100 Days to Winter
A Message from Alta's General Manager, Mike Maughan:
There is already a chill in the air at Alta and in just 100 days we will kick off the 2019-20 ski season—launching into our 82nd season. We are excited about the prospects of another stellar ski season and hope Mother Nature is on the same page.
Recap of Last Season
Snow. Snow. Snow. What a season it was. We received new snow on 52% of the days we were open last season, totaling 626” or 81 inches above average for our 81st season. It was our fifth-busiest season on record and I hope you were one of the many Alta passholders that skied more days last season than previous seasons.
If you have visited Alta this summer you may have noticed that we are undertaking two important projects—an expansion of Alf’s Restaurant and improvements to the Albion parking lot.
The popularity of the new Supreme lift has made Alf’s restaurant a busier and more vibrant mid-mountain restaurant location than ever before. To accommodate these new demands on Alf's, we are bringing forward some needed and exciting changes.
- We are expanding Alf’s restaurant to the north and adding approximately 150 seats.
- We are expanding the building to the south to permanently enclose the exterior demo center space for a retail ski shop.
- A coffee shop and restrooms are being added on the snow level on the corner of the building closest to the Sugarloaf lift.
- We are also giving the exterior of the building a facelift.
During the past couple of decades, Alta has used parking spaces in its parking lots to facilitate and provide infrastructure for mass transit. Bus staging zones and passenger drop off/loading zones have been created and expanded. We are expanding the Albion lot to recoup parking spots that have been dedicated towards important mass transit needs. Remember the steep ramp driving into the Albion lot? We are also changing the grade of the west end of the parking lot to improve visibility, safety and traffic flow. UDOT is also considering installing a roundabout at the entrance to the Albion lot next summer.
During the past 60 days, the administrative land exchange process between the US Forest Service and the four Cottonwood Canyon ski areas has come to an end. Insurmountable differences in land valuations, split mineral and surface estate issues, requirements that lands being traded not have mining tunnels under them or mining overburden on them, and the Forest Service’s clarification regarding base area lands they would exchange, no longer make the proposed land exchange between the Forest Service and the ski areas feasible. While Congress could legislatively authorize a land exchange despite these issues, it is our understanding that the likelihood of them doing so is very low and it is not in the public’s best interest due to the valuation differences.
CWC, Federal Legislation & UDOT
Alta encourages Central Wasatch Commission (CWC) to continue its efforts to provide a recreational and transportation system in the Cottonwood Canyons that accommodates current and increasing demand while minimizing impacts upon watershed, wildlife, and the ecosystems in the Canyons. We have respectfully requested to be involved in the drafting of any legislation that has ramifications upon Alta Ski Area’s private lands and the public lands under its special use permit, as well as, public lands between the ski areas that may be used for transportation solutions.
UDOT is preparing an environmental impact statement in partnership with Utah Transit Authority and the US Forest Service to address “immediate challenges and inefficiencies of mobility, trailhead parking and avalanche mitigation in Little Cottonwood Canyon.” We have been actively involved in providing data and input regarding transportation solutions for Little Cottonwood Canyon.
Climate change, increasing winter and summer demand, multi-resort passes, and traffic congestion are all issues that we are actively monitoring and working on with a variety of other stakeholders. Alta is a beautiful and delicate, yet, rugged place that we love and cherish. We are committed to providing skiing experiences in a natural mountain setting while managing the impact upon the environment. During the past 81 years, we have worked closely with the Forest Service and other public entities to protect the watershed, wetlands, ecosystems and wildlife in Alta. These efforts are reflected in the Alta we have today—a beautiful place with clean water, a healthy forest and a vibrant ecosystem.
We are looking forward to another awesome ski season that will start in 100 days from today, conditions permitting. Hope to see you on the slopes.