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It's commonly understood that the only thing "little" about Utah's Little Cottonwood Canyon is the name. Just 29 miles from Salt Lake International Airport, the canyon marks the entryway into some of the most dramatic mountain vistas in the continental U.S.

No-Frills Resort Atmosphere

Just down the road from Snowbird is a divine, old-school resort replete with hair raising steeps and backcountry as well as learner-friendly, gentle runs and acres of intermediate terrain. The canyon is nestled in the stunning Wasatch-Cache National Forest, a stunning, pristine and fiercely protected stretch of forest that has ensured development and expansion of Alta be kept to an absolute minimum. In addition to Alta’s no-frills resort atmosphere, it is also a staunchly traditional skier’s mountain (no snowboards allowed). The fact that Alta has worked so diligently to remain a “pure” ski resort coupled with the absolute grandness of the mountain has helped to elevate it to a nearly religious status. Avid fans of the resort often describe it as Mecca, heaven, nirvana and paradise—and one visit to this beautiful resort will make you a believer.

The stats at Alta are astounding—2,220 acres, over 116 trails, more than 10 lifts, 2,000 plus feet of vertical, 560 inches of snow, 325 acres of snowcat accessed backcountry, and a mountain replete with untouched powder runs, nearly vertical steeps and long snakelike runs. Even the most seasoned skier will be impressed by the amount and variability of the runs and terrain. In addition to staggering stats, the resort boasts great lift ticket discounts and deals, such as the AltaSnowbird pass, which grants skiers access to both mountains. Read more about a vacation in Utah with Ski Experience.

Off the Slopes

The unpretentious resort area contains the basic amenities—numerous ski shops (repair, gear, and souvenir shops), ski lessons, guided helicopter and snowcat tours, as well as daycare, cafeterias, lockers and storage, day spas, and much more. As an added bonus, the resort offers its guests an impressive array of discounted vacation packages, as well as deals on dining, shopping, and lodging. Dining and lodging options abound in the area; there is a wide array of accommodations ranging from budget–friendly bunkhouses and hotels to luxury lodges, spacious condominiums and rental homes. Also, many visitors choose to stay in Salt Lake City because it is so close to the resort and has a much livelier nightlife. Dining choices also run the gamut from affordable, casual style cafeterias and buffets, to intimate, fine dining complete with an exquisite gourmet menu.

A famous ski writer once wrote, "Nobody matches Snowbird and Alta for the sheer quality of snow. Maybe the Sierras get a tad more and maybe Bridger almost gives 'em a run for the fluff, but on overall magnificence of snow, these two ski mountains are not only the best in the country, but according even to Europhiles, possibly in the entire world." The best snow in the world is quite a serious statement to make, but Alta lives up to it each and every year, luring back its fanatically devoted followers season after season.

Getting Here

Alta is located just 25 miles southeast of Salt Lake City at the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon, just off of SR 210. It is roughly 45 minutes from Salt Lake International Airport.

Vacation Coupons—What We Do!

Find discount prices on lodging, lift tickets, ski rentals, restaurants, and more by browsing the categories and activities.

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Photos Courtesy of Alta Ski Area