Scenery, Atmosphere, Snow, Steep Terrain
Not the Biggest nor the Fanciest
Sooner or later, everyone comes across an "Alta is for Skiers" bumper sticker plastered on the back of someone's 4x4. You even see them in the East, where I live. There is a reason for this and now I know what it is. It goes beyond the fact that it is a place for skiing and not snowboarding. The Alta ski experience is the essence of skiing. There is minimal glitz and just a lot of snow, steep terrain, incredible mountain scenery, and many, many skillful skiers.
We spent two days there last week and each morning started with the booming of the avalanche control work that was going on as we waited for the Collins lift to start loading. We were fortunate to find powder each day, although there was no shortage of others who were also in pursuit of it. The alpine scenery is magnificent, with trees, peaks, cliffs, jagged rock faces, and open bowls of powder. Having someone who knows their way around would be a definite asset here, as there are many gullies, hollows, and cliff bands scattered throughout the terrain. Much of the terrain is very open, but much of it sort of sneaks up on you. The cliffs are well marked with ropes and signs, however.
Alta does have groomed cruisers, but I can't imagine going there if that is the kind of skiing that you are looking for. There is no shortage of bump runs and plenty of ungroomed terrain on the days that we were there.
At some point in their skiing career, everyone should go to Alta. I am so glad that I went. It is an experience that I will hold in my memory for a long time.