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Archive for the ‘Alta’ Category

Top 10 Ski Resorts According To Forbes – #3, Alta

Friday, February 3rd, 2017

Editor’s Note – these are not LMSG’s rankings. As a matter of fact we wholeheartedly disagree with the good people at Forbes but everyone is entitled to an opinion, even if they are wrong! Let us know what you think and we’ll add the best comments.

No big changes at this Utah stalwart, which benefits from the most prolific quality snowfall of any major ski resort in the world. And yes, we do categorize Alta as a major ski resort, even though it may not include some of the frilly fixings and luxury lodging and dining that have become standard across much of the industry.

Alta doesn’t need that stuff. It has terrain and snow that are the envy of the rest of the ski world. Very much the envy of snowboarders, a group who, if they want to enjoy this special corner of the earth, will have to strap into stiff boots and two planks, rather than one.

Great shots exist everywhere at Alta. It’s a place where boot packs and long traverses are as common as ski lifts. Most of the best shots in this part of Little Cottonwood Canyon require some kind of work to be skied. Alta does not offer up its best to those who only ride the chair, to those whose way of ascent comes by way of an electric pulley. Normal skiers can get hero shots at Alta, it’s true, but those magazine-quality powder lines don’t offer themselves up to the standard resort skier.

Ski Alta & Snowbird, Utah

Monday, June 6th, 2016

After traversing the ridgeline alongside Snowbird’s iconic red tram, Dave dropped into the middle of the Cirque, followed by Brian. Three turns later they both totally disappeared into contrails of white, fluffy snow. I pushed off and stacked my tracks just to the right of theirs, immediately being consumed by several feet of fresh powder.

That day at Snowbird is still one of the best powder days of my life.

The Wasatch Mountains are in perfect position to catch the moisture of storms barreling across the barren stretches of The Great Basin to the west. The combination of location, topography, and elevation of Little Cottonwood Canyon produces the greatest snowfall totals in the range. Snowbird averages over 500 inches and its neighbor up the canyon, Alta, averages 551 inches every year.

When that snow falls, the Cirque offers up some fresh turns, but you can also bypass the buzz at Snowbird and opt for the smaller crowds at Alta on storm days. You can head straight for the Wildcat lift. The trees of Westward Ho offer better visibility than elsewhere on the mountain when it is dumping and the little pockets within refill all day long, creating an anomaly where the last run is the best and deepest of the day.

When the visibility is a little better, often the next day, if you stick with Alta, head out the High Traverse off the Collins chair and take your pick of what to drop into. You can’t go wrong. High Rustler is one of the most classic inbound runs in North America and it’s an absolute must at some point in your trip.

Alta and Snowbird are only separated by a ridge line and if you buy a combination ticket you can easily swap between the two via Mineral Basin, the Baldy Shoulder, or the quality powder stashes of Keyhole.

Over at the Bird, take a ride up the tram. If there’s no line, lap the 2,900 feet of vertical starting with Silver Fox at the top of the mountain, right underneath the tram. It’s just as fun on a powder day as when there is nothing to be found but hard pack. The northeast-facing slope stays cold, chalky, and more carve-able than other spots. If the tram line is busy, fear not, shred some hot laps on the Little Cloud chair or go explore the Gad Valley side of the mountain.

Whenever you quit for the day—last chair or not, it’s time for some après. At the Bird, there’s no question: head to the Tram Club. At Alta, thaw out next to the fire and start things off with a beer and some pizza upstairs at the Goldminer’s Daughter. For round two or rounds two through six, hit the Peruvian Lodge across the parking lot.

When it comes to lodging, ski-in ski-out is the name of the game in LCC. Down at Snowbird, the Cliff Lodge offers a luxurious experience without breaking the bank, and the rooftop pool is pretty sweet come springtime. Up in Alta, there are a number of lodges to choose from, each with a rustic, uniquely Alta vibe, and they all offer a variety of room sizes and prices—including dorm-style rooms for those on a budget. Just know that if you choose to stay at the Rustler Lodge, the chef is guaranteed to beat you to Collins for first chair in the morning.

The lodges also play host to their own respective restaurants that serve up great food. If you’re looking to switch it up though, try the Shallow Shaft in Alta for a delicious, well-prepared plate of salmon and a nice glass of Pinot Noir.

No matter where you stay, eat, and drink, when you wake up it’s time to ski again. Chances are good that you will have the chance to shred light, dry Utah powder during your stay, and when those days happen at Alta and Snowbird, skiing the greatest runs of your life is a real possibility.