With the recent blazing heat in Salt Lake City, Little Cottonwood Canyon has provided relief from the heat for those of us that dwell in the valley. Being closely situated to the mountains, it is easy to head to the canyon after work or on the weekend and enjoy a leisurely walk or hike.
Here's something different to try if you are up for a more ambitious hike. Walk up to Sugarloaf Pass from Albion Basin and drop into Mineral Basin. There are multiple trails there and some fantastic views of the Timpanogos mountains. Last Sunday we walked to the tunnel that goes from Mineral Basin to Peruvian Gulch and rode the Peruvian chairlift down to Snowbird. The hike was beautiful with many lupine and bluebells on the hillside. The intensity of the colors will only increase over the next couple of weeks as flowers begin to come into peak season. We rode the chairlift down at no cost on Sunday. Normal operating hours are 11am - 8pm in summer and 11am - 6pm during fall.
Alta is home to more than 300 varieties of wildflowers that typically reach their peak in late July. A brilliant carpet of color spreads across the meadows and hills of the Cottonwood Canyons, especially in Albion Basin at Alta. Each year the Cottonwoods Canyon Foundation puts together a Wildflower Festival to share viewing the wildflowers as well as identifying them. The three-day festival includes hikes for different level hikers as well as shorter walks. Stop in for Saturday lunch or Sunday Brunch and enjoy the peak of wildflower season! The day's events at Alta are as follows:
30th (Entry 2, Albion Grill)
Albion Meadows Trail
takes place along gentle terrain along base area, through willows,
meadows and along stream side to allow for excellent variety of wetland
wildflowers and other species.
depart as groups fill.
Meadows Trail at a gentle grade. This walk allows for wonderful variety
of flowers blooming in habitats including meadows, shaded spruce-fir
stands, nears streams, and sunny, rocky slopes.
1 1⁄2 hours.
10:00am, 11:00am, 12:00pm
depart as groups fill.
Lakes Pass trail. Trail is very steep and rocky in sections.
slopes allow for wildflower viewing through a variety of habitats. About
1 ½ hours.
depart as groups fill.
Kids Wildflower Walks
along the base designed with kids in mind, fun and interactive wildflower
activities along the way! Discover what wildflowers need to grow!
We’ll look for wildflowers and wildlife of Albion Basin.
walks depart as groups fill. Kids should be accompanied by an adult.
Art and Entertainment activities at base from 9 am – 12 pm
There are a number of hikes around the Alta area and in Little Cottonwood Canyon. If you live in the Salt Lake Valley, some of the shorter hikes are easily doable after the work day. July is around the corner and the temperatures will be warmer so a canyon hike is a retreat to cooler air and greener scenery.
Perhaps the most popular hike at Alta is the Cecret Lake trail. The easiest and shortest distance is to access the trail from the Albion Basin Campground parking area, opening in mid-July. The trail is 1.7 miles. The lake is easy to miss if you aren't on the trail, hence the name "Cecret" --and it's unclear why is spelled with a C instead of a S but it is listed as "Cecret Lake" with the United States Geological Survey. The pretty little lake is an easy hike for children to hike. Swimming is not permitted as the lake is in a watershed area.
Another hike that's an easy after work hike is Catherine's Pass. The best access is to take the dirt road at the end of the pavement to get to the trail head. The dirt road opens July 11. The trail is an easy 3.7 miles round trip and has an evelation gain of 899 feet. The pass provides an overlook of Lake Catherine as well as the surrounding mountains in Big Cottonwood and Devil's Castle at Alta. If you are more ambitious, from here you can either hike down to Catherine's Lake and then back up or head to Sunset Peak which will take you to 10, 648 feet and even greater views.
Moose, birds, marmots, squirrels, coyotes, mountain goats, deer, badger and fox all make their
home in the Alta area. In winter, you may have to try a bit
harder, but you can find ermine, porcupine, coyote and fox.
Driving up and down the canyon over the years, I have seen a coyote walking along the side of the road many times.
You won't have to look too hard to see a moose at Alta. They are frequently seen in Albion Basin and we see them from the deck of Alta Lodge near the slopes of Lower Rustler where there seems to be plentiful food sources for moose. Moose are part of the deer family and the plural of moose is moose.
Now the weasel or ermine are at little stealthier and good at tricking us with their tan coat in the summer and fall that turns to white in the winter. Their sleek body moves quickly as they hunt for prey and disappear in their burrow. Weasels are built for the hunt.
The shy pika, a member of the rabbit family, lives among boulder fields and pops in and out of cover if you are in their housing area when out on a hike. They almost look like a large mouse except for their large ears.
Ground squirrels are a common site and you're likely to see a marmot as you wander around Alta. Badgers are around but it's rare to see one.
Years ago while on an evening hike to Cardiff Pass, I did have the good fortune to see a herd of mountain goats walking over the pass. It was a spectacular site.
Make some time during the summer season to experience Alta when the snow has meleted. It's a special place to to be and can be enjoyed by visitors of all ages.
Get out your hiking boots, hat and sun screen and hit the hiking trails at Alta! It's beautiful and extremely green right now and let's not forget to mention: it's cool in the mountains. So when it approaches 90+ degrees in Salt Lake City, you know where to go to cool off. Pack a picnic for after work and take a walk around Alta. If the weekend is the best for you, spend the day or night and really feel like your are getting away.
Alta Lodge is open for lodging seven days a week in the summer with rooms starting at $94 a night and it includes a continental breakfast. We serve lunch on Saturday and brunch on Sunday, both a nice addition before or after a day in the mountains.
You might be able to top off that outstanding mountain dining experience with a moose sighting from the deck of the Lodge.
Writers at Work Conference comes to Alta Lodge June 15-19 for the 32nd annual conference. This four-day conference brings provides small intensive workshops, reading and consultations. Lodging with meals in available with registration. A complete schedule is available on the conference website.
Generative Workshop Faculty
Writers Behaving Badly (Peter Ho Davies)
Paradoxically, while there are many, often helpful “rules of thumb”
for writing good fiction—show don’t tell, write what you know, etc.
—writers, at heart, are rule breakers. In this class we’ll consider some
of the unspoken “you-can’t-write-that!” rules that censor our work (and
this is about silencing the inner censor, not the inner critic) . . . and then set out to break them.
Peter Ho Davies is the author of the novel The Welsh Girl (2007)
and the story collections The Ugliest House in the World (1997) and
Equal Love (2000). His work has appeared in Harpers, The Atlantic
Monthly, The Paris Review, The Guardian, Independent, Washington Post
and Chicago Tribune, among others. His short fiction has been widely
anthologized, including selections for Prize Stories: The O. Henry
Awards 1998 and Best American Short Stories 1995, 96 and 2001. In 2003
Granta magazine named him among its twenty “Best of Young British
Novelists”. The Welsh Girl was ‘long-listed’ for the Man Booker Prize
2007, and short-listed for The Galaxy British Book Awards ‘Richard and
Judy’ Best Read in 2008. Davies is a recipient of fellowships from the
Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Fine
Arts Work Center in Provincetown. He is a 2008 recipient of the
PEN/Malamud award. Born in Britain in 1966 to Welsh and Chinese parents,
Davies now makes his home in the US. He has taught at the University of
Oregon and Emory University and is now on the faculty of the MFA
Program in Creative Writing at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
_________________________________________________________________________________________________ Patience and Pacing (Tarfia Faizullah)
A.A. Milne wrote, “Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get
there some day.” In a world that seems to be moving faster and faster,
it can be tempting to want our poems to write themselves as quickly. In
this generative workshop, we’ll discuss patience as process, and read
and discuss poems that model the value of patience and pacing.
editor, and educator Tarfia Faizullah was born in 1980 in Brooklyn, NY
and raised in west Texas. She received an MFA in poetry from Virginia
Commonwealth University and is the author of Seam (SIU 2014), which U.S.
Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey calls “beautiful and necessary,” as
well as Register of Eliminated Villages (forthcoming from Graywolf
2017). Seam is the recipient of the 2015 Great Lake College Association
New Writers Awards, the 2015 VIDA Award in Poetry, and the 2015
Binghamton University Milton Kessler Poetry Book Award. Her other honors
include a Pushcart Prize, a Fulbright Fellowship, a Ploughshares Cohen
Award, a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize, as well as scholarships and
fellowships from Kundiman, Bread Loaf, Kenyon Review, Sewanee, and
Vermont Studio Center. Her poems appear in Poetry Magazine, Poetry
Daily, Oxford American, Ploughshares, jubilat, Kenyon Review, New
England Review, and elsewhere. Poems have also been anthologized in Best
New Poets 2013 (Meridian), The Book of Scented Things (Rose O’Neill
Literary House Press), Please Excuse this Poem: 100 Poems for the Next
Generation (Viking/Penguin), and Hard Lines: Rough South Poetry
(University of Southern Carolina Press). Tarfia serves as a contributing
editor for The Offing. She is the Nicholas Delbanco Visiting Professor
of Poetry in the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of
Michigan. She co-directs the Organic Weapon Arts Chapbook Press and
Video Series with Jamaal May, and lives in Detroit, MI.
_________________________________________________________________________________________________ From Anecdote to Essay: Facticity and Imagination (Kerry Howley) In this generative workshop, we’ll transform mundane facts into
mysterious acts of invention. Building from our own static, oft-told
anecdotes, we’ll find a new fluidity in sclerotic histories, layering,
imposing, and synthesizing as only the essayist can. Through imitative
prompts and directed revisions, we’ll work to invest otherwise mundane
facts with a new lyric power. While the exercises, prompts, and
revisions will be specific and concrete, this workshop is appropriate
for literary essayists of any stripe, from lyric to personal
Kerry Howley’s essays, reviews, stories and reportage have
appeared in The Paris Review, Harper’s, New York Magazine, Granta, The
New York Times Magazine, Slate, The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal,
Gulf Coast, Vice.com, and frequently in Bookforum. She holds an MFA from
the University of Iowa, where she was admitted as an Arts Fellow and
subsequently served as the 2012 Provost’s Visiting Writer in Nonfiction.
Thrown, her book-length essay, was a New York Times Notable Book of
2014 and is forthcoming in German, British, Dutch, French, and Swedish
editions. Howley is an assistant professor at the University of Iowa,
where she teaches in the Nonfiction Writing Program. She lives in Iowa
City with her husband, son, and Vizsla.
Morris Collins’s first novel, Horse Latitudes (MP Publishing USA) was released in 2013 and will be reprinted in a second edition by Dzanc Books later this year. Other fiction and poetry has recently appeared in Pleiades, Gulf Coast, The Chattahoochee Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, and Nimrod among others. Morris lives in Boston and is a Visiting Assistant Professor of English at the College of the Holy Cross.
Sara Eliza Johnson’s first book, Bone Map (Milkweed 2014), was selected for the 2013 National Poetry Series. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in the Boston Review, Ninth Letter, Pleiades, Meridian, the Best New Poets series, Salt Hill,
and elsewhere. She is the recipient of a National Endowment for the
Arts Fellowship, a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, two Winter
Fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, a
scholarship to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and an Academy of
American Poets Prize from the University of Utah, where she was a Vice
Presidential Fellow in Poetry.
David Stuart Maclean is a Pen/American award-winning writer. His work has appeared in Ploughshares, The New York Times, The GuardianUK, the Times of London, Gulf Coast, Quarterly West, and on the radio program This American Life. His book The Answer to the Riddle is Me
was named a Best Book of 2014 by Kirkus Reviews and it won the Midland
Authors Society’s Best Biography/Memoir. He has a PhD from the
University of Houston and is a co-founder of the Poison Pen Reading
Series. He was the 2013-2014 Elma Stuckey Writer in Residence at
Columbia College. He lives in Chicago with his wife, kids, and dog.
With much warmer temperatures this week, the snow will be melting around two inches per day, just in time for our summer season.
Alta Lodge opens for summer season on June 5 with Sunday Brunch. The brunch is a favorite of many locals and features a variety of entrées, salads, baked goods and desserts.
Belgian waffles with berry compote and eggs Benedict are made to order. Brunch is served from 9:30 am to 2 pm. Prices are $26.95 for adults, $14.95 for kids ages 7-12, and $6.95 for those under age 6. Beer, wine and cocktails are served beginning at 11:30 am. Saturday lunch begins on June 11 and is served from 11 am to 2 pm.
Sunday through Friday, lodging rates begin at $94 for a standard double room and include continental breakfast. Saturday night rates begin at $114 and include Sunday Brunch for two, also known as the "Sunday Brunch Package."
Ah...spring has been in the air for awhile now and the snow is slowly melting, albiet a little too slow for some of us since the ski area is closed.
Around the Lodge we are sprucing up for a summer season of weddings, conferences, Sunday brunch and lunch on Saturday. We're improving our patio area where we hold weddings and outdoor parties We reopen for summer season on June 5 with the first Sunday brunch.
In mid-June, Alta Lodge will host the annual Writers@Work Conference June 15-19. The conference is open to all writers. Small intensive workshops limited to 16 participants will be led by expert award-winning writers/teachers in fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. More information available here.
Spring break and itching for a quick ski vacation with the kids? If you book a 4-night minimum stay before the end of the season, two kids ages 12 & under can stay and eat for FREE--a savings of $200 per night! The Deep Powder House (next to Alta Lodge) is offering high performance ski demos from at a special rate for Alta Lodge guests – 4 days for the price of 3 days (regular price is $52.50/day) and Kids’ ski rentals free at Deep Powder House (140 cm and under.)
We've had a month with the best of spring skiing: powder storms and sunny days. Alta's base today is 116 inches. From 3/21-28, Alta received 35 inches of snow, over two storm cycles. Giving you a taste of the skiing this season, the Daily Pow's most recent video captures the essence of skiing this season to date. https://vimeo.com/158775126
As we roll into April on Friday, we'll see sunshine and warmer temperatures through the weekend followed by more snow next week, freshening things up again.
Beginning April 3, Kids Stay Free beings. When you book a standard room for four or more nights,two children ages 12 and under can stay in the their parents' room at no additional charge--breakfasts and dinners included. This represents a savings of over $200 per night!
During April, we also have:
receptions from time to time after skiing, with wine and appetizers.
Lunch served on the sundeck (weather permitting).
Complimentary picnic lunch on the ski slopes, beverages included (dates to be announced, weather permitting).
performance ski demos from Deep Powder House at a special rate for Alta
Lodge guests -- 4 days for the price of 3 days (regular price is
Free kids' ski rentals at Deep Powder House (140 cm and under)!
There are all kinds of things happening at Alta in April to be a part of--don't miss out!
Heavy snowfall is occurring at the moment at Alta and it should continue though the next 24 hours. The forecast for the Cottonwood Canyon is 16-28 inches--calling for some DEEP powder skiing! Yes, it is March and you can expect there will be more snow and more good skiing.
We have a busy time at Alta Lodge this March. Families are here for ski vacations and we have
women's ski camps and performance ski camps during the week.
This week we expect snow throughout the week with clearing for the weekend and warmers temperatures. On Thursday, to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, Alta Community Enrichment is sponsoring St. Patty’s Day Bagpipes with
James Moyar of Soggy Scots. James will play from 12-1pm at the bottom of
the Collins Lift.
If you are here next week, check out what's happening for the annual "Alta Snowflake Festival", March 24-27. It's a lot of fun and excuse to take another Alta ski vacation this season (just in you need an excuse..)
Last week's spring skiing conditions were great on a 84" base.Warm weather and blue sky were in abundance all week long until Sunday. Here's a look at what skiing looked like last week.
On Monday morning, we had a special: 11" of powder in 24 hours
We had a weather change with a front bringing in lots of wind and snow and on Monday, skiers experienced one of those fantastic spring powder days: bluebird day with fresh snow! It seemed as if though everyone was here that day...must have been "sick" day, mental health day, vision problems (I can't see coming into work today..) unplanned vacation day and all sorts of reasons to skip work and come skiing! Wednesday was another morning with some fresh pow--4" and today is perfect day for groomers!
Next week the weather will shift to bring in a change of starting with a precursor "chance of snow" on Saturday and some lower temperatures (its 49 degrees at Alta at the moment...) Then Sunday/Monday things change with a storm likely coming in Wednesday. More powder, powder, powder...please.
February 29 closed out the month and although it was the second driest February on record, you wouldn't have guessed it since we have a 84-inch base and lots of happy skiers.
Things are going to change. On March 7, we'll be seeing a major shift in the weather patterns and more snow will be headed our way. It's something that weather forecasters are seeing and another unusual source: a buoy off the coast of Kauai, HI.
that has a pretty high degree of accuracy for storm forecasting in the Wasatch mountains.
If you're a betting skier, there's a very high chance that there is going to be some pretty good powder skiing in March. To get you thinking about it, here's a video of Alta powder skiing March 19, 2012--
February has been full of sunny days, a few powder storms and overall fantastic skiing. Sunshine is also good for outdoor picnics and hanging around with your pals after the chairs have quit spinning and stopping in at the Sitzmark Bar.
Think about this: during the month of March, 90 inches is the average snowfall at Alta. The base at Alta is now 85 inches and we're expecting things to fill in even more as snowy March begins. And Daylight Saving Time begins March 13. March first is next Tuesday and plenty of skiing is still in store.
What a fun-filled weekend of surprises over the weekend! Saturday had to be one of the prettiest sunny days we've seen in awhile. With the high pressure that's been hanging around, the temperatures were above average for February which meant spring skiing conditions. Skiers were able to dine outside for lunch on the mountain and take advantage of lounge chairs at Albion Day Lodge.
Sweethearts had some fresh snow to ski on Valentine's Day and late in the day the storm increased so that early on Presidents' Day, Alta was reporting 8" of new snow! It was a fun weekend of skiing!
More of winter still to come, including a storm on Thursday.
By popular demand, we have added a second Women's Ski Camp in March. These camps sell out fast and we typically have waiting lists. When we realized we had some much interest and the lodging capacity, we put together another ski camp for intermediate to advanced level skier March 13-17.
Last week was a mixture of sunshine and new snow. The big sleeper storm was on Thursday evening when the forecast calling for 3-5 inches of snow turned into 11 inches! Before the snow settled, Alta had a 100-inch base. Coupled with three consecutive days of sunshine, the skiing conditions were great.
If powder skiing is your idea of happiness, there was plenty of happiness to be found at Alta over the weekend. Not only did it snow more than was expected, the quality of the snow was hard to surpass. Pillows of soft, velvety snow that seemed bottomless fell all day Saturday so that run after run was more divine skiing. The mountain is so filled in now with that there is a 90-inch base. Today we have colder temperatures keeping snow conditions great. There will be more snow this week with a big storm coming in on Thursday, so plan accordingly if you missed out last weekend.
Here's a video shot on January 31--seeing is believing if you weren't skiing it!
If you missed last weekend with two plus feet of new snow, there's a silver lining: more snow is coming this weekend. The weather forecast is for 1-2 feet, so make some plans now if you want to ski some powder. Alta's base today is 84-inches which means there is really great coverage at Alta. We were fortunate to have fresh snow on Monday morning with sunshine which brought in more than the usual crowd on a Monday morning--vacation, mental health and sick days were all in order.
It's another season of fun skiing at Alta and we've still got more than half the season left to go. We'll have an update on what El Nino has in store for us next week...yes, next week is February already.
Snowy Alta Lodge as viewed from near Nina's Curve.
So far, during the month of January, Alta has received snow, snow and more snow. 45 inches to date this year with more snow in the forecast this week. The base is 68 inches which means great coverage all over the mountain. The Daily Pow captured footage of some of the recent fun skiing conditions.
The MLK weekend brought in lots of skiers, many of whom spent inordinate amounts of time in a slow drive up Little Cottonwood Canyon followed by very limited parking options. The same scenario is often repeated on powder days. If you're visiting from out of town, save yourself the hassle and consider staying at Alta Lodge. There are a variety of lodging options, from dorms to large corner rooms, with breakfast and dinner included.
People get pretty excited around Alta when we get a weather forecast that tell us we're going to have 3-4 storms in the next 10 days. You don't need to wait for a powder alert--instead you can be here skiing powder! This type of advance notice is when friends tell friends to take their vacation time (or sick time) and come to Alta. Stay at Alta Lodge and you're out the door first thing without any driving or parking hassles.
Whet your powder appetite with a video shot last February during a powder storm. Hope to see you in the next 10 days!
A ski vacation is a winter highlight for many skiers. Whether it is your only ski trip for the winter or one of several, planning sooner rather than later will increase your odds of getting a reservation when you want to come.
Total immersion in skiing with enough time to really feel like you are getting away.
4-day Extended Weekend
A couple of extra days gets you in the skiing groove, even better if you ski/fly on the same days.
Mid-week The mid-week trip has the benefits of less people on the mountain and a lower priced room rate.
Kids Stay Free With a savings of over $200/day, this is a great deal for families with kids ages 12 & under. The 4-day stay dates are April 3-17, 2016.
Another important part of your ski trip is to be in good physical condition. If you haven't already, now is the time to start your training program. Ski Utah offers some valuable conditioning tips if you're not sure what to start.
With over 100+ inches of snow last week and the week before, Alta now has a base of 58 inches and all lifts but Albion are running. The connection to Snowbird is open and the skiing is great!
If you are planning to turn in at a reasonable hour on Thursday evening, you'll be all set for a day on the slopes of Alta Friday morning and have the ski slopes almost to yourself. Most New Year's parties go into the next morning with people celebrating 2016, sleeping in and/or nursing hangovers. Or you can opt to be in the clear mountain air on a sunny day, enjoying the feeling of the wind in your face. If early is not in the cards for you, stop by Alta Lodge for lunch and then head out for the afternoon and back for apres ski at the Sitzmark Bar--ranked in The Manual as one of the "Best Mountain Town Bars"
There were many snowy days last week and when it all added up, the storm total from Monday-Thursday was 50-inches--an Alta storm by any standard!
Winter season is here and starting with more storms this week. It looks like another 2-3 feet through Wednesday and then another storm coming in Christmas--exciting stuff if you've been holding out for powder skiing.
Evening light is special at Alta and here are a couple of images from last week. As you can see, it is full on winter at Alta.
The first big storm of the winter season is here! We don't know what took so long but we're happy it's snowing and it is supposed to keep snowing through tomorrow.
Don't have any ski plans yet? It's time to make some and here are some tips.
A ski vacation is a winter highlight for many skiers. Whether it is
your only ski trip for the winter or one of several, being ready for
that trip makes a big difference in the experience you will have.
of the big decisions people have to make is when to take that
vacation. Some prefer after the holidays while other want to go
earlier. It used to be ski vacations were for seven days with visitors
more likely to arrive on a Saturday and leave the following weekend.
Now more people take an extended weekend of if they have flexibility,
they check when the conditions are mostly favorable and book a few days
out. The advantage of planning ahead is a secured reservation and if
it's planned, one is more likely to go rather than waiting until the
last minute. Usually a week day ski trip will provide you with greater
lodging options and less skiers on the slopes.
important part of your ski trip is to be in good physical condition. If
you haven't already, now is the time to start your training program.
Ski Utah offers some valuable conditioning tips if you're not sure what to start.
So get on board and make some plans--ski season is here!