Photo of skis by Alta and Snowbird

It’s no secret that the Wasatch Mountains have some of the best snow in North America. Known for its steep ridges and deep powder, Little Cottonwood Canyon is considered an elite ski destination. At the center of one of the most top-rated skiing enclaves in the world, Alta and Snowbird are a collective winter sports paradise. In the heart of it all, Canyon Services has luxurious offerings in both areas, so deciding on where to stay can sometimes be mind-boggling if this is your first visit. To help you decide which is best for you, we’ve put together some information that will make choosing between Alta and Snowbird a little easier.

Alta and Snowbird: Which Ski Area is Best for You?

Before we get started, it’s worth mentioning that Alta and Snowbird both accept the Mountain Collective and Ikon Pass, so there’s no reason you can’t visit both during an extended stay. However, if you have to choose between one, you’ll find our information useful. Heck, even if you still want to try both, you can better plan your trip after reading this. Either way, Canyon Services has an eclectic assortment of Utah vacation rentals. From spacious luxury homes to cozy condominiums, you’ll be able to retreat to a night of relaxation after a day on the slopes.

The Best Utah Ski Resorts

Make no mistake, both Alta and Snowbird are premiere destinations but differ nonetheless. For example, Alta only allows skiing, so if you have snowboarders looking to shred in your group, you may spend more time in Snowbird. Without further delay, here is our breakdown of Alta and Snowbird.

Alta vs. Snowbird

As mentioned above, the Alta ski area is one of the last “ski-only” sites in the U.S. Snowboarding isn’t allowed, and locals will tell you that it will keep the snow better for longer. That’s not for us to decide, but it’s worth keeping in mind. Furthermore, while Alta has a dynamic array of fresh powder areas only accessible by hiking, Snowbird has a gigantic backside called Mineral Basin that’s perfect for bowl skiing.


  • 6 lifts
  • 116 runs, with the longest being 1.3 miles
  • 2,614 skiable acres
  • A top elevation of 11,068 feet with 2,538 feet of vertical drop
  • 545 inches of average annual snowfall


  • 11 lifts
  • 170 runs with the longest being 2.5 miles
  • 2,500 skiable acres
  • A top elevation of 11,000 feet with 3,240 feet of vertical drop
  • 500 inches of average annual snowfall

When it’s all said and done, both options are sure to take your mountain retreat to the highest peak. However, one of the most important things to consider is where you’ll stay for the night. Skiing and snowboarding are demanding sports requiring a certain amount of stamina that is much easier to come by when you feel like you’re at home.

Utah Vacation Rentals in the Wasatch Mountains

Now that you know what differentiates Alta and Snowbird, you can make an informed decision on which destination is right for you, although we recommend both. After all, it’s not every day you get to tell someone you experienced two of the country’s best mountains on one vacation! For more information about our additional services or to book your stay, please reach out to us online or call 800-562-2888.