It’s no secret that Utah is home to some of the best snow in the U.S., and the Alta Ski Area is one of the top resorts in the state. With a projected opening date this season of November 18th, it’s now the time of year to start considering season passes and planning your next ski trip.
Resorts can be pricey, so it helps to know the area to get the most out of your trip. This comprehensive guide will cover Alta Ski Resort parking, lodging, restaurants, skiing tips, and more.
Overview of Alta Ski Resort Utah
Alta Ski Resort is located in Alta, Utah in Salt Lake County, and covers 2,614 acres of terrain and 116 trails. Alta opened in 1939, making it one of the oldest ski resorts in the U.S. The ski area has six primary chair lifts that reach an elevation of 8,530 to 10,550 feet and a vertical drop of 1,020 feet (616 m). Alta is one of the few resorts in the country that is dedicated to skiing only. So snowboarders will need to swap out their board for skis or check out neighboring Snowbird.
How to Ski Alta
Skiing Alta is a memorable experience, to say the least. The snowfall and powder are some of the best in Utah (538 inches of snow each year), and the advanced terrain is ideal for experienced skiers.
At ski resorts, skiers typically ride chairlifts directly to the best trails. Alta is unique in this sense. Because there are only a few chairlifts, much of the terrain is only accessible via traversing. Alta’s High Traverse (High-T) is an efficient way to get around as long as you know what you’re doing.
Follow these rules when traversing High-T:
- Give the person in front of you some space (they have the right of way)
- Give the person ahead of you a verbal signal or tap your poles together if you need to pass them
- Step up above the traverse to take a break or snap a picture
- Look behind before stepping back into the traverse to avoid a collision
Think of High-T as a freeway. You wouldn’t stop in the middle of the road, and you shouldn’t stop in the middle of the traverse. There are multiple exits for ski runs and several places to step off and take in the view. If you stay mindful of other skiers, you’ll find that High-T is a fun and efficient way to get to your next run.
Ski Fall Line
Much of the skiing in Alta takes place on open faces and bowls rather than spiderweb trails. Skiing a fall line means skiing downhill from where you stop on a traverse. Use an established traverse to get to the run you want to ride, check your surroundings, and proceed to ski downhill.
If you ever need to traverse across a slope, look up the hill first to ensure you don’t block anyone skiing downhill. Also, to avoid collisions, don’t cut into a spot where you can’t be seen from above.
Use Your Ski Pass
Your pass is your key to the Alta castle. Alta uses RFID to scan passes and lift tickets which helps the lines move faster. The gate can detect your pass from inside your pocket as long as it is by itself. Put your cell phone, wallet, credit cards, and anything else you might carry in a separate pocket.
All you have to do is ski to the gate and wait for the scanner to pick up your pass. If the gate doesn’t open, ensure there is nothing next to your pass. You may need to turn and stick out your hip slightly so the pocket with the pass is turned toward the gate. The scanner can best detect your pass at waist level.
Alta Ski Lessons
Beginners—or anyone looking to take their skills to the next level—could greatly benefit from the ski school at Alta. The Alf Engen Ski School focuses on building your confidence, creating new experiences, improving the quality of your skiing, and providing access to new terrain and snow conditions.
Regardless of your skill level or age, there’s something you can learn from the professionally certified ski instructors at Alta. The Alf Engen Ski School offers:
- Private lessons and guided tours
- Adult class lessons
- Kids class lessons and camps
- Kids season-long programs
- Adult multi-week programs
- Adult camps
Alta ski lessons offer unrivaled variety and elite coaches on some of the best skiing terrain in the country. Use the links above to find pricing, dates, and information for individual classes.
Alta Ski Resort Parking
Road and parking conditions can change quickly during the winter season, so it’s essential to check the Alta Parking and Road status before leaving your home or hotel.
You must have a paid parking reservation to park at the resort from Friday to Sunday between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. and on holidays. These reservations apply to all parking in the Wildcat, Flagstaff (South Side), Grizzly, and Albion lots. Alta will release reservations for the 2022-23 season this fall. Parking reservations are not required from Monday to Thursday, so parking availability is first come, first served.
If you can’t get a parking pass or don’t want to deal with the traffic, you can take a bus. The UTA Ski Bus offers bus service to Alta. Click here to see other commonly asked questions about Alta Ski Resort parking.
Alta Ski Rentals
Many skiers find it easier to leave their equipment at home and rent skis from the resort, especially if they travel out of state. Fortunately, Alta Ski Shops make it easy to rent, demo, or purchase ski gear.
The Alta Ski Shop has four locations: Albion, Wildcat, Alf’s, and Watson’s. The Wildcat and Albion locations include rentals and ski tuning. Alf’s and Watson’s are retail-only locations. The price of a demo or rental varies between $15 and $65, depending on the equipment. Alta also accepts rental reservations by phone. Call 801-799-2293 by 2 p.m. the day before you visit to ensure you have the gear you need.
Alta Ski Resort Lodging
You’ll want to find a comfortable place to stay while you aren’t on the slopes, and Alta offers several lodging options. The resort has a collection of unique, independently owned lodges, condos, and vacation homes with slope accessibility and beautiful views.
Snowpine Lodge is the newest in Little Cottonwood Canyon. It combines luxury accommodations with great savings for anyone visiting the Alta Ski Area. Snowpine is a four-star mountain experience with unrivaled mountain recreation access, high-quality restaurants, and a spa overlooking the iconic landscape.
Alta Lodge offers ski-in/ski-out service and is one of Alta’s most celebrated accommodations. With its traditional lodge ambiance, quality service, and hot pools, it’s no wonder an incredible 70% of guests return to Alta Lodge each year.
There are several other options for lodging near the resort, including:
- Goldminer’s Daughter Lodge: A vacation home for generations of families
- Alta Peruvian Lodge: Alta’s finest ski-in/ski-out mountain lodge
- Alta’s Rustler Lodge: The top-rated Alta hotel for 10 years
Restaurants Near Alta, Utah
The Alta area has no shortage of restaurants, both inside and just outside of Little Cottonwood Canyon. If you are looking for dine-in restaurants close to the resort, be sure to check out the options below.
- The Gulch Pub features a creative menu with internationally inspired apres-ski fare, made with fresh and local Utah ingredients/
- Swen’s Restaurant is home to the coziest and friendliest atmosphere with a refined dining experience.
- Collins Grill offers a full-service European mountain bistro-grill menu with wine and spirits.
- Goldminer’s Daughter Slopeside Cafe features a modified buffet-style fine-dining experience for breakfast and dinner.
- Rustler Lodge Dining Room is known for its fine dining, unmatched ambiance, and beautiful views.
- Alf’s Restaurant is one of the most iconic lunch spots in the canyon, with indoor and outdoor seating and beautiful views of Albion Basin and Devil’s Castle.
Other Activities and Tips
Alta offers one of the country’s best and most complete skiing experiences. The atmosphere is incredibly welcoming, and most people can’t help but fall in love with the powder and slopes.
The best advice we can give? Plan your trip now! We’re confident you won’t regret it.
Your trip checklist should include:
- Parking reservations
- Lift tickets
- Ski lessons
- Child care
You can also find a trail map here if you prefer planning your runs beforehand. Want to visit the resort before the ski season starts? Check out Alta’s calendar of events for summer activities such as birding hikes, tree planting, volunteer days, and more.
Create Your Next “Wow” Experience with Wildhorn
At Wildhorn, we want to help you get the most out of your next outdoor adventure. That’s why we optimize our ski and snowboarding gear around performance and value. We look forward to gearing up adventurers around the world.
Not only are we focused on providing you with the best equipment, but we also practice gratitude and work to protect and maintain the environment that allows us to participate in the outdoor sports we love.
Get ready for the upcoming ski season and view our ultimate snow gear collection today!