What a start to the 2022-23 winter ski season in Utah’s Little Cottonwood Canyon! We received over 100 inches of snow before November’s opening day, with a series of double-digit snowfalls following closely behind. At last reading, the Alta Ski Area had a seasonal total of 203” of snow, a base depth of 95”, and deep powder to really earn your turns! Mother Nature is staying busy this winter season. 

Utah’s Little Cottonwood Canyon is world-famous for the greatest snow on earth, pristine powder, and the most challenging terrain in the west with some of the steepest inbound runs in America. As the second oldest lift-served ski area in the US, Alta today remains a classic ski mountain with old-school pride and character, a passion for powder, and the true spirit of steep skiing. 

The Alta Ski Area encompasses 2,614 acres of skier-only terrain, a vertical drop of 2,538 feet, and 119 ski runs, of which 55% are rated expert! There are only 6 ski lifts at Alta, but the emphasis for expert skiers is on traverses and boot pack ascents to the iconic steeps and deeps of the Alta Ski Area

Welcome to the Alta Ski Area or, as we say locally, ALTA – Another Long Traverse Ahead

You’re approaching iconic backcountry and black diamond terrain and some of the gnarliest ski runs in the US that command respect (and nerves of steel!). There’s a lot of side-stepping and burning boot packs, then once you accept the challenge and drop in, there is no turning back or easy way down from Alta’s expert terrain.


1. Alf’s High Rustler

Traverse from Collins Lift

Woman skiing down a steep mountain

Alf’s High Rustler (aka High Boy) is Alta’s most famous steep shot at a steady pitch of 45 degrees with a 1,000+ foot vertical drop and lots of opportunity for airtime! You can get a preview from the Alta Ski Lodge and riding the Collins lift. From the Collins lift, there’s a lengthy traverse on the High Traverse past the West Rustler ski area to drop into the notorious top-to-bottom High Boy at Alta!


2. Eagle’s Nest & Hourglass Chute

Traverse from Collins Lift

Towards the end of the ridgeline, further along the High-T past High Boy, are the 42-degree drop-ins to Eagle’s Nest and Hourglass Chute with 1,000 vertical feet of black diamond bliss. Rated one of the best runs in Utah for technical tree skiing, Eagle’s Nest boasts loads of perfect pow, hidden chutes and cliffs, and tight trees that are sure to test your expert skiing skills.

3. Gunsight

Traverse and Sidestep from Collins Lift

From the Collins lift, stay on the High-T and follow the sidestep track over the ridge to Gunsight. Gunsight is another iconic Alta expert run that demands tight jump turns, confidence, and courage – with great rewards! Gunsight is a bucket-list experience for expert skiers, but we suggest you take a sneak preview first from the Sugarloaf lift! 

4. Eddie’s High Nowhere

Rope-Assisted Traverse and Bootpack from Collins Lift

Man slowly skiing down a mountain

Even expert skiers will require serious traversing skills to get to Eddie’s High Nowhere (aka High Eddies), accessible from the highest section of the High-T in the Backside Area of Alta. The trek to High Eddies requires a rope-assisted traverse across narrow rocks and a short boot pack to an extra-tight entry slot. Drop in between two cliff faces to rip hundreds of vertical feet of incredibly steep pitch, filled with Alta’s world-famous powder.

5. Baldy Chutes

Bootpack from Sugarloaf Lift

Getting to the Baldy Chutes may be the longest boot pack you’ll ever have! From the Sugarloaf lift, follow the East Baldy Traverse (EBT) on a scenic 30-minute boot pack to the 11,068-foot summit of Mt. Baldy. The Baldy Chutes are a series of extreme gullies and five technical black diamond chutes with 40+ degree drop-ins for a wild ride into the Ballroom Bowl. Main Chute is the easiest way down, Little Chute is technical into Dog Leg then eases out, First Perla’s and Tree Chute are narrow, steep, and rarely open. 

6. Cecret Chutes

Sidestep from Sugarloaf Lift

From the Sugarloaf lift, sidestep the traverse to Devil’s Castle and ski the black diamond powder run down to the right of Cecret Lake to access the Cecret Chutes. The Cecret Chutes are very short, but extremely steep and technically challenging with steep exposed lines and lots of straight-down speed! The Cecret Chutes join Rock ‘n Roll, an easy blue run back to the Sugarloaf and Supreme lifts. 

7. East Castle

Sidestep, Bootpack or Skins from Supreme Lift

From the Supreme lift, it’s a 30-45 minute sidestep, boot pack, or skin up from the saddle to the eastern peaks of Devil’s Castle. This “big boy terrain” is not often open due to avalanche danger, but when it is, East Castle is less skied out than Devil’s Castle – and well worth the climb! You can drop in at any time for a challenge, but the higher you climb, the steeper the line.  

8. Spiney Chutes

Short Sidestep Traverse from Supreme Lift

Couple of skiers pointing to the steepest ski run on Alta

Take the Supreme lift and head down the spine of the ridgeline between black diamonds Sidewinder and So Long to access the Spiney Chutes Area. The Spiney Chutes have a 40+ degree drop-in with surprisingly steep sections at the top, technical challenges, and deep, soft powder stashes of the greatest snow on earth between the trees! 

Expert Terrain at Snowbird Resort

In addition to the epic expert terrain at Alta, four gates (Keyhole, White Cliffs, and Blackjack Traverse via Wildcat lift and Sugarloaf Pass via the Sugarloaf lift) allow you to access 2,500 skiable acres at the interconnected Snowbird Resort, with 35% of Snowbird’s terrain dedicated to expert riders.


Alta Ski Area Mountain Guides

Alta does not differentiate between black diamond and double black diamond, the terrain is tricky, technical, and often hard to navigate. If you’re a first-timer to the expert terrain at Alta-Snowbird, we highly suggest heading out with a professional Alta mountain guide for a true Alta experience.


Basic Rules of the Ski Slopes

Before you head into Alta’s extreme terrain, know the code, and hit the slopes with proper skiing etiquette.

  • Don’t rush anyone in front of you
  • Pass only if you need to
  • Tap your pole when approaching from behind
  • Don’t undercut the traverse or disrupt the fall line
  • Do not ever stop directly on the traverse 

Stay & Ski with Alta Chalets

Room with a fireplace in Alta Chalets

Alta Chalets are committed to creating unique and personalized vacation experiences for our guests! We represent a collection of the most exclusive ski homes and slopeside condos in Little Cottonwood Canyon with the privacy and comfort of home, and outstanding vacation amenities and views for an Alta ski experience you’ll never forget – both on and off the slopes. 

You can put your skis on at the front door … and ski right back home to Alta Ski Area and Snowbird Resort from the comfort of Alta Chalets ski-in/ski-out vacation rentals. 

Take an aerial tour of how close our properties are to the slopes of Alta & Snowbird, browse our collection of Alta vacation rentals online, or call our team at (801) 424-2426. 

We know the best places to ski and stay in Alta!