Duking it Out: Alta is for Skiers


We all know the Greatest Snow on Earth lives up Little Cottonwood Canyon outside of Salt Lake City. Little Cottonwood is home to the legendary Alta Ski Area and Snowbird Resort. Both offer the same snow, right? Both offer the same pitches right? Well, not exactly. According to many, Snowbird, with it’s high-speed lifts and the flying dumpster, rules. To others, the moniker “Alta is for Skiers” is tatooed on their very souls. For these two believers, it gets even more personal.

Let’s get it on!

Counterpoint: Alta is for Skiers

We live in the age of logic, when reason seems to drive our lives at faster and faster rates. Sometimes there’s a quiet satisfaction in experiencing the essence of things outside the rational realm.

There’s no doubt that a new fuel injected 300 hp Lexus can out perform a bug-eye sprite. Or that current ski technology simply blows away the days of leather boots and longthongs. But there is something special that is hard to measure in the old Healys and hickories.

Similarly, there is certainly something special to Alta.¬† Yes, the ‘bird is bigger, has more uphill capacity, has nearly ski through sushi. But amid the noise and hysteria, there’s a quality missing. Lest we go down the rat hole of motorcycle maintenance, let’s forgo trying to measure or define that phenom.

Alta has willingly chosen to manage itself the way it does. Slower, lower capacity lifts, minimal grooming, no advertising. And in so doing has sought to preserve something that possibly cannot stand up to the age of reason. It remains to be seen if the age of reason can stand up to itself.

So, if it’s possible to step back from the demiurge of didactics, from the raja of reason to that nebulous nabob of nurturing nature, I’ll take Alta.

Call it spiritual, call it religious, call it crazy, but there’s an experience at Alta that no amount of analytic exercise can quantify. ¬†Hats off to the people who maintain the vision and the guts to preserve one of those things so quickly disappearing from la vie moderne, a quiet experience of quality skiing.

Alta is for skiers.

Counterpoint: Snowbird Has the Tram

About Author

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Jason quickly developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 -- sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.

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