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Utah Travel Headlines Blog

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sunset Calls Alta 'The Last Great Ski Resort'

Sunset magazine has this article about Alta Ski Area, calling it 'The Last Great Ski Resort'.

I’m instantly happy to be here at 10,550 feet, on leased U.S. Forest Service land at the resolutely un-corporate resort, where faded one-pieces outnumber Bogner jackets, chairlifts seat at most four across, and five no-frills lodges, scattered up Little Cottonwood Canyon, sleep 1,200 skiers, tops. Skiers. Not shoppers. Not ski bunnies. And, above all, not snowboarders.

Geared up, Didi, her dad, and I creep along in a bar-less triple chair, surrounded by nothing save blue sky and the towering peaks of the Wasatch Range. “Same as it was in the ’60s,” says Geoff Linburn, who first came to Alta from California in search of what he’d heard was the best snow in the West. Back then, lift tickets cost $8, and there were only five slowly moving chairlifts, but apart from building a couple more and raising ticket prices to a reasonable $64, Alta remains Alta.

Didi’s dad smiles. “Still the best snow in the West.” A whopping 500 inches annually of light-as-a-feather powder―and I can’t wait to try it.

From the chatter around the lift line, it’s clear that it’s not just the powder that draws people to Alta―it’s also the people themselves. Old college buddies, moms and sons, widows who used to come with their husbands … everyone returns without question. Likewise, all the locals I meet say they’d intended to come out for a season and do the ski-bum thing. But before they knew it, 10, 20, 30 years had passed―and they’re still here. “Alta just swallows you up,” says Craig Dillon, Didi’s ski shop crush, who, it turns out, is 41 and has lived here half his life.

Read the entire article.

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