical620m2,034ft

Ski Area, Pistes and Lifts

Alta Ski Area

Piste and Lift Stats for Alta
Black Pistes
Expert Trails
Red Pistes
Intermediate Runs
Blue Pistes
Easy Trails
Green Pistes
Beginner Runs
Cross Country
Total Length
15km9 miles
Ski Lifts
Number of Lifts
°F / in / ft / miles°C / cm / m / km

Alta Summary

The American Ski Resort of Alta has direct access to 54 marked pistes, served by a total of 13 ski lifts.

The ski resort itself is at 2,610m8,563ft, so skiing or boarding back to the resort is usually possible. With ski lifts as high as 3,220m10,564ft, skiing and snowboarding is assured throughout the season.

Alta Overview

The intriguing Little Cottonwood Canyon claims the renowned Alta and Snowbird resorts. Alta, a national treasure, reminds skiers of the more romantic days of skiing, and is a favourite of local powderhounds.

It has two distinct histories; the first as a silver mining town, the other as a ski area. Silver was discovered in 1864 and Alta's population peaked just before the devaluation of silver in 1873. The first railroad was built at this time with mules pulling the cars uphill while gravity and a strong breakman were relied on to take them back down! This method was used until 1917 when the Denver and Rio Grande railroad completed a narrow-guage railroad to Alta. Throughout the 1920's the railroad was run as a scenic visitor attraction by one of Alta's few remaining inhabitants, George Watson, self-appointed mayor and silver prospector.

Alf Engen played a big part in the history of this ski resort; it was at the request of the US Forest Service that Alf first came to Alta in 1935 to see if the abandoned mining area might be viable for development as a ski area. What Alf found was an area almost void of trees because the miners had used the timber to shore up the mines. Nonetheless, he felt that Alta had great potential for a ski area and that it could be restored to a place of exceptional beauty

After acquiring 1800 acres of land from Mayor George Watson and local mining companies, development of Alta Ski Area began with the construction of Collins, Alta's first chairlift, built from an old aerial ore tramway Opened to the public in 1939 they paid 25 cents a ride or $1.50 for a full day pass. Snowpine Lodge, Alta's first ski shelter was also built and Sverre Engen, Alf's brother, became America's first Snow Ranger, based at Alta his work included snow studies and avalance control. Alta Lodge opened in 1940 providing skiers with the first overnight accommodation. During those early days Alta became an arctic training ground for American army troops in preparation for overseas duty.

Ski Aces, Utah's first promotional ski film starring Alf, Sverre and Corey Engen was made at Alta to highlight the scenic beauty of the area. Alta's long established world class skiing reputation is spearheaded by the long-established Alf Engen Ski School. Utah's license plates proudly proclaim, Ski Utah! The Greatest Snow on Earth. Few winter sports enthusiasts who have sampled the skiing in the land of Zion would argue with this — when the skies begin to fall and the lake effect rears its head, Utah does consistently offer the lightest and most abundant snow on the planet. Sometimes, however, the riches can be too abundant. A World Cup race hosted at Snowbasin on a typical February weekend had to be cancelled — the resort received more than three feet of new snow over the course of the three-day event. A small consolation was the great shot in the Salt Lake Tribune of Herman Maier skiing waist deep in powder.

On the Mountain

 Skiing in Alta

Famous for its deep powder, Alta is a favourite with powder hounds. Alf Engen who was Director of the ski school at Alta was given the recognised title Father of the Powder Skiing Technique. Powder Pro instructors at Alta teach their proven techniques - The Ready Pole, Soft Carving, Floating and Skiing in Rhythm with the snow.

The ski school at Alta started in 1938, 3 years after Alf Engen first surveyed the area to check out the viability of developing a ski resort. During his 40 years as Director of the Alf Engen Ski School he played an instrumental part in the formation of the Professional Ski Instructors of America and establishing the first teaching standards for deep powder skiing. His overall mastery of powder was without equal and he was given the recognised title Father of the Powder Skiing Technique. A number of well known skiers started their skiing careers at Alta with Alf Engen, among them Junio Bounous, Bill Lash, Max Lundberg, Jim McKonkey, Ted Johnson and Keith Lange.

Although famous for its powder, Alta has terrain for every level of skier with 25% of its slopes for beginners. The wide, gentle green slopes are located on Sunnyside and Albion well away from the more advanced skiers. Sunnyside has a mile long beginners run known as the Crooked Mile, it can make beginners feel like real skiers. Above the beginner area skiers can ride the Sugarloaf triple chair which accesses intermediate and advanced terrain.

Unloading at the top of Sugarloaf is like stepping out on top of the world with virtually 360 degrees of scenic views making this a photographer's paradise. On the front side of Alta are the Wildcat, Collins and Germania lifts. This area looks like the typical postcard view of Alta with a variety of intermediate and advanced terrain.

Alta offers good sking, particularly, for Expert and Intermediate skiers.

 Snowboarding in Alta

No snowboarding at Alta but neighbouring Snowbird, only a mile down the hill, does.

When is Alta open?

We don't currently have confirmed season dates for Alta.

Usual opening is mid November, and usual closing is Late April.

NOTE:- Lift and Piste openings are always subject to Snow Conditions in Alta.

Ski Lift Capacity

The 13 ski lifts of Alta are able to uplift 11,248 skiers and snowboarders every hour.

Where is Alta?

Alta is in Nokomis, Buena Vista, United States.

Off the Mountain

Alta Aprés Ski

Generally self-contained within the lodges. In 2009 a new law came into effect changing Utah’s bar scene. In the past purchasing a temporary membership was required to get into a bar or club. Bars, pubs and clubs now have an open door policy to welcome all comers over 21 and no longer require customers to purchase a temporary membership.


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