Alta is a town in Salt Lake County that in 2017 celebrated 80 years as a ski resort. Known as the ‘local favorite’ and with 500,000+ visitors a year, it is famous for its powder skiing and its refusal to allow snowboarding. It is located just above the resort of Snowbird and just below some amazing alpine meadows of wildflowers in the summer. There is excellent hiking and biking trails all over this upper canyon once the snowmelt happens and it’s much cooler at 10,000+ elevation in the summertime! Snow flies from October through April, with an average of 80.45 inches each month. Because of the high altitude and desert climate, the snow is known worldwide for its particularly airy and powder-like texture.
Alta City itself was founded about 1870 to house miners from the Emma mine, the Flagstaff mine, and other silver mines in Little Cottonwood Canyon. Sensationally rich silver ore in the Emma mine enabled its owners to sell the mine at an inflated price to British investors in 1871. The subsequent exhaustion of the Emma ore body led to the recall of the American ambassador to Great Britain, and Congressional hearings in Washington.
There aren’t that many residents of Alta (less than 500 year round) but the resort and town have many time shares/part time residents. Most of the homes are typical ski resort cabins on some of the original mining claims owned by generations of Utahns to luxury get-away second homes. Little Cottonwood Canyon is also known for ‘Albion Basin’ which has stunning wildflowers during the summer which attracts thousands of visitors. The area, like most canyons near the city does have UTA bus service, with extra service during ski season as parking is at a premium and limited throughout the year.
For more information: townofalta.com
Places to eat: Alf’s, Shallow Shaft, The Aerie, Steak Pit
Zip codes: 84092