Alta = Hardcore
Or, why I am not cool enough to ski at Alta.
Now, Alta to many people is the epitome of the powder paradise here in the Wasatch mountains. This is common knowledge for good reason, too. Alta is home to some of the greatest skiing in the West. What is really surprising to me every time that I go is not the lack of snowboarders, but the abundance of Telemark skiers.
Free-healers are everywhere! You look left, you look right, and someone is bending into a turn, skiing a better line than you. And, whenever this happens, I simply tip my hat, and acknowledge that that person is greater then me. Which brings me to a personal promise - if you are a Telemarker, and I ever get the chance to meet you, I would love to shake your hand and acknowledge your greatness. When I was eighteen, I spent two full days trying to learn how to Tele... Let's just say that I really love my alpine bindings.
One of the greatest things about Alta is the a simple high-speed quad known as the Collins lift. The lift gives you access to some amazing terrain. I would argue that you could spend an entire day running laps on Collins, and never run out of new terrain to ski. The Collins lift was installed for the 2004-2005 season, and replaced the old Collins and Germania chairs. In replacing these chairs, the Collins lift now sports a famous dog leg approach, bending about 20 degrees up the mountain. To my knowledge, (and I am often wrong) this would be the only resort that has a lift with a bend.
Catering to locals, Alta offers free skiing to everyone serviced by the Sunnyside lift. If you are new and wanting to try it out, or maybe thinking about splitting from work a little early, you can get a few laps in before you get home. With Alta being only eight miles up Little Cottonwood Canyon, this is a no-brainer to me. Ski Free After 3 info can be found here.
Needless to say, if you are looking for a great resort with great beginner terrain, family atmosphere, and deep powder skiing, Alta is the place for you. If you are headed up, let me know, we can meet up at Watson Shelter for a burger, and spin a few on Collins.
There are a few more photos available in my Flickr set.
Alta is skiers only. Leave the boards at home.