High Action at Alta
Top 5 Highlights at Alta Ski Area
Neighbor to Snowbird in Utah's Little Cottonwood Canyon, Alta's 2,200 acres of old-school slopes have long, straight runs that cut down the fall line. The more than 116 runs include one of skiing's most notorious, Alf's High Rustler, but all remain off limits to snowboarders. Warm up on easier trails off Albion, Cecret and Sunnyside lifts, or head straight to intermediate and expert runs off the Supreme, Collins and Wildcat lifts.
1. Alf's High Rustler (a.k.a. High Boy) | Black Diamond
On the trail map it's called Alf's High Rustler, but locals call it High Boy. Before dropping in, make sure to soak up the view from one of the most scenic points in Little Cottonwood Canyon. From the Top of High Boy you can look left, down canyon, over neighboring Snowbird and all the way to Salt Lake City in the valley below. Straight across from you sits Mount Superior, one of the most iconic peaks in the Wasatch, in all her glory. To the right you can see all the way to Supreme Chair, Alta's southern boundary. The most interesting part of High Boy is getting into the run. Whether you drop in from the top or pick your way around the side, take it slow and be cautious. From top to bottom, High Boy features sweet, consistent fall-line skiing. Some call it a challenge and others a right of passage. Either way, the big vertical will make your legs burn if you try to ski it without stopping. With a great aspect, High Boy holds quality snow throughout the day and the season. Stick to the skier's left side (where it's shady) for softer snow.
2. Ditch the Crowds
When it's crowded at Alta, the best run to hit is Westward Ho (black diamond, off the Wildcat lift). When the resort gets busy, people tend to flock to the high-speed chairs. A classic double chair, Wildcat gets you up the mountain and delivers you to the goods. However, it's in no hurry whatsoever. From the top of Wildcat, traverse skier's left into Westward Ho. The deeper you go the fewer skiers you'll see. From deep powder stashes and glade skiing to fun natural features, Westward Ho has it all.
3. Mambo to Corkscrew | Blue Square
For intermediate skiers, getting a run (or combined runs) that go from top to bottom is a pretty big deal. You can do that at Alta with this combo. Ride up on the Collins lift and dance downhill on Mambo. When you're approximately mid-mountain, connect to Corkscrew for the final run. The resort recently invested in widening out the top of Mambo to make it a very desirable intermediate run, and then reworked Corkscrew to do the same.
4. Susie's Special at Alta Java
The signature drink of Alta Java, the Susie's Special has formed a fan club over the years. Most coffee shops call their equivalent a dirty chai. But they're all missing something compared to a Susie's. While the main difference when it comes to ingredients might be the dash of cinnamon to top things off, a lot of what makes the Susie's Special so unforgettable is the experience. Ski up. Click out of your skis. Order at the walk up window. Enjoy your Susie's with an unforgettable down-canyon view.
5. Jenn Berg's Favorites
Follow in the tracks of professional freeskier Jenn Berg, who has recommendations for those who want to get the best experience at Alta. "One of my favorite runs at Alta is Westward Ho. You can always find leftover powder stashes there, and it is a great place to avoid the crowds. There is a special peacefulness that I feel whenever I am skiing among the perfectly spaced-out trees in the Ho. Another run that I love at Alta is High Boy (known on the map as Alf's High Rustler). The High Boy is sweet because it has a beautifully sustained fall line where you can shred tons of vert. High Boy is the perfect top-to-bottom ski run off of the Collins chairlift. I love feeling my legs burn from multiple laps on High Boy. It is the ideal run if you are limited for time and looking to shred a morning session. Lastly, I love to ski Thirds. Thirds is the perfect ski run because it takes a little extra effort to access it, but you are then typically rewarded with awesome snow conditions and a very long run. There are varying terrain features along the descent and a few different pitches, which make it feel like three runs in one."