Alta opened on this day 80 years ago

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ALTA (AHL-tuh)

A ski resort of central Utah
clues: Utah ski resort; Resort near Snowbird; Wasatch Mountains ski resort
Crossword puzzle frequency: 4 times a year
Frequency in English language: 53374 / 86800
News: 6 Best Ski Resorts in the U.S. this Season
Crazy Powder Run at Alta Ski Resort

Alta is a ski resort located in the Wasatch Mountains just east of Salt Lake City, Utah. With a slogan of "The greatest snow on Earth," the skiable area consists of 2200 acres (8.9 km²), beginning at a base elevation of 8,530 ft (2,600 m) and rising to 10,550 ft (3,216 m) for a vertical gain of 2020 ft (616 m).

It has an average annual snowfall of over 500 inches (12.7 m). Alta is one of the oldest ski resorts in the country, and it has become a haven for purists, since no snowboarders are allowed.

Alta is one of the oldest ski areas in the U.S. The community of Alta was established in 1871 as an offshoot of the silver mining operations in Little Cottonwood Canyon. A fire that destroyed most of the town in 1878 and a cataclysmic avalanche in 1885, combined with the decline of mining in the area in the last decade of the 19th century, heralded a period of dormancy for the town. The area did experience a modest resurgence in mining in the 1900s, but the town declined again shortly thereafter, and was deserted with the exception of a few hardy miners who continued to intermittently prospect the area.

In 1935 the U.S. Forest Service retained the noted skier Alf Engen to hike into the area and determine its potential as a future ski area. Engen's reports expressed great promise for the area, and recommended the purchase of additional surrounding lands to form the ski area. In 1937 a prominent Salt Lake City lawyer, Joe Quinney, along with other local businessmen, formed the Utah Winter Sports Association to oversee the development of skiing at Alta. In the following year construction began on the original Collins chairlift, then just the second such lift in the United States, after Sun Valley.[citation needed] Alta opened to skiers for the first time on January 15, 1939, offering a single ride on the chair for 25 cents, or a full day pass for $1.50.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Alta Ski Area".