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.

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

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,!


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!