You’re about to embark on a trip to the “Top Powder Destination in the USA” and one of the most scenic mountain destinations in Utah, the Cottonwood Canyons. Big Cottonwood Canyon is home to the Brighton and Solitude Ski Resorts and nestled at the end of the Little Cottonwood Canyon are Alta and Snowbird, a ski area paradise for powder hounds with winter activities for the whole family.
Travel looks a lot different since the onset of the Covid pandemic and vacations require a little extra planning. Last-minute bookings seem to be a thing of the past as travelers are eager to take an epic road trip, brave a flight and secure a safe place to stay for their winter vacation. If last season is anything to go by, bookings in Utah’s ski resorts are filling up fast.
The winter ski season is less than ten weeks away and we know for sure that skiers and snowboarders have Utah’s epic bluebird powder days on their mind. We’re here to help you turn your winter vacation dream into a reality with the top tips on planning a vacation in Alta/Snowbird, Utah.
Pick Your Dates
The Alta Ski Area is estimated to open on November 20th and Snowbird Resort on November 24th, right on time for a Thanksgiving ski trip! The best time to visit Alta and Snowbird all depends on how you like your snow! Snowbird has the longest ski season in Utah and often runs through early to mid-May, based on annual snowfall, so you have lots of time to hit the slopes and enjoy the greatest snow on earth.
The early season conditions are always fun as we never know what to expect from Mother Nature, by January the snowpack is well developed and there are plenty of bluebird days and as for spring skiing, you either love it or hate it! March is one of the snowiest months in the Wasatch Range with warmer weather and blue skies, a popular time to visit the Alta/Snowbird ski areas.
Find a Place to Stay
Now you’ve picked your dates, it’s time to find the perfect home-away-from-home. With international travel mostly halted and domestic travel on the rise, it makes sense to plan your accommodation as early as possible. Whether you’re a ski loving family on an annual winter vacation, a group of friends looking to shred or a couple looking for a tranquil escape in the mountains, Alta Chalets represent a diverse selection of Alta and Snowbird vacation rentals ranging from intimate log cabins to stylish slope-side accommodation and luxury family ski homes.
For true ski-in/ski-out lodging in Alta, browse our selection of Powder Ridge condos nestled under the Keyhole Chute and Wildcat Bowl. If you’d prefer to stay close to Snowbird (this is for the snowboarders!), The View or Superior Point condominiums are slopeside and firm favorites with luxury amenities and ski-in/ski-out access to Snowbird Resort.
Our private Alta vacation homes are located on Bypass Road only a short walk to Alta with ski-in access to each home. Chalet Day Johns, The Fort House, and The Cabin are ideal for large groups visiting Alta or book a romantic getaway to Alta at the intimate Manley Cabin. Our Alta Chalet Flyover is a great resource to guide you in finding the perfect place to stay in Alta.
Plan Your Travels
Getting to Alta Ski Area and Snowbird Resort is easy whether you’re on an epic Utah road trip or flying in for a quick escape from the city. If you’re driving, it’s a short 30-mile drive through the Little Cottonwood Canyon to Alta and Snowbird. If you’re flying in, the Salt Lake International Airport (SLC) is the closest airport to Alta and there are several companies that offer ground transportation from the airport to Alta and Snowbird.
On arrival at your ski-home or condo, the Alta Resort Shuttle can get you everywhere you need to be. You’ll only need a car in Alta if you want the freedom to take scenic drives through the Cottonwood Canyon or to nearby Park City.
Plan your Alta/Snowbird Itinerary
You’ve planned your journey and Alta accommodation, now it’s time to think about how you’ll spend your time on your Alta/Snowbird ski vacation. The options are endless, but a little planning goes a long way and saves precious vacation time to switch off, unwind, stargaze from your private hot tub and soak up the spectacular snowy mountain vistas (hopefully with a fresh snowfall!).
On the Mountain: Most winter visitors to Alta and Snowbird come in search of steep and deep powder, and there’s lots of it! The interconnected resorts of Snowbird and Alta boast a combined 5,114 acres for skiing and snowboarding in the Wasatch Mountains with an annual average of 500 inches of the greatest snow on Earth.
The Alta Ski Area is consistently ranked the #1 Ski Resort in North America with family-friendly slopes, one of the best ski schools in the country and advanced terrain for expert skiers. Families gather at the Sunnyside base area to cruise the easy blues and greens and expert skiers head to the Collins Base area to access the advanced terrain and connect to Snowbird Ski Resort via the challenging Keyhole Snowbird area.
Alta is a skier-only mountain, so boarders need to head over to “The Bird”, rated as one of the top five freeride destinations in the US and one of the top 10 mountain resorts for extreme skiers and snowboarders. Snowbird has three main zones, Peruvian Gulch, Gad Valley, and Mineral Basin accessed through Snowbird’s historic tunnel. The Big Emma Terrain Park caters for beginner riders and the resort offers night-skiing, heli-skiing, snowcat skiing, back-country skiing in Grizzly Gulch and mountain tours to acquaint skiers with the slopes.
Off the Mountain: For the non-skiers in your group (or if your legs need a break!), there are off-mountain activities and experiences aplenty. Book a snowmobile adventure in the remote Mineral Basin, snowshoe the trails into Grizzly Gulch, take a scenic drive to explore Big Cottonwood Canyon, or indulge in a rejuvenating massage and spa treatment to prepare for another day on the Alta and Snowbird slopes.
Aprés Ski & Dining: There’s a great selection of restaurants with slope-side cafes, scenic mid-mountain lunch spots, and laid-back, family-friendly aprés ski at both Alta and Snowbird. Snowbird has four slope-side lodges, live music in the Skiers Plaza, and the iconic Summit Restaurant, North America’s highest year-round mountain lodge. There are five lodges at the base of Alta Ski Area offering everything from a freshly brewed cup of joe in a beach chair to upscale dining in slippers! The Goldminer’s Saloon is a fun spot for family-friendly après ski or sip-crafted cocktails at the upscale Gulch Pub. Whatever the vibe, you’re guaranteed a hearty meal, panoramic views, and stunning sunsets.
Tickets, Gear & Groceries
With Covid restrictions still in place, skier and restaurant capacity may still be limited and it is highly recommended to purchase your Alta and Snowbird lift tickets, make restaurant reservations in advance, book your mountain experiences and gear up prior to arrival.
There is one very small grocery store in Snowbird and with the possibility of interlodge, we suggest you plan your grocery shopping in advance. We offer grocery stocking prior to arrival, a drop off meal service, or even top-notch private chefs to prepare your meals in the comfort of home.
Book your Alta/Snowbird Winter Vacation Today!
There’s simply no comparison between a hotel room and a professionally managed vacation rental with space, privacy, all the comforts of home, and more! If you need to work or school from home, we’ve got you covered. All our Alta and Snowbird ski homes and condos offer free high-speed internet, space, and privacy to find a quiet spot for a (potentially very scenic) zoom call.
We go the extra mile to ensure a safe, sanitized and seamless ski vacation with extra peace of mind for our guests. Book online or call our team on (801) 424-2426 to begin your safe, hassle-free winter vacation in Alta/Snowbird.