Alta is in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah, in Salt Lake County, about 40 minutes by road from Salt Lake City airport. More: alta.com. their last runs and snow storms coming in from down the valley. Locals say Alta’s snow season is better than other parts of Utah’s Wasatch Mountains because the storms arrive first in their canyon. It’s a snow wrangler, they say, and usually 1.3m of snow is wrangled every winter.
But for visiting skiers, the beauty of the ski area is most memorable. The pines, spruce and aspens look as though they’ve been scattered around the valley by an artist and provide the perfect combination of tree cover and open spaces for skiers. And with little new development to jar the eye, the views are the same as those seen by the intrepid skiers who strapped on wooden skies in their lodges at the end of World War II.
The ease of skiing is enhanced by the combination of runs, of which 40 per cent are intermediate; the opportunity for advanced skiers to climb off-piste areas; and the fact all lodges, except The Peruvian, have their own lifts to access the ski terrain.
There are two challenges to staying at Alta. One is the altitude, both of the lodges and the highest points of the mountain. Those who haven’t acclimatised at, say, nearby resorts might get altitude sickness. The other challenge comes when heavy snowfalls or avalanches spark alerts and guests are forced to stay in their lodges for hours or even a day or more. But for many, these alerts are a delight because they get to stay longer and they’re first out on the slopes to ski the powder.