Alta Ski Area
Wind: 14mph W
UV index: 2
Alta Ski Area is only 28 miles from Salt Lake City (closer than Park City!) and a scenic 45 minute drive to a powder paradise.
You don’t need to rent a car to visit Alta, you can book a convenient ride from Salt Lake City with Alta Shuttle or Alpine Transportation. If you’re driving, you take the I-15 south, then the UT210 and follow Little Cotton Canyon Road past Snowbird Resort into the Alta Ski Area. For more detailed directions click here!
Once in Alta, getting around is easy and having a car is not essential! The affordable UTA Ski Bus runs a continuous loop of the Bypass Road on a daily basis during the daytime hours, from early December to mid-April. Alternatively, the Alta Town Shuttle is an easy way to get around town.
If you’re driving in, please note that a 4-wheel drive or all wheel drive or snow chains are required by law and be sure to check the unpredictable road conditions.
There is free parking at both base area parking lots or make use of the incentivized Ride Space carpooling and preferred parking program.
Our heavy snowfall makes the threat of avalanches very real and the town may implement ‘interlodge’ for avalanche control. During this time all road access is closed and you are not permitted to leave your property. We will notify you in this event.
The Alta town shuttle makes a continuous loop of the Bypass Road during daytime hours until 5pm and it will typically only take a few minutes to get to the Collins or Sunnyside base areas, however access is based on the current snow conditions. Our Aerial Overview Video will give you a good visual reference for each Alta Chalets property location.
Scenic Highway 210 is a glacier carved corridor that winds up through the Little Cottonwood Canyon with an elevation climb of roughly 3,400 feet – its narrow, steep, and spectacularly scenic. With over 500” of snow falling annually in Utah (and some of the best powder on the planet!), the winter conditions can however be dangerous for driving.
Alta Ski Area has been welcoming visitors to the Cottonwood Canyons since 1939. It was one of the first ski areas in the US (second to Sun Valley, Idaho) and is world-famous for its bluebird powder days, family-friendly amenities and a world-class mountain experience. Alta Ski Area has the reputation of being an expert, powder-hound resort that caters only for skiers equipped to take on its deep powder and diverse terrain. We’re here to set the record straight!
Alta Ski Area is for everyone! Alta has a diverse terrain suitable for all levels of skiers with 45% beginner and intermediate terrain and 55% catering for advanced and expert skiers. Alta is family friendly and offers everything from a kiddie conveyor and long gentle groomers to challenging diamonds, steep tree-lined chutes and perfect off-piste POWder! It’s all about the on-mountain experience and will keep you coming back year after year.
Alta Ski Area has two base areas to cater for all ages and levels of skiers. These are connected by a transfer tow so it’s easy to drop the kids at ski school and make tracks for the black diamond runs.
Sunnyside Base Area: The Sunnyside Base is geared for families and beginners with a base lodge, restaurants and the world-class Alf Engen Ski School. The Sunnyside and Albion chairlifts take you to blue and green runs or you can head higher up the mountain on the Sugarloaf and Supreme chair lifts for tougher terrain.
Collins Base Area: The Collins Base Area accesses the advanced Alta terrain via the Wildcat and Collins chairlifts. Alta Ski Area interconnects with Snowbird Ski Resort and advanced skiers can ski to Snowbird from Mount Baldy via the challenging Keyhole Snowbird area.
Elevation: Base 8,530 ft Summit 11,068 ft
Vertical Drop: 2,538 ft
Skiable Acres: 2,614 acres
Number of Runs: 119
Terrain: 15% beginner, 30% intermediate, 55% advanced
Chairlifts: 6 chairlifts and a beginner conveyor
Night Skiing: There is no night-skiing at Alta
On average Alta Ski Area receives 547 inches of snow annually and last December recorded the most snowfall in North America!. It’s a destination guaranteed to have snow for your ski vacation. From December through March, more than a foot of snow falls every five days on average but with nearly 300 days of sunshine a year you’re likely to have bluebird ski days. Spring skiing is a prime time to ski Alta with warmer weather, sunny blue skies, plenty of fresh new powder and outdoor patios with live music to add to the ambiance.
|Lift Name||Daily Lift Hours|
|Supreme||9:15am – 3:30pm|
|Sugarloaf||9:15am – 4:00pm|
|Wildcat||9:15am – 4:00pm|
|Collins||9:15am – 4:30pm|
|SunnySide||9:15am – 4:30pm|
|Albion||9:15am – 4:30pm|
Alta offers off-peak and peak pricing.
Peak pricing includes Friday-Sunday and the following peak seasons:
December 25-January 3
If you’re going for a last minute ski, window only rates are available for afternoon or late afternoon. Current lift ticket for onsite ticket purchases are as follows:
|Ticket Type||Peak Price||Off-Peak Price|
Purchasing lift tickets has become somewhat of a moving target due to fluctuating pricing and the variety of lift ticket options. Many resorts have moved to a system that prices tickets in a manner similar to airline and hotel pricing – the higher demand, the higher the ticket price and vice versa.
The Alta Children’s Center is located on the third floor of the Albion Ticket office building. It is a state licensed full service childcare facility providing infant care (6 weeks to 24 months) and childcare up to the age of 12 years. This Alta daycare will engage with your child’s creativity and energy with dramatic play, arts and crafts, games, story hour, music, healthy lunches and snacks. There are a number of packages to choose from including mini-adventure programs with the Alf Engen Ski School.
Due to Coronavirus procedures, space is limited and reservations are required.
Choosing the right gear for your ski-trip is crucial. There are a variety of ski shops on the mountain and at the base areas that offer the latest in ski technology and will help with rentals, demos and correct boot fitting. You can even call or book online prior to arrival to reserve your equipment rental. For your convenience, you’ll find daily rental lockers near the Sunnyside Base Area ski school and at the Goldminer’s Daughter, or Alta Java offer an overnight ski check for convenience (these services are currently unavailable due to Covid-19 restrictions)..
We recommend getting fitted locally and not in Salt Lake City. While some guests think they may be saving on costs, if you need to switch your gear you need to stay local. There are plenty of options.
Whether you’re a beginner skier wobbling your way up the magic carpet or a seasoned powder hound ticking Alta off your powder skiing bucket list, Alta Ski Area has a diverse terrain that caters to every age and every level of skier.
Alta Ski Area has two main base areas, the Albion and Wildcat with a transfer tow connecting the two so there is no need to hike. There are five distinct ski areas: Albion, Wildcat, Sugarloaf, Supreme and Collins with direct access to the interconnecting Snowbird Ski Resort. Alta Ski Area may at first seem daunting to many but the good news is, no matter where you are on the mountain, there are plenty of cat tracks and signage for the easiest route down, and always a friendly local to help out.
Beginners have a special place at both Alta and Snowbird. I have brought both of my young nephews to ski in Little Cottonwood Canyon. Their favorite is Alta. Alta’s Albion, Cecret and Sunnyside chairs bring beginners to their own skiing Shangri-La!
Whether you’re a first-timer on the bunny slopes or a seasoned skier or snowboarder riding the steeps and deeps, our list of the best ski trip packing essentials will help you prepare and pack light for your next winter vacation. Find out what you need to pack for an unforgettable winter getaway in Utah’s Wasatch Mountains!
In 2016, the ongoing war between Alta skiers and snowboarders was won with the High Court ruling that the Alta Ski Area is within its legal rights to ban snowboarders from its lifts and slopes.
No, unfortunately snowboarding is not allowed at Alta Ski Area.
Alta Ski Area is interconnected with Snowbird Ski Resort with 2,500 acres of equally pleasurable powder that welcomes snowboarders. It is one of the top five freeride destinations in the US and easily accessible from Alta on the free UTA Ski Bus service that operates daily. Alternatively, treat yourself to a day of Alta snowcat skiing in Grizzly Gulch, this is outside of Alta’s boundaries so snowboarders are welcome but book in advance!
Green Circle: slope gradient of less than 25 percent. These are the easiest and widest runs.
Blue Square: intermediate runs with a slope of 25-40 percent. Very popular and crowded.
Black Diamond: steep gradients exceeding 40 percent and are considered difficult.
Double Black Diamond: Considered the most difficult ski slope rating symbols and should be skied by experts only. Sometimes contain obstacles like trees, cliffs and moguls.
Difficulty: Green Circle
Beneath Albion and Sunnyside lifts is the perfect starter for beginners.
Difficulty: Green Circle
On the lower Albion Area accessed by Dipsy Doodle at the top of Sunnyside.
Difficulty: Blue Square
The longest blue run on Alta under the Sugarloaf lift. Steep but wide with powder edges, tree skiing and some low rock jumps.
Difficulty: Blue Square
A great place for beginners to try their hand at an easier intermediate run.
Rock n Roll
Difficulty: Blue Square
Some moguls, trees and powder accessed by Upper Big Dipper.
Difficulty: Blue Square
Best intermediate powder bowl at the top of the mountain accessed from Collins lift.
Difficulty: Black Diamond
Easier black diamond from Supreme lift a long and varied run.
Difficulty: Black Diamond
Under the sugarloaf lift one of the fastest runs.
Difficulty: Black Diamond
A must-do for experts, a famous run with an intense drop chute.
Westward Ho (‘The Ho’)
Difficulty: Black Diamond
Best Tree Skiing with a steep pitch accessed via the Wildcat lift.
Alf’s High Rustler (‘High Boy’)
Difficulty: Black Diamond
Alta’s famous slope steep shot begins at 45 degrees.
Difficulty: Black Diamond
Don’t often open, a quick 25 minute hike to the best of Alta, (Perla, Little Chute, Main Chute).
Difficulty: Black Diamond
Head on over to Snowbird from Mount Baldy, challenging but fun!
Nestled at the top of Utah’s Little Cottonwood Canyon, the Alta Ski Area is renowned for a classic old-school ski vibe centered around the skier only slopes, powder-filled bluebird days, and 500+ inches of annual snow dubbed the greatest snow on earth!
Wondering if the Alta Ski Area is suited to you? Here’s a guide to our favorite Alta ski trails:
Summer Trail Map: Alta has summer hiking trails for every level. Whether you’re hiking to scenic alpine lakes or taking a family-friendly stroll around basecamp, this map will get you started.
Google Map: This Google map of Alta is great, it even names the runs! A good resource to plan your day, find out where your favorite restaurants are and get your bearings for your Alta vacation.
Albion Base Map & Wildcat Base Map: These maps give a great overview of the base area including lodges, ticket offices, lifts, bus stops and ski school meeting location.
Alta Town Map: This bird’s eye view of Alta town shows the parking areas (including overnight parking), lodges and the Alta shuttle stops throughout town.
The View Condominiums: The View condos are located in the town of Alta only minutes to Alta Ski Area on the town shuttle and in close proximity to the base areas, restaurants and aprés bars. The View condos boast ski-in/ski-out access to Snowbird Resort and expert skiers have the luxury of ski-in access from the Alta Ski Area via Wildcat, dependent on the conditions. The View offers 1-3 bedroom condos with luxurious modern interiors, high-end amenities, cozy wood-burning fireplaces and exceptional views of the Wasatch Mountains.
Superior Point: Superior Point condos are located in the town of Alta with ski-in/ski-out access to Snowbird, a short ride on the Alta town shuttle to the Alta base areas and easy walking distance to the local lodges and restaurants. Superior Point condos offer the privacy of your own home with the upscale amenities of a luxury resort hotel. These high-touch amenities include designer interiors, a gourmet kitchen, boot heaters, wood-burning fireplaces, a private hot tub and mountain views. A stylish lodging option for your stay in Alta.
Powder Ridge: The Powder Ridge condos are nestled slopeside under the Keyhole Chute and Wildcat Bowl and are the only true ski-in/ski-out condos in Alta. Powder Ridge condos feature stylish open-concept interiors with gourmet kitchens, wood-burning fireplaces, high-end amenities and floor to ceiling windows with sweeping mountain views. A warm and inviting home-away-from-home with unparalleled access to both Alta and Snowbird.
Alta Ski Area is home to five unique, independently owned lodges that all lie at the base of Alta Ski Area. All lodges offer private accommodation in both suites and dorm-style rooms with on-site dining and aprés ski.
Alta Peruvian Lodge: The Peruvian Lodge is the first lodge coming into Little Cottonwood Canyon, nestled at the base of the Alta Ski Area. Dating back to 1948, the Peruvian is an authentic ski lodge with guest rooms ranging from dorm-style to spacious suites. The lodge features an outdoor pool and hot tub, a sauna and a full-service ski shop. The on-site P-Dog bar is a favorite Alta aprés ski venue.
Goldminer’s Daughter Lodge: Built by a local ski patroller and opened in 1962, the Goldminer’s Daughter is steps from the Collins and Wildcat chairlifts on the west side of the resort and is the hub of the Collins Base Area. There is an onsite spa, ski shop, games room, indoor hot tub and expansive outdoor patio overlooking the slopes, with the Goldminer’s saloon for family-friendly aprés ski.
Alta Lodge: The historic Alta Lodge dates back to 1939 and offers an authentic vibe and classic ski vacation lodging. The lodge is relaxed, informal and family friendly with an early children’s dinner, Kid’s Club and a free ski-school drop off and pick-up for your kids. The Alta Lodge dining room is renowned for a hearty meal and the Sitzmark Bar remains an original feature of the lodge, a great apres ski hangout.
Alta Rustler Lodge: The Rustler Lodge is located between the Wildcat and Sunnyside Base Areas and offers some of the finest resort hotel amenities in the Alta Ski Area. The lodge boasts an outdoor heated pool, a luxurious onsite spa, a Eucalyptus steam room and sauna and a full-service ski shop. The Eagle’s Nest Lounge sets the tone for upmarket aprés ski, panoramic views and stunning sunsets.
Snowpine Lodge: The recently upgraded Snowpine Lodge has been named as “Alta’s First Luxury Ski Lodge” and dominates the Alta skyline at six stories high. The lodge features the finest in ski lodge amenities with a heated pool, full spa, outdoor hot tubs, jacuzzi, a fine dining restaurant and a stylish aprés ski pub, The Gulch Pub.
Alta Ski Area has a diverse selection of dining options ranging from on-mountain dining and slopeside coffee shops to vibrant après ski and fine dining.
There are 5 unique, privately owned base lodges with on-site restaurants and ‘prix fixe’ nightly options and a few off-mountain gems worth a mention!
Albion Grill: You don’t want to miss the daily specials at the Albion Grill ranging from pizzas and deli sandwiches to delicious chili. Located at the Sunnyside Base Area, this is a family favorite used by the ski-school for their on-mountain lunches.
Alta Java: Alta Java at the Albion base lodge is a must stop for a freshly brewed cup of joe or quick breakfast or lunch. This is a favorite with locals and has beach chairs perfectly placed to watch the ski action.
Alta Rustler Lodge: Enjoy magnificent views in an elegant setting in the Rustler Lodge Dining Room or cozy up for a cocktail in front of the fireplace in the Eagles Nest Lounge.
Alf’s Restaurant: Located mid-mountain at the base of Sugarloaf lift, Alf’s is a scenic lunch spot with views of Albion Basin and Devil’s Castle and a display of vintage skis and photographs dating back over 100 years.
Slopeside Café: Located at the Collins Base Area in the Goldminer’s Daughter Lodge, the Slopeside Café is a great stop for breakfast, to refuel throughout the day or to grab a coffee or hot chocolate to warm up. Enjoy outdoor patio dining and a great ski lodge atmosphere.
Alta Lodge: The Alta Lodge dining room is a quieter option for a breakfast or ski lunch and is more reasonably priced than many of the on-mountain restaurants. The Alta Lodge is an all-time favorite of visitors to Alta Ski Area.
Watson’s Café: Watson’s Café is located mid-mountain near the Collins lift and serves Utah’s best 100% grass-fed beef burgers, local microbrews all with a spectacular view of Mount Superior and Mount Baldy.
Collins Grill: For more upscale dining, Collins Grill is located above Watsons. They offer slippers on arrival, so take off your ski boots, soak up the views and enjoy a European bistro-grill menu and refreshing cocktail. Collins is not particularly suited for families with smaller kids.
From kick-starting your day with a shot of caffeine slopeside to shot skiing at a late-night aprés ski venue (and everything in between), there are plenty of cafés, restaurants, and fun aprés venues to indulge in Alta!
Alta is known for its world-famous powder, outdoor adventures and laid back atmosphere where an on-snow experience is the priority for most visitors. While there is not a vibrant nightlife and you won’t find the glitz and glamour of many ski resorts, there are plenty of unique aprés ski spots to grab a local craft beer or Jack Rabbit gin, enjoy live music and share epic ski stories with friends.
Sitzmark Club: The iconic Sitzmark Club at the historic Alta Lodge has a classic ski bar atmosphere, wood-burning fireplace, slopeview windows and a pit bar. The Alta Lodge Kids’ Club are happy to take care of little ones while you savor a sundowners with friends.
Alta Peruvian Lodge: The Peruvian, or “P-Dog” to locals offers an eclectic aprés ski vibe with free appetizers, live music, local craft beer, comfy couches and awesome Alta views.
Goldminer’s Saloon: After a day on the slopes stop into Goldminer’s Saloon for their famous nachos, bomb pizzas and cold beer on tap. The Goldminer’s Saloon is family-friendly with a spacious patio, play table for kids, large fireplaces, cozy seating and great entertainment with live music, open mic & trivia nights.
The Gulch Pub: Snowpine Lodge is Alta’s newest lodge and is home to the Gulch Pub, a stylish full-service bar with a unique menu, comfortable atmosphere and an extensive selection of cocktails, wine and beer.
Please note that it is standard to tip 20%, however many lodges and restaurants include gratuities. Reservations are essential in Alta and our knowledgeable staff are available to help with any local recommendations and reservations.
There are many misconceptions about being able to get a drink and purchase alcohol in Utah. Many of the more restrictive laws have changed over the past few years making things much easier than they used to be. Below are some of the things to know:
Alta Ski Area is known for its powder skiing and challenging terrain but there’s plenty to do in Alta without a pair of skis!
If you’re a non-skier visiting Alta or simply looking for some off-piste winter activities to enjoy on a day off the slopes (is that even a thing?), we’ve put together some awesome Alta Ski Area winter activities you can enjoy off the slopes.
If reaching new heights is not your thing, then why not treat yourself to a day of Alta Snowcat Skiing in Grizzly Gulch. This is outside of Alta’s boundaries so snowboarders are welcome too, but book in advance! Please note that due to Covid-19 restrictions Alta and Snowbird are not doing cat skiing this season.
Backcountry skiing in Alta is popular and is easily accessed from Alta Ski Area. Grizzly Gulch is a great starting point for beginners, Catherine’s Pass is accessible via the Supreme chairlift with further access to Sunset Peak, Mount Tuscarora and Pioneer Peak, all promising prime backcountry skiing. If you’re not a local or knowledgeable of the backcountry, we recommend the following tours: Utah Mountain Adventures for a unique Alta backcountry experience and Ski Utah Interconnect Adventures for an exciting and unique way to experience the backcountry with a trained guide.
Spa Treatments: What better way to spend a day off the slopes in Alta than soaking in a luxurious spa, taking in the alpine beauty from a rooftop pool or finding your balance at a yoga class. Alta Ski Area gives you a choice of locations to pamper yourself on your Alta vacation.
Cottonwood Canyon Massage
Want to stay in? No problem! They come to you! Enjoy the convenience of the canyon’s finest massage therapy services in the comfort of your Alta chalet or condo. Their enticing massage menu includes deep tissue massage, sports massage, Swedish massage, neuromuscular therapy, structural integration and injury rehabilitation, all from the comfort of home. Call and book today!
Goldminer’s Daughter Mountainside Spa
If you prefer an alpine setting, the Mountainside Spa at Goldminer’s Daughter Lodge offers an exceptional, rejuvenating experience in a modern, casual and comfortable setting that encourages you to relax and unwind. You’ll love their massages, facials, and body wraps in such a still and scenic setting.
Snowpine Lodge Stillwell Spa
Rejuvenate your body and soul at Stillwell Spa at the Snowpine Lodge. Their spa specials include massages, facials, beauty treatments with luxurious spa amenities such as a soothing sauna and steam room and a tranquil indoor grotto. Indulge yourself at Stillwell Spa!
Summer in the mountains is a spectacular time of year, when wildflowers blossom and the air becomes crisp and clear.
Alta Ski Area is an awesome summer destination and what’s more, special off-season lodging rates make summer an ideal time to experience Alta and Snowbird. Here’s our list of top things to do in Alta this summer!
Little Cottonwood Canyon is beautiful in the spring and summer months with colorful wildflowers, towering aspens, alpine lakes, historic mining remnants, wildlife and rugged snow-capped mountain peaks. Alta Ski Area has 15 miles of summer trails to take in the spectacular scenery and social distance in nature, easily accessed from the Collins Base Area and Sunnyside Ski Area (and parking is free!). The Alta Summer Trail Map has endless options for all levels, you can do a different hike every day in the Alta Ski Area, but here are some of our favorites!
Cecret Lake Trail: This is an easy short family hike to an alpine lake. Parking is limited at the trailhead so parking at the Collins Base Area and starting your hike to Cecret Lake on the Lower Albion Meadows Trail is recommended.
Catherine’s Pass: This 3-mile moderate trail leads to Lake Catherine through meadows of wildflowers with some of the best views of Devil’s Castle and Mount Superior. The views of the trio of lakes from the peak (Lake Catherine, Lake Mary and Lake Martha) is the ultimate reward.
Collins Gulch to Germania Pass: Rated as difficult, this Alta trail is a 5 mile challenging hike that climbs 2,000 feet in 2.5 miles! Accessed from the Wildcat parking lot, the trail takes you through pine forests and open meadows with wildlife encounters and spectacular alpine views.
As the snow melts, a bounty of single-track mountain biking trails abound at the Sunnyside Base Area of Alta. Mountain bike rentals are available at the majority of local outfitters and while there is an abundance of summer biking trails, again, here are our favorites.
Catherine’s Pass: This 3-mile moderate trail leads to Lake Catherine through meadows of wildflowers with some of the best views of Devil’s Castle and Mount Superior. On the peak, views of the trio of lakes Lake Catherine, Lake Mary and Lake Martha are the ultimate reward.
Devils Castle Loop Trail: This scenic 3.5 mile loop trail starts at the top of the Albion base parking lot and climbs through jagged rocks beneath the towering peaks of Devil’s Castle.
Twin Lakes Pass Trail: From the Central Alta trailhead, this difficult, rocky 5-mile trail takes you to the top of Twin Lakes Pass with scenic views of the Twin Lakes Reservoir and Wolverine Cirque.
Please consider the following local rules: biking is prohibited on the Cecret Lake Trail, stay on designated trails and roads, ride safely and courteously, cyclists must yield to other trail users and please avoid biking on wet or muddy trails.
Little Cottonwood Canyon and the Alta Ski Area are known for their rock climbing and bouldering on Alta’s easily accessible crags. Gate Buttress and Big Cottonwood’s Storm mountain are the most popular rock-climbing areas in Alta with other top sites including Hellgate Cliffs, Cecret Lake, Devil’s Castle and South Ridge Mt. Superior. If you’re looking for the adrenaline alternative to Alta’s powder, this is it!
Summer fun does not only happen hiking, biking and climbing the terrain of the Alta Ski Area! There are plenty of Alta summer activities that add to the attraction of a summer vacation in Alta. Here are a few top picks not to be missed!
Outdoor summer concerts: From Spring skiing in April through the summer months you’ll find free music on outdoor patios and decks in the Alta Ski Area.
Parade of Raptors & Nature walk is a family-friendly activity that connects you with the Alta outdoors.
The Wasatch Wildflower Festival Wildflowers offers self-guided walks of the wildflowers of the Wasatch Mountains.
Fireside Chats with the Alta Historical Society to learn about Alta’s rich and storied past.
For friends, family and romance, allow Alta Chalets to plan your memorable summer getaway. But, please leave only footprints behind!