This past weekend I was in Alta with my friend Mary for a mindset skiing camp called Ski to Live, led by former Olympic mogul and big-mountain skier Kristen Ulmer (more on that soon). It was my first time skiing at Alta, and while the powder wasn’t as ample as the hype—500 inches on average a year—it was still pretty great, and it’s impossible to beat the convenience. Our flight landed at the Salt Lake airport at 12:30 PM and by 2:30, we'd checked into my room at the slope side Goldminer’s Daughter, changed into ski clothes, bought a $30 late afternoon pass (good from 2:30 til 4:30, gotta love that), and were halfway up the mountain on the Collins lift. Which begs the question: Why would anyone travel anywhere else to ski?
To be fair, Alta isn’t the most family-oriented of Utah ski resorts. It’s steep and the base area is 1970s-minimal, with a couple ski shops, three or four lodges with basic double-bed motel rooms, and a few rental properties. You won’t find a jumbo trampoline, tubing hill, ice rink, indoor swimming pools or kids clubs for après-ski playtime, and the dining room at the all-inclusive Goldminer’s Daughter (world’s friendliest ski hotel, by the way) was filled with dads who’d left their wives and kids at home to ski with the guys. But—and this is a big but—if you get there early enough, you can practically park right next to the lift. Which, when you’re schlepping major amounts of gear and kids, is huge. Huge! Who cares about kiddy terrain parks? Please let me drive our crap directly to the lift line!