|Alta Ski Area|
PO Box 8007
Telephone: (801) 3591078
Email: [email protected]
Legendary ski resort with legendary snowfalls, just over a mile from Snowbird, long established world-class skiing reputation spearheaded by the fifty year old Alf Engen ski school.
The intriguing Little Cottonwood Canyon claims the renowned Alta and Snowbird resorts. Alta, a national treasure, reminds skiers of the more romantic days of skiing, and is a favourite of local powderhounds. It has two distinct histories; the first as a silver mining town, the other as a ski area. Silver was discovered in 1864 and Alta's population peaked just before the devaluation of silver in 1873. The first railroad was built at this time with mules pulling the cars uphill while gravity and a strong breakman were relied on to take them back down! This method was used until 1917 when the Denver and Rio Grande railroad completed a narrow-guage railroad to Alta. Throughout the 1920's the railroad was run as a scenic visitor attraction by one of Alta's few remaining inhabitants, George Watson, self-appointed mayor and silver prospector. Alf Engen played a big part in the history of this ski resort; it was at the request of the US Forest Service that Alf first came to Alta in 1935 to see if the abandoned mining area might be viable for development as a ski area. What Alf found was an area almost void of trees because the miners had used the timber to shore up the mines. Nonetheless, he felt that Alta had great potential for a ski area and that it could be restored to a place of exceptional beauty After acquiring 1800 acres of land from "Mayor" George Watson and local mining companies, development of Alta Ski Area began with the construction of Collins, Alta's first chairlift, built from an old aerial ore tramway Opened to the public in 1939 they paid 25 cents a ride or $1.50 for a full day pass. Snowpine Lodge, Alta's first ski shelter was also built and Sverre Engen, Alf's brother, became America's first Snow Ranger, based at Alta his work included snow studies and avalance control. Alta Lodge opened in 1940 providing skiers with the first overnight accommodation. During those early days Alta became an arctic training ground for American army troops in preparation for overseas duty. Ski Aces, Utah's first promotional ski film starring Alf, Sverre and Corey Engen was made at Alta to highlight the scenic beauty of the area. Alta's long established world class skiing reputation is spearheaded by the long-established Alf Engen Ski School. Utah's license plates proudly proclaim, "Ski Utah! The Greatest Snow on Earth." Few winter sports enthusiasts who have sampled the skiing in the land of Zion would argue with this — when the skies begin to fall and the "lake effect" rears its head, Utah does consistently offer the lightest and most abundant snow on the planet. Sometimes, however, the riches can be too abundant. A World Cup race hosted at Snowbasin on a typical February weekend had to be cancelled — the resort received more than three feet of new snow over the course of the three-day event. A small consolation was the great shot in the Salt Lake Tribune of Herman Maier skiing waist deep in powder.