Alta, UT opening weekend - 11/25-28/2021

E. Nigma

New member
First off, congrats to FTO's new owner Tony Crocker and a successful migration to XenForo. The new interface looks great! Here's hoping that Tony can restore FTO to the success that it once enjoyed. I hear that the prior owner is happy to have passed on the responsibility. :LOL:

Secondly, just wanted to hop in here and post a report on Alta's season opening and give the new forums a test drive. Honestly, despite the current warm dry spell that will last at least another 10 days it was far better than any of us had a right to expect for November. All primary lifts are now running, serving what feels like about half of Alta's terrain. I've never seen Supreme open in November, much less before Snowbird next door can even open. Natural terrain already open includes Backside, Greeley Bowl all the way through to High Boy, East Baldy, Main Chute (opened today), West Rustler (but only from the Tower 10 Traverse), and Ballroom and all of Baldy Shoulder all the way across to Wildcat's terrain.

Crowds have been minimal, especially since most of the mountain's COVID-19 restrictions from last season have been rolled back. Lifts are back to full capacity, no mandatory masks in lift lines or cafeterias. What few folks are there are very, very well spread out on the open terrain. I wish the place always felt this empty!

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The windshield view on Thanksgiving morning.

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Awaiting lift opening on Monday morning

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Riding Sugarloaf on Thanksgiving morning

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Backside

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"Backside"

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Supreme opened on Saturday, along with Sunnyside

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The view from the Supreme Road

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East Castle opened on Saturday, too.

Hmmmm...can't undo italics -- Admin, you may want to look into this.

Snowbird is still planning to open on Wednesday, but things are looking pretty lean over there on the lower half of the mountain. I'm willing to bet that it will be Gadzoom to Big Emma only.

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Snowbird's lower mountain is still looking pretty rough.

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Snowbird's Gad Valley.
 
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jamesdeluxe

Administrator
I hear that the prior owner is happy to have passed on the responsibility.
:icon-lol:

Nice pix. I wish mine looked that sharp.

Are there any changes with Alta on the Ikon Pass? Given its staunch fan base, I always wondered if it needed to be connected with a major pass.
 

jimk

Member
Thanks for posting this report. Boy, the slightly higher base elevation of Alta really makes a difference over Snowbird in these photos.

The impact of IKON on Alta is about the same as for Snowbird, Sol/Bright, and Deer Valley - lots more skiers and traffic. It's debatable if the increase is more due to more out of town visitors or just locals skiing more frequently, probably both. The crazy thing is that big holiday weekends that are blacked out by the IKON base pass are some of the least crowded non-weekdays now at these mountains?!?
 

EMSC

Active member
Boy, the slightly higher base elevation of Alta really makes a difference over Snowbird in these photos.

So far this winter it's all about elevation all across the US west. I was actually surprised to see so much snow/open at Alta as pretty much all of Utah is lower than Colorado's higher resorts (where snow has been much closer to normal-ish). eg Alta's base is barely higher than Vail or Beaver Creek over this way and both of those have struggled getting open, while Breck, Abasin, Loveland for example have done OK-ish by comparison since base altitudes are in the 10-11K range.
 

jamesdeluxe

Administrator
Breck, Abasin, Loveland for example have done OK-ish by comparison since base altitudes are in the 10-11K range.
I'm flying to Denver in a few minutes and decided not to bring my skis. Loveland only has a handful of trails open; I'd go if I lived out there to shake out the cobwebs but it's not worth schlepping my equipment across the country.
 

EMSC

Active member
I'm flying to Denver in a few minutes and decided not to bring my skis.

Hope you are bringing your shorts and a t-shirt.

70F+ today and tomorrow and not all that much colder after that... Not sure anyone is even able to do nighttime snowmaking this week.
 

Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
I'm in Chile, but when I went in to edit the OP, the italics disappeared.:bow:

Once again the consolidator sites show 23 of 116 trails open at Alta.:eusa-wall:
This is why it would be extremely helpful to get weekly updates on how much of Alta is really open until it gets up to 95+%.
 
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Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
Thanks for posting this report. Boy, the slightly higher base elevation of Alta really makes a difference over Snowbird in these photos.
There are multiple factors. Alta gets 10% more snow measured at 9,600 at both areas. But a lot of it is topography. Sunnyside is flat and Wildcat/lower Collins has a fairly consistent fall line that skis well on a 3 foot base. At Snowbird there are steep pitches all over the place that need more coverage. It’s a minefield until the base gets up to 50 inches and not that wide open until 70 inches.

Snowbird is like Palisades and Taos in this topography though it gets more consistent snow so tends to attain decent coverage earlier.

Mammoth is more like Alta, can get by nicely on 3-4 feet.
 

ChrisC

Active member
Alta's web site has been improved the past couple of years and gives a much more accurate picture. The only caveat is that open/closed lifts include operating hours. IOW, after 4:30, all lifts show as closed.
https://www.alta.com/lift-terrain-status

I don't like Snow Report pages that show all lifts and trails closed after operating hours. It does not allow you to get an accurate view of conditions most of the day. Find it very confusing when ski resorts construct their websites this way.
 

Marc_C

Active member
I don't like Snow Report pages that show all lifts and trails closed after operating hours. It does not allow you to get an accurate view of conditions most of the day. Find it very confusing when ski resorts construct their websites this way.
Absolutely agree!
 
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