Wednesday, December 30, 2009

“Peace and powder snow” -- Bill Levitt

William H. (Bill) Levitt

Feb. 18, 1917 – Dec. 29, 2009

William Haskell (Bill) Levitt, long-time mayor of Alta, Utah, and owner of the Alta Lodge, died on Dec. 29, 2009.

Mr. Levitt was a graduate of the University of North Carolina, holding B. A. and M. A. Degrees in Sociology and Human Geography. Over a long and varied career, before moving to Alta in 1956, Mr. Levitt served as Director of Housing Surveys for the State Planning Board of North Carolina; was a principal Agricultural Economist in the U. S. Department of Agriculture; served as International Education Director for the UAW/CIO; was a sergeant in the U. S. Army in World War II; was a film maker, producer/director for Film Documents; and studied at the Art Students’ League in New York City.

During his 34 years as mayor of Alta, Mr. Levitt, at various times, was President of the Utah League of Cities & Towns; Chairman of the Governor’s Council on Community Affairs; Chairman of the Wasatch Front Regional Council; President of the Salt Lake Council of Governments; member of the Governor’s Wilderness Committee; Municipal Representative on the State Air Quality Board; Chair of the Public Safety Committee of the Salt Lake Council of Governments. He served as President of the Utah Ski Association and was a retired member of the Intermountain Ski Instructors Association. He was also instrumental in the creation of Friends of Alta.

Mayor Levitt was honored as the Outstanding Elected Official by the Utah League of Cities and Towns, and received a similar honor from the Utah Society of Public Administrators. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Order of the Arrow, Utah Boy Scouts of America and was elected to the Utah Tourism Hall of Fame. In 2004, in recognition for his work in protecting the natural environment of the community of Alta and the surrounding canyon, he was named a Giraffe by the Giraffe Heroes Project. The Giraffe Project is an international nonprofit organization that honors those who “stick their neck out for the common good.”

Mr. Levitt was born on Feb. 18, 1917, in Brooklyn, N. Y., a son of Samuel Levitt and May Kane Levitt. He is survived by his wife, Mimi Muray Levitt, to whom he was married on Dec. 17, 1982; a sister-in-law, Katherine Levitt, Savannah, GA; three sons, John, San Francisco, CA; Bino, (Marty Jones), Haiku, HI; Toby (Heather), Salt Lake City; a daughter, Cassia (Marcus) Dippo, Salt Lake City; a daughter-in-law, Victoria Levitt, Potsdam, NY; seven grandchildren, Ethan Levitt (Meggan), Atlanta, GA; Elissa Levitt, Houston, TX; Sam and Wilson Dippo, Salt Lake City; Sara, Matthew, and Hanna Levitt, Salt Lake City; a great-granddaughter, Maggie Levitt, Atlanta, GA. He was predeceased by a son, James; a sister, Helen; and a brother, Robert.

A marriage to Elizabeth Ayscue ended in divorce. A marriage to Janice Loeb ended in divorce.

Bill Levitt was a humanitarian and cared about people as well as about Alta’s history and its future. He was unusually talented, energetic and charismatic, but more than that, he used his powers for the greater good. He was a liberal in the truest sense of the word. His priority was never his own enrichment; it was always community, nature, open spaces and people. Bill fought for what was important to him; his principles, Alta, its community, its people and its future. He was always looking to the future.

Bill never seemed to care what people thought of him, but he cared deeply about people themselves—whether they were “important” in the conventional sense or not. Bill had a great life and he was still in possession of his powers at the end—funny, intelligent, and full of idealism and spirit.

A private service will be held at the convenience of the family. A memorial service is also being planned for sometime later in the spring. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to Friends of Alta, P. O. Box 8126, Alta, UT 84092.

Comments can also be viewed and/or submitted on the Bill Levitt Memorial Blog at

Monday, December 21, 2009

Blue Skies

Ski conditions the weekend of December 19/20 were pretty hard to beat--good snow coverage with a 48-inch base, sunny skies and a pleasant temperature; it was nice to see the sun! As the shortest day of the year passes and the day light slowly gets longer, ski season is just beginning.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Monster storm leaves smiles in its wake...

The snow didn't seem to stop coming over the weekend and powder fans were all smiles with the change of weather. For a status on open chairlifts and groomed runs, visit Alta's web page with current information. To keep up to date on weather forecasts for the area, bookmark the National Weather Service web page for Alta. You can also sign up for "powder alerts" on the Alta web site.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Winter Storm Cycle

Winter is making an appearance at Alta with a series of storms forecasted for this week. Five-nine inches of snow are forecasted during the day with up to another 12 inches overnight. Eager skiers are planning early season vacations to take advantage of this long-awaited snow storm.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Blue Sky Day at Alta

A beautiful sunny day at Alta! The weather forecast for the weekend shows snow is headed our way. As winter starts to shape up, get some early season turns in before the holiday season.
Alta Lodge serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily.