Alta Ski Resort

It’s always fun to go back in time and remember what was. 

I ran across a Ski Utah media guide from 1965–66. It’s a total of 12 book-size pages printed in blue. It included information on ski areas, accommodations, transportation and special features, which was simply a one-page report on convenience, warm hospitality, great snow and “Hootspa.” A footnote reported that “Hootspa” is a mountain elixir brewed by pretty girls to the sound of soft guitars. Sounds good, anyway.

The book listed seven resorts with 21 lifts and a few scattered rope tows and T-bars.

And then there were the little hideaway resorts to visit with names like Blue Mountain, Four Seasons, Grizzly Ridge and Little Mountain . . . all footnotes, now.

Alta listed nine runs—four expert, one intermediate and four novice. A day pass was $4.50 and a night at Rustler Lodge started at $9.50 and went up to $34. Brighton listed 11 runs—three expert, three intermediate and five novice. A day pass was $3.50 and a bed in a dorm at Mount Majestic Manor was $4.50. Solitude and Treasure Mountain (now Park City Mountain Resort) listed “unlimited’’ runs, which were probably no more than a dozen. Rates were $3.50 and $5 respectively.

Of interest was a list of out-of-business resorts, like Blue Mountain near Monticello, Gooseberry near Salina, Grizzly Ridge near Vernal and Little Mountain at the top of Immigration Canyon. 

There was one resort in the planning—Four Seasons. It was going to have a gondola tramway two miles long, three lifts and three T-bars. 

No lift prices were listed. 

Of course, back then snowmaking was left to nature and snowboarding was unheard of. Grooming was done by skiers on skis and packing by fallen bodies. 

Airlines listed were Western, Frontier and Bonanza. 

The only restaurants listed were Balsam Embers and Beau Brummel. 

A night at Hotel Utah, with air conditioning, TV, radio, carpet and sound-proof walls, was $9 to $12. Rates down the street at the Newhouse Hotel, with 400 rooms, TVs and private bath was $6.50. 

Stores and shops included Auerbach’s, Duce Sporting Goods, Stevens-Brown, Wolfe’s and Zinik’s—all simply memories now. 

Today, there are 14 resorts, three listed among the 10 best in North America, with 135 lifts, more than 1,580 runs and still offering the most convenient access and the greatest powder snow in the world. 

Deer Valley was rated North America’s No. 1 resort five years in a row, going back to the 2007–2008 season. This year it was rated No. 2 behind Canada’s Whistler Blackcomb. Also in the top ten were Park City Mountain Resort (No. 4) and Canyons (No. 10). 

Of note, this season is Alta, which will celebrate 75 years in the ski business. The report on Alta back in ’66 was: “This true alpine resort leads sophisticated skiers to proclaim Alta the powder paradise of America.”

At least that hasn’t changed. 

Openings

Alta—Open
Beaver Mountain—TBA
Brian Head—Open
Brighton—Open
Canyons—Nov. 23
Deer Valley—Dec. 8
Eagle Point—Dec. 21
Park City—Open
Powder Mountain—Open
Snowbasin—Nov. 22
Snowbird—Open
Solitude—Open
Sundance—Dec. 7
Wolf Mountain—Nov. 23