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Reflections on a Snowy Winter and New Passes

Reflections on a Snowy Winter and New Passes

| 112 Comments | March 12th, 2019 | By Mike Maughan


We are now two-thirds of the way through our 81st ski season and what a season it has been! After six of the last seven seasons with less than average snowfall, we are now enjoying an above average snow year. As of March 11th, we have received 462 inches of snow which is 110% of our 40-year average. While the snow conditions have etched smiles on the faces of Alta enthusiasts, it has also magnified the transportation and parking issues in Little Cottonwood Canyon. A growing population base in the broader Salt Lake area, weather conditions and a road with limited capacity have resulted in more traffic congestion issues than we have ever had–impacting both skiers and employees. We are sensitive to these issues and are continuing to work with the Utah Department of Transportation, the Forest Service and other governmental agencies on short and long term solutions.

The reality we are facing is that while skier visits to Alta have increased 25% during the past 15 years, the road and parking capacity remain the same as they were 15 years ago. We are encouraging the Central Wasatch Commission, UDOT and local, state and federal legislators to make transportation solutions a priority in concert with, rather than independent of, federal designations and environmental protections.

Snowfall across the nation has brought skiers out in force. While skier visits to Alta show a double-digit increase over last season, we are currently only 6% ahead of the 16-17 ski season. Our day and multi-day ticket visits are down significantly this season due to the migration of many of our skiers to the Ikon Pass. Our net increase in skier visits from the Ikon Pass is currently running roughly 3%. Our largest increase in skier visits is coming from local pass holders whose visits are up 13% compared to the prior season. With that said, powder is our greatest commodity and we applaud our local pass holders for enjoying this year’s plentiful powder days.

We are not alone in facing a busy winter. In a recent discussion with GM's from other Mountain Collective destinations in the West, all indicated that skier visits are up due to good snow conditions and the largest area of increase is from local season pass holders. We are also seeing significantly more skiers than we have ever had in the backcountry areas around Alta. It will not surprise us if this is a record skier visit year for Utah and North America. The widespread uptick in skier visits across our country suggests that demand in a snowy year may be greater than the supply in some regions of the country.

Changes in the ski industry have resulted in all of the major ski areas in North America participating in either the Ikon or Epic pass to remain competitive and sustainable. Alta entered into a multi-year agreement to be a limited Ikon destination in January of 2018. This decision was not made lightly and we are closely monitoring the impact multi-resort passes are having on the ski industry, skier patterns and the Alta experience. Please know that we are committed to preserving the Alta experience by matching the number of skiers visiting Alta with our infrastructure, services and terrain. We welcome your feedback and ask for your patience as adjustments will take time given agreements that are in place and the approval process required to make changes. In the meantime, we hope to share more magical Alta moments with you during the remainder of the season.

Thanks for skiing Alta this winter,

Mike Maughan

General Manager - Alta Ski Area


  
Molly Hutsinpiller March 12, 2019 Reply to Post

I have been skiing Little Cottonwood since the mid 80's when my sister was a grad student at the U of U. This year is concerning to me, it seems that there are exponentially more cars, more skiers and less of the real Alta that we know and love. I have heard from several employees that are not planning on coming back next year due to the press of the crowds. Should the Itron Pass be re-evaluated? I know that Arapahoe Basin is discontinuing their association with the Epic Pass next year. Please keep Alta Weird. and wonderful. I recently bought a condo at Blackjack so I will be around.

Robert Glick March 12, 2019 Reply to Post

I do not think the Ikon Pass has done anything to help Alta, but has probably hurt it, in that it has brought skiers there for only a few times and then they go to other places included in the pass. it has taken away from those who are loyal Alta skiers, such as I, and has only made Alta more crowded. Please consider not honoring the Ikon pass for next season.

Brendan Sheehan March 12, 2019 Reply to Post

The goal here should be for you to maintain what makes Alta special – the Alta magic. To do so, you should focus on cutting down on skier visits, not accommodating more. Furthermore, avoid developing Grizzly Gulch.

Reza March 12, 2019 Reply to Post

Ikon Pass is screwing up the vibe at Alta. Sad to see. The inevitable, with the old guard retiring i guess.

Kim Watson March 12, 2019 Reply to Post

I've been an Alta skier for 35 years and a season pass holder for the last 5. The canyon traffic has grown exponentially the last few seasons. We always carpool and absolutely love the carpool parking on Saturdays at the Wildcat Base; knowing we'll have a place to park makes all the difference. Too bad there isn't a fee for driving the canyon with only one passenger.

Valerie March 12, 2019 Reply to Post

When you say crowded? How long our your lift lines? Curious...

Ed Kulyeshie March 12, 2019 Reply to Post

I concur with the statements below that ALTA is special place and should be
maintained and run as a special place. The Ikon pass destroys the special feeling that people have for this resort. Since 1980 this has been my very
special place to ski.
I do concur improving the roads to ALTA.

Andrew Herrin March 12, 2019 Reply to Post

I agree with most of the posters. The Ikon pass has not been good for the resort nor the longtime Alta goers. It may be good for business, but business isn’t always good for people.

Eric Luke March 12, 2019 Reply to Post

I visited Alta for the first time using the Mountains Collective pass... and completely fell in love. I will surely return for many decades. The multi resort passes are doing a great job in helping a new generation of skiers discover Alta.

guy coley March 12, 2019 Reply to Post

Charge 10.00 for parking unless you have three or more riders, resort takes half for collecting hassles and stop upgrade areas, the rest goes toward reduced fare rides up and better Parking areas in the valley. better smaller buses on a continuous loop up and down. had several friends go up to ski and couldn't park so they bailed that day.

Shari A Van Nuland March 12, 2019 Reply to Post

Get rid of Ikon pass stay away from epic. I have been coming to Alta since 1990. I have been doing Mt Collective for 5 years. I love Alta and the environment, but the last 2 years it has been different. You should not have to allow more than 2 hours to get up the canyon road.Why not add more buses and parking with ability to purchase lift ticket at the canyon base have only bus traffic from 8a-11a and 3p-6p with bus ride included in lift tickets. Quick fix could be require at least 2 people per vehicle with ride share link on your website.

Burke Staker March 12, 2019 Reply to Post

The experience changed this year; it no longer feels like “Alta is for Skiers”. The resort atmosphere, particularly on weekends, is evolving toward Park City, Vail and Whistler. The Albion lot is now regularly full by 11:00 AM on weekdays. The skiers are different. The chairlift conversation is different. Hope for a Deer Valley lunch experience and talk of après skiing seems to be the focus for the new crowd. Skiing is no longer the priority; wealthy tourists are the new Alta.
I implore the owners, management, and industry consultants to consider exploring other revenue options rather than the Ikon pass. I am sure you are conducting an analysis to see how the additional Ikon revenue impacts the season pass sales, daily ticket sales, and the resort experience, I really hope the analysis demonstrates a business case to discontinue the Ikon model. Please preserve what has made Alta great for so many years.

Alex March 12, 2019 Reply to Post

Limiting crowds is the only way to preserve the things that are essential to Alta’s character and reputation. Alta has successfully employed a number of strategies in the past and should carefully consider why those strategies were implemented. Snowboarding bans lead to fewer ski area visits, which has been and should continue to be a critical goal. Lift bases that do not terminate at the highest elevations (such as Mt Baldy) and staggered gate openings lead to rewards for those who put in extra effort and extend the life of a limited resource. Accordingly, crowd control within the ski area is also crucial. Close proximity to undeveloped areas (such as Grizzly Gulch) provides much of the beauty and character that makes Alta different and is also an important mechanism for crowd control within the ski area. Do not lose sight of the real goal here, otherwise you may inadvertently sabotage everything and destroy that which we all love.

Eric McLoughlin March 12, 2019 Reply to Post

Mike,
I have thought about this issue a fair bit and have had many conversations about it on chair lifts with our customers.
I see it as a yet unrecognized opportunity to uphold the company’s mission statement, build a customer base that fits Alta’s character, and remain true to our roots.
Reach out to me if you are interested in hearing more.
Eric

Aaron pollard March 12, 2019 Reply to Post

Quick intro: I am a 13 yr pass holder. We r a family of 5.... all pass holders with between 2 and 3 kids in Alta ski school programs. We r friends to many other families who spend significant money and care about alta.

I appreciate you sharing data on skier days. I have been waiting to understand more about real source of the increase in traffic.

I personally like the ikon and the opportunity it provides to travel and experience other resorts. I am confused why alta allows ikon passholders without providing us as alta passholders the same reciprocity passholders from other resorts enjoy. It’s material for a family of 5. I spent over $350/ day this year to get my family on the hill @ Jackson and crystal and with kids heading towards competing the value of an ikon pass becomes even greater to me.
It’s also tough as a compare when close family friends from solitude, squaw, mammoth and Colorado all had ikon rights included in the same cost they paid last year for passes. I do appreciate the measures approach of limiting days @ alta for ikon pass holders but am left anxiously waiting to hear if we will be granted the benefits. The mountain collective helps but with gross inflations window rates, I hope we’ll be able to enjoy the same priviledges other resorts have included for their passholders.

Please share a blog post on this topic.

Regards,

Aaron

AnnMarie March 12, 2019 Reply to Post

I’m pleased to see & read the blog above. I think it’s easy to many to point/blame everything on the “passes”. I suppose the question that needs to be asked.. is can Alta be sustainable without the corporate passes? As a local I’m not in support of expanding the road, or adding more parking spaces. I don’t wanna see expanded hotels/restaurants. At the same time.. skiing is changing. More people are wanting to be part of the sport..and who are we to say who can/can’t be allowed to ski.
Make incentives for carpooling/bus riding & please DO NOT expand into the grizzly gulch!

Benedict Gomez March 12, 2019 Reply to Post

Personally I hate these EPIC & IKON pass wars & the artificially high single day ticket prices they've created, which I believe is negative for the entire sport of alpine skiing long-term. Sure, it may seem great today to a passholder, but I cannot emphasize enough how many first-time skiers show up at a resort expecting to pay the single day lift ticket price. Well, you cant get them "to" the resort if they are frightened away from sticker shock. I thus believe these passes are harming the long-term demographics in the ski industry by essentially "preventing" new skiers. This is the fear I have, which I know is echoed by some in the industry.

CBS March 12, 2019 Reply to Post

As an IKON imperialist, I'll take the heat. It's the most cost effective way I can justify having my family ski multiple times a year when not living in a ski town. As many here have, I too have skied Alta for 15+ years. I understand the disdain against non-locals, but it's nothing new under the sun. This rant has gone on for years and will continue in perpetuity. 3% uptick for IKON users seems minimal given the ire they seem to draw.

With respect to transportation, we have gladly take the bus. It is incredibly convenient (although 2 hours down is a tad brutal with kiddos). I could ultimately see closing the canyons and solely running shuttles or if you want to get progressive, go with a gondola/tram shuttle as many places in Europe use.

Lisa Lewis March 12, 2019 Reply to Post

Several multi level parking garages are needed in parking areas down canyon with shuttles running to each resort. Busses way too small and over crowded. A gondola from the bottom needed. Daily ticket sales should be limited like Deer Valley.

Chris Doman March 12, 2019 Reply to Post

Thank you for this thoughtful and factual post. I grew up skiing Alta and worked there for two seasons. I work in the valley now and opted for an Ikon pass this year so I could enjoy skiing with friends at other resorts in addition to enjoying Alta. I am glad to see some real numbers about how the Ikon pass is effecting Alta instead of just knee-jerk feelings tossed around on in lift lines.

Curt McNeily March 12, 2019 Reply to Post

I have had a season pass at Alta for the past 10 years and the number of days I have spent skiing there has a comma in it. I believe that the number of visitors to Alta this year is up as much because of the better snowfall as because of the Ikon Pass. I also understand that Alta is a business that should not be expected to turn away paying customers or forego development to please the "raise the drawbridge, we liked the old days better" crowd.

Nevertheless, Alta could do more to lessen the negative impact of the Ikon pass holders on the Alta experience. It is not so much the number of Ikon skiers as it is their ignorance of Alta's customs and courtesies that generates the hate and discontent you are seeing among Alta regulars.

I recommend that you expand your current experiment with Mountain Hosts and offer a free mountain tour to all first time Alta skiers. During this tour, the Mountain Host would enlighten our new guests as to where to place their pass so that it can be easily read at the gate, how "front row" works, why they should warn others before putting down the bar, to step up or step down before stopping on a traverse, to warn skiers ahead before passing on a narrow trail, to not leave their skis on the snow but to use the racks when going into a lodge. Along with these and other little bits of Alta Etiquette, the Mountain Host could impart local knowledge about places to eat and apres ski (such as it is) and Alta's history.

I believe that such a program would go far to reduce friction between visitors and Alta regulars. Mountain Hosts come cheap, especially if you recruit among the 65 and older.

One other recommendation to reduce friction: resume grooming the 180 traverse of Lower Rustler. That would divert a significant portion of the traffic that currently passes through Corkscrew, particularly reducing the number of less skilled skiers therein.

I hope these observations are taken in the spirit in which I share them.

Mike March 20, 2019 Reply to Post

ignorance to alta's customs? what you mentioned is called common courtesy at all areas. i'm pretty sure it's s.o.p. everywhere to announce when you're going to lower the bar. etc. to make the claim that ikon pass holders don't adhere to these protocols is rather absurd. perhaps it's just the nature of today's world. where being an asshole is o.k. to apparently a little less than half of adult population of our country

Wally March 12, 2019 Reply to Post

I am a 40 year veteran of Alta, the last 5 as a season pass holder. Alta is where I plan to have my ashes scattered, if my friends can pull it off. Something is definitely different this year. Bad, impolite, and reckless skiers suddenly abound. I ride the Collins lift as a single much of the time and 9 out of 10 of the people I ride up with are Ikon pass holders (so I call BS on your 3% claim). They are transients who only want to add Alta to their Facebook/Instagram accounts. The Alta experience was always about great skiing and a family atmosphere. That’s not what we have now.

ann brady March 12, 2019 Reply to Post

thanks for joining Ikon, i’ve enjoyed visiting alta this year!

David Joss March 12, 2019 Reply to Post

If you are only getting a 3% increase, why participate in the program.
It seems that the 3% all visit on the busiest days.
This is the first year in the last 15 that I did not buy a pass. Too hard to get there.
Alta is a special place and you are killing the golden goose.

Greg Miller March 12, 2019 Reply to Post

I understand that Alta is a business to make $$$, however you say that you are concerned about preserving the Alta experience. When I moved here in 1992, the Alta season pass was sold via lottery and only so many were sold. It was a privledge if you owned a season pass. Now anyone with $1,000 can buy one in addition, you add in the Icon customers and there are too many people skiing at Alta. On a busy day I have to be in the canyon by 7:30AM and can't even stay till the end of the day for fear of being caught in the "Red Snake". This was never an issue back in the day. I have many friends that won't ski in LCC because of the traffic. That being said, I LOVE ALTA and regardless of some of the negatives, I feel it is one of the best resorts around. I am just concerned that if things continue in the direction they are going, it will lose some of that great experience.

Julie March 12, 2019 Reply to Post

I bought a season pass so that I could revisit skiing after 20 years with my three year old son who is attending ski school. We take the bus and sometimes it’s difficult for him to get a seat. I never get a seat on the bus- but no big deal for me.
We LOVE Alta and the ski instructors. The rides up are crowded and the bus rides back down are great- quick and not crowded.

Barb Walker March 12, 2019 Reply to Post

As you say, Alta does provide magical moments-not just the pure joy of skiing soft moguls and powder but the stunningly beautiful scenery, the laid back essence of this special place on earth. I am a Canadian that has skied Alta for probably 20 years, the last few years having purchased a season pass. This year on my 26th straight day of skiing this beautiful mountain. I have skied Europe, Canadian and American Rockies. Alta comes out on top. I thought on my final descent tonight that I wished that I could thank all your great employees for being a part of making this wonderful experience possible.

Linda Long March 12, 2019 Reply to Post

I loved having my gift of 80 free skiing. I hired a ski instructor to show me the mountain and also Peak Transportation made a very non stressful enjoyable experience

David Hackbarth March 12, 2019 Reply to Post

Mike,
Thanks for coming forward with a response to the “IKon pass” controversy. Alta is very fortunate in that it has customers who care so deeply about the “Alta Experience”. While I don’t agree with your analysis on the Ikon pass, I understand your efforts to point to the road/transportation and parking as the real issue. So I will focus my comments on this area.

Alta and Snowbird have failed in their efforts over the last 15-20 years to adequately address the canyon transportation situation. No doubt the management of both ski areas have tried and finally some efforts are being considered. Token road dividers, poor traffic control by confused agencies at the base of the canyon are the only efforts that are visible to the ski area customers. The customers are upset, they are in turn blaming the IKon pass. This energy needs to be redirected . Alta and Snowbird need to put much, much, much more effort into getting their customer feedback on the untenable road situation directly to the legislature, UTAH DOT, local jurisdictions and the Forest Service. In your message you provided no direct links to provide direct comments in support of improving the situation in the canyon.! Harness the energy that is focused on the IKon situation into greater political action on the road/transportation issue. There are plenty of people who specialize in consulting in this area which could help Alta to effect some real change, other than a couple token road dividers.

Thanks for being open to comments and suggestions!

David Hackbarth

Don MacKay March 12, 2019 Reply to Post

I have a season pass and only ski Alta. I rent AirB&B for about 8 weeks a season in Sandy/Midvale and ski 40 to 47 days. I drive up daily because the bus gets over crowded and takes too long with all the tedious Snowbird stops. A dedicated Alta bus might encourage more riders vs drivers, especially on snow days.

David Parrott March 12, 2019 Reply to Post

I grew up skiing Jackson Hole and now live here in SLC. Alta is my home away from home mountain and I love it. Sadly, as an underpaid college professor, I can't afford an Alta Pass (at least in one big purchase), so I've been doing a Gold Card/Mtn Collective combo. It's been working well, but the Ikon pass lets me pay over time, gives me access to the many awesome resorts in the area, (Jackson Hole included) and costs less. While I get that we all want Alta to stay the way we all remember it, It sadly can't just be for the select few to ski. I think the Ikon is getting a bad rap everywhere, but the data doesn't quite reflect the outcome (Alta sees a 3% uptick, JH, 12%)...I think this year, people came for the snow! Time will tell if the Ikon is as bad as people claim it to be (FYI, the Ikon and Mtn Collective are owned by essentially the same people). I'd be happy to buy an Alta Pass and be a loyal member...I'd even pay full price if I could do interest free installments like Ikon does, provided I still get the Mtn Collective 50% discount at Jackson Hole! Bottom line, I think you're taking a very pragmatic approach, being receptive to skier input, and looking out for what makes Alta special. Keep up the good work and let's all ride the bus!

Mark Gardiner March 12, 2019 Reply to Post

Is it possible that Alta was sold a bill of goods about "remaining competitive?" We have the so called Alta experience immediately adjacent to a growing metropolis and a growing airport offering some of the easiest ski access to visitors. Add in social media and Air B&B and we are in the situation you described. Excessive demand for limited resources. Alta will always be a relatively small ski area at the end of a congested road.

Attempts to "remain competitive" put the Alta experience at risk.

Paul Maloney March 12, 2019 Reply to Post

An interconnected lift system that could transport skiers between Park City and the Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons would go a long way toward decreasing the amount of "drive around" traffic that is overburdening the existing road system.

Karen Garrett March 20, 2019 Reply to Post

My husband and I have skied Alta for 20 years and have been local season pass holders for 10 years. This season I have been increasingly frustrated with how long it takes to get up and down LCC.

If you want fewer cars on the LCC road do not expand parking at Alta or Snowbird.

Expand the inadequate park and ride lots that are filling up earlier and earlier.

Designate some EXPRESS buses to Alta.

Stop the 2w drive cars with no chains on snow days.

I can’t tell you how many hours I have spent in my car in the Albion lot or on the bypass road waiting for snowbird to empty.

Agree keep Alta experience special but more parking at the resort will not do it.

Thank you,

KHG

Brian Van Nuland March 12, 2019 Reply to Post

Skier visits are naturally going to increase. Those that started in the sport in the 50's, 60's, and 70's are active people that introduced it to their kids, who introduced it to their kids, so on and so forth leading to having three or four generations on the slopes. All but the youngest are driving. I'm from out of state and visit the area once or twice a year and noticed the past several years the traffic up the Cottonwood canyons has increased exponentially in comparison to as little as five years ago, especially on a weekend. The number of single drivers going up I'm willing to bet, has greatly increased, especially this year with the snow. It is sad to see all those vehicles idling and moving slowly towards the canyons all for convenience and control of time. Until all the resorts- those both in the canyons and in Park City area overcome that convenience either with incentives or penalties to limit skiers driving to the slopes over taking a mass transit option, this problem will remain. It is not just limited to Salt Lake City area as many of my friends in Colorado have greatly diminished their skiing days due to traffic congestion on the I-70 corridor leading to three-four hour drives up from and/or down to Denver area. The industry as a whole needs to discuss this problem because when the length of drive becomes to great it will have an impact across the board to not only resorts but to the equipment companies as people leave the sport and place their attention towards different interests. Increasing the convenience at public transportation access points and their frequency will be a start that needs to happen sooner rather than later.

Joan March 12, 2019 Reply to Post

I have skied at Alta since the early 70’s I don’t understand the benefit of the Ikon skiers if it’s only 3% of the skier days. What does Alta make off each of these days? I feel the same about the Mountain Collective. Alta cannot handle the crowds.

I don’t believe in charging for parking but I like the carpool incentives. It should also apply for 2 people in a 2 seater car.

Please don’t develop Grizzly Gulch. You are taking a Very valuable resource for accessing the backcountry.

Last, I also feel some of the practices and courtesies the local skiers have had for years are being ignored. Remember when there was a sign when you hiked up the shoulder and it asked you not to cut a low traverse? ( at least for the first few hours it was open? ) Same with the Castle? Now none of that is being done because people don’t understand these courtesies that have been long standing Alta traditions.

Curtis R March 12, 2019 Reply to Post

“Our net increase in skier visits from the Ikon Pass is currently running roughly 3%.”

I have a hard time believing this. But, if true, it would seem to be in Alta’s best interest to discontinue Ikon passes, since it’s apparently providing little profit to the resort, and would aid in eliminating negative PR from Ikon backlash, reduce congestion on roads/parking, etc.

Bus service MUST increase. Nobody wants to stand in a bus for 2 hours packed like sardines. Charge for parking if not carpool.

Harken Banks March 12, 2019 Reply to Post

Thanks for keeping it real. Lets focus on skiing pow and sustainability. Less cars, more carpool, less carpool, more buses, less diesel buses, more electric (like Park City) buses, make the worse... Make the buses easy.

Callie pople March 12, 2019 Reply to Post

Get rid of the ikon pass.

Robin Dale March 12, 2019 Reply to Post

Can you influence UDOT to provide multiple Alta Express buses? It take a full hour up and a full hour down with all the Snowbird stops. Can Alta provide its own buses?

Andrea Daniels March 13, 2019 Reply to Post

Why the hate on the Ikon pass? I had an opportunity to visit Alta because I have this pass and was extremely excited to ski Utah for the very first time. You come to my local mountain so why complain. Please don't take this opportunity away! I can't speak for everyone but I show respect to the area and is locals. If I could....if move to Salt Lake City.

Harken Banks March 13, 2019 Reply to Post

Thanks for keeping it real. Lets focus on skiing pow and sustainability. Less cars, more carpool, less carpool, more buses, less diesel buses, more electric (like Park City) buses, make the worse... Make the buses easy.

Melissa Brown March 13, 2019 Reply to Post

Something has to be done to make skiing in little cottonwood possible. I have a season pass this year but I am not planning to buy one next year. I will buy ikon. I still want to ski more but the crowds have made me decide to do something else this next weekend. I find after skiing all day I’m not even soar because I’ve waited in line so much. The drive up the canyon is ridiculous. I leave to get up to Alta at 7:30 am to avoid the disaster.

Alta could improve by opening lifts earlier and staying open later on weekends. Alta should charge for parking especially under 3 people and the canyon needs a dedicated bus lane. I drive from Heber City to Alta and think a tram from that side would be amazing.

Ticket prices for single days are so high you are starting to weed out new skiers. I would not pay a single pass rate. Also lunch rooms are crazy!!!

Steve Kelly March 13, 2019 Reply to Post

Locals parking pass to include summer road access. Build a larger transient lot at base of the mountain.

Amy Rice March 13, 2019 Reply to Post

I have noticed a change in skier behavior this winter, as have others. Not only are there more skiers, but they are ruder, more aggressive and do not observe the skier’s responsibility code. I don’t know what part the Ikon pass holders play in this, but it takes away from the usual Alta atmosphere of kindness and consideration. I spend three to five weeks at Alta and have been coming since 2002. I may now go elsewhere.

Rachel Parent March 13, 2019 Reply to Post

Thank you for the opportunity to share thoughts and ideas. I agree the Alta experience is shifting, in a negative way. For whatever reason, there is tolerance for people walking out of their skis and leaving them on the ground - not racking them. It's a hazard for the rest of us (especially on free refill days). I've heard chatter about more grooming. I am confident the traditional/long time Alta faithful share my perspective of NNNNOOOOOO - not more grooming!!! Can we limit volume of Ikon or other sharing program pass holders on any given day (other area pass holders would need to reserve their usage and the volume would be capped). Can buses get priority passage up the canyon when there is likely to be high skier and traffic volume? Could the bus riders get a little help (a human or two) getting the skis and boards stowed or unloaded for the ride? Perhaps the monetary cost of pulling out of Ikon or other pass share programs hugely justifies an objective of preserving the experience.

David Kliger March 13, 2019 Reply to Post

Yes it has indeed been a wonderful snowy winter. But only a 6% bump. I guess that means on the less than stellar winters which seem to be the norm it is us Season Pass holders who are paying the bills. We are the people you should be catering to. We will be there through good and bad. The big issue for Alta is parking and transportation. That is why Alta should be cooperating with the Central Wasatch commission not playing the spoiler. Connecting to Big will not solve any of those issues. Running a chair up Grizzly Gulch will give you access to some mediocre sun crusted terrain.

Jean Wentlender March 13, 2019 Reply to Post

Written at the y parking lot waiting for the bus on another snowy morning with the road stopped in both directions
Not sure there is any good answer but my thoughts are turn the cars around with no snow tires or chains on
A third lane from both directions and up the canyon then make it 2 lanes up in the morning and 2 down in the afternoon
More parking at the resorts arming garages multilevel seem like the only answer there
The valley only continues to grow
But mostly thank you to all who work to keep us safe

Clint Williams March 13, 2019 Reply to Post

Get on the bus Gus. But where is it? It seems to me there are actually fewer buses than prior seasons for skiers wanting to park and ride or use the bus stop near their house. And who wants to stand in the bus for 1 - 4 hours to get up/down the road? Please work with UTA and DOT to solve this problem. Your stats suggest that IKON is not the problem. How come all the holiday skiers are on IKON then? Please stick with the loyal passholders and let's get the road right for next season. I see there is also an Alta in Idaho!

Ron Penner March 13, 2019 Reply to Post

Thank you for addressing these issues. What people fail to acknowledge is that skiing is an elitist sport and Alta should fully embrace its prestige as a superlative resort. Alta should lead the country as the most expensive day ticket ($300/day?), sell the fewest day tickets per skiable acre (like Deer Valley), go back to a lottery for season's passes, avoid Ikon, Epic and Mountain Collective type passes and put the exclusive back in this elitist sport.

Alta would earn more $$$ for less work, create less traffic congestion and generally return to the magical days of an uncrowded Alta. Lift tickets could be sold exclusively online and via mobile apps. Yes it would not feel egalitarian but this year we have seen that fallacy brought to fruition. I know my opinion is unwelcome to many and rightly so, but the future will only hold more crowds, longer lift lines, worse traffic and increasing prices anyways. Alta was $10/day when I first skied here. Economics 101 says raise the price and create an exclusive experience. Plenty of people will cue up as scarcity creates demand. Respectfully,
Ron Penner

Ben March 13, 2019 Reply to Post

I skiied Alta for the first time in 2003, and was able to return with my family this year for a number of great days in excellent conditions. Everything was as I remembered it, with the exception of the traffic. We got caught for hours leaving one day, and each day we had to leave very early to get up to the mountain to avoid huge traffic jambs. We rode as 4 in our car, and I do think that incentives for carpooling and limiting number of vehicles would work. I do not think buses work well for families unless there would be a way to avoid the vehicle traffic up and down (i.e faster dedicated bus lanes). We did not use Ikon, however there is a noticeable sticker shock at the daily ticket price if purchased individually. This may unintentionally filter out certain types of skiiers while the Ikon attracts others. I cannot speak to the locals concerns about etiquette and manners, but I found staff and patrons to be friendly and courteous to myself and our kids. The family feel is noticeable and is a great asset at this resort. Great work to all, and a great resource to skiing families.

Lauren March 13, 2019 Reply to Post

I agree with what others have said - the Ikon pass is really hurting Alta. Lift lines are longer, the lifts stop more frequently, and there is suddenly a more touristy vibe. Let the tourists and non season pass holders head to the other resorts. Keep the Alta magic alive by getting out of Ikon!
PS- keep grizzly wild

Jon Last March 13, 2019 Reply to Post

My wife and I have been Alta Bird pass holders for twelve seasons now. In my opinion the experience continues to degrade a bit each year, instead of improve. Over the past three seasons, we find ourselves having to enter the canyon earlier than the prior year, to fight traffic and crowds. We now enter the canyon by 7.45am. The crowds on the weekends at Goldminers in the am result in no tables being available and ridiculous lineups for rest rooms. Sometimes we have three people in our car and can use the carpool parking which is great. Other times we have two people and often have to park at the end of the lot due to a recent change in the parking process. Let the people who come early to avoid congestion, park closest like Alta used to do. Lineups for lifts in the am are now so long that this has really had a negative impact on the Alta experience. If Alta is going to try and continue to increase the volume of skiers, capacity needs to be addressed quickly. Wildcat needs to be replaced and the loading area and length of the lift need to be addressed. Skier traffic on Corkscrew is an issue. Start grooming the traverse around lower Rustler again to make it easier and safer for intermediate skiers. The volume of skier traffic coming down the limited run outs at the Supreme area approaching the lifts, is way too congested and accidents are waiting to happen.
I personally believe that the Ikon pass has had a negative impact on my experience at Alta. The costs of the Alta Bird pass continues to increase but my experience continues to decrease. Reaching out to hear from customers is a positive endeavor. I look forward to learning what Alta plans to do to address the concerns of its most profitable customers.

Hayden Price March 13, 2019 Reply to Post

Hi Alta family and community! I am writing you with a deep concern for the place we call home, Alta! Thank you for putting out this information about how the quantifiable numbers are stacking up as you do your best to manage the issues at at hand. I would like to point out the word “sustainable”. Let’s take a look at what that means. From my view, sustainability is a washed out term that includes a use of resources at a rate just manageable to “hold on” while we deplete experience and environment at the expense of the users. May we consider what a “regenerative” model would look like? How can we improve the situations rather than just “get by”? There are many sensitive issues here. Is Alta ski lift company making enough money? What is the goal? Is there a ceiling that you all do not wish to exceed when it comes to canyon and environmental regards? Could you outline these details for us? I truly appreciate all the hard work you have put forth and urge you to look beyond “sustainability”.
Thank you,
Hayden Price

Scott Cheney March 13, 2019 Reply to Post

I have skied Alta for 30 years, working there for >10 yrs. Moved from NC to attend the U because of the skiing, especially at Alta. Chose to settle in SLC mostly for the skiing, especially at Alta. Met my wife and got married at Alta.

My 6yo son just finished his first year in the Ski School Junior Explorer’s program. Sadly, it may be his last. Instead of adventures in the powder, he associates Alta with epic traffic jams. Now, so do I. Nothing less than the soul of Alta is hanging in the balance.

To me, overcrowding of the ski area and lift lines is not the primary problem. If you were here in the early 90’s, you remember boatloads of tour buses with teenagers filling the parking lots and lift lines. There used to be 30-45 minute lift lines at peak times. Cars were turned away at the mouth of the canyon as early as 9AM. Thankfully, snowboarding happened and it hasn’t been that bad since.

To me, the biggest problem and change is the traffic and commute times. We carpool with other families who have kids in the Ski School program most Sundays. On super bowl Sunday, it took me 3 hours to drive to Alta and 2 hours to drive home to Sugarhouse. The week after that, it took my wife 5 hours just to get home, and 3 hours just to get to Snowbird. Yes, it has been a snowy winter, but after driving the canyon (or taking the bus) for 30 years, the traffic congestion has never as awful as it has been this year. Even on no-snow weekend days, it takes 1-2 hours each way. When the word gets out that you will spend 3-8+ hours in your car to ski Alta from Salt Like City, and/or commit to being gone from ~6:45AM-7:30PM, many locals will choose to go somewhere else. Those who slog it out arrive and leave irritated, completely changing the vibe and ethos that Alta once had.

So, if the primary problem is too many cars and not a massive increase in day skiers from the Ikon pass, the solution has to be a massive reduction of cars. I think a combination of the Millcreek and Zion Canyon transportation models is the only solution. Build large parking structures in the valley and run frequent electric buses up and down. If you want the privilege to drive the canyon, it should cost you dearly, no less than $100. Offer a season parking pass for $2K. Carpooling will happen automatically if it costs enough to drive the canyon. Use the fees to help fund the parking decks and buses. And make sure every single vehicle heading up the canyon has 4WD AND snowtires!

Robert Dennery March 13, 2019 Reply to Post

Snowpine Lodge has no parking! I was shocked to learn that the beautiful new Snowpine Lodge does not have a parking garage. This can only exacerbate the parking situation at Alta. How could authorities allow this?

Angela Larsen March 13, 2019 Reply to Post

Thank you for your post. As a family we have discusssd many times the “loss of family feels” at our beloved Alta. Some of my biggest concern is over the ticket pricing for kids. I find it a little hard to swallow that a 13 year old is full price. It would be very nice to see a teen category as we want to keep these young locals coming back for years to come instead of the cheaper prices of some is the other resorts.

Heather Miller March 13, 2019 Reply to Post

I love Alta! We've had passes for 7 years and have definitely been part of the 13% increase in season pass skier days this year. Your stats show the increase in traffic is due to the pass holders skiing more this year - not the Ikon pass. It'll be interesting to see the effect of the Ikon pass on a less snowy year. Some ideas to improve the road traffic:
1 - More parking in the bus lots. I've been shut out of parking at the base of the canyon before.
2 - Express buses to Alta. If I have 3 hours to ski, I don't want to spend 20 minutes riding around the Snowbird lots.
3 - Stagger the lift closing times at Alta and Snowbird so the lots aren't all emptying at once.

Bob Walker March 13, 2019 Reply to Post

Make the ski bus a more user friendly experience. The ski racks are difficult to use once they start filling up and really a hassle if you don’t have your gear stowed by the time the bus starts moving. As an adult I can get it done, but there is no way I would try it with kids. There has to be a better way to carry skis & snowboards on a bus.
Make paying for the bus easier and provide better information about how to pay. Have a sign in the park n ride lots. Or a ticket machine that takes credit cards like for Trax. When cars are getting stopped from going up the canyon no one is carrying exact change to get on the bus. So we sit and wait while each person gets on and pleads for a free ride from the driver. It’s nice to reduce traffic, but skiers should be the last group getting a subsidy from UTA.
I get that Alta only has limited control over what UTA does. If Alta is serious about reducing cars in the canyon why not get a fleet of passenger vans to run direct from the 9400 & Highland park n ride lots. Have them run on peak demand days like holidays, weekends or powder days when the busses are full and you need to have a 4wd to get up the canyon. This might cut down on the number of unfit cars trying to make a run for it on bad tires.
Otherwise the season has been great. I don’t have a problem with Icon or my Alta experience. I guess I have been lucky not to get stuck in the long life lines others have found.

Jon March 13, 2019 Reply to Post

Are the short term financial gains the Lifts company is seeing right now worth the ill will you are building with your long-term "local pass holders"?

You directly compare total skier numbers this year to 16/17 - 6% ahead. Fine.
You directly compare local skier numbers this year to 17/18 - 13% ahead (due to snowfall). Fine.
You compare, with no specific baseline or year listed, that Ikon visits are a 3% net increase.........from what? Clearly not 17/18 as that is a low number. Probably 16/17 as that is a higher number. But still - pretty incongruous to compare one stat to one year, one stat to another year, and one stat to nothing at all. I guess that's marketing 101 though.

And that's not to mention all the other Ikon resorts releasing statements with the same line of thought during this same week.

Alta is really, really hard not to love, but you guys are unfortunately making a case to do just that.

Aubrey March 13, 2019 Reply to Post

Mike, please re-evaluate Alta's participation in the Ikon pass - it is hurting the canyon, impacting long-time locals who buys passes year in and out, and fundamentally changing the character of the resort and the skier experience.

Kevin Love March 13, 2019 Reply to Post

You are a liar. I routinely ask lifties what percentage are Ikon for the day and they usually ballpark it at 30%. IF the 3% is true then why even have it? And IF the 3% is true then i can tell you it all comes on the best powder days when locals want to ski. I have 70 ski days so far but i should have 10 more because i couldn't even get to the mountain for the 10 best days despite trying for hours. Alta is now a sellout like every other resort in the US. Next year im doing Europe because there are no longer any viable US options.

Collin F Ryder March 13, 2019 Reply to Post

Hello Mike, I feel these Icon and Epic passes are bad for the average skier, feel they will hurt industry in the long run. I hope you can try to resist this. I LOVE your mountain. Collin

Ron Tharp March 13, 2019 Reply to Post

Parking at both big and little should be ten dollars for a single driver, five if there are 2 in the car, and free for 3 or more. ALL of the money collected should go for free busses and increasing parking at the bases of the canyons.

david curley March 13, 2019 Reply to Post

I live in Boston, and have called Alta my home mountain for over 30 years. What has always returned me to Alta has been the fact of how unique it is in every way. I feel that it should remain stand alone at all costs. Alta has never had a problem selling lift tickets on powder days. Why pack it full to the brim and destroy it's character, and go the way of Vail??? If the infrastructure can't handle the huge masses, then don't sell out and cater to the masses. Do like A-Basin, stand up, and be proud of how special Alta is. End your affiliations with outside influences, KEEP ALTA LIKE IT IS!

Ryan Fray March 13, 2019 Reply to Post

This debate between Ikon and Epic passes leading to a decrease in daily and multi day ticket purchases as well as an increase in local visits seems to scream a need to differentiate the Utah market more than ever by offering an option to connect all resorts and an entirely different pass option to compliment it. With an interconnected network between 7 resorts accessed via single ticket option it could provide a ski experience unlike anything else in North America. Providing a product catering to a growing local market while allowing a viable solution to the traveling skier would absolutely provide and enhance a more unique experience anywhere in the world outside of Europe. Show the evil empires that there is better options for Utah’s skiers and riders and re-think the insanity!

C Low March 13, 2019 Reply to Post

I have been skiing Alta (and loving it) since I was a child in1968. A number of those seasons I have been a season pass holder. This makes me old perhaps but I still charge hard, hike the backcountry and cherish the age old Alta magic.

Having witnessed the effects borne of the "re-pricing" of most major North American ski resorts and the adoption of IKON and Collective mountain passes, it is apparent - from a skiers perspective - that the monopolies and big mountain owners have created a "Frankenstein" - like monster. They have found a new way to generate enhanced revenue by funneling more people to their collection of resorts. As a sad by-product it has also directly increased single day window ticket purchase prices, which is also not good for the part time local skier or visitor at any individual resort.

Worse yet, as someone who has always cherished the Alta vibe and quality of the skiing (the snow, the mountain area and its skiers), I have been shocked to see how dramatically and quickly the introduction of these new IKON and Collective pass holders has degraded the skier experience. This has been for me not only the lift lines which I have found to be surprisingly long even on low snow week days (not only weekends), but also the type and quality of the skiers and lack of Alta etiquette (as mentioned by others). For those of us who have been here for many years , the sudden 180 degree shift comes as an overnight shocker. It truly feels like the IKON experiment is able to kill the classic Alta vibe in one quick season!

Whatever the numbers coming from the IKON and other Collecfive passes, proof is in the pudding as they say, and it is clear that the introduction of these new passes to Alta has had a direct and dramatic negative adverse effect on the quality of the ski experience at Alta.

I am sure that plenty of people will come to Alta without these passes (as they always have before) and the numbers and finances can always be finessed by lowering window ticket prices for example if more people are "required," to maintain profitability. It would be simple for Alta, as great as it is, to compete this way.

As an avid Alta skier, I implore you to please do away with these collective passes as you have done so successfully over the years by banning snowboarders to preserve the "Alta Ski Experience" as paramount. I see the two instances as very consistent to the end goal.

This holds too for absolutely not developing the Grizzly Gulch area. That is one of several sacred side-country assets that Alta skiers will always value and once given up can never be replaced.

Thank you and I hope we can all together find ways to preserve what we all know to be a best in class Skier's-first mountain. There are very few such places left in the world and we all must appreciate and preserve its core essence, despite board-room pressures to conform to Collective pass schemes and to follow the herd.

Loren March 13, 2019 Reply to Post

I love riding the bus. However, being an older individual, on snowy days the transit time is much longer than my bladder can withstand. So I drive solo. What a waste of resources. Please improve the bus experience. More buses / dedicated Alta buses is a good place to start.

Gary Sackett March 14, 2019 Reply to Post

Thanks for making a public statement on this. Lift capacity does not seem to be as big a problem as parking and road congestion.

Mark Levin March 14, 2019 Reply to Post

Alta and the other Wasatch mountain ski areas need to be allowed and encouaged to expand both terrain and parking to accommodate the increasing population be of the area. Near term, Highway 210 and the road up BCC both need a continuous third lane, that is reversed to be uphill traffic during the morning and downhill traffic in the afternoon. Longer term, the ski areas should all be connected with a system of tramways with a major terminal with lodging, parking, restaurants and shops at the tram station base, probably at the quarry property just north of Big Cottonwood canyon, a hub and major new village at Brighton, and connection trams and lifts over to Alta and Park City.

JaredH March 14, 2019 Reply to Post

Alta’s location is a blessing, and a curse. Best snow in the world is 15 minutes from one of the fastest growing areas in the west. While I don’t like lift lines, Alta has ALWAYS had them (why I have also held a solitude pass). The traffic is the real crux.

If Utah has the best snow on earth, why are we sharing it with IKON and EPIC. If it truley is an increase in local skiers than It’s time for a real conversation about a OneWasatch pass. Keep all that revenue in the Utah ski industry verses sending all the money to Colorado (both epic and Ikon)

Harry the Dreamer Tiley March 14, 2019 Reply to Post

It appears we don't need the additional 3% volume from Icon after reading all the comments, including yours. limit new seasons passes as was the case years ago before the population boom. . If Alta caters to the out of town visits when the local population base continues to grow, the conflict for limited resources will worsen. You can only sell so much of what you've got and it sure feels like we're at the tipping point. Protect loyalty or you lose it.

T.J. Kolanko March 14, 2019 Reply to Post

If the Ikon Pass truly only accounts for a 3% increase, then why participate? Is it really worth the additional traffic and lift lines. I would like Alta to disclose actual Ikon Pass numbers on weekend days and snow days. I bet the increase of Ikon Passes on those days is closer to 30%. Which is a huge increase and has changed the experience of Alta for the worse. Please lower the prices of season passes for locals, it is unfortunate that Alta doesn’t take care of the locals who have been loyal to the mountain for years.

Rebecca March 14, 2019 Reply to Post

Thank you for reaching out to the community and community is what makes Alta. LCC is a special place with a fragile ecosystem and limited infrastructure. Why max it out to the expense of the environment, user experience and employee satisfaction. It seems like the increase in the population of SLC and increased local usage alone should be enough to fill the coffers. It it my understanding the Alta has always ran in the green, buying new lifts with cash. It seems like new management want to squeeze every last penny out of the place. The vibe has become disgruntled... what I had always loved about the place has changed...feels like just another ski area. There is something to be said for scarcity, to have to work to make something happen, to keep something revered and special.
Over the last 10 or so years, different agencies have been formed, dissolved, restructured all in an effort to "study" and "get comments" on the transportation problems in the canyon. Through all this not one single thing has changed, except a small uptake in bus service. Until we get our train or gondola or snow sheds or whatever... how about a focus on some simple short term solutions:
1.Better signage and enforcement on canyon restrictions (no snow tires, no entry)
2. Increased shuttle service from the mouth and between the two resorts. Not being dependent on buses that originate their routes 10 miles away and get stuck in traffic would be helpful
3. More lockers to make carpooling and buses easier to deal with
4. Safe pull out lane lanes pick up hitchhikers
5. I know residents don't want a parking structure at the mouth and nobody wants to pay for it, but it would be a start to a transportation hub

Please no more Ikon, nothing against you folks.. LCC just can't handle the increase in demand from unseasoned skiers and drivers.

Brett March 14, 2019 Reply to Post

So the IKON seems to be getting a lot of blame, despite the numbers saying otherwise. Logic would also suggest that IKON is NOT the problem.

As a "tourist" who enjoys using a multi-resort pass (I use the MC), it appears to me that Alta only has overcrowding issues on weekends and (to a lesser extent) on powder days. Tourists are going to be skiing during the week when they are there on their vacation and typically do not pick-and-choose based upon snow conditions. I usually avoid weekends when at all possible just to stay clear of the locals who fill up the area on those days.

I'm much more inclined to believe Alta's management that says that there has been a 3% increase in traffic due to IKON than an emotionally-charged local who says that 90% of the skiers at Alta are there with the IKON pass. I'm not sure how to feel about this very real US vs. THEM mentality that wants to keep new people from enjoying Alta. I guess as a non-local, I'm not welcome. Seems unfortunate.

If Alta has a problem, here's where the blame lies:
1) It's a great ski area;
2) Banner snow year;
3) SLC-area population growth (see Colorado/Denver problems);
4) Exclusive ("powderhound") mentality.

Bob Askew March 14, 2019 Reply to Post

"Please know that we are committed to preserving the Alta experience by matching the number of skiers visiting Alta with our infrastructure, services and terrain".

I wasn't aware we were doing this - it's good news. Can you explain exactly how this "matching" is being accomplished?

Evan Tobin March 14, 2019 Reply to Post

Lift lines and parking are the worst I’ve seen since I started skiing Alta. While this is troubling, the worst is the lack of any education or enforcement of the rules of skiing. There is no more regulation of slow zones at Alta and I truly fear for my & year old daughter’s safety when skiing at Alta. Alta is now the home of totally reckless skiing and poaching has become rampant. I don’t know if IKON & mountain collective passholders are to blame, but if patrol started pulling passes of the scofflaws, we would know! Alta used to have extreme respect for entering only though gates, That mentality has apparently disappeared along with respect for downhill skiers(who are supposed to have the right of way)! Yelling “on your left” when going 60 in the air does not give you the right of way! Please restore order to Alta! It is no longer a safe place to ski!

Ron Wilson March 15, 2019 Reply to Post

Many of you in this conversation are blaming Ikon pass holders for diminishing your Alta experience. The GM however states in his letter that locals are five times the impact than Ikon pass holders. I'm from Grand Junction and I've been coming to the Wasatch since the 1970's. Your metro area has exploded with growth yet you still have the same ski hills. What would you expect? Now with a strong snow year many skiers are coming out and this coincides with the Ikon arrangement so it must be the Ikon Pass right? Well as your GM said it's 3%. There may not be any answers for your crowds as your SLC metro area continues to grow. Look at what happened to Colorado's front range skiing and I-70. The population has just overwhelmed the infrastructure. You are starting to see that in your beloved local ski areas now too. Easy to blame a new pass but I'm afraid your reality is population taking its toll on finite resources.

Roger Bourke March 15, 2019 Reply to Post

Alta’s appeal goes well beyond a great mountain and terrific snow. There is a magical quality about this place that is hard to put into words. Sometimes it’s easier to say what Alta is not: it’s not Snowbird, or Park City, or Aspen or Vail, and so far it apparently doesn’t want to be like any of those. But it’s not enough to say what Alta isn’t. Alta’s charm stems from it’s history of being a traditional resort that has not gone the way of so many others promoting real estate and turning to amusement park-like rides.at the expense of the natural environment. The ephemeral, hard to define, appeal of Alta makes it susceptible to being inadvertently stepped on—that we might do things that injure it without even recognizing we have spoiled the nest. The greatest threat is expanded development; fortunately Alta has limited that in the past, but pressure to expand is always there. This is not to say that improvements and updates are unwelcome; the conversion to detachable chairs over the last 15 years is a real plus—riding the Albion chair reminds us of that.

Regarding the canyon road and parking, economics says that free goods are over-consumed; the road and parking are free goods. And they will continue to be over-consumed unless limited by price or regulation. The alternative is that congestion becomes so unpleasant that people choose to avoid Alta—that is already happening as some of the commenters above attest. It’s a classic case of attractive places attracting so many people that they are no longer attractive. Is this the fate of Alta, that it becomes so overcrowded and unpleasant that skiers elect to go elsewhere? Or are we collectively going to take some action to put us on another corse.

Woj March 15, 2019 Reply to Post

It took Alta a long time to build its reputation. It seems to me that it will take much shorter to ruin it. Like everyone else I hate the traffic congestion, parking and bus issues. I hate the long lift lines and overcrowded slopes. Of course, I hate it. But the most I hate are herds of incompetent skiers lacking both skills and respect to the mountain and people who take skiing seriously. Have you been recently to any of the famous Alta’s traverses, have you witness the ridiculous parade of people who don’t know when are they heading and what are they doing. I witnessed and been involved in almost fights and crashes. I have been skiing Alta for almost two decades and I am sure these things were not happening before. People becoming rude and hostile to each other and I don’t blame people who skied here for decades to became like this. Expert terrain is nothing less than expert terrain. I learned this in Alta and when I started skiing here. I took time to learn the mountain and respected it from the first day gradually building my capability of skiing everything. It took me time and a lot of respect to people who has been skiing here for much longer than I. This is what I consider Alta experience. Respect the others, build the skills, accept the customs and follow people who are the core of Alta. Ski your fall line, don’t interfere with others ski lines, keep the healthy distance and enjoy it as much as others. It looks to me it all being gone. I am not saying all Ikon peps are violating this but the difference is obvious. I ski Alta frequently enough (never enough), I know the situation on the mountain daily and the dramatic change is obvious to anyone whose IQ is even less than average. I say this, everyone is unhappy, from skiers through employees, ski patrol, ski school, restaurant workers. And it is all because Alta magic and Alta experience are going away. As others, I doubt there is 3% Ikon visitors. I stand in the line in the morning before Collins opens. Lift attendants are calling the Ikon pass holders to check their passes by entering the gates. I am sure it is not 3% people checking their passes. Well, it is your choice after all but one thing I want to say at the end. If you chose to do so, don’t claim any more that Alta’s goal is the preserve Alta’s experience. It seems to me that this is not true anymore. Alta is becoming another typical ski resort without it magic and charm. Sad to witnessed this happen. I respect this but don’t accept it.

Greg ONeil March 15, 2019 Reply to Post

The traffic increase is mostly happening at Snowbird and Alta skiers suffer as a result. It’s time to consider alternate modes of transportation up and down both canyons. Hyperloop anyone?

Denise James March 15, 2019 Reply to Post

I have been skiing at Alta since the 70's, I have been a season pass holder for the last 10 years. Alta is the only place I ski. My only complaint is the parking. I get up early so i can be there by 7:30 to hopefully get a close place in the parking lot. but lately i have been closer to the Peruvian lodge than the ski hill.
The people i ski with come from Utah county so it does not work to carpool.
I don't think it is fair that because i drive up by myself and get their early that I end up so far down in the parking lot when there are open spaces closer. It should be on a first come first serve basis or we should have the option to purchase closer parking. I know what they are try to do to limit the amount of cars. but I have a right to ski up at alta just the same as the guy who has 3 people in their car. all this is i doing is making people mad. I was told by the parking lot guy that 50 parking places are lost because of the carpool. Please try to be fair to all.

Michael March 15, 2019 Reply to Post

As a new resident of SLC, I first visited Alta this season with an IKON pass and I LOVE this place. I love the atmosphere and terrain. I am purchasing the Alta-bird pass next season, because 7 days is too few for this amazing place. I can understand the concern of many long-time Alta lovers, but I do not think going out of IKON is a good idea either. Maybe do something like deer valley? Reserve the ticket before so that number of IKON visitors can be limited?

Andy Wilson March 16, 2019 Reply to Post

Long time listener, first time caller. Like many of the comments above, I’ve been coming to Alta for 43 years – starting as a second-generation 13-year-old kid in 1976, alongside my father who skied Alta with the greats of his time, and now my adult children, our third generation of Alta skiers, have been raised on Alta powder too.

The main point of Mike’s post has brought responses that argue either failure to innovate or innovation that failed.

I believe that in the ranks of leadership within Alta, the intentions are genuine, but the execution was substandard as clarified by the remarks above about the loss of Alta’s magic, skier respect, overselling to the point that your supportive core can’t navigate massive traffic issues to do what they have done for years, even decades, and that is to ski.

As much as this looks like an identity crisis as Alta looks in the mirror to see itself surrounded by the promise of Ikon/Epic pass pension-holders, the lure and allure of inking a deal to make the Ikon pass an everyman’s pass, has likely filled the coffers of both Alta and Alterra (ironic these two names begin the same?), but driven the Alta brand for locals and die-hards closer to the coffin. Remarks indicate a fragile tipping approaches.

Stick to your roots, innovate uniquely, don’t follow the pied-piper. Look at a respected brand like Patagonia – revered, refuses to sell out, caters to its core customers and keeps alive it’s cultural values and environmental ethics during times of innovation and disruption.

Alta can accomplish this too. Alta can save its magic, Alta can find other ways to increase revenue, Alta can remain Alta without Alterra. But it will come at a cost, perhaps not in dollars, perhaps in innovation, or isolation or moderation, but please, not at the cost of your core. Like any good skier, with your probe, shovel and beacon you might be able to save this.

Alta used to be a company that didn’t get in the way of some really good snow. That is the appeal.

Dennis Donovan March 16, 2019 Reply to Post

Yes, skiing at Alta in recent years is much different than that of 30 years ago. I am very happy that Alta has not allowed Snowboarders and much of this reason, Alta is worthy of my hard earned dollar. Not that I have a problem with attitudes of youth, but merely, and statistically, boarding is an entire different discipline and Snowboarders only have 2 edges. They do not have the control to turn directions as quickly, stop as quickly or have control that of a skier. Skiers and snowboarding are almost a conflict of disciplines. Snowboarders scrub the snow when turning and do NOT form nice shaped moguls (which I prefer most). Not sure about the traffic congestion. Very limited parking at the sign (mouth of the canyon) and limited parking at the top. About 10 years ago, I used to ride UTA until the snow melted and exposed that I was parked in a "no parking" zone with lines. There was NOT any signage at that time that I was in a no parking zone. Ever since I drove up. Not sure how UDOT would widen that 2 lane road, while keeping the road open. The canyon walls are so, so steep. Perhaps larger parking lots, top and bottom, with mandatory public transportation? I don't want to see it come to this, like when I went to Zion National Park a few years ago. As I was not even interested in seeing the canyon or Angel's Landing. There would have to be a monetary incentive to those pass holders, silver card, and 10-Day powder card holders for me to be interested in riding UTA. Like years ago, when season pass holders rode for free, or when the cost was $1 ea. way. Regards, DD

Henry Sokolski March 16, 2019 Reply to Post

I think the ski company is doing better this year because there is more snow. Last year it did not do so well because there was less snow. The company’s manager is soliciting comments to accodate increased use of the resort and asks for patience because making “adjustments” requires changes “in agreements.” What is being referred to is getting permission to build additional parking (and perhaps to charge for it). This may increase revenues but it will not reduce use of the resort or traffic, just the opposite. More (not less people) will be on the mountain. If revenue is a concern, the good news is that Salt Lake City is growing and so demand will grow, all things being equal. As for the traffic, it is highest on the brightest weekends and mornings when there is lots of powder. This is hardly everyday. As a frequent resort user, I either go up very early (and yes I do pick people up) or go late mid day after the powderhounds have left. I leave before 3 if it is very busy. Most days none this required. Suggestions to slow expansion of the resort, to enforce safety regulations regarding vehicles going up (4 wheel drive, snow tires, chains), improved bus service all strike me helpful.

Pete March 17, 2019 Reply to Post

Hey Mike:

I understand that as a business you have a responsibility to investors to make money, however, you're pushing away the season pass holders and regulars that make the Alta culture what it is. First, of course it's going to get busy because of the snow, but 3% of the visits were Icon holders? I rode lifts daily with people saying they were Icon pass holders. You're turning Alta into Park City and that's not what any of us want. Also, the ski free after 3 fiasco is completely unfair to people buying tickets. If you want to let people ski free, fire up the Albion lift so that people like me paying for tickets don't have to wait in lift lines caused by people not paying. I'm all for letting them ski free, but let then ride Albion. One can't even pop down for a few easy end of the day laps these days.

Beth March 17, 2019 Reply to Post

Did Alta sell more season passes to contribute to that increase or about the same number of passes but more days per pass holder? It would be interesting to know when the ikon pass holders are visiting Alta. For example on weekends or powder days how much do they contribute? I would also like to see Snowbird’s numbers.

I think the traffic problems will drive season pass holders away or at least this season pass holder. Long term there needs to be serious investment, widening the road again is a bad idea. It is not a safe solution especially in bad weather. I read a UDOT report that said most destination skiers rent vehicles, so give them other good transportation options between resorts to reduce vehicles in the canyon. This is even more necessary if you are going to continue to do things such as Ikon to draw more people into the canyon. Some short term solutions: more buses, better equipped buses for skiers, express buses to Alta, more lockers for season pass holders to make public transit easier - carrots and sticks to encourage public transit, but make improvements to public transit first.

Bryant March 17, 2019 Reply to Post

I'm sorry but I will have to disagree with some of the figures above--skiing Alta regularly and following several skiing-related groups on social media, its obvious that the Ikon has had a much bigger impact on the mountain than what your statistics in this article show. Furthermore, if you ski the mountain regularly and talk to people on the lifts or walk around the base area and catch a glimpse of people's passes, I believe the reality to be that least half if not more of the skiers on any given day are Ikon passholders. My wife and I moved to Utah 6 years ago and have been loyal Alta passholders the majority of that time. We even live in PC but choose to make the drive over because we (used to) love the mountain, the terrain, and the snow. However, since you have joined the Ikon there is a noticeable difference. While there are more (and less skilled) skiers on the mountain on any given day, that isn't the main issue (however it is also having an effect on conditions--more moguls now with the crappier skiers). However, the main issue is traffic. The weekends are now almost unskiable because of the time it takes to get off the mountain and taking the bus does not help because you will still be stuck in the snake. There are many days this season my wife and I would otherwise have skied but opted to do something else because we don't have an hour or two to waste just getting from Alta to Cottonwood Heights. That being said, we will not be renewing our Alta pass next season and are making alternate plans. Hopefully you are taking the impact of the Ikon into consideration and have a long term plan for how to handle the extra skier visits (either backing out of it altogether or working with the state on a transportation plan like running a bus only lane up the canyon, a cog rail, etc.). However, until something changes, Alta will no longer be our home mountain.

Michael Chieo March 18, 2019 Reply to Post

Because of this years snow pack I can see season pass holders coming more often, however I can see all the tourist's taking advantage of the Ikon pass or mountain collective and this is much more of an increase of 3 % I would say more like 20%. It's a shame that Alta is just like Snowbird and all about the bottom line especially when you have a CFO now managing the mountain. Things were different for sure when Ono was around. I've been a season pass holder for 18 yrs and been skiing Alta for 35 yrs and the skiing experience has changed drastically, longer lines everywhere and on a powder day you may get 4-5 runs un tracked opposed to most the day. I guess Alta has bought in to these cheaper passes and all the profits it brings, greed is a hard thing to turn away from. I think season pass holders like myself may think twice about paying $1200 for your pass. If you can't beat them then join them. Buy an Ikon pass and ski Solitude as your new home mountain and take your 7 days at Alta and Snowbird and maybe down the road Alta may change but when the money man is in charge we'll see.

David R. & Penelope L. Smith March 18, 2019 Reply to Post

Mike:
Thanks for the opportunity to comment! Like many of the responds, my wife and I have skied at Alta for many years. We have been season-pass holders since retiring and were gold card holders for several years prior to that. We love skiing at Alta, and are generally very happy with the experience.

As you have indicated, among the most commented on issues this season are the increase in the number of skiers and resulting traffic congestion and lack of parking. I have some thoughts on both of these.

Number of Skiers:
You indicate that "day and multi-day visits are down significantly", as I'm sure you are aware, according to the Nat. Ski Area Association, "window pass price has increased 10 times more than disposable income". Apparently we have succeeded in pricing the new and/or occasional skier out of the market. The ongoing popularity of the "ski after 3" reduced cost option on Sunnyside indicates that people want to ski if the cost is not so great!

Traffic & Parking
Clearly we have exceeded the carrying capacity of the highway and parking lots! Several seasons ago, we committed to using the bus, and so have a good feel for its advantages and disadvantages. To reduce some of the disadvantages, we've rented a locker for the last two years. It seems abundantly clear that we need to reduce the number of cars in the canyon. This will require a change of behavior that will be difficult and unpleasant for some skiers! The "parking preference for more than 3" has not solved the problem. It seems that skiers will not change their behavior with regard to car use until it is either too expensive or inconvenient to do as they have done for years. We either charge a toll per car to drive up the canyon or charge for parking. Another possibility (and the one I would suggest) would be to restrict canyon travel between (say 7:30 & 10:30 am) to vehicles with 4 or more occupants and buses. This would obviously require the cooperation of UDOT & UTA, and would require an officer checking each car. Cars could also be checked for adequate tires/chains; but this would reduce the number of cars on the road and therefore the demand for parking spots. While checking each car would increase travel time somewhat, fewer cars on the road and adequate tires on all cars could increase overall traffic speed. A "ride-share" app (such as Snowbird is developing) could also facilitate higher occupancy in cars. More buses would be needed. "Express" buses to Alta (every other or third bus) would reduce travel time (by eliminating the 4 Snowbird stops) and make the bus more appealing to skiers. UDOT should also be encouraged to proceed with the snow-sheds. As has been suggested, different closing times for Alta and Snowbird could spread the down-canyon traffic out, but if there are significantly fewer cars in the canyon, this may not be as much of a problem as it is currently.

It seems to me that the reduction of the number of cars in the canyon and resulting reduction in the demand for parking spots could markedly reduce canyon congestion and could be implemented fairly quickly and at fairly low cost.

A longer term solution would require a "bus only" lane (if a third lane can be added to the road). Clearly, the days of "one driver one car" in the canyon are over!

Will V. March 18, 2019 Reply to Post

Ok, I have read all the posts above. Here is my take as a non-local and Alta enthusiast.

MY BACKGROUND: I have been skiing since a little kid. I grew up in Texas and our family would pile in our Suburban and drive to New Mexico and Colorado twice a year for ski trips (more about Texas below). I now am in my 40s and have 3 kids from age 11 to 16. I discovered LCC while on a spring break college trip. We now live in Richmond, Virginia. I have been skiing in LCC with my family as much as possible (2-3 trips/year). . .and we stay at Goldminer's Daughter as much as possible. We previously used all of the following to make skiing more affordable: Liftopia, 5th and 6th grade "Passport Program," junior Alta season ski passes (bought in late summer to get Wasatch benefits and lower cost). This year we purchased Ikon Base passes for me, my wife, 16 year son and 13 year son. We used Passport Program for my 5th grade daughter. We also have skiied Solitude this season and Steamboat (using our Ikon passes).

POINT #1: LCC is a magical, awesome place. You locals are so lucky! I am so envious.

POINT #2: Focus on limiting condo/ hotel expansion. Most of the vacationers that visit Alta "get it." We don't want the "Alta Experience" to change either. The exclusion of snowboarders and the relative lack of condos/ hotels helps to keep Alta wonderfully quaint. Trust me. For those that want a Park City/ Vail experience, Alta doesn't fit the bill. They may come for one trip via their Ikon pass, but they won't come back. My family doesn't want or need a mountain coaster, hundreds of restaurants, a huge mountain village, etc. We travel for the skiing. We ski, we eat. . .we repeat. As mentioned above, my family visited Steamboat in early January 2019. As a kid, I remember Steamboat as an authentic Western ski town with lots of charm. Now, it is different. I think the big change is the HUGE development of condos, etc at Steamboat in the last 3 decades. Therefore, limit the housing and that will help keep Alta the way it is.

POINT #3: Don't be A-holes. Please don't lump all individuals/ families who don't reside in Utah and are using the Ikon Pass together as horrible invaders of your pristine corner of paradise. I remember driving up to Summit County, Colorado as a kid and seeing the multiple signs of "Texans Go Home." Truly, I admit that many Texans can be annoying skiiers/ vacationers. I hope to never encounter that kind of hostility in Alta, however.
By the way, as referenced by another contributor, we (as non-residents) try to always ask before bringing the bar down and we always try to stay out of the way when traversing over to get to High Rustler, etc.

POINT #4: Don't blame the Ikon pass users; it's the booming cost of skiing that is the problem. As stated above, my family loves to ski. Without a "money tree" in our backyard, we have to rely on Ikon. With Ikon, we can ski in West Virginia (Snowshoe) and in LCC. Of course, there is no comparison but--once again-- my family loves to ski and we don't have unlimited funds. I have looked at Mountain Collective and the Powder Alliance but either they don't work for us based on too few days included (Mtn Collective) or involve primarily Calif/ Canadian resorts (Powder Alliance).

Thank you for sharing your wonderful mountain with us non-residents. I think I speak for 90% of Ikon users not from Utah. . .we promise to not be a-holes and we ALSO want Alta to stay Alta.

Barbara Hartman March 18, 2019 Reply to Post

I’d like to take the bus but we need some that make Collins the first stop after the park n ride, rather than the fourth!

John Winter March 19, 2019 Reply to Post

Mr. Maughan'

I have read most of the posted comments, the majority of which lead back to the IKON pass. I agree IKON has been a factor in the industry's very crowed conditions, but so have two other events. First, after six skinny years, this winter's snow fall has finally reverted back to be on a path closer to Alta's long time seasonal average of 550 inches. With a month to go that number could well be exceeded for the 2018-2019 ski season. Second, coupled with a strong economy, low unemployment, some wage growth, and close to record high US stock prices, skier turn out has really increased year over year. Would have been very difficult to forecast such a turn of events a year ago. I believe all three events have contributed to this years over load of skiers relative to skier facilities through out Colorado and Utah.

Those events alone would have stressed an overtaxed roadway up and down Little Cottonwood Canyon. The same situation exist on State Roads 224 and 248 in and out of Park City. Simply way more skiers all moving in the same direction at the same time. According to the Alta Town Marshall, on a blue bird day the parking lots of Alta and Snowbird pack in 5000 to 6000 vehicles. A two lane road simply is not capable to handle such numbers.

One possible solution could be to widen the roadway to three lanes, two up in the morning, two down in the afternoon. Monitor the parking count, when capacity is reached, close the road up until someone leaves. Adding the third lane should reduce the travel time up and down. Unfortunately it probably would have little affect on the sheer number of vehicles travelling the roadway. To actually reduce the number would require better busing with ample parking at the bottom to handle the added vehicles load. The problem here is where to find space down mountain for an additional couple thousand vehicles. How about the gravel pit? Build a huge parking structure for both canyon roads.

Other approaches to reducing vehicle load are all financial. They range from increasing day passes, to charging for on mountain parking, to making the roadway a pay as you use it. All three will result in push back from the season pass holders of both resorts.

As far as IKON, no doubt the pass has been extremely successful in signing up new participants. Sure the same is true for the EPIC pass. Both have truly changed how skiers may be able to pay for the joy of skiing. The question for Alta's shareholders, employees, and skiers is the change better or worst. In a solid economy with loads of snow, my vote is worst. However one year does not complete the race. I am eighty years old and first skied Alta in the winter of 1956. Happy this is your problem to solve, not mine.

John.

Mark March 19, 2019 Reply to Post

Will Alta please share what they get for each Ikon skier day? I’ve heard from an Ikon employee that it’s $3 per day. I’d love to see Alta refute this number. I also think it would be healthy to have a transparent conversation about the financials that drove Alta to make the ikon decision.

As others have mentioned, Alta does not need to be on a mega-pass to remain viable. I feel the same about Snowbird and Jackson. These places are each special in their own way and have something no other place has.

I challenge everyone to go ski at a core Ikon or Epic resort in Colorado. You’ll quickly see why they need these pass arrangements to stay in business. You’ll also see why they all come here to ski.

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Will V. March 20, 2019 Reply to Post

Clarification of comments I made above.

I mentioned in my previous post that part of what makes Alta special is the lack of huge condo/hotel development. I also mentioned above that most Ikon pass users that are visiting Alta like the way Alta is now and don't want it to change. As mentioned by others, the unbelievable snow totals this year are affecting the amount of visitors at all ski resorts, including Alta.

Therefore, I believe the awesome snowpack is the reason for the uptick in skiiers at Alta, not Ikon. I think it is fair to say that ease of transportation to the ski resort and the amount of parking affects local ski traffic AND the amount of condos / hotel/ accomodation options affects visiting ski traffic.

Thus, a stronger argument for why Alta and LCC as a whole are so crowded this year has to do with local usage and the State Route 210 issues more than an influx of visiting Ikon users.

So, I agree with others. . .improve transportation options for local skiiers to help bumper to bumper traffic on 210. Regarding the concerns that Alta is getting too many inexperienced (and gauche) non-local visitors, as long as Alta limits massive condo development and snowboarders, that won't be a problem. As I mentioned in my previous post, you guys may see an uptick of first-time Ikon visitors to Alta this year, but they won't come back since a lot of them want the Park City / Steamboat/ Telluride village and restaurant experience.

David C March 20, 2019 Reply to Post

I wonder why resorts choose to be involved with passes like the IKON pass? I can’t imagine each area gets that much money per pass sold. While it’s great for people to have affordable skiing it’s not good to have horrendous crowds on the ski mountains.

No matter what happens about the passes something needs to be done about the number of cars on busy days.

George Mc March 20, 2019 Reply to Post

Mike,
Many folks who hold Alta as a special place in their lives and hearts has sincerely spoken in these comments. The tone is obvious. The newer skiers (whether ignorant, dumb or indifferent, etc) , wherever they come from, are part of the problem. You and the Alta company have an immediate responsibility to correct this problem. You have increased income which you can immediately use.

Simple solutions would help. There used to be something called the Skier Code. I have never seen it in any form at Alta! (At Park City it is on every napkin). You need bold signage at every lift. You could have them in place in a few days. You also need a safety patrol, with authority to pull passes/ tickets.
NOT the ski patrol – they are great guys already working too hard. Not Hosts – more than one are needed to pass along mountain info.

I have seen one hand written comment on the white board at Collins – “don't stop on the traverse”.
Quite a pathetic effort. Maybe a liftie was trying to be helpful. They are good guys and gals.
Alta needs extras additions to the skier code. ---
Don't stop on traverses. Get off if you need to stop
Don't make multiple paths below any established traverse
Etc

You know what needs to be done.
Time for your action


http://www.nsaa.org/safety-programs/responsibility-code/

George McPhetres March 20, 2019 Reply to Post

Mike,
Many folks who hold Alta as a special place in their lives and hearts has sincerely spoken in these comments. The tone is obvious. The newer skiers (whether ignorant, dumb or indifferent, etc) , wherever they come from, are part of the problem. You and the Alta company have an immediate responsibility to correct this problem. You have increased income which you can immediately use.

Simple solutions would help. There used to be something called the Skier Code. I have never seen it in any form at Alta! (At Park City it is on every napkin). You need bold signage at every lift. You could have them in place in a few days. You also need a safety patrol, with authority to pull passes/ tickets.
NOT the ski patrol – they are great guys already working too hard. Not Hosts – more than one are needed to pass along mountain info.

I have seen one hand written comment on the white board at Collins – “don't stop on the traverse”.
Quite a pathetic effort. Maybe a liftie was trying to be helpful. They are good guys and gals.
Alta needs extras additions to the skier code. ---
Don't stop on traverses. Get off if you need to stop
Don't make multiple paths below any established traverse
Etc

You know what needs to be done.
Time for your action

Mike,
Many folks who hold Alta as a special place in their lives and hearts has sincerely spoken in these comments. The tone is obvious. The newer skiers (whether ignorant, dumb or indifferent, etc) , wherever they come from, are part of the problem. You and the Alta company have an immediate responsibility to correct this problem. You have increased income which you can immediately use.

Simple solutions would help. There used to be something called the Skier Code. I have never seen it in any form at Alta! (At Park City it is on every napkin). You need bold signage at every lift. You could have them in place in a few days. You also need a safety patrol, with authority to pull passes/ tickets.
NOT the ski patrol – they are great guys already working too hard. Not Hosts – more than one are needed to pass along mountain info.

I have seen one hand written comment on the white board at Collins – “don't stop on the traverse”.
Quite a pathetic effort. Maybe a liftie was trying to be helpful. They are good guys and gals.
Alta needs extras additions to the skier code. ---
Don't stop on traverses. Get off if you need to stop
Don't make multiple paths below any established traverse
Etc

You know what needs to be done.
Time for your action


http://www.nsaa.org/safety-programs/responsibility-code/

Brett Garrett March 20, 2019 Reply to Post

I appreciate the ski area providing some insight into decisions and the opportunity for me to comment. Here are my thoughts FWIW:
1. I don't buy the Ikon apologists trying to shift the crowding issues to 'big snow year'. I've been a passholder for 10 years and the ski area has never been this crowded, even on past big snow years. Local passholders go skiing no matter what. Me, as a weekend warrior, get my 60 days in no matter the snow conditions.
2. Why do alta passholders not get any tangible benefit from IKON? They get free days at Alta, but we don't get anything out of the deal. The ski area gets revenue from IKON. So the whole thing seems like a money grab by the ski area owners.
3. I have always heard Alta doesn't spend money on improvements unless they have it in the bank. Are revenues down recently pre-IKON? Is Alta hurting for money for needed improvements? It wouldn't appear so. I have read the long range plans for changes/improvements, and imo, there is not much that is actually needed to keep the ski area operating. It is more of a wish list. Most of us locals like it the way it is. I didn't even see the need for the new supreme lift an it has made the experience worse there (long flat runout and more people up there).
4. I don't believe the 3%. On any given day, I see at least 25% IKON skiers (just from what is visible).
5. I put this on my alta survey every year: I would rather season passes increase in cost than allow snowboarders. I will now include IKON in that comment. Look at overall revenue and see if raising passes will help rather than being in IKON.
6. I hope the alta management understands the local and what they want (no matter what anyone thinks, that is your most loyal skier and who you should be listening to). Don't follow the big resort model and chase the dollar. Keep alta the way people like it.

George McPhetres March 21, 2019 Reply to Post

Been trying to add a constructive comment.
Are your comments closed

Ben March 21, 2019 Reply to Post

We had a good season 2 years ago and it wasn’t as busy as it is this year, I can’t believe the 3% net increase with the Ikon it’s way more than that. What’s next allowing snowboards and get even more people. Keep Alta special.

Jiahn (50 Year Local) March 21, 2019 Reply to Post

Let me summarize what has been said in the comments above:
- I’m a ‘local’ and have been longer than everyone else
- I buy my season pass and am now entitled to own the mountain
- I love to drive up the canyon solo for a few runs in the morning or afternoon
- I don’t buy anything or stay on the mountain because it is expensive and I can drive home
- Those dang Ikoners and Folks from out of town pay money to stay on the mountain and steal all my turns!

-Alta along with Snowbird is a destination resort; no one likes lines or crowds but I’m sorry to burst your bubble that season pass holders are no the ones driving significant revenue to the mountain.

Toby Kravet March 23, 2019 Reply to Post

I have been a season pass holder for a number of years, staying in a hotel in the valley for 5-6 weeks, February - early March, and driving up, solo, every day. As I get up before the lifts open and leave before 3:15, I have not encountered any traffic issues. Although there seem to be more cars at the Albion parking lot in the early morning than there were in the years before Ikon, I did not find the lift lines this year (2019) to be significantly longer than in previous years. In contrast to what a number of your other respondents have reported, the “Alta Experience” has not changed for me.

Rick H March 24, 2019 Reply to Post

As a multiple-year Alta pass holder, this year may be my last. The Alta terrain and experience is worth some adjustment to varying skier ski levels, where their pass comes from, and even reasonable wait times in lift lines, but the 1-2 hour one way LLC travel time is a deal breaker.

It is obvious that long term travel solutions are needed, be it a third car lane, dedicated bus lanes, or mass transit trains. But all of these solutions require massive financial infrastructure and political will and are years away.

Until those solutions are available here are my ideas to improve traffic congestion:

1- No parking on Highway 210 along the Snowbird ski resort property. This slows up and downhill traffic that adds to long lines behind these slowdowns. Uphill traffic is slowed as skiers unload and walk to the resort essentially on Highway 210. Downhill traffic from Alta is slowed as these drivers make a U-turn from the south side of the road to the downhill north side of the road.

2- Metered traffic control. Similar to the metered lights on freeway entrances. Downhill these are needed at every exit/merge from both Alta and Snowbird resort parking lots. Uphill the merge at Little Cottonwood road with Highway 210 and possibly better control at the stop lights on Wasatch Blvd at Little Cottonwood road and Highway 210.

3- Make single occupancy travel on weekends/powder days illegal/tickable.

With a little coordination between Alta, Snowbird, and UDOT these changes could be implemented rapidly.

Lastly, expanding bus service is not a short term solution. See many of the comments above, the bus is caught in the same traffic, the equipment holders are terrible and add time to the travel, and time spent going through Snowbirds stops make that option unusable.

John Winter March 31, 2019 Reply to Post

Mr. Maughan,

This is my second response to your March 12 Reflections on a Snowy Winter and New Passes.

On the 19th I wrote the record levels of skiers this winter was in my opinion due to a combination of events including the level of snow, best in six or seven years, a strong US economy, near record highs in US equity prices, and the new passes, IKON and EPIC.

After skiing ALTA, the three Park City Resorts, and Telluride this winter, those events still hold, but I now believe the number one catalyst has been the new passes. Record numbers of skiers that have overwhelmed the infrastructure of each. The good old days are exactly that, the good old days. A locals view point, the multiple resort passes run the risk of killing the goose that laid the golden egg.

John.

Bill April 5, 2019 Reply to Post

I am writing you this letter to express my recent concerns about the “quality of daily sking” and “skier safety” at Alta.

I have been a dedicated Alta skier for the last 15 years. After many years skiing the many ski resorts around the country, I discovered Alta and fell in-love with not only the ski terrain, quality /quantity of the snow but especially the family social network here from the repeated, long time skier. There was a special spirit at Alta, making it truly a “place for Skiers”. I felt right at home here and quickly made it my primary destination. Living in Orlando Florida, I would make multiple yearly trips here staying mountain side at Alta’s great lodges. I decided that I wanted to make Utah and Alta my seasonal home so three years ago my wife and I purchased a home in Cottonwood Heights and decided to work remotely from here so we can enjoy the entire season of being a daily skier at Alta.

This year I have experienced a big change in the quality here at Alta. There appears to have been a big increase of new visitors to the point that the daily experience has become physically and mentally taxing. Excessive road traffic throughout the day has made my travels to and from Alta a nightmare where as evening trips home have taken several hours.

I rent a locker in Buckhorn by guest services which was originally a really nice asset but lately due to excessive lines to the bathrooms and guest services I cant even get a seat to put my boots on. People are crowded and frustrated trying to get into guest services for their daily ticket and seem to take it out on us, the local skiers in the locker areas.

The lift lines are the longest I have ever experienced at Alta. Being from Orlando the home of Disney and theme parks, I hate the experience of long lines and the chaos around them which is one of the reasons I stopped going to other ski resorts like Vail, Breckenridge, Park City and many others only to now find excessively long lines here at Alta.

Alta has some of the most exciting and challenging terrain. Unfortunately due to the greater influx of beginner/intermediate and the less skilled skiers, not being aware of trails to properly navigate, and making Alta very dangerous on the traverses and runs. One very snowy day the situation on the mountain became so unsafe, I decided to leave early but unfortunately on my final run heading down through Freds trees, I was hit by an aggressive younger skier who was booming the run in a frantic rush and he literally knocked me 30 feet out of my skis. I was fortunate to only have been shaken up and had minor bumps and bruises and did not have a serious injury. This skier did stop to check my health and express apology and that he didn’t really know where he was within the trees.

It appears to me that these changes are due to a major increase of skiers possibly from the Ikon pass. I have spoken to many of the these pass holders in the locker rooms and riding up on the chair lifts and they tell me that that they drive here from other mountain destinations.

I don’t know the financial benefits of the Ikon pass but alta has been a great ski place for the last 80 years. I would hate to see the great “spirit of Alta” decline and turn it into a Disney style tourist trap where the quality of skiing and the daily experience is frustrating and pour.

Alex S April 6, 2019 Reply to Post

Contrary to resort management staff the Alliance and Ikon mega pass agreements HAVE had a significant impact on canyon traffic and parking and the enjoyment of my favorite sport this year. So much so that I haven't skied Alta since February (one of the best seasons in this decade). I live in Midvale and have a season pass at Alta. I fell in love with Alta and worked at one of the hotels there, living in house skiing almost everyday for 2 full seasons('05-'06 and '08-'09). HUGE snow seasons at that, a 696" season and a 637" inch season. Something is wrong this year if mangement wants to admit it or not. A pass I feel I paid way too much for due to a significantly degraded overall experience. How does a resort throw away their best asset? The experience and the community that made them, in my opinion, possibly the best skiing experience in North America? I mean I moved here for it, I made that commitment and now feel abandoned.

Last time I skied Alta was February 7th to be exact. I have used 1 day since on my Wasatch Benefit at Deer Valley. Another day I bailed on the traffic nightmare one Sunday morning and took my beginner wife to Nordic Valley. I was probably in their parking lot and booted up before I would have ever made it to Alta. Logged 17 days prior to that and waited in more traffic on weekend mornings to get to Alta than I have waited in traffic since I moved here from the East coast D.C. Metro Area in '09. 10 years in Utah and LCC traffic backups this season are literally the worst.

Alex S. Two Seasons as a True Local - Moved to Utah FOR Alta April 6, 2019 Reply to Post

Contrary to resort management staff the Alliance and Ikon mega pass agreements HAVE had a significant impact on canyon traffic and parking and the enjoyment of my favorite sport this year. So much so that I haven't skied Alta since February (one of the best seasons in this decade). I live in Midvale and have a season pass at Alta. I fell in love with Alta and worked at one of the hotels there, living in house, skiing almost everyday for 2 full seasons('05-'06 and '08-'09). HUGE snow seasons at that, a 696" season and a 637" inch season. Something is wrong this year if management wants to admit it or not. A pass I feel I paid way too much for due to a significantly degraded overall experience. How does a resort throw away their best asset? The experience and the community that made them, in my opinion, possibly the best skiing experience in North America? I mean I moved here for it, I made that commitment, truly the commitment of a lifetime and now feel abandoned.

Last time I skied Alta this season was February 7th to be exact. I have used 1 day since on my Wasatch Benefit at Deer Valley. Another day I bailed on the traffic nightmare one Sunday morning and took my beginner wife to Nordic Valley. I was probably in their parking lot and booted up before I would have ever made it to Alta. Logged 17 days prior to that and waited in more traffic on weekend mornings to get to Alta than I have waited in traffic since I moved here from the East coast D.C. Metro Area in '09. 11 years in Utah and LCC traffic backups this season are literally the worst.

Jon April 14, 2019 Reply to Post

Thank you for offering this information. With all respect, where can we review your data claims? Please post or provide a link to the report and methods by which you come to your conclusion. Statistics are fickle, often magically proving what the researcher is hypothesizing. Please be transparent with data to support your statement. Thank you.

“Our net increase in skier visits from the Ikon Pass is currently running roughly 3%. Our largest increase in skier visits is coming from local pass holders whose visits are up 13% compared to the prior season”.

ALTA.COM

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