Serious Snow

This is the view at lunch time, mid-mountain at Alta in Utah on April 20th.  Somehow, when I planned this trip for spring skiing, I envisioned us sitting outside at those picnic tables eating grilled burgers in the sunshine, but I am not complaining because the snow is A.W.E.S.O.M.E.  Alta regularly gets a ton of snow through April - over 550 inches so far this year, with a late April base of about 140 inches on the ground. That's amazing. Last night we had a big storm that dropped about a foot of fresh powder to our delight.  The locals are saying that it is a slightly heavier powder than usual, but it is ideal because it managed to bond with the warmer snow underneath so it is staying put, is not getting kicked around, and feels much deeper than it is.

We are staying at the Alta Lodge and I can truly say that it is the most relaxing and fun vacation we have had since having kids, or maybe ever.  Breakfast and Dinner are included. Great food. Great drinks in the classic (since 1939) ski bar. There are no TV's in the rooms, but plenty of wifi. The lodge is not swanky, but every chair in the place is incredibly comfortable. There are activities for the kids and it is small enough (about 50 rooms?) that the kids can be very independent. Two big hot tubs and saunas. And that's about it. Not too many choices, not too many options, nowhere else to go (although it is an easy 45 minute van ride from the airport).  Big breakfast, help getting the kids to ski school, drop our skis on the snow outside the door, ski our booties off all day, glide back to the lodge, stagger to our rooms, toughest decision of the day: hot tub or apr├ęs ski drinks while the kids sled or play, fantastic multi-course dinner mingling with new friends, fall into bed, rinse, repeat. We have found the perfect family ski vacation and plenty of others must agree because in five days, we never met another "first-timer" besides ourselves.

I can also see how so many people love skiing at Alta year after year. The skiing, scenery, location, and snow conditions are great, but it is a mountain where there must always be new places to discover. There are plenty of groomed and marked trails at every level, but there is so much more just through that gate, through those trees, a few side steps up over that ridge. In the afternoons, we joined a guided skiing group for skiers who ski groomed blacks but not so much off trail.  It was outstanding.  Good instruction for each member and we got to go places we never would have found otherwise. Two days after the storm, at 3pm, our guide was helping us discover untracked snow and glistening glades. What an experience to remember. And I hope we do because we were so excited, we didn't take many pictures.

No, I did not get any bonuses or freebies to write this review. I just started typing and got carried away. (Yes, as usual, I am typing this with one finger on my phone!)  Spring skiing at Alta and relaxation at Alta Lodge - the best. Watch this space because we will be back!

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