Alta Snowbird Vacation Planning – Little Cottonwood Transportation

Whether this will be your first trip to the beautiful slopes and perfect powder of the mountains surrounding Salt Lake City or you’re a seasoned veteran who comes in July for the wildflowers, there are always questions that come up. That is what our new series on this blog will aim to address. When we asked the Reservations team what gets asked about most often, the response was immediate: Transportation.

Selecting the right transportation

The Right Transportation graphic.

If you were to call and ask if you need to rent a car, you’ll be asked a number of questions to help make that decision:

Will there be any small children in your party?
While both Shuttle Companies we regularly work with are happy to have children along, any parent who has travelled with small children can attest to the extra complications implicit in their inclusion. To reduce stress open up options, we typically recommend a rental car to any family with small children.

Do you plan on visiting Park City, Downtown Salt Lake, or ski resorts other than Alta and Snowbird?
Little Cottonwood Canyon is an escape from the rest of the world.  While this is exactly what some folks are looking for, others want more variety while vacationing.  There are inter-canyon shuttles available, but many of our guests who do venture beyond our canyon prefer to rent a car to maximize your adventuring flexibility.

Will your entire party be both arriving and departing at the same time?
If you have any guests arriving separately, we recommend a shared shuttle.  Different flights, even arriving at the same time run the risk of a flight being cancelled and half of your group being left behind.

Have you ever driven in snow before?
When answering this, keep in mind that the mountain road to access our condos is a single lane in each direction, and there are no street lights.  Any cars on the roads in Little Cottonwood Canyon between November and April must have snow tires and be 4×4.  If you are not completely confident, we urge you to take a shuttle.

Transportation Options

Private Shuttle
A private SUV for your entire party,  the drive up the canyon includes a 30 minute stop for groceries, gear, or liquor.  Any time over the first 30 minutes is an additional per minute charge.

Shared Shuttle
Shuttles leave for Alta/Snowbird about every half hour, so the wait is never too long.  No grocery stop is included.

Rental Car
Any cars coming up the canyon in the winter must have 4×4, we recommend booking early to ensure you have a car the authorities will allow up the canyon.  Yes, the police will stop you, and No, you don’t want that ticket.

What about Uber/Lyft/Shared Ride Services?
Unless you are willing to pay for an Uber Black, there is no way to be sure the car is properly equipped to go up the canyon.  We do not recommend Shared Rides.

snow-covered road at night.

Now that you know the basic answer to the question, what’s the next step?  Our reservationists can happily set up a shuttle for you, simply call them at 888-546-5707 with your reservation number, or you can go directly to the shuttle companies: Alta Shuttle or Canyon Transportation.  If renting a car, we have a negotiated rate with Enterprise Rent-A-Car, which you can book here.

In our new blog series, some of the topics we are asked about often and plan to cover include: Ski Passes, When to Start Planning Next Year, and Things to do after a day on the Slopes.  What would you like to see us answer in future blogs?

Photos courtesy of Alta Shuttles