Canyon Blog spends a lot of time in Little Cottonwood for many obvious reasons. So it was with some interest during one of his regular hikes up Collins Gulch toward Sugarloaf or Baldy summit that he observed the curious process by which Alta Ski Lifts was moving dirt upslope on Corkscrew. Basically, three trackhoes working in sequence were passing buckets from one to the next, redistributing the material across Nina’s Curve and Schuss Gully.

Thinking quickly (two weeks later) your loyal correspondent cornered general Manager Mike Maughan for an authoritative word on what’s happening. “The turn on Corkscrew is a bit narrow and we’ve had requests for some time about the congestion,” he said this week when we met to discuss the latest at the greatest. “We’re running a new water line to increase our snow making capacity and used it as an opportunity to widen Corkscrew by about 30 feet. We then spread the dirt in Nina’s and lower Schuss Gully to smooth out the transition from the steeper sections to the runout.”

The other project he was pleased to share is the installation of Wyssen exploders (see Oct 2020 blog for a detailed description) in East Castle. The additional devices will facilitate reopening the ski area during avalanche mitigation efforts. “We can’t fire projectiles over people, so this allows us to close Rock N Roll, fire the exploders during snow days and then reopen the run without shutting down the entire area,” said Maughan.

Parking is another change Canyon Services renters should be aware of. Alta is implementing a paid parking reservation system for weekends and holidays. “Demand for parking exceeds our capacity at these times. To avoid having to turn people away we’re starting a paid plan to improve the experience because people with a reservation will know they have a space.” This applies to weekends and holidays only at this point. The resort is using the upcoming season as an experiment but given the growth of Salt Lake Valley and increase in traffic some measure was inevitable. As the general manager of Alta Ski Area Mike is very attuned to how skiers enjoy themselves. “We really want to preserve the quality of the ski experience and we think this will help given the changes all Utah ski areas are facing.”

Your blogger would agree. It’s shaping up to be a great season for Alta and with the new Alf’s finally able to offer a full menu there’s no better time to make your reservation early, avoid parking changes by staying in one of our beautiful and welcoming properties, know the mountain will be open faster than ever before with enhanced runs, and enjoy that après ski to the fullest!