March 12, 2006
Alta Ski Area is the perfect family ski area. There is a wide range of runs, from beginner to expert. My sister and I differ greatly in our skiing ability, and we managed to ski together every day for the whole week! The mountain is basically divided into two parts; we started at Collins, the easier area. Most all of the groomed runs have great tree sections alongside for those who want to test their turns and speed. The lifts are fast, easy to find, and offer great views of the runs they cater to. We met loads of friendly people on the chair rides while enjoying the great views!
I skied tree filled, powdered, great groomed runs that went from white knuckle steep to cruising cat walks. My favorite lift was Sugarloaf because it took me to the widest variety of powder, groomers, trees, and looping catwalks back down to the base of the lift. I also really enjoyed Wildcat, even though it was slow. It's an original double and it takes you to some very tricky runs, but fewer people take it! The lift staff, ski patrol, and ski school staff were all very friendly, helpful, and looked like they were having a ball!
There are several lodges around the Collins area as well, and all had pretty good food. We ate at Upper Albien (yummy reuben sandwiches), Goldminers Daughter (great meatball sub), and at Albie's-yummy sandwiches and onion rings! Alta is a skiers hill and has no snowboarders. I enjoyed the lack of snowboarders because it meant there were fewer reckless teenage boys and you only had to pay attention and predict what the skiers around you were doing! There were tons of other skiers though. Friday through Sunday were the busiest days, but we had the mountain nearly to ourselves on Wednesday. We saw tons of little tykes skiing around, and loads of ski school sessions for people of all ages and skill levels.
The snow was phenomenal too! We had 11 to 15 inches of new snow the week we were there! Tickets cost $49 for a full day and the half days were about $5 to $10 less depending on am or pm session (but you can always upgrade the am session to a full day). The last day we skied I bought a combo day pass that gave me access to Snowbird—the ski mountain on the backside of Alta. It cost $69 and was worth it if you know your legs can take a full day! Lifts run from 9:30am until 4:30pm, but we mostly skied half days.
My sister has a friend who works for the lodge we stayed in so we had a phenomenal tour guide when we skiied, but the mountain alos runs tours with rangers that teach you about the natural history of the area. You learn all about the history of Alta and the land. If we had been available on the weekend, we would have signed up for one.
From journal A Week at the Alta Peruvian Lodge