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Ski Resorts

Alta: It’s Not About Rivalries, It’s About Business

Justin from Ski-Blog.com laid the smackdown on me for my largely uninformed post on the Alta ski area. To make a long story short, I was pretty incredulous that a ski resort would still ban snowboarders from the slopes. However Justin, who is much more knowledgeable about the Salt Lake City area than myself, was able to provide some solid logic to the decision:

“The resorts need to differentiate and provide a unique selling point in
order to compete. Alta removed their terrain park this year and their
hook is that they are an authentic old school ski experience.”

15 resorts in one major metropolitan area, fighting for your business; now there’s a situation I’d like to live in.


  1. Old School… like the food will be cheaper and lift tickets will be $30? I loved it when there were natural hits all over the mountain, but I wasn’t a big fan of getting my lift ticket clipped.
    Alta will have plenty of room on the slopes when families that ski and snowboard go other places.

    Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2007, 1:46 pm
  2. well u know what needs to be done dont you, a boarder only mountain, with features and terrain never imagined

    Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2007, 4:09 pm
  3. Alta is under $50 for a lift ticket when Deer Valley, Park City, etc., as well as most of Colorado run around $75. Again, Alta does have plenty of room on their mountain. They have almost 2,500 skiable acres and better than 2200 vertical feet on one lift alone, plus only get around 350,000 skier visits per year. Families that are “mixed” still go to Alta-Snowbird which boast almost 4,500 skiable acres combined because they are connected now and Snowbird offers snowboarding.
    Come up Little Cottonwood Canyon sometime and check out the Bird. Snowbird is absolutely awesome. Just don’t head through the interconnect to Alta. It is skiers only. And that is how they differentiate themselves from Snowbird, Deer Valley, etc. They have plenty to offer and aren’t hurting for business, contrary to what many boarders think.
    Go ski with a 60 year old dude that has a couple thousand skier days under his belt and lived in a VW in the 70’s skiing places like Breck, Keystone, Winter Park, Abasin, etc., before anyone had ever heard of Jake Burton. Alta has plenty of them and many of them teach. And because Alta is skier only, people gravitate there. The 600″+ that they received last year doesn’t hurt either.
    Many affluent people (including Ah-nold of the broken femur) still ski and they provide a much large economic impact in terms of purchasing property and spending money than the younger snowboarders. That may not be the case forever, but put on your businessman thinking cap and decide who you want to market to. When Alta’s business model no longer is viable, they will change. But the very fact that they are skier only is why they remain viable in a diluted Utah snow sports market.

    Posted by Anonymous | January 4, 2007, 2:30 am
  4. Honestly, my little brother Jer rides. All but one of my friends do. We skiers are the minority among folks under 35ish. I am 32 and ski which means that I get constant crap from everyone I roll with about being a two plank wank, etc.
    I had a post a couple of months ago quoting the SLC Tribune about Alta. This is what the locals had to say:
    “God’s country,” “close to heaven” and “mecca” were three descriptions with religious connotations, along with another conclusion that Alta has “soul.” Others called Alta “a purist’s mountain,” “old school,” “the granddaddy of the class resorts” and a “hidden treasure.” Andrew Stevens summed it up: “It’s cheap (relatively), the employees are friendly and helpful, the terrain is incredible, and the snow is always fantastic. But most of all, the skiers are there to ski, not to be seen, not to judge other’s abilities. It’s a very pure skiing experience.”
    Check my post. I have a whole section about Alta and the Bird, including some stuff on the new tunnel at Snowbird.

    Posted by Anonymous | January 4, 2007, 2:39 am
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