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Alta Snowbird Blog

New Stories from Utah’s Wasatch Moutains

Welcome to Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah’s world-famous mountain destination. Canyon Services has managed properties in this special place since 1985. Our Alta Snowbird Blog is dedicated to documenting the many amazing stories of Little Cottonwood Canyon. When planning your trip to Utah, be sure to see what’s happening at Alta Snowbird.

Learn to Ski in Utah: Alta Snowbird Ski Lessons

There's a reason why skiing is the most popular winter sport in the country. Every year millions of people opt to spend a winter vacation embracing snowy slopes in Utah. But, if you've never tried out this winter activity, you may be wondering where to start. There are two excellent ski schools in the Alta Snowbird area that offer lessons for every age and skill level. And our Canyon Services vacation rentals are five minutes away from both! Sign up for Alta or Snowbird ski lessons this winter and learn how to ski the Greatest Snow On Earth! Alf Engen’s [...]

Snow Fences and Avalanches

The season is clearly already upon us. Alta has already recorded 69” of snow fall and for a time the past week the base was 40”. What’s that mean? You know what it means. It's time to book an awesome Canyon Services rental and come stay in comfort, enjoy the spectacular views, and start this skiing season off right. In preparation for this year’s downhill sliding pleasure and safety Alta has made additional improvements to the mountain. This time in the form of snow fencing and more Wyssen (pronounced “Wee-sen”) exploders. Canyon Blog sat down with Alta safety director and [...]

November 10th, 2021|Categories: Local Flavor, Outdoors|

Salt Lake City Day Trips from Alta-Snowbird

Whether you are visiting Alta-Snowbird to ski the greatest snow on Earth or snowshoe beautiful backcountry trails, you might be looking for other things to do nearby while you’re here. Well, Salt Lake City is just a short 40-minute drive from our beautiful vacation rentals at Canyon Services. Salt Lake City day trips from Alta or Snowbird are the perfect way to experience some of the best attractions and activities Utah has to offer.  Popular Salt Lake City Attractions Salt Lake City is a diverse place with a wealth of activities and attractions. You could easily spend a week exploring [...]

Shroomin’ with ACE

Canyon Blog was afforded the wonderfully informative opportunity to accompany Sara Gibbs, Alta Community Enrichment director extraordinaire, on a journey into the world of Wasatch mushrooming. The first thing your correspondent learned is that it isn’t actually mushrooming, rather something she referred to as “munting,” which was apparently German in origin but escaped this writer’s ability to track down, so we’ll just have to take that on faith. Before “digging in” to mycology a few words on Sara and ACE. ACE is Alta’s version of an arts institute and focuses on bringing culture, art and education to the town and [...]

October 5th, 2021|Categories: Local Flavor|

Refuel on the Slopes: Alta and Snowbird Restaurants

Ski enthusiasts around the country have long been anticipating colder days and winter snowfall. Nowhere else in the country does the snowfall quite like Utah, with an average of 550 inches annually. The Alta-Snowbird ski resorts are some of the best places in the country to hit the slopes and experience mountain dining. The Alta and Snowbird restaurants are conveniently located near the slopes, so you can easily refuel for every meal. And our luxury vacation rentals at Canyon Services are the perfect place to relax and unwind after a day of skiing. So, visit us in Utah and embark [...]

Oktoberfest is Back!

After the only closing in its history, Oktoberfest has returned to the Wasatch in a big way. Utah’s oldest and greatest festival celebrating all things German, and of course beer, is up and running every Saturday and Sunday through October 17th. Labor Day weekend is Grand Oktoberfest weekend with the main beer hall tent featuring entertainment from the Polkatones (your correspondent’s favorite, if for no other reason than they have a killer name) and Europa. Both bands were providing fantastic Munich like atmosphere for the crowds looking to get out of the sun for a pint, pretzel and brat. Daily [...]

September 5th, 2021|Categories: Local Flavor|

The Best Mountain Biking in Utah at Alta-Snowbird

The quaint mountain towns of Alta and Snowbird are world-renowned as skiing destinations. The deep powder snow, rugged terrain, and sweeping mountain views are a skiing and winter recreation paradise. Because of this, the summer recreation opportunities in Alta-Snowbird are often overlooked. In the summer months, the snow melts away, revealing some of the best mountain biking in Utah. Bike through the Albion Basin in Alta or peddle the cross country trails at Snowbird. After a day on the trails, return to your vacation home with Canyon Services. We provide rentals close to mountain biking trails throughout the Alta-Snowbird area. [...]

Alta’s Changes for the 21-22 Ski Season

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 [...]

August 2nd, 2021|Categories: Outdoors|

Celebrate Oktoberfest in Snowbird, Utah

Over two centuries ago, a wedding in Munich, Germany, hosted the first Oktoberfest celebration. Days of drinking, feasting, and horse racing commenced this tradition we all know and love 200 years later. But, you don’t need to travel to Germany to celebrate beer; Oktoberfest events occur all over the world. One of these annual festivals is located right here in Snowbird, Utah. The Snowbird Oktoberfest attracts visitors from all over looking for traditional German-style beer. This influx of visitors can make it difficult to book a room in time. Luckily, at Canyon Services we offer dozens of vacation rentals away [...]

Summer’s Back and Big at the Bird

It’s a new world in Little Cottonwood and Snowbird has thrown open the gates for a return to everyone’s favorite canyon. The rides are running and activities free to capture the attention (and expend the energy) of the little ones from panning for gemstones to the ropes course. For the tiniest climbers there’s the very popular mini ropes course or spider mountain and the inflatable multi story slide. As you can see in the family ropes photo, sometimes even having big brother go first isn’t enough to get a sibling off the starting perch on the regular course. Never fear [...]

July 10th, 2021|Categories: Local Flavor|

Fun Summer Activities for Kids in Alta-Snowbird

Alta-Snowbird, Utah, is known for its exceptional skiing. However, summer activities near Alta-Snowbird can be just as fun. In the summer months, the Snowbird Resort transforms its winter activities into the best Snowbird things to do. Embark on a day of family fun with exciting rides at Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort. Or opt for a relaxing walk through nature at Little Cottonwood Canyon. There is a multitude of things to do in Snowbird this summer. Luckily, our vacation rentals at Canyon Services are perfect for families looking to visit the area. The rentals provide spacious rooms and fully equipped [...]

The Power of Awareness

It’s time again for your faithful correspondent Canyon Blog to reveal his secret identity as New York Times bestselling author Dan Schilling. My new book is in stores now and I hope you’ll take a look. The Power of Awareness is a guide on how to avoid becoming the victim of crime as you travel across town or the globe. So read on and enjoy! A spy is suddenly aware she’s being stalked through the streets of an exotic city. A special ops soldier intuitively recognizes something’s “off” during a high-risk mission. In these life-threatening situations experts know exactly how [...]

June 7th, 2021|Categories: Interviews|

Plan Your Mountain Wedding in Utah

Planning a wedding is a momentous moment for many people. You are choosing the venue, the food, and even the color of the napkins. Utah mountain weddings have become a popular way to tie the knot. The backdrop of breathtaking mountain views is sure to make your wedding day special. At Canyon Services, we offer lodging in the Snowbird and Alta areas of Utah. Whether your style is to enjoy a luxurious mountain home or a cozy condominium nestled against the mountain, we have it all. Start planning your mountain wedding today and stay at one of our vacation rentals! [...]

Utah Summer Vacations in Alta-Snowbird

One of the most common misconceptions about ski areas is that there is nothing to do when the snow melts. While that may be true for some locations, the same isn’t for Alta-Snowbird during the Utah summer. What’s more, because of our crisp mountain atmosphere, you won’t find yourself drenched in sweat after a short hike. Now, if you’re planning to enjoy the Utah summer in Alta-Snowbird, you’re going to need a place to stay that has all the amenities to make your getaway a seamless experience. Thankfully, Canyon Services offers a delightful assortment of vacation rentals that come with [...]

Peruvian Tunnel Museum Part II

It was a glorious, though too warm, spring morning today as the sun crested the Mount Sugarloaf shoulder and shone brightly down on the small crowd holding a memorial service for Snowbird’s own Chip Loring who passed away in 2020. Chip was a long-time instructor with the Mountain School and fervent collector of relics from within the canyon walls of Little Cottonwood. He’ll be missed by many. Inside the tunnel work continues as those of us who find rust and iron an interesting part of history remove items that previously cluttered the tunnel and relocate those that remain to form [...]

April 3rd, 2021|Categories: Local Flavor|

Peruvian Tunnel Museum Part I

Canyon Blog had the honor and pleasure of assisting with the recrafting of Snowbird’s Peruvian tunnel over the past few months. The tunnel itself was created over two summers to connect the Little Cottonwood side of Snowbird resort with its expanded terrain in Mineral Basin, itself named for the rich mining history in the upper reaches of American Fork Canyon. The tunnel has almost become a destination of its own given the fascinating items and their stories. It was bored over two summers through 600 feet of solid rock at a cost of $1.4 million and takes four minutes to [...]

March 13th, 2021|Categories: Local Flavor|

Why You Should Book Your Utah Vacation Rental Now

The Wasatch Mountains, one of the nation’s most distinct ranges, serves as an elite skiing and cold-weather getaway destination for those who adore winter sports. However, many may not realize that when the snow melts and the sun shines, the Alta-Snowbird ski area takes on a new persona rife with alpine adventures like hiking, kayaking, and mountain biking—among others. Nestled within the Little Cottonwood Canyon, Canyon Services is already preparing to host a bevy of guests who need a summer retreat. From sprawling mountain prairies to forgotten and hidden gems, there are many reasons to reserve a Utah vacation rental [...]

The Power of Winter

We spend so much of our time in conversation and projecting our thoughts onto and into the broader world and those around us. One of the aspects of spending time with mountains in the wintertime is to listen because they speak back. If we’re quiet. Other times it doesn’t matter if we’re quiet or not. When the mountains decide to announce themselves, we’ve no real choice. And no message is conveyed by the slopes of winter more clearly than avalanches. This week’s message, courtesy of Albion Basin, was “You’re not as big as you think you are.” This month’s photos, [...]

February 4th, 2021|Categories: Outdoors|

A Digital Detox in Alta-Snowbird

It seems impossible to do anything without a smartphone, tablet, or laptop by our side in this day and age. Moment by moment, we become increasingly reliant on technologies that seemingly make life easier, but at what cost? Surely things that help us learn, communicate, and share ideas with people worldwide can't be so bad. Still, just like everything else, it's important to practice moderation when it comes to technology. One effective way to bring balance into your life is to seek refuge from the daily information-overload by embarking on a digital detox. A few recent studies have shown that [...]

Utah Snow: The Greatest Snow on Earth!

Utah's reputation for having the "Greatest Snow On Earth" is possibly one of the most outstanding examples of how marketing and science can shape the way people think of a place. It's no secret that the Utah snow is some of the best on the planet, but some may be asking themselves, "How is it possible?" Parts of the Wasatch Mountains accumulate more snow than anywhere else in North America, but not all the ski areas are the same. While places like Alta-Snowbird get more snow than anywhere else in Utah, some, like Deer Valley, have only modest snow totals [...]

Skiing Safely in 2021

Well, the long anticipated and hoped for arrival of AD 2021 is here. Canyon Blog is no virologist, or scientist of any type really, but he did dedicate several years of his life to combating biological weapons proliferation around the world. What’s that have to do with skiing in Little Cottonwood Canyon one might ask? Very little. But it does go some distance in explaining your correspondent’s assessment skills of procedures in place by Alta and Snowbird as they conduct operations during this most unique ski season to keep us all safe. The first Monday after the holiday seemed to [...]

January 6th, 2021|Categories: Outdoors|

A Day With Wasatch Adaptive Sports

One of the unique opportunities that exists in this spectacular little canyon is the gigantic, herculean even, efforts of the good people at Wasatch Adaptive Sports (WAS) in their mission to encourage those with adaptive needs and their families to realize their potential through recreation. In the wintertime at Snowbird that takes the form of skiing or snowboarding. Your correspondent spent a day this week with Phil, a Utah transplant and customer of WAS since the winter of 1992. Upon moving to the state as a schoolteacher, a new acquaintance asked him, “Do you ski?” Which struck the mathematics and [...]

December 21st, 2020|Categories: Outdoors|

Embrace the Snow: Utah Winter Getaways

Making the most of winter is a lifestyle for those of us residing in the Wasatch Mountains. As autumn wanders out the door like the last guest at Thanksgiving dinner, the temperatures fall, the snow piles up, and the Alta-Snowbird ski area will be rife with slopeside patrons. But don't let the prospect of waist-high powder discourage you from enjoying a Utah winter getaway. There's something to be said about the sound of boots crunching on a new layer of snow or being the first person to glide down a mountain on a brisk morning. Now is the time to [...]

And We’re Off!

The season has officially begun at Alta. Canyon Blog dropped into everyone’s favorite powder resort on day two of the season to assess how safety and satisfaction might intersect in this unprecedented environment. And the answer is: really well. Masks are required on lifts, indoors and anywhere that you can’t maintain a safe standoff distance from others. To help with the lines there are additional ques to keep us all apart. Also, groups not together do not have to share chairs. Dining will be limited with greater spacing and prepackaged food.  For more information visit Alta’s Covid-19 Response page [...]

November 24th, 2020|Categories: Outdoors|

A Winter Vacation in the Wasatch Mountains: Snowbird, Utah

At no better time does Snowbird, Utah, live up to its name than during the holiday season. In a matter of weeks, the Wasatch Mountains will be covered in a blanket of fresh powder, lending itself to a magnificent transformation that morphs the fabled alpine forests into a winter wonderland and provides seemingly endless enjoyment to visitors and locals alike. This holiday season, Canyon Services invites you to change things up by celebrating in the comfort of a Utah vacation rental property. Ideally located within Little Cottonwood Canyon, our vacation homes come in various options ranging from mountainside condos to [...]


UDOT Goes BOOM! Canyon Blog spent a frigid (and welcome) afternoon surveying the Utah Department of Transportation’s latest contributions to avalanche mitigation and control. If you haven’t been in Little Cottonwood Canyon since before the word “virus” came to dominate the world, you’ll notice some changes looking north along Emma Ridge above Alta. Damian Jackson is the UDOT Safety Supervisor for Highway 210 stretching from the mouth of Little Cottonwood to its terminus in town. As such, the 12 Wyssen (pronounced “Wee-sen”) exploders newly placed over the summer are his responsibility. These newest installments are designed to “modernize our program [...]

October 27th, 2020|Categories: Outdoors|

Skiing in Utah: What to Pack for a Ski Trip

Deciding what to pack for a ski trip can feel like a daunting process, but it doesn't have to be overwhelmingly stressful. While it's not overly challenging to rent or buy essential items once you've arrived at your destination, it's never a bad idea to have a plan in place to pack accordingly. As such, if you realize you've forgotten something as you're unpacking, you'll be able to mitigate your misstep quickly. When skiing in Utah, especially if you've traveled far, the list doesn't have to include every provision in your bag. However, keeping track of the essential items will [...]

Deciding Between 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 [...]

Welcome to ‘71

Welcome to '71 It may feel like a summer of change with social restrictions and reduced opportunities but at Snowbird activities remain open for a bit longer and the weather continues to facilitate immersion in the mountains. However, this month's blog is about the great indoors, specifically The Cliff Lodge's reinvented restaurant SeventyOne. Your correspondent had been meaning to stroll in and sample its board of fare for some time and Labor Day weekend provided just the opportunity. The first thing you’ll notice, indeed is unavoidable, is the décor. Drawing on the restaurant’s name of SeventyOne, the year Snowbird opened [...]

September 7th, 2020|Categories: Local Flavor|

Mountain Retreats to Alta and Snowbird, UT

While it may not seem like it now, winter is just around the corner, but there is still plenty of time to get out and enjoy the comfortable autumn weather before the snow starts dropping. As much as we love summer, fall is an excellent time for a mountain retreat to Alta and Snowbird, Utah. As the warm temperatures diminish, so do the number of tourists before ski season starts, creating the perfect opportunity for those hoping to avoid crowds. Moreover, the crisp autumn winds lend themselves to a variety of outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy in cooler weather. [...]

Big Changes at Alta

Big Changes at Alta Alta continues to make changes to facilities and the slopes on schedule ahead of this year’s ski season. Canyon Blog met up with Alta Ski Lift General Manager Mike Maughan to see firsthand what the resort was getting up to over the summer. Slopes first because, well, nothing’s more important than the actual skiing. At the bottom of the hill dirt was removed to smooth out the pitch on lower Sunnyside (leading to Albion Grill) so there isn’t a steep ridge for beginners to navigate. At the top of Supreme the slope’s been graded to add [...]

August 12th, 2020|Categories: Interviews|

Glorious Summer

The best of the off (ski) season is upon us. Hiking trails are open across both Alta and Snowbird terrain with wildflower blooms assaulting the senses without remorse, those cheeky buggers. The pristine feel of Utah’s premier alpine destination is everywhere in the canyon. Canyon Blog has been covering both resorts as well as the north side of the canyon on foot and doing his journalistic best to capture the glory in amazing Android phone technicolor. Sadly, for readers of this space, Canyon Services retained your correspondent for his writing and not his photographic prowess. Aspiring Ansel Adams limitations aside, [...]

July 20th, 2020|Categories: Outdoors|

We’re most definitely Open

It’s still spring and there’s still snow (if you want it that is). Unbelievably, the mountains delivered another foot of fresh last week, thus extending the white just a little bit closer to summer’s official start. Your correspondent continues to make tracks here and there across Alta and Snowbird, the latter having opened uphill travel a few weeks ago. Right now the mountain is the perfect mix of a little skiing here or there and trail hiking. It remains important to keep safe from a health standpoint and Canyon Services is here to help by providing private accommodations in the [...]

June 13th, 2020|Categories: Local Flavor|

A Most Unusual Spring

Well, the season has run its course in a most unanticipated way. With both resorts shuttered due to “viral considerations” Little Cottonwood Canyon has taken on something of a bygone era feel. Snowbird is closed to all up and downhill traffic and will remain that way until public safety can be assured. They expect to roar back for summer so stay tuned for updates. Alta on the other hand, is open for all to enjoy safely and at a distance. It’s been strange to slap on the alpine touring skis and have the run of the resort and first tracks [...]

April 20th, 2020|Categories: Uncategorized|

Safety at Alta

Canyon Blog spent an afternoon chatting with Alta safety director Dave Richards in his office. During the lull in skiing that’s struck the nation there was time to be shared. In a canyon populated by transplants, Dave’s the rare local born and bred, not just in Utah but the canyon itself. He grew up at Alta where his dad was a ski patroller for three decades and his mother an employee at The Rustler lodge. He was a pro skier for a time in his youth before working as a heli skiing guide until he eventually found himself skiing his [...]

March 20th, 2020|Categories: Local Flavor|


Well, it’s happened. So much snow we had to shut the canyon and both Snowbird and Alta for two days. Snowbird has recorded a whopping 409” so far with Alta right behind (It’s still a mystery to your correspondent how the down canyon resort ends up with greater snowfall, but no matter) and skiable bases of over 12 feet. Forty-eight hours of snowfall delivered 34 inches of white. For the past two days those of us in the canyon haven’t moved, and that’s a literal interpretation. Safety officials, in conjunction with both resorts, maintained a strict interlodge for Thursday and [...]

February 9th, 2020|Categories: Local Flavor|