Meimei Ma
SnowPak Local Insider
Meimei Ma
  • High volume of light and fluffy snow - an average of over 500 in per year!
  • World-class extreme terrain
  • One of the best ski schools in the US
  • No-frills ski area; lift ticket prices are lower than most major US ski resorts
  • Skiers only
  • Some old-school two-seat fixed chairs still operating
  • Nightlife and shopping are a bit lacking

When Utah coined the slogan “Greatest Snow on Earth” they probably meant Alta. The no-frills ski area, tucked deep in Little Cottonwood Canyon near Salt Lake City, averages over 500 in of the stuff annually! Its elevation and dry air make it some of the lightest and fluffiest powder you can find anywhere, and it serves it all up on some of the best terrain in the west.

17/18 Historical Snowfall

Best month to go

Early January to mid-March



Alta’s season usually begins in early December, but for best snow coverage – especially in advanced and expert terrain – consider going between early January and mid-March. This also keeps you clear of the Christmas vacation rush, when the mountain is crowded and rooms tend to be more expensive. Later in the season, there’s usually a powder storm or two in April and it’s easy to follow the sun to find the best conditions at different times of day. By the end of the season, it’s common for temperatures to get over 40 °F, which isn’t all that great for the snow, but does make for some pleasant outdoor eating and après!


Salt Lake International Airport


Alta (45 minutes)

Base of Alta (Walk)

  • Made up of five convenient lodges
  • Ski-in/ski-out accommodation
  • Breakfast and dinner included at lodges

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Base of Snowbird (1-2 mi)

  • Snowbird resort operated lodging and timeshare accommmodation
  • Great for skiing at both mountains
  • Small convenience store

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Between Alta and Snowbird (1-2 mi)

  • Condos and vacation rentals
  • Lack the convenience of prepared meals
  • Easy access to the slopes

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Salt Lake City (25-30 mi)

  • Cheaper and wider selection of accommodation than Alta
  • Convenient base for skiing at other resorts
  • Small risk of road closure due to heavy snowfall

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For beginners

The Albion base area and around the Sunnyside lift is where the beginner terrain can be found, with wide and gentle slopes to get new skiers going! Beginners can even venture into the trees between Crooked Mile and Patsy Marley!

More beginners tips

For intermediates

Alta serves up groomed blues off all its lifts! For our favorite runs here, check out Rock n' Roll, a great curvy cruiser and other intermediate trails off the Supreme lift.

More intermediates tips

For experts

Get ready to shred on some of world's best extreme terrain! Alta classes everything as a single black diamond even if its double black or triple black, so for a single black try the runs off Collins, Wildcat and Sugarloaf! Otherwise, for double blacks (with cliffs and narrow chutes) check out the runs near Supreme. The off-piste terrain off the High Traverse such as Race Course and Sunspot are also sure to impress!

More experts tips

Find freshies

Get your fix on the tree runs off the Wildcat lift; after a storm the area retains fresh powder for a day or two! All the bowls are also great for freshies. Easier-to-access bowls such as Ballroom and Devil's Castle get tracked out quickly so opt for the area between Greeley Bowl and Yellow Trail Area.

Ditch the crowds

You won't find many crowds at Alta, but if you do, it'll probably be around Christmas time.

Non skiers

The focus at Alta is skiing, so there isn't as much to do here for non-skiers compared to other resorts. If you have a car however, Salt Lake City is just 45 minutes away.


Alta has a laid-back community vibe that's perfect for families. The intermediate and advanced runs off the Supreme lift are great for families with more experienced skiers and are laid out so that it's easy to meet up at the bottom!

Alta vs
AltaDeer Valley Resort
beginner25 %27 %
intermediate40 %41 %
advanced35 %27 %
expert-5 %
total runs116 101
ski area2,200ac 2,026ac
summit elevation10,550ft 9,570ft
total lifts11 21
child lift ticket$54 $32
adult lift ticket$104 $145
back country
value for money
average total snowfall270″ 153″

Alta Reviews

Fabulous 4.5 / 5
based on 77 reviews

How well the resort caters for beginner skiers / boarders


How well the resort caters for intermediate skiers / boarders?


How well the resort caters for advanced skiers / boarders


How accessible and convenient it is to get to this resort from a major destination


Quality of the off-piste terrain


Overall value for money of the resort

Value for money

Quality of lifts, lift speed and lift layout in the resort


Quantity and quality of the snow


How uncrowded is the resort


Après ski and dining options


Services and facilities e.g. child care, tubing, health care, equipment hire


How family friendly is this resort?

Family Friendliness
Fabulous!4.5 / 5Nov 07, 2017
KHKenneth H.
advanced skier
This mountain is what you think of when you dream about the truly perfect ski mountain. The access road to get to the mountain can be scary at times. But they offer a ski bus from the mouth of the canyon for people who don't want to drive it. This mountain also has some of the most spectacular scenery. ... More
Fabulous!4.3 / 5Nov 07, 2017
IWIan W.
advanced skier
One of the most challenging resorts in America. Also, has some of the best snow on earth, and the new lift over at Supreme this year is going to make this resort so much better.... More
Superb!5 / 5Nov 06, 2017
WGWilliam G.
expert skier
This place is really fun to ski. The area is suited to all levels which makes it perfect for skiing with Diverse group of friends. The snow was plentiful and dry, which made the skiing even more fun. The facilities were excellent as well. I would recommend this place to anyone planning a ski vacation.... More
Good!3.5 / 5Nov 06, 2017
CLChris L.
advanced skier
I picked Alta because of the snow, the slopes and scenery. The week I was there we had 3 days with 13 or more inches of fresh snow, it was so light and fluffy and the float was unreal. I loved the people. Every one has respect and a true love for the sport, the mountain and nature. It may not have all the amenities of other mountains but it has... More
Fabulous!4.2 / 5Nov 05, 2017
RSRyan S.
expert skier
Great old school vibe and some gnarly terrain. Amenities are top notch with great customer service. Super accessible from SLC city airport. It is great. The best for skiing. Super great ... More
Fabulous!4.3 / 5Nov 05, 2017
PLPaul L.
advanced skier
Skiing the way it should be, beautiful terrain, consistent snowfall, fair prices, and modest facilities draw real skiers and leave pretentious yuppies looking for a pampering wondering why so many skiers co did we this place a little piece of heaven. ... More
Very Good!4 / 5Oct 29, 2017
GMGlenn M.
Great resort that is dedicated to skiing! Groomers and powder are all over the mountain with good coverage offered by the lifts. Taking the shuttle from town is probably the best bet as there is limited parking.
Superb!5 / 5Oct 29, 2017
AHAdam H.
Just all around killer terrain. This is a resort without all the touristy extras. It's there for the love of skiing and that's what makes it awesome. The snow is pretty much always good
Superb!5 / 5Oct 27, 2017
Alta is a fantastic resort nestled in little cottonwood canyon Utah. The snow and scenery are beautiful! We hit it up on a great powder day and it was just heaven. I started out snowboarding, and later learned to ski. Alta is famous for its "no snowboarders" policy, which I'm not a fan of on principle, but after skiing there, I understand a bit... More
Very Good!4 / 5Oct 27, 2017
Alta is in a great Utah location- regularly has great snow and has always been an amazing experience from late fall through early spring. Take the short drive from SLC and you don't need more than a two-day weekend.

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Deer Valley Resort
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