Thursday, July 30, 2015

Wildflowers are Everywhere!

Alta's had quite a display of flowers the past few weeks and if you have not had a chance to check them out, you're in for a treat.  The best area for a wide variety of flowers is in Albion Basin.  It is also the most popular location so going early in the morning is important if you want to avoid the crowds.  The best thing to do is drive to the Albion Basin Day Lodge and take the free shuttle. By doing this you skip driving on a dusty dirt road and looking for limited parking spaces.  The shuttle stops at the trail head for a hike to Catherine's Pass, which is a three-mile round trip hike.  The hike offers great views in both directions.  Another hike is the Cecret Lake trail, an easy 1.8 miles round trip to an alpine lake in Devil's Castle. Numerous other trails dot the area and descriptions and details can be found on the Wasatch Hiker web site.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Summer Season

We're rapidly approaching the start of our summer season which kicks off with Sunday Brunch on May 31. And although it snowed last weekend, the weather and temperatures can change overnight and bring warm, sunny days.  The aspen trees now have their leaves at the White Pine trail head which is an indicator of summer arriving soon.

In recent weeks, a young moose was grazing on a daily basis near Snowbird and a coyote was strolling along the roadside.  Before we know it, wildflowers will start to show up too.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

ALERT: Last Chance Powder

In case you haven't heard...the drums are beating for a big powder storm in Little Cottonwood Canyon that arrives this evening.  It will be the last one of the season as Alta will close this weekend. 

The excitement has rousted skiers to head to Alta for the two-day powder fest that starts tomorrow.

Some of the buzz out there--
SO, plan your sick day, make a reservation, keep your snow tires on another week, start driving or flying so you make it here by tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Alta in April!

April fun for everyone in Alta!  April 3-19 is Alta in April!

Lodging specials, apres ski events, live music, on-mountain Easter egg hunt, demo day, sunshine, great skiing, great friends and more! Help celebrate another great year of skiing in Alta!


Friday, April 3: Alta Gala (La Caille Restaurant 7:30-11:00 PM)

Saturday, April 4: $10 Beer & Brats at Alf’s Restaurant

Sunday, April 5: Easter Egg Hunt at 11am SHARP! Meet in front of Alta Java at the Albion Base. Meet the Easter Bunny and find some hidden treasures in the snow! Three age groups: 4 & under, 5-8 years, 9-12 years.

Thursday, April 9: FREE Yoga sponsored by Alta Community Enrichment. Enjoy the last class of the Winter Yoga Series! Thursday, April 9th at 5:45pm at Our Lady of the Snows Center.

Friday, April 10: Friends of Alta Social. Join Friends of Alta for an evening of wine, appetizers, socializing and short discussion on their efforts to protect and preserve the unique environment and character of Alta. The evening will begin with a presentation by Bryan Olsen of Tracy Aviary at 5:30pm at Our Lady of the Snows to learn more about Alta’s Bird Survey Program.

Saturday, April 11

  • Powder House Ski Shops and Alta Ski Shop Spring Demo Day. Test out next year’s skis for FREE.
  • Enjoy live music on the deck of Goldminer’s Daughter Lodge from 10:30am – 4:00pm.
  • Patsy Marley Day at the Albion Grill, $12 Chuck Wagon Lunch: BBQ Ribs, Corn, Chili, Baked Beans, $4 Draughts of 801 Pilsner (supports Utah Avalanche Center) and Wasatch Rescue Dog Ale (supports Wasatch Backcountry Rescue)

Goldminer’s Daughter Deck Live Music Lineup:

10:30-11:30 Eric Anderton

12:00-1:00 Real Sly

1:30-2:30 Tim Jindra and Friends

3:00-4:00 Michael Gofik

Friday, April 17:
Alta Earth Day. All Day FREE event! Join Alta for its 6th annual community Alta Earth Day. This event encourages environmental stewardship, responsible recreation and awareness of the relationship between climate change and the future of the ski industry in Little Cottonwood Canyon and beyond. The day’s event will feature: Eco-Friendly Vendors, Naturalist Tours, Birding in Alta, Ski Gear Recycle Drop-Off  and Apr├Ęs Earth Day & Film.

Sunday, April 19
: Alta Ski Area first closing day

Sunday, April 26: Alta Ski Area final closing day

*Alta Ski Area will be closed from April 20-April 23, re-opening April 24-26.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

It's Time for Spring Skiing at Alta!

The days of spring have been upon us early this year and the skiing has been great. With the Daylight Saving Time change on March 8, we've been enjoying the longer daylight hours and lovely canyon sunsets.  Next month we'll be on the deck for apres ski and lunch, host a mountain picnic and some fun receptions.  Alta in April is a fun time of year--with free demo skis to try all day on April 11 and lots of other things will be happening, including the Alta Gala on April 3. Need a family vacation? Kids Free makes is easy for a four-day family ski trip. It's a great break for mom--no grocery shopping or cooking or cleaning up since breakfast and dinner's included! 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

March: On Time Snow Delivery

As we said in our last post, March could be a snowy month and so far, March is delivering!  Skiers couldn't be happier with 25 inches of new snow since March 1.  An exciting photo of the storm coming up the canyon was posted on Twitter and no doubt powder videos will be coming soon from the Daily Pow. Alta now has base of 90-inches which means good coverage all over the mountain. Some great descriptions of the storm from weather observers told the tale that many of us were feeling or experiencing with the abundance of snow. Our friend Professor Powder (Jim Steenburgh) said on his blog that this week is "Official Call in Sick Week" and from the amount of traffic trying to get to Little Cottonwood Canyon this morning, I think everyone in Salt Lake City who skis took his advice!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Snowing at Alta!

Pleased to report it is snowing (see actual photos on link) at Alta and it will keep snowing through the weekend. We'll get a little break at the first of the week and then more snow again next week.  If you have been itching for your Alta powder break, March looks like the month to go; historically, it is the snowiest month of the ski season with an average 99 inches!

If you need a reminder on the thrill of skiing powder, here's a video taken last weekend at Alta.

Monday, February 16, 2015

More Weeks of Winter Season Ahead

If you think about how long winter will be depending on what groundhog Punxsutawney Phil sees when he comes out of his hole, it looks like more winter is in our future. (Not that we don't want more winter at Alta...) We're missing our winter storm cycles and are hopeful some will come our way soon and maybe make up with extra storms.  The Wasatch Weather Forecast post for today is titled "Patience Needed", which certainly is applicable if you are hungry for Alta's powder skiing.

In the meantime, four inches here and there have been lapped up pretty quickly.  If you're here at the right time, those four inches can be pretty sweet, as is evidenced in the Daily Pow's recent video.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Spring-like Conditions in February

Wacky weather at Alta recently has made for some nice spring skiing in February.  Sunny days and warm temperatures were the norm over the weekend and will continue through the extended Presidents Weekend. Minus recent snow for a bit, Alta has a 69-inch base, with four inches of new snow overnight.  Mix it with a little bit of wind here and there and the skiing is good.

What to make of this weather? Hard to say but we have a tradition at Alta that some are saying we need to do--Stabutic! Here's how it works:

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Backcountry Adventures

The enthusiasm amongst skiers for venturing out on new terrain is growing more each year. Backcountry skiing is the fastest growing segment in the winter outdoor sports category.  As the equipment has improved over the years with lighter skis and binding and more technical boots, more skiers are keen to give it a try.

The Wasatch range provides easy access to world-class backcountry skiing terrain. Alta Lodge's location is across the street from terrain that locals--from Salt Lake City and Alta--ski early in morning before heading to work.  Coined the "dawn patrol", it's a unique phenomena that you would be hard pressed to do from another large metropolitan area.

If you're interested in trying backcountry skiing, Alta Lodge has teamed up with Utah Mountain Adventures guide service to offer a three-day backcountry clinic based out of Alta Lodge. The clinic will teach you basis skills on how to travel with skins, use an avalanche beacon, probe and shovel, avalanche awareness and more.  Ski
rentals are available for first timers.

If you aren't quite ready to take that first step, another approach would be to try the Interconnect Tour through Ski Utah.  It's a great way to see the backcountry while on your alpine skis and with a guide. As Ski Utah says, "This one-of-a-kind European ski tour can be had right here in the heart of Utah's Rocky Mountains."

Try something different on your next trip to Alta and ski beyond the slopes of the ski area.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Sunny Days at Alta

One thing that's hard to beat is a sunny day after an Alta storm.  And several sunny days are even better. Last week and the weekend were days of great skiing and beautiful weather.  First time skiers at Alta were supercharged with the magnitude of the mountains.

Aleisha is from Chicago and this was her first visit to Alta. A beginner skier, she skied runs accessed from Sunnyside and Cecret lifts.

Great views of Greely Hill in Albion Basin with Baldy Mtn. in the background. Sugarloaf chairlift takes skiers to the pass where they can ski down to the lift again, go over to Collins or Supreme lift or ski to Snowbird if they have an Altabird lift ticket.

Beginner skiers Grant and Esteban were practicing turns and stopping on the rope tow hill. Once proficient at those skills, it was off to the chair lifts!

           Here's a video from last Monday's Alta Storm

Monday, January 12, 2015

It's an Alta Storm!

There's something special going on at Alta today: snow at 3 inches an hour! That was earlier today and the University of Utah just reported that Alta received 11 inches of snow from 9am-1pm! It's still snowing and is supposed to continue through the evening. 

When it snows that hard, you have to consider dropping everything and head to Alta.  Every run will be fresh tracks--they fill in that fast.  Here's are some links to go to keep up with how much MORE snow Alta will be getting -- Alta Ski Area Twitter , Alta Ski Area Facebook  and  Alta Snowfall Observations.

Keep smiling and hope you ski some powder tomorrow!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Wish You Were--

                                                          Skier: Aaron Rice, Photo: Joey Campanelli
The past week has been one of the best holiday seasons in recent memories.  Not only did we get a "white Christmas" with 13 inches of snow, it then continued to snow for several days bringing in several more feet of snow. The holiday season was indeed jolly for skiers at Alta.

We're happy to report there is a long-term forecast from the National Weather Service that winter snowfall could be "above average". For those skiers who don't start their ski season until January, there's plenty of time to make your Alta Lodge vacation plans and remember Alta stays open for skiing until the end of April. Whether it's winter powder or spring skiing, plan now so you will be here instead of wishing you were!
Photo: Aaron RIce

Monday, December 22, 2014

Polar Express comes to Utah

The holiday season received a special boost a with a weekend storm that brought in 16 inches of snow and continued through Monday.  It was one of those storms the ski area needed and the right kind of snow to build up the base which now stands at 54 inches and counting. Tuesday and Wednesday will be clear and sunny with snow in the forecast for Christmas day.

Once the holiday season passes, we've got a few things in store during the month of January.  If you are looking to try something new, consider a three-day Backcountry Skiing and Snowboarding Clinic. Powder Tracks Ski Camp runs January 10-15 and is for skiers who are interested in learning to ski powder or sharpening their powder skiing skills. Our January Women's Ski Camp for intermediate to advanced skiers is sold out but there is still room in the March camp or the February camp for advanced to expert skiers.

We're busy with the fun spirit of the holidays at Alta Lodge and the new snow makes it all the more festive!

Monday, December 15, 2014

December Skiing at Alta

Ski season is in full swing at Alta with all lifts now open.  The weekend storm brought in 16 inches of snow and lots of skiers showed up to play in the powder.  It had been a couple of weeks since the opening weekend storm so skiers were excited with the change in weather.  Prior to the weekend storm, we had warm temperatures with sunshine. Skiing in the December sun was especially nice with beautifully groomed runs on both sides of the mountain.

Professor Jim Steenburgh from the University of Utah came to Alta Lodge on December 12 and did a book signing of his book Secrets of the Greatest Snow on Earth, which was released in November. Steenburgh's blog is a resource many locals use for getting local weather information.  Check it out--

As the holiday season approaches, ski conditions will only continue to improve as the weather forecasters tells us we should expect snow off and on throughout the next week.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Big Storm Opens Alta's Ski Season

Wednesday afternoon at 2 pm
Alta opened for the season last Friday and a storm moved into the area on Saturday, depositing so
much snow that Alta did not open on Sunday! There is a 40-inch base now and the Thanksgiving weekend is off to a great start with beautiful sunny days in the forecast for Thursday and Friday. All reports from skiers say the conditions are great and the new Corkscrew run is a nice improvement. After the holiday weekend the weather will change (of course!) and we'll be looking at cooler temperatures with more snow moving into the area.  If you can plan a last minute escape to ski, follow the weather on a web site a lot of locals use and plan your powder trip before the next holiday when it is quiet and there's a good chance to get some faceshots!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Alta Opens on Friday!

We're looking forward to Alta's opening day this Friday, November 21.  A storm over the weekend brought in fresh snow and colder temperatures which is a sure sign of winter.  At the moment, more snow is in the forecast for the weekend.  As we get closer to opening day, look for Twitter and Facebook postings for the latest info on lifts and runs that will be open on Friday.

Alta Lodge also opens this weekend for the winter season. Our dining room will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner to the public. Breakfast and dinner are included for overnight lodging guests and we welcome outside guests to dine with us.

If you are at Alta on Friday, we hope to see you on the slopes or for lunch for or apres ski at the end of the day.

Happy Winter!

Monday, October 20, 2014

One Month to Go!

near the base of Alta Ski Area
November 21 is the opening day for Alta this season. Will you be ready to ski that day?

The fall weather is great right now but winter is just around the corner, so before it arrives, get prepared for that first day in the mountains.

Check list:
  • skis: check bindings and clean debris off base if you did a lot of spring skiing. Gunk and wax left on the base won't make that first day very fun.

  • ski boots: shake out the critters so you don't have any surprises when you put your feet in them

  • base layers and ski socks: wash them if you never got around to it at the end of the season

  • gloves, hat/helmet, goggles: track them down

  • snow scrapper/shovel: put them in the car now so you don't forget

  • snow tires: you need them to get to get to Alta--don't wait till the last minute to get them on your car--you'll regret it 
Are you ready???

Stop by the Alta Lodge for breakfast, lunch or apres ski on opening day--we would love to see you!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Getting Ready for Ski Season, Part 2

If you are still procrastinating on pre-ski season conditioning, here are some tips from the University of Utah.

Compressed time? Something for people who work in high rise buildings, take a break from the desk and walk up and down a few flights of stairs several times.

Or here is something my neighbors do: they fill a few empty gallon size milk containers with water and put them in their backpacks, put on ankle weights and then walk up and down the inclined streets in the neighborhood for an hour. They tell me it is quite effective. (This done at night with headlights to avoid suspicious looks.)

Still suffering from lack of motivation?  Take a look at these trailers for ski films out this fall and get motivated!

Warren Miller
Days of My Youth
Pretty Faces
Something Else

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Ski Conditioning

Traversing and side stepping are required to get to this run.
Now is the time to think about doing some conditioning for ski season. Wait--thinking about it isn't good enough you need to get to work if you want to be able walk the day after skiing hard the first day! What do you need to do? Strength, power and endurance exercises.  Don't know where to start? There are a lot of resources to tap into. Around here there are ski conditioning classes outdoors and in the gyms.

If you start now to take ski fitness seriously, the first few days on the slopes will be more fun and you'll feel much better at the end of the day.Get to work and you'll be glad you did on that first day.

*snow is in the forecast this weekend at 9,000 ft. -- that would be at Alta!

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.