Pros: Best snow in Utah
I have been skiing at Alta since I was 10 and everytime I go it is sooo awesome. Crowds? Hardly. Great snow? All the time. The glory about Alta is the snow. In Utah it is always the ski resort that gets the most snowfall annually. When people say that Utah has the best snow on earth, you can definately find it at Alta.
Alta may not be the biggest ski resort, but it is good enough to fit anyone's skill level. There are many different lifts for all skill levels and TONS of secret trails and passagways to explore. The snow is perfect everywhere you ski, and everytime you turn a corner you have a choice of about six new trails to explore. A lot of people think of Alta as a small beginner resort....oh if only they knew. After you realize how many trails to explore, you understand how big the resort really is! There is a lodge at the bottom of almost every hill and lift and the service at each of the lodges is sublime.
I don't really know why, but there is hardly ever a crowd at Alta. The longest I have waited at a lift is 5 minutes tops. Even if there is a line, the attendents keep the line moving very quickly and the lifts are high-speed. Don't let the size of the line fool you. You'll be on the lift in no time. The busiest part of the day is about 3 o'clock which is when the Ski Free After 3 promotion starts. This is when beginning skiers can ride the Sunnyside beginners lift for free after 3. This is the only area that gets any crowded. The rest of the mountain is still free...waiting for you to find it!
This is where the downsides come in. Alta is in probrably one of the most expensive resorts in the state, and that is becuase it is a world class resort with world class lifts, lodges, and services. There is some good news: there are often many promotions and discounts available to take advantage of. For example, there are some discounts available to residents of Utah, and some discounts available to out-of-country visitors. These are the ticket prices for the 2012-2013 season:
Adult Day Pass: $72/$67
Adult PM Pass (1pm-4pm): $60/$55
Youth Day Pass (12 & Under): $38/$33
Adult Season Pass: $725
Youth Season Pass: $379
The second prices after the slash are "reloading prices". This means that if you come back a second time with your ski card than they can reload a day pass for a reduced price. The best discount Alta has is a free season pass for any skier over the age of 80....but that is probrably not you. But don't worry! Other discounts and promotions are often available. You can check www.alta.com regularly for available promotions.
The other downside to Alta is the hours. It opens at 8am and closes at 4:30pm. There is no night skiing available at Alta, so lodging there over night might not be as spectacular as other places. My suggestion is lodging at the neighboring ski resort (Snowbird) and ski at both places. It is easy to use the rop tow that takes you between the resorts, and there are double-resort tickets available as well:
Alta+Snowbird Adult Day Pass: $97
Alta+Snowbird Child Day Pass: $64
There are also multiple day passes available on the website. As far as the quality of the lodges: Alta's lodges are known to be on the old-fashioned side and a bit cheaper, while Snowbird's lodges are more modern and crazy huge, but also crazy expensive.
Alta is a magnificent resort with lifts and trails for all styles and skill levels. The staff is always very polite and willing to help with a good attitude. The lodges and restaurants are spectacular, while the snow is absoulutely sublime. Visit Alta, you won't regret it. Oh, and, no snowboarders aloud is a HUGE plus!