Alta Ski Area is widely recognized as deep powder skiing’s mecca, annually averaging 538 inches of the Greatest Snow on Earth. Originally a silver mining hotbed turned ghost town, the slopes of Alta Ski Area were hand-selected by the famous Norwegian skier, Alf Engen, who had been hired by the Forest Service to determine the area's potential as a winter sports site. The Forest Service saw the deep snow and inviting slopes as a way to create jobs while revegetating the barren Wasatch Mountains, left barren after decades of mining and environmental abuse and neglect.
Alta Ski Area was founded in 1938. The first ski lift in Utah—an old mining conveyor purchased from the Michigan-Utah Mine—carried skiers up the slopes of Alta on January 15th, 1939. The independently owned Alta Lodge, Rustler and Alta Peruvian Lodges were all built in the next decade to accommodate the rapidly-growing sport.
Alta grew slowly, building new lifts and day lodges to accommodate a growing number of skiers. The Alta Environmental Center was created in 2008 with the mission to carry on Alta Ski Area’s decades-old dedication to environmental conservation and stewardship. The lifts, lodges, and ski gear have changed with the times, but there is a timeless spirit to Alta. Perhaps it is because generations of skiers have been able to pass on their love for the mountain. Alta is a place that many local and destination skiers choose to call home.
Alta has teamed with local filmmakers Sweetgrass Productions to tell these stories. Simply titled Steeped In Tradition, this award-winning series tells the Alta story through the modern skiers and personalities that are carrying on the spirit of Alta.
Episode 1 - Nightshift
As the light fades each day the Nightshift fire up their cats attempting to tame our wild mountain and lay down fresh corduroy.
Episode 2 - Mali
Alta athlete and Alta Medical Clinic employee, Mali Noyes, is trying to write her best script balancing powder turns and professionalism.
Episode 3 - The Pollards
The Alta-raised Pollard siblings, Andrew and Jacqueline, practically grew up in Alta's Rustler Lodge. While attending Alta's one-room schoolhouse, they grew up skiing Alta every day--developing a love for skiing and the skills to ski anywhere in the world.
This winter the Pollards joined the elite ranks of the Freeride World Tour, competing side-by-side with the best freeskiers in the world. After an incredible season, the Pollards both took home Freeride World Tour Rookie of the Year honors, with Jacqueline and Andrew finishing second and fourth overall respectively.
Episode 4 - Lee
Lee Cohen started skiing Alta in the early 1980s. Nearly four decades later, he has established himself as one of the most influential ski photographers of his generation, all while raising Sammo Cohen, an Alta-based professional skier and one of Lee's favorite athletes to shoot. See why Lee and Sammo call Alta home.
Episode 5 - Margie of the Wasatch
Filmed at Alta Ski Area in 1945, Margie of the Wasatch is a 16mm color film recognized as one of the Best 100 Ski and Snowboard Films ever created. Originally produced as a promotional video for the burgeoning Utah ski industry, the film tells the story of a female tourist who draws the attention of the Alf Engen Ski School instructors. Alta Ski Area teamed up with Sweetgrass Productions to highlight the classic Alta scenery, terrain, and, of course, powder snow that we are still known for 75+ years later. Enjoy the new take on this classic ski film set to the music of Alta locals Pixie and the Partygrass Boys.
Episode 6 - Patrol
Steeped in Tradition Episode 6 - Patrol from Alta Ski Area and Sweetgrass Productions looks into the early mornings of the Alta Ski Patrol and the Avalanche Department
Episode 7 - Environment
The year-round efforts of the Alta Environmental Center (AEC) come to life in the latest video production with Sweetgrass Productions. The AEC’s dedication to sustainability and Alta’s land conservation efforts are central to our 83-year-old ski area ethos—whose mission is to provide authentic skiing experiences in a natural mountain environment.
Episode 8 - The Farmer
Meet The Farmer—Dave Van Dame. A staple of Alta for the past 48 years. His trademark look—a frozen ice beard and mustache—and his trademark style are hard to miss. If you've never met him in person, an encounter you soon won't forget, you've most likely seen his signature on the slopes of Alta.
Episode 9 - Interlodge
Alta Ski Area and Alta Community Enrichment partnered with Sweetgrass Productions and Iz La Motte to tell the definitive story of Interlodge.
Interlodge. The meaning behind the word is widely unknown, yet it evokes mystery and intrigue from powder skiers across the globe. Alta and Little Cottonwood Canyon receive prodigious snowfall as witnessed during last year’s 100’’ February storm cycle.
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.
Episode 10 – Sisterhood of Skiing
Sweetgrass Productions and Alta Ski Area tagged along up with the many generations of women who have made Alta their home. Steeped in Tradition Episode 10 - The Sisterhood of Skiing celebrates the camaraderie, power and love that women bring to the mountains.
Episode 11 – Re
In celebration of International Women's Day, Alta Ski Area, Iz La Motte and Sweetgrass Productions teamed up to tell the inspiring story of Alta-based ski photographer, Re Wikstrom.
Twenty years ago, Re forged her own path in the outdoor sports community as one of the few women in her field. As an action sports photographer, she is dedicated to working with and showcasing the strength and individual personalities of female athletes. She views her work as a catalyst, fostering a social shift in the perception of women athletes in popular culture. Re has been a staple of the Alta community for two decades—inspiring her subjects and mentoring the next generation of female ski photographers.