Icicles on window looking out to sunny Alta's Wildcat base

First Time
Skiing Alta?

If you are joining us for the first time in our 86-year-history we invite you to discover our locals' tips.

Snowboarding is not permitted at Alta Ski Area.

A First-timer's guide to skiing alta.

Skiing Alta for the first time is a memorable and addictive experience. The hallowed ground for powder skiing in North America has sculpted the lives of skiers who chase that ethereal feeling of arcing down the mountain in a weightless snow globe.

Snowboarding is not permitted at Alta Ski Area.

For everything that makes Alta magical are the distinct nuances that make it unique. The town, access and the way the mountain is skied are likely different than any other mountain you have skied. After a couple of days, you’ll feel the hum of this skiers’ mountain and wonder why you ever skied anywhere else. Consider the below tutorial as your intro course.

Getting Here.

Alta is located 26 miles from downtown Salt Lake City, 32 miles from Salt Lake City International Airport and 42 miles from Park City. The proximity to Salt Lake City provides an urban contrast to the wild nature of winter within the Cottonwood Canyons.

Driving To Alta

Alta sits at the terminus of Highway 210. The dead-end road is 13 miles long, crosses 64 avalanche paths and has the highest highway avalanche hazard index of any major road in the United States. It’s a stunning and beautiful ride, even for the most seasoned local, but needs to be treated with respect during the winter months.

State law requires that you carry chains or have snow tires on your vehicle in Little Cottonwood Canyon from November 1st through May 1st.

There are times when the Little Cottonwood Canyon Road, Highway 210, may be restricted to travel.Please follow UDOT Cottonwoods for up-to-the-minute road conditions, Highway 210 closures and Traction Law information.

Parking In Alta

Parking reservations are required—at Alta Ski Area and the Town of Alta—Friday–Sunday & holidays from 8am–1pm. The parking reservation system provides Alta skiers the assurance that there will be a parking space before driving up the canyon as Alta skiers will no longer need to arrive hours before first chair to secure a parking spot. This eases early morning traffic congestion and manages the ski experience by limiting the number of skiers to available terrain & lift capacity.

Parking reservations are required Friday–Sunday & holidays from 8am–1pm.

Private Transportation to Alta

If you are arriving to Salt Lake City via plane and are staying at one of the several lodges in Alta, there’s no need for a rental car. The easiest way to visit Alta is to leave the driving and parking to someone else. This will save you time, money and hassle.

Once you have arrived, there are various shuttles around Alta to get you from the chairlift to your hotel and to other nearby locales. There are many companies that offer shuttle services to and from Alta.

Private transportation options >

Public Transportation to Alta

If you are staying in the valley and driving up to Alta, ride the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) Ski Bus. Ikon passholders can ride the UTA Ski Bus for free.

Ride the Ski Bus | Alta Stories >


Upon arrival, you can begin your day at the Wildcat and Collins base or at the Albion. Each of these areas provides specific needs that cater to the individual skier and family, so it’s best to plan ahead to which suits your needs. The Albion and Wildcat base areas are connected via Transfer Tow or the Town of Alta Shuttle.

Albion Base Area | Ideal For Beginners & Families

The Albion Basin is ideal for beginners, families and those who are enrolling in a ski lesson with the Alf Engen Ski School. The Albion Day Lodge is a great place to fuel up for a day of skiing or warm up at lunch. The Albion Grill has a great menu for skiers of all ages. Head downstairs to the Alta Ski Shop for gear and souvenirs. And make sure to check out Alta Java—a local’s favorite for coffee with a great ski beach on sunny days.

Albion base area from above | Photo: Photo-John

  • Albion Ticket Office:
  • Albion Day Lodge:
    • Albion Grill | Cafeteria-style dining
    • Alta Ski Shop | Rentals, boot-fitting, gear and retail
    • Alta Java | Locally owned coffee shop with a great ski beach
    • Restrooms, day lockers, water fountain
  • Sunnyside six-pack lift:
    • Services best Alta's beginner and intermediate terrain
    • Quick access to Supreme and Sugarloaf lifts

View the Albion base area map >

Wildcat Base Area | Ideal For Intermediate & Expert Skiers

Intermediate and expert skiers typically park in the Wildcat parking lot and use the Goldminer’s Daughter Lodge as their home base.

Wildcat base area from above | Photo: Photo-John

Goldminer's Daughter Lodge (GMD):

  • Slopeside Cafe | Breakfast, lunch, coffee, patio
  • Alta Clinic | A full-service urgent care clinic
  • Restrooms, day lockers, water fountain

Wildcat Ticket Office:

  • Alta Ski Shop | Rentals, demos, gear and retail
  • Restrooms and water fountain

Skier Services Building | Season Pass Office:

  • Restrooms and water

Collins high-speed detachable quad:

  • Accesses 1,800 vertical feet of intermediate and expert skiing
  • Angle Station is for intermittent loading only—do not unload at the Collins Angle Station

Wildcat fixed-grip double:

  • Accesses 1,200 vertical feet of intermediate and expert skiing
  • No safety bar

View the Wildcat base area map >

Using Your Ikon or Mountain Collective Pass.

Your Ikon or Mountain Collective pass provides direct-to-ski access, which means that you can skip the ticket window and head straight to the lift line. If you need to pick up a pass, you can do so at Skier Services.

All Alta skiers, even those Ikon and Mountain Collective passholders will be subject to paid parking reservations on weekends & holidays. Please check our Parking and Road page for our daily parking forecasts.

Ikon Pass benefits

Your 2023–24 Ikon Pass or Ikon Base Plus Pass provides direct-to-lift skiing at Alta and Snowbird. Skiers can choose to start their day at either Snowbird or Alta.

  • Ikon Pass: 7 days of skiing at Alta/Snowbird with no blackout dates
  • Ikon Base Plus: 5 days of skiing at Alta/Snowbird with the following blackout dates:
    • Winter Holidays: December 26th–31st, 2023
    • MLK Weekend: January 13th–14th, 2024
    • Presidents Weekend: February 17th–18th, 2024
  • Alta Ski Area is no longer an Ikon Base Pass destination
  • Ikon Friends & Family Discount: receive 25% off an Alta-Bird day pass for a friend or family member (not yourself), available day of at any ticket window.
  • We do not provide an Ikon discount on food and beverage, retail and rental or other services.

Reminder: parking reservations will be required on weekends & holidays for the 2023–24 season.

Ikon and Alta >

Mountain Collective benefits

  • Two days of skiing at Alta and two days of skiing at Snowbird
  • Half-off additional lift tickets for Alta and/or Snowbird
  • No blackout dates

Enjoying The Alta Vibe.

The feel-good Alta vibe is not only a product of the copious amounts of snow and locals that frequent this place, but also because Alta is about the skiing, not opulent amenities.

Heated sidewalks with villages full of trendy strip mall stores, well you won’t find that here and that’s the way we like it.

However, that is not to say that Alta doesn’t provide modern-day amenities, which it does. We just rather focus on the skiing and the mountain rather than things that detract from spending time in the mountains and skiing with friends.

While you are skiing, you’ll find some chairs are faster while others are classic old-school doubles, including some without safety bars. Take time to enjoy the slow rides as they preserve snow quality and can often spark a good conversation.

Alta's Wildcat lift

On-mountain amenities can be found near the Sugarloaf and Supreme chair at the newly expanded Alf’s Restaurant or at Watson’s Shelter near the Collins chairlift. Both are ideal for lunch and midday snacks.


Interlodge means everyone must stay inside a building with no outdoor travel. Simply put, there is too much snow outside for you to travel safely. Staying inside during Interlodge protects you from the avalanche control that is taking place outside. Alta Ski Area or the Utah Department of Transportation are intentionally triggering avalanches to make the road and ski area safer for travel.

For skiers, Interlodge means deep powder skiing and a unique experience you’ll likely tell your friends and perhaps your grandchildren about. Yes, you’ll have to weather the storm and follow the rules of Interlodge—but you might also experience the best day of skiing of your life.

Go behind the scenes with Alta Ski Area and Alta Community Enrichment who partnered with Sweetgrass Productions and Iz La Motte as they tell the definitive story of Interlodge.

Thanks for visiting beautiful Alta Ski Area. We hope you have a great day on the mountain with family and friends.

Check out our Tips For Skiing Alta including our Alta : 101 video series >

Parking and Road Status >

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