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.
Typically at ski resorts, skiers unload the chairlift and glide onto the best trails at the mountain. At Alta, this isn’t always the case. Here you may find sidesteps and traverses that lead to the most popular runs. The main access point is the High Traverse, aka the ‘High-T,’ which as located at the top of the Collins chair. Once you learn the tools of the trade you’ll quickly find that traverses and sidesteps are an extremely efficient way to access terrain.
"Typically at ski resorts, skiers unload the chairlift and glide onto the best trails at the mountain. At Alta this isn’t always the case."
HOW TO NAVIGATE THE HIGH TRAVERSE (HIGH-T)
- Think of the High-T as a freeway. There are multiple exits for ski runs and a few places to pull off and take in the view. Use common sense. You wouldn’t hit the brakes in the middle of the highway, nor should you stop in the middle of the traverse.
- If you’re skiing with a group make a plan on where you’ll be heading before venturing out on the traverse. If you’re waiting for someone to catch up, pull off above the traverse and let others go by.
- Hear a pole tap? This is a universal call that someone is behind you.
- Sometimes a traverse will lead to a sidestep. Keep your skis on here. Boot packing is only allowed to access Baldy Chutes.
- The key to traversing is to find the smoothest and most efficient route. Have fun and keep your speed up.
Alta uses RFID technology to scan season passes and lift tickets. This is your key to the Alta castle. Below is a list of helpful tips to keep you on the slopes instead of waiting at the base of a lift.
- Remember to keep your pass in a pocket by itself.
- Don't have anything else in your pocket—this includes cell phones, keys, wallets and credit cards.
- Do not have another season pass in the pocket (it's supposed to be empty anyway).
- Remember to hang on to your day tickets and season passes at the end of the day. You can save money when you reload them online.
- If you have any questions, Alta's friendly staff is always there to help. Don't hesitate to ask for help.
While a lot of ski areas consist of a spiderweb of trails, a lot of the skiing at Alta takes place on open faces and bowls that are accessed via traversing (see: ALTA 101 : Traversing). Skiing fall line simply means making your way down the mountain in a predictable corridor. If you need to stop, make sure to do so where you can be seen from above. If you need to traverse to a different section of terrain, look uphill to make sure you are not in the way of a skier skiing fall line above you. Fall-line skiing is the best way to preserve Alta's powder snow for yourself and other skiers.
With only six major lifts and 2,614 acres of terrain, some of Alta's best terrain requires skiers to earn their turns via sidestepping. Sidestepping with skis on is much more efficient than taking your skis off and bootpacking a slope. The additional length and width of a pair of skis provide additional flotation to keep you on top of Alta's 547" of annual snowfall. While a little tricky to get used to, sidestepping with skis will get you to some of Alta's best terrain and snow.
To sidestep, simply step up the hill with your uphill ski Lift your downhill ski uphill and place it parallel to your uphill ski. Repeat this process indefinitely.
Alta 101 : Sidestepping video coming soon.