Posh shops, fine dining? Nope. Alta is all about the skiing.
alta, utah» Battling Interstate 70 traffic to get ski turns often leaves me pounding my steering wheel and yelling on my way to the mountains, then anxious about getting off the slopes in time to miss the return-to-theFront Range panic.
But my love for skiing is unbreakable, and each year it’s renewed during my annual trip to Alta, Utah, with my father. It’s a vacation from my spoiled Colorado ski life and a frustration-free stray from the norm.
It’s not just an escape from the I-70 parking lot, though. When I ride chairlifts in Alta and tell people I’m from Denver, I’m usually asked the same question: “Isn’t there snow in Colorado? Why don’t you just ski there?”
It’s because out of my 35-or-so ski days each year — almost all at Colorado ski areas — the best are always the four or five I spend at this skier-only resort just southeast of Salt Lake City.
Skiers: Think the feeling and terrain of Arapahoe Basin, but on a Keystone or Crested Butte scale. Add in Alta’s many traverses — like the iconic High Traverse to Alf ’s High Rustler and Stone Crusher — and its intense hike-to terrain on Mount Baldy. You won’t find a sprawling terrain park here, nor the plentiful groomers like those at Breckenridge or Beaver Creek.
Jesse Paul makes his way through deep snow on Eagle’s Nest at Alta ski area in January.