Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Change of Seasons

It's evident at Alta there's a change in the season. The last of the summer's wildflowers have dried and the mountain shrubs and willows have mostly turned to yellow and burnt-orange colors.  Fall colors will continue but it's hard to say when peak might be or how long it might last.  There's a "science" to the fall colors and a combination of factors determines the duration as well as the brilliance.

Some of the things we're observing are the abundance of sunflowers that grace the roadside in Little Cottonwood Canyon, the light that is lower on the horizon and minus the weekends of Oktoberfest at Snowbird, a real sense of solitude in the mountains. The change of season doesn't happen in Salt Lake City for another month but in the meantime people flock to the canyons on weekends to see the slopes covered with aspens, scrub oak and other trees that are in their natural splendor.

Happy Fall a few days early!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Ski Equipment Buyers Guides

In a mere ten weeks, Alta will be open for skiing! You might be in the market for new gear this season and wondering what to get.  With the wide range of different skis, boots and manufacturers, making a decision can be overwhelming. Most of us don't have the opportunity to try different skis before making a decision of what to buy.  This is where you can turn to resources and look at reviews from skiers who tried the new equipment and share their opinions. 

Powder Magazine Buyer's Guide compiles reviews of over 300 products from 32 skiers. This includes skis for powder, all mountain, women's skis, and boots and bindings.

The On The Snow Buyer's Guide includes reviews of skis from 22 skiers who tried them out last spring.

From this point, you might be able to narrow it down to one ski or maybe a couple. Still uncertain? Try demoing some skis. The Powder House next to Alta Lodge will apply the price of two demos to the purchase price of new skis.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Thinking About Skiing

Alta Lodge in the fall.  Photo: Billy Haas
It's the first week of September and fall is the air.  In upper elevations leaves have started to turn and the night time temperatures are in the 40s. The next few weeks will bring brilliant red, orange and yellow foliage. If you live close by you know how great the fall colors can be!

 Alta, Utah August 23, 2014  photo:Cliff Curry
Last month we had a surprise: snow in August! No one has a recent memory of getting snow so early.  Although it melted off pretty quick, it was   still fun to see.

Don't miss out on the best prices on season passes and discounts for Alta Ski Area...they are available for purchase until September 24. Some of the great prices include a season pass for children age 6 & under for $25! Combined with Kids Free during early season, it's a great family ski trip. Thanksgiving is a good get away for mom to get in some skiing and skip cooking the turkey dinner while Chef Sam and his staff prepare a Thanksgiving feast.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Wildflower Season in the Wasatch Mountains

The snow eventually melts and when it does, we are left with a splendid display of wildflowers for several weeks in the Wasatch Mountains east of Salt Lake City. Flowers start showing up towards the end of June and by mid July, there is an abundance of varieties. In fact, the Cottonwood Canyons Foundation has identified upwards of 300 species in the Wasatch Mountains. The Foundation's annual Wasatch Wildflower Festival is July 25/26/27.

Alta Lodge's location is a great starting point for hikes to the Albion Meadow, Cardiff Pass, and Prince of Wales Mine via Grizzly Gulch.  A little further up the road the Albion Grill has shuttle service to Albion Basin and the trailhead to Catherine's Pass and Cecret Lake.

If your time to visit Alta is on a Saturday, stop in for lunch after your hike and enjoy the view of the mountains from the deck. We welcome hikers to join us for Sunday Brunch, either before or after hiking.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Last Hurrah Last Week

At Alta, we have been all geared up for summer, patio dining and related outdoor adventures. Skiing was on the back burner until next season.  At least that was the common thought.  And then the cold front moved in on June 16 and Alta got 12 inches of snow! Yep, that was the summary on June 17. Seeing is believing--

Of course the snow didn't last long as things warmed up by the end of the week and now flowers are popping out and hikers are hitting the trails.
View from the Sitzmark on June 24, 2014

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Mountains Are Calling

Although by the calendar we still have another week or so until it's "officially" summer (4:51 a.m. Mountain Time on June 21), it sure feels like summer at Alta. The snow has melted from Cardiff Pass and the hillside is green. Purple penstemon flowers are on the south side of the seven turns section of the canyon road.The aspen trees are stunning, Little Cottonwood Creek is flowing with nearby waterfalls adding to the current.

For hikers there are numerous trail options in Little Cottonwood Canyon, beginning with the Quarry Trail at the base of the canyon, a good hike for beginners. Further up the canyon at the White Pine Trailhead there are several hikes to lakes that gain quite a bit of elevation and offer spectacular views. The Hikes and Lakes web site provides information on different hikes in the canyon with photos and descriptions.

With Father's Day weekend coming up, it's a great time to head to Alta for walk or a hike and stop in for Sunday Brunch between 9:30 am - 2 pm.  Make a reservation by calling 801-742-3500 or info@altalodge.com

Monday, May 12, 2014

Alta Lodge in the Summer

Winter season ended and before we knew it, we were open for summer season for an environmental retreat through Weber State University.  In a few weeks, our annual three-day Spring Yoga Retreat will be in session during the Memorial Day weekend. 

For yoga practitioners, the yoga retreat is a opportunity to immerse themselves in mountain
environment and focus on their practice and relaxation. The retreat is limited to 20 participants which allows for more individualized attention from the two instructors.

The size and location of Alta Lodge is so ideal for smaller group meetings and retreats that many return each  summer to meet. Meals can be customized with a variety of options from our group dining menus. The meeting spaces have wonderful natural lighting and the surrounding views are simply breathtaking.
Alta Lodge Deck Room

We're ready for the transition to summer season!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Another Great Season

Yesterday we said good bye to guests who stayed with us the final week of the 2013-2014 ski season.  April was a great month this year in many ways--
  • powder skiing was some of the best of the season
  • for many spring break was in April so it was another ski trip to Alta
  • we had clear sky for the lunar eclipse, which was especially spectacular in Alta
  • there were apres ski events on the deck
  • free demo day on April 12
  • kids 12 & under stayed free all month
  • picnic on the mountain for lodge guests
  • Fireside Chats in the Deck Room with the Alta Historical Society
Mountain picnic in April
Devil's Castle in the summer
Summer season is around the corner with a yoga retreat, lunch and brunch on weekends, weddings, conferences and retreats, Wildflower Festival, and hiking. Hope your ski season was great and that we see you next winter if your travels don't bring you our way during the summer.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April Powder--no fooling!

--last week
Yesterday was epic powder skiing from all the Alta photos around the web and today is even better with cold temperatures and very dry powder. A rather unusual phenomena in April but non the less it makes for great skiing.  Professor Jim Steenburgh gives us a good description of things on his blog Wasatch Weather Weenies. We were in the throngs of a high pressure system earlier in the season, spring skiing last week and now towards the end of the season, a low pressure system is bringing us more snow, bringing the Alta base to 126 inches!  If you didn't know better, you would like think today was mid-January. So it looks like we will keep getting more snow through the weekend and after that, well there's two more weeks of spring skiing, which can mean just about anything--powder, corn...fun!


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Powder Skiing in March

The first day of spring arrives tomorrow and the sun is shining at Alta! Yesterday we had a day of powder skiing on 12 inches of new snow and friends reported that the skiing was excellent.  And since it was a weekday, there was plenty of powder to ski run after run or as they say around here "free refills". Get a look a what the skiing was like from the video below.

If you haven't skied at Alta in the spring, you still have another month. With a 117-inch base at Alta, there's plenty of snow. There are even more reasons to come and stay during "spring celebration" from April 1-20, for Alta Lodge guests.
  • Complimentary receptions with wine and appetizers several days a week after skiing.
  • Lunch served on the sundeck (weather permitting).
  • Complimentary picnic lunch on the ski slopes, beverages included (dates to be announced, weather permitting).
  • High performance ski demos from Deep Powder House at a special rate for Alta Lodge guests -- 3 days for the price of 2 days (regular $49.95/day).
  • Kids' ski rentals free at Deep Powder House (140 cm and under) with adult ski demo.
  • April 7-10 and April 14-17--get three consecutive days lift tickets for the price of two--adults and children's tickets.

  • Kids Stay Free!  Kids 12 and under stay free in parents' room, breakfast and dinner included, with a stay of at least 4 nights.

    Alta's a beautiful place any time of the year and when the sun is shining, the views are hard to beat!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Spring has sprung!

Mt. Baldy at Alta Ski Area, viewed from Alta Lodge.
Bliss is in the air now.  Today is one of the those spring days that makes one grin from ear to ear. Fresh snow, sunshine and a blue sky--what's not to like? The beautiful weather will continue on into the weekend.  The snow is deep and most runs are wide open--the mountain presents more surface area to ski than any other time this season.  Spring break time brings more families to ski at Alta, sharing the joy of skiing together. Picnic lunches, mountain dining or lunch in the dining room are all options this time of year, as well as an afternoon nap if you really want to relax on your ski vacation. Something to consider if you are not able to make it in March, Alta in April is a fantastic time to ski as well. There will be a "free" demo day all day on April 12.  Just sign up and reps from the ski companies at the base of Collins Lift will outfit you with skis for a few runs and then you can try another pair, and another and so on.
High Rustler at Alta Ski Area viewed from Sitzmark Bar.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

100+ Inches of Snow

Storms over the past week have brought the base depth at Alta to over 100 inches.  With more and more of the mountain filling in with each storm we receive, the skiing just keeps getting better. March is a month that historically receives an average of 99.66 inches of snow, according to Alta Ski Area's Snowfall History web page. We'll keep making turns and see how March shakes out this season.

Photo: Gregg Davis
Our third Women's Ski Camp this season is underway this weekend with another scheduled March 16-20.  More women are discovering Alta skiing and the ski camps have a way of converting women to Alta "lifers".  You may have noticed there  are more women skiing Alta each season. We're happy to see them and hope the trend continues.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Looking Towards Spring?

March shows up this weekend and the following weekend we move our clocks forward an hour.  Does it seem like spring is around the corner? Hold on, not too fast,we're still savoring the powder storms and deeper snow, which from the NOAA forecast, looks like tomorrow and this weekend. Wind following the last storm made ski conditions smooth and silky in a lot of places on the mountain.  The Daily Pow's latest video shows just how smooth the skiing has been.

If you are holding out for some spring conditions, Alta in April is a great time of year to come.  The community of Alta is planning events for the month of April and we'll provide an update on those events in the next post.  If you have younger kids, April is also Kids Stay Free for two kids ages 12 & under with a four night minimum stay.  Breakfast and dinner is also included at no additional cost, which saves quite a bit of money for a family ski trip.

Hope you ski season has been great so far or if it hasn't started yet, you've still got time to ski Alta and enjoy all it has to offer.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

22 Feet of Snow...with More to Come

It's been a busy President's Day vacation week at Alta Lodge and guests have been reporting great ski conditions during afternoon tea. From staff reports, yesterday's skiing was "free refills" pretty much all afternoon, keeping skiers happy each time they got off the lift.

This week our local newspaper, The Salt Lake Tribune, featured Alta's Wildcat Lift as the Ski Lift of the Week. Still a two-seater, the chair provides access to runs that are often overlooked on a powder day as skiers stick to the quicker and higher elevation Collins lift.

This season, we scheduled two Women's Ski Camps and both of the them sold out quickly. In response to demand, we have added a third one--March 16-20--just in time for spring skiing.  If this is something you have wanted to do, sign up soon as we expect this camp to sell out too.

We're glad to see the days are getting longer and in another month, spring will be here!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Sleepy Winter Back with a Roar

Alta now has a impressive base depth of 93-inches which means the mountain is getting more filled in with each additional snow storm that comes our way. Winter had a late start for many places in the west but here at Alta we were fortunate to have good skiing all season. The most recent weather pattern has moved high pressure out the area, bringing in some substantial storms which means deeper snow for Alta.

A busy President's weekend is in store for Utah skiers, especially with all the new snow.  We're expecting the rest of the winter and spring to be great skiing.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


It's all the buzz......."10-20 inches with 2 feet or more possible in some locations.." Wasatch Snow Forecast
The National Weather Service is showing lots of snowflakes on their forecast for the next five days.
A winter storm watch is in effect from tonight through Friday evening.

If you've been saving up your vacation time or sick days for "powder flu", it's time to use them and head to Alta for the weekend!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Mid-Winter--no blues at Alta

We've hit mid-winter here at Alta, which in this case means we've been skiing for 11 weeks and have 11 more weeks left to ski. The snowfall to date for the season is 180 inches and the base stands at 57 inches. Though not as much snow as we typically have to date, there will be more storms coming before the end of April.  In the meantime, skiers are having fun Skiing the Baldy Main Chute, and enjoying the great weather and blue sky.

Ground Hog day seems to tell a tale about winter and we're eager to hear what Punxsutawney Phil's 128th prognostication will be this Sunday, February 2. Of course at Alta, we want Phil to see his shadow so we'll see six more weeks of winter and then some. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Considering a stay at Alta Lodge?

A view of Mt. Superior view from 
the Alta Lodge dining room.
You're in for a treat when you stay at Alta Lodge. For starters, Alta Lodge is at Alta, Utah, one of the most celebrated ski areas in the United States. Located at the base of Alta, you get to ski out the back door to the lifts.  You get up in the morning and walk down the hall in your slippers to fresh coffee and a newspaper before you are seated for a hot skier's breakfast.  As you ponder your day, your view from the dining room is the stunning Mt. Superior. Lift tickets can be purchased at the front desk so you can head straight to the lifts. Mid day, you might return to the Lodge for lunch or opt to eat on the mountain at Watson's Grill or Alf's.
                                                                                                                 You might be in for a surprise too it it's a day
Hot cocoa on the slopes.
we serve hot chocolate on the mountain in a secret location.

When your ski day draws to a close, it's time for informal afternoon tea in the Deck Room with freshly baked treats and tea, coffee and assorted fruit juices.

The Sitzmark Club at Alta Lodge.
There's still time to enjoy a hot soak in the hot tubs or a relaxing sauna. Après ski wouldn't be complete without a stop at the Sitzmark Club, one floor up from the lobby.  The "Sitz" received praised from SKI Magazine in 2012 as "America's most venerable ski-hotel bar has lured the powder-sated to its unpretentious slope side environs since 1939." Local favorites include the party margarita, hot cider and bourbon, bloody Mary and the boomerang.

Photo: Tyson Bradley
Let's not forget the kids! The Kids' Club shuttles kids back and forth to ski lessons, provides afternoon activities and there's even a special kids' dinner at 5:30, followed by a movie.

Before you know it, you're hooked on the casual ease and comforts of a relaxing ski vacation where you truly can "get away from it all."

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

What a Storm!

Did it ever snow January 8-13! Just ask the people who were here skiing when 41 inches of snow fell over a five day period. "The BEST skiing ever!", "bottomless...", "it's hard to see, but who cares when the skiing is this good", were some of the comments made by guests and staff.  Tired skiers lamented they had to come in for lunch just to recoup from all the powder they were skiing. 

Powder Tracks participants were especially pleased with the conditions they had and for having instructors who took them to secret spots at Alta.  Today is final day of the clinic and they are skiing Snowbird with a crystal clear blue sky.

The next week several days the weather will hold steady and although the fresh powder will be gone, the groomed skiing is going to be great. As we hear it from a couple of locals, the groomers at Alta are pretty fun to ski.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

It's Snowing in Alta

It's getting deep outside
Alta Lodge.
If you have been waiting for powder skiing, this is the weekend you should be skiing at Alta!  It's been snowing since Wednesday and since 8 am today, Alta has received 10 inches of snow and it is still snowing hard. Another 12-20 inches could come our way before the end of the weekend. Today at lunch time I spoke with a dining room staff person who has the day to ski and he said it is probably his best day ever with snow the feeling bottomless. The great news for Alta Lodge fans is that we have openings this weekend and next weekend if you are ready for your powder fix.

Before the storm, a friend of ours was skiing the backcountry and shot some video January 6-8...it was skiing beautifully!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Alta Snow

It's been said (and trademarked) that Utah has the "Greatest Snow on Earth". When it comes to snow quality, the prevailing sentiment at Alta is that you would be hard pressed to find better powder skiing.
Attempting to understand the reasoning behind these beliefs, authors W. James Steenburgh and Trevor I. Alcott from the Department of Meteorology at the University of Utah set out to examine the meteorological findings that would support these beliefs. In their paper published in the September 2008 issue of American Meteorological Society, the authors cite their review of 22 years of snowfall with water content, air temperatures and elevation and the conclusions they came to.

Then there are Alta snowflakes. Alta Ski Area and a team of researchers have partnered to capture images of individual snowflakes.  The process involves the use of a custom made, high powered camera referred to as a Multi Action Snow Camera or MASC.  Picture This, a story about the process appeared in the Winter 13/14 issue of the Utah Adventure Journal.

The information is convincing that experiencing skiing on Utah snow is not to be missed, especially at Alta!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

What is the Interconnect?

Can you imagine skiing four to six ski areas in one day? You can do that in Utah with the Interconnect Ski Tour. Now in the 30th season of guiding skiers, the tour is more popular than ever. You don't need to be a backcountry or expert skier to do it but you need to able to ski off trail with confidence and a willingness to do some side stepping and carrying your skis on your shoulder for short sections of hiking.

Alta Lodge guests start the tour from Snowbird and can tour to Alta, Brighton and Solitude and then back to Alta.  The additional ski areas for an extended tour are Park City and Deer Valley.  The return to Alta for the extended tour requires a one-hour shuttle ride for an additional fee. If you have a "bucket list", it is worth adding the Interconnect Tour to the list. You can find additional information, including  a FAQ on line as well make your reservation for the tour.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Women's Skis: Deciding What to Buy

Before there were women's bikes, women's backpacks and women's skis, women just bought the same bikes, backpacks, and skis as the guys.  Now not only is there gender specific gear, there is a wide assortment to choose from.

When it comes to skis, if you can demo skis, many ski shops will apply the rental fee towards the purchase price of skis. Another way to go about the decision making process is to read some of the ski tester reviews on the new equipment. Having one pair of skis for all conditions is ideal if you are skiing on snow that presents all types of conditions.  However, a lot of skiers are primarily on slopes with snow that is extremely hard and in some areas, it is actually icy.  For those types of conditions, the best ski would be one specific to those conditions. In the west and northwest, the snow conditions can be quite varied and those that ski a lot often times have more than one pair of skis.

If you are a destination skier, you might consider just bringing your ski boots with you and renting demo skis for your trip.  You'll have the latest equipment and eliminate the hassle and extra baggage fee of bringing your own skis.

The Alta Women's Ski Camps provide participants with demo skis and the option to switch out to different ski types while they are in the camp.  Not only does this give the skier the latest ski they also can evaluate others and designate a preference.

Having choices is great and if you come to Alta on April 12, there will be a free demo day that is open to everyone. (Lift tickets are not included.)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Deluxe to Dormitory

slope facing cornber room with two beds at Alta Lodge
Alta Lodge large corner room
Alta Lodge has an assortment of rooms that include slope-facing corner rooms, rooms with a balcony and wood burning fireplace, rooms with views up canyon and down canyon and smaller, cozy rooms in the original wing of the lodge. There are also two one-of-a-kind rooms--the Swiss room and the Tyrol room. A hot breakfast, four-course dinner and afternoon tea are included.

each dorm at Alta Lodge is gender specific
Alta Lodge dorm rooms
The lodge also has dorm rooms, with the meal plan included, afternoon tea and access to the hot pools and saunas.  While dormitory accommodations may not appeal to some, for budget minded skiers who want to stay at Alta, they are great bargain.  Dorms also work well for a group of friends who want to be in the same room but don't want to share a bed.The dorm rooms are gender specific with each bed space having storage space and a safe. A shared bathroom is across the hallway. Keep in mind, no car is needed when staying at Alta Lodge and access to the lifts is out the back door.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Now Serving Fresh Powder

The toe-tapping, weather watching and anticipation is over--powder skiing is here! With blue sky and sunshine for nearly a week, skiers were getting their legs in shape by skiing laps on the buffed runs. 
Yesterday's storm total brought 15 inches of snow to the Alta and cold temperatures will keep the snow fluffy for a few days until the next storm comes in. 

Speaking of cold weather, afternoon tea at the Lodge takes off the chill at the day's end, followed by a nice dip in the hot pools to relax tired muscles before dinner time or a visit to the Sitzmark. The Sitzmark--a local favorite for après ski--has been getting "spruced up" for our guests and there will be some pleasant changes by the end of the week. Be sure to stop in the next time you are skiing Alta.