Soul Poles

Posts tagged: Alta

Biggest Dump of the Year

By , January 24, 2017 4:41 PM

Alta has seen it’s biggest dump of the season over the past few days.  With a storm total of 74″ and counting conditions don’t get much deeper than today!  After a full day of road and mountain closures it was nice to get a taste of what we were all missing out on yesterday.

Patrol did a great job getting a good portion of the mountain open.  Right off the bat skiers were allowed to access all shots off of the High T and Wildcat Chair.  Sugarloaf had a delayed opening but was up and running by 11:30 helping to disperse the crowds.  The snow skied deep everywhere well into the afternoon with Powder Paradise claiming the top spot for deepest run of the day.

The forecast looks decent with a few more mini-storms scheduled to effect the Wasatch over the next 24 hours.  After that high pressure looks to set in.  Get it while you can!

Alta’s Top 10 Intermediate Runs

By , January 21, 2017 7:45 PM

Alta has a reputation as being a mecca for experts; however there are plenty of turns to be had for those mere mortal, moderate skiers. There are plenty of wide open, modest pitch blue/green runs for beginners, intermediates and for those who are interested in going off-piste.  You can also find intermediate bowls for those just learning how to ski powder.  If you are a beginner or intermediate skier, check out my top favorite blue/green runs here at Alta.


Mambo to Corkscrew

This combo run is for intermediate skiers which allow you to ski top to bottom, without stopping.  Ride Collins lift up and ski down Mambo and at approximately 2/3 of the way down you will catch Meadow and then connect to Corkscrew for the final leg. Alta recently invested in widening the top of Corkscrew to make it a more desirable run, which is now seamless from top to bottom.  


Devil’s Way to Devil’s Elbow

Ride Collins back up and just over the top drop in to Devil’s Way. It’s pretty steep at first, and then will level out. Be sure to keep your speed for the longer flat ahead. This will turn into Devil’s Elbow which meanders down the mountain at the perfect pitch. Be sure and stop to check out Devil’s Castle, a dark rugged peak that arises above Cecret Lake, for a view of the ultimate backdrop.


Upper Big Dipper to Rock N’ Roll

The main blue off of Supreme lift is Upper Big Dipper. This is a challenging Blue that allows you to ski down while being able to check out the black diamonds that jut down below.  Maybe you try those blacks next time ? About half way down, keep left and merge onto Rock N’ Roll for an Alta favorite.


Crooked Mile

For those who are still in the beginner stage, anything off of Sunnyside will be good for you. Remember that Alta offers a ski lift ticket for $5 after 3 pm on Sunnyside lift. Pretty awesome deal if you are teaching your kid to ski or have just started yourself. The Crooked Mile is my favorite off of Sunnyside.  This run strolls on down back to the lift, giving the skier views of back country locals beloved Patsy Marley. It also gives you direct access to Alta Java, located at Albion, where you can stop by a pick me up.


Aggie’s Alley

This solid blue run is located right off of Wildcat Lift. This does have a steeper pitch, but when you are ready for it, it will turn into a favorite. Aggie’s Alley drops you off at mid mountain where you can catch Meadow down and then hang right to the Rustler Cat Track.  Here you can enjoy a very modest pitch slope that ambles down the mountain back to Collins.


Sweet N’ Easy

Cecret lift is the most majestic and tranquil lift at Alta. It’s slow moving, but worth the beauty you get to witness.  The peaceful nature of this area is one not to be missed. There are two green runs off the top, Rabbit and Sweet N’ Easy. Life doesn’t get much better than that.


Racecourse Saddle

Another favorite off of Collins is Racecourse Saddle. You catch the Saddle Traverse from Mambo about a quarter of the way down. You turn right on to the traverse and it drops you off at the top of Racecourse Saddle. This steeper pitch is for upper intermediates who are feeling confident and ready to try some of the more difficult blues.



For those intermediate skiers that want to stretch their powder experience, you’ll want to make sure you try out Ballroom, located at the top of Collins and directly under Mount Baldy. This isn’t a groomed run and you will need to traverse to get there, which is why it is considered a blue square and black diamond combo.  Ballroom is a wide open bowl where you can practice skiing powder. It links directly up with Main Street, a moderate Blue run. So if you are having trouble, remember there is an escape route just around the corner. Nearly all the trails at Alta will connect with an easy way down, so don’t fret!



Similar to Ballroom in the sense that this is not a groomed run, Catherine’ offers those that have conquered the rest of the mountain a new set of challenges.  The slopes in this remote area are mild with a gentle pitch.  Accessible off of the Supreme Chair, Catherine’s provide skiers with a great place to start dialing in those off-piste skills.  The snow is always soft so don’t worry if you fall, it won’t hurt.


Greely Hill

Probably the most difficult of our top 10 intermediate runs because of it’s intimidating access.  To find this area you will have to overcome the rat-race that is the High-T.  Once you reach the top of Alta from the Collins lift follow signs for the High Traverse.  Take it slow as this traverse can become bumpy and icy days after a storm.  Follow the traverse all the way until you reach a green carpet that wraps you around to the backside of Alta.  From there continue North until you see the friendly slopes of Greely Hill to your right.  Wide open and always fresh up top, Greely Hill will give you a chance to see some of the areas where you’ll be skiing once you graduate to Alta’s expert runs.


Almost 40 percent of the terrain at Alta is considered suitable for skiers with intermediate skills. What a great mountain to try and stretch those abilities!  


Upcoming ACE Events

By , January 19, 2017 4:09 PM

Looking for something to do in the Alta community? You can always find interesting opportunities in Little Cottonwood Canyon through Alta Community Enrichment (ACE). Check out their website at ACE is a nonprofit aimed to promote learning and create opportunities for individual and group participation in arts, cultural events and education.

This month they have put on live music every Sunday night at the Peruvian.  They just finished a backcountry 101 Avalanche course for Alta business employees. On Friday January 20th, ACE presents Eric Foxman at Our Lady of the Snow at 6:30. He is a member of the Portland Storytellers Guild and will humor and inspire you with his true stories collected from around the world.

Also, don’t miss out on National Geographic’s explorer Mike Libecki.  This is his 18th annual presentation on his adventures around the world to some of the most remote, exotic locations.  This event is also a fund raiser for The Humane Society and Nepal Earthquake Fund/Human Outreach Project with a massive raffle of gear and clothing for the benefit.  Hope to see you there!

Little Chute Opens For The First Time This Season

By , January 15, 2017 10:07 PM

Mt. Baldy for the win today! This was where the party was at. Brilliant, blue bird skies and temps getting up to 32 degrees made for the ultimate hiking experience. Everyone was there, wanting to catch the opening of the Baldy Chutes. We skied Little Chute where the snow was soft and the turns were flawless. Even with the large crowds, there was still plenty of powder left for everyone.

Lift lines were a bit long in the morning, but cleared after lunch. Groomers off of Sugarloaf were fun and grippy. Highboy was bumped out, but the snow was still forgiving. It was a beautiful day to be up in the mountains and out of the inversion.  MLK Day will be another gorgeous one and by midweek we should see another storm rolling in. Thank you January, let’s keep it up!

A Never Ending Storm

By , January 12, 2017 3:09 PM

At this point Alta has seen a storm total of 30″ and counting.  It’s been a week to remember.  I feel like I’ve skied more powder days this year than groomer days and my legs can attest to that.

Not much opened today as you would expect from all the snowfall and high winds.  It really didn’t matter however as there wasn’t much of a crowd helping to keep most areas fresh well into the afternoon.

The snow was a little thick but because of the winds smoothing everything out you could ski as fast as you wanted knowing that you were able to dump speed at a moments notice.  I found the best snow in Westward Ho where the trees were helping to protect from the wind.  The weather looks to be drying out for the weekend and with a holiday coming up expect lots of crowds!


Deepest Day In Years!

By , January 3, 2017 8:35 PM

Submergence.  Today was a snow day that will not be forgotten.   With a foot yesterday, and another foot overnight, the skiing was glorious.  The goods were chokingly deep, sometimes so deep that you could barely breathe.  Alta ski patrol wasted no time in getting  Backside and Keyhole open, providing abundant over the head face shots.   

Was a day that skiers dream about, with heavenly powder, and enough to go around.  The Wasatch is in full effect right now, with another heavy hitting storm on its way tomorrow with 2-3 feet projected.  Winter is here!

A Powy Start To 2017

By , January 2, 2017 7:14 PM

What a powy start to 2017! The 10″ that fell last night was some of the lightest density snow this season. No wonder Utah is known to have the greatest snow on Earth! Highboy’s bottomless pow was a highlight today with Tongue My Chute still untouched at 10 am. Lift lines were non-existent, even though the parking lot was full. Stoke was high, proven by all the hoots and hollers that reverberated throughout the mountain.
The snow kept falling all day which made for some low vis in open areas. Sticking to the trees in Jitterbug, Lone Pine and Eagle’s Nest helped. No matter where you went today, you were guaranteed to have an epic run. More heavy snow is expected all this week so get yourself fired up!

Main Chute and Devil’s Castle Open for Business

By , December 29, 2016 9:13 PM

It’s not often we see a Main Chute or a Devil’s Castle opening in December but it happened today!  Alta Ski Patrol did a great job preparing the two areas and skiers were rewarded with more powder turns.  The only run to open off the peak of Baldy was Main Chute but you could also ski East Baldy from top to bottom.  The snow was a little set up but smooth and fast through most of the chute.

A few areas in Devil’s Castle got a little wind hammered but there was still plenty of soft snow to find.  The sidestep out was plenty filled in with minimal rocks to find.

Crowds were thick today but only in the lift lines.  Once you were off skiing the mountain felt relatively empty.  The forecast has another storm on our doorstep scheduled to hit the Wasatch on Sunday.  I hope everyone has a happy and safe New Year’s!



By , December 18, 2016 8:46 PM

Brrrrrrr! Arctic cold temps and two feet of fresh snow made for some killer laps this weekend with numerous lodge breaks in between. Interlodge was in effect until 7:30 am Saturday morning creating a snake up canyon, but the wait was well worth it. Everything off the High T was skiing deep and smooth. Catherine’s area opened up midday with the Spiney Chutes skiing creamy. A sun dog lingered throughout the day, treating all the skiers to stunning views.
Sunday brought even cooler temps, blue bird skies and low crowds. Backside and the Shoulder opened mid-morning, providing all of us with deep, fresh, glorious powder! Rest the body and get ready for the next storm, forecasted to hit Christmas weekend.

Puke Day

By , December 16, 2016 10:16 PM

What a wild storm day! With 11 inches of high density snow over night with moderate- high winds up top, lots of bomb and avalanche control work were needed from Alta Patrol.  The mountain opened by 9:30 and The High T opened by 10:00. Ski conditions were fun, mostly riding on top for surfy turns, soft debris in the steeper areas, and thicker snow in the lower elevations. 

As the day progressed winds picked up and the next wave of the storm hit, bringing graupel which made for great skiing on West Rustler and free refills all over.  As the graupel fell, temps dropped bringing thunder and lightning shutting down the mountain immediately.

Lifts opened back up in an hour, but the High T remained closed.   The lighter density snow fall in the afternoon made for even greater skiing.  There is more snow in the forecast and temps will be dropping so be prepared to bundle up! The weekend will bring more fresh snow, Christmas crowds and eventually sunshine.