Alta Ski Area
Speaking of charm, most of Alta's lodging accommodations include meals. And, indeed, Alta owes its indie spirit in part to an array of locally owned shops and restaurants. As a result, repeat Alta-holics and their kids look forward to reconnecting with ski vacation buddies year after year. Also, locals love to gather at Alta for the ski after 3 p.m. deal, which (after the initial $10 card activation) enables you to end your day with a quick $5 downhill run or two.
Regardless of what time you arrive, you must hit the High Rustler run, accessed from High Traverse off the Collins lift. This was editor's pick at The Salt Lake Tribune: "No single run symbolizes Utah skiing to the rest of the world quite like Alf's High Rustler ... Great skiers dream of making that top-to-bottom descent on a good powder day." Happily, with 560 annual inches, good powder days are abundant. In fact, Alta is widening Corkscrew (the popular run toward the base of Rustler) making it possible for intermediate skiers to experience a top-to-bottom burner just like the experts.
Don't let all this talk of the world's most epic skiing turn you away if you're just getting started. Alta is also known for its ski school and great beginner terrain off Albion and Sunnyside. In total, 25 percent of Alta is beginner terrain and 35 percent expert, with a sweet spot of 40 percent for intermediate skiing.
Oh, and to get a headstart exploring Alta's terrain, Alta is a top outdoor adventure destination throughout the year thanks to a network of beautiful trails for hikers and mountain bikers, campgrounds, rock climbing and clear mountain air. Some of Utah's best wildflowers also pop during the peak of summer. By late September, though, valley rains may mean early flutters of snow near the top of the canyon...
Want to double your terrain? It's so easy to get to Snowbird by traversing the Keyhole or through Mineral Basin — an area descriptively described as huge, wide-open bowls of powder. In addition, the scenery of the Alta/Snowbird area is among the most dramatic: Little Cottonwood Canyon's spectacular peaks wrap the resorts in rugged mountain splendor, including American Fork Canyon's Twin Peaks, Mount Superior and the Wasatch Range's most iconic ridgeline, Mount Timpanogos.
Alta Ski Area
Alta, UT 84092