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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.

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 15th, 2020|Categories: Local Flavor|Tags: , , , , , , |

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|

Woo Hoo!

Your loyal blogger made his first formal assessment of the season’s potential by investigating Alta on the morning of December 2nd. First the vital statistics. No crowds. Plenty of groomers. Supreme isn’t open yet and many of the steeper routes like High Rustler and Ballroom are closed. Many other slopes are still on the receiving end Alta Ski Patrol bombs. Nothing says winter quite like a hand tossed explosion at 25,000 feet per second. Except perhaps the Howitzers… Canyon Services is open for business and our luxurious homes in the Village of Sugarplum as well as other condos are [...]

December 3rd, 2019|Categories: News|

An Interview with Snowbird General Manager Dave Fields

Canyon Blog: Congratulations on the ascension to Snowbird’s loftiest position. When did that happen? Dave Fields: Thank you. It’s been two years now. CB: I’m not exactly Mister Current Affairs. Tell us a little about yourself. DF: Well, I’m married with two teens and grew up in the canyon, living in the Rustler Lodge actually. My dad worked in Alta for 30 years. I studied journalism at the U and initially worked in Park City. Then I got hired by Snowbird in 2000 as assistant public relations director. CB: Did you know you wanted to stay here or aspire to [...]

November 14th, 2019|Categories: Local Flavor|


It’s that time of year here in Little Cottonwood Canyon. Snowbird’s tribute to beer and all things German has begun in earnest now that Oktoberfest is in full swing. Every weekend from noon to 6 PM through October 20th you can unpack your lederhosen and dirndl and pull last year’s steins off the shelf. With a quick dusting and a wash, you’re ready. Snowbird’s fest differs from the original in Munich which extends only two and a half weeks from late September through the first October weekend, whereas ours covers ten full weekends of Deutsch tradition fused with Utah mountains. As [...]

September 1st, 2019|Categories: Local Flavor|

Mountain Orchids

Recently your correspondent spent a rainy day hiking Peruvian Gulch and Cirque Ridge, mostly trying to resolve a writing quandary but also because rain keeps fellow hikers to a minimum and allows you to enjoy popular trails. There’s also something about rainy hikes that draws your attention to subjects that don’t normally capture your attention and a few minutes into the hike the consternation was forgotten. It was in this particular frame of mind that Canyon Blog repeatedly crossed paths with his favorite alpine flower of all, the Colorado Columbine. The rain, light and contrast against a dewy backdrop made [...]

August 2nd, 2019|Categories: Local Flavor|

New York Times Bestseller – Alone at Dawn

**UPDATE** Alone at Dawn is now a New York Times Bestseller It’s not widely known that your loyal Canyon Blog blogger has an actual (or perhaps secret) identity as Dan Schilling, author.  Improbable but true. My forthcoming book, Alone at Dawn tells the story of the first US Air Force Medal of Honor recipient in nearly half a century and is available through your favorite book seller June 25th. John Chapman was killed in Afghanistan in 2002 saving the lives of 23 comrades but launched a legacy that reaches across the country until this day through his heroism and as a member [...]

June 22nd, 2019|Categories: News|

60 Feet and Father’s Day

Canyon blog was skinning upslope below Baldy on a pleasant morning enjoying the remnants of our 700+ inch year when father and son ski team Greg and Luke Steele slid past having just come out of the main Baldy chute and dropping onto the apron. Both parties stopped to exchange hellos. You don’t see an abundance of kids doing AT skiing and chutes with dad, so your correspondent reached into his investigative journalist tool bag to interrogate the teen. Canyon Blog: “Is this your only sport?” Luke (age 14): “No. I like road biking.” CB: “That’s not a real sport, [...]

June 11th, 2019|Categories: News|

The Gift That Keeps on Giving… 2019 Storm Cycle

The 2019 season just won’t quit, and on the advice of your correspondent, neither should you. Another week, another monster storm, 42 inches. On top of that, the temps were down so it’s been nonstop pow. Canyon Blog lapped this little gem three times after it opened before any other tracks appeared. Don’t be jealous, be mobile. Book a flight and a Canyon Services property and get out here. More snow’s on the way. Alta is open two more weeks through April 28th. And Snowbird plans to keep the tram open till May 12th. The alternative is to leave all [...]

April 12th, 2019|Categories: News|

22 Hours; 22 Inches

It’s that time of year. And it’s one of those seasons. Yesterday was arguably one of the best powder days of 2019. As usual, Canyon Blog was in the snow to report the action for you, the loyal Canyon Services lodger. To say the snow was spectacular would be an understatement. Two feet of sugary goodness in one day was complimented by the mere handful of people in line at Alta. Your correspondent hoped to cover Snowbird as well, in the interests of full coverage, but the gates between the resorts were closed. Too much powder. Alternatively, he planned to capture [...]

March 30th, 2019|Categories: News|

Lift Lines of Little Cottonwood

Your correspondent, ever alert on behalf of his loyal readers, ventured forth today to determine the impact of spring break on lift lines. Given that we’re in mid-break for colleges around the country Canyon Blog tempered his expectations with the internal voice of reason. Only to discover, lo, there weren’t any. Lift lines or reason for that matter. So, here for your planning pleasure and travel temperament are the chairlift conditions encountered beginning at 1200 on March 19th via photo montage. Favorite of the day for your writer? Had to be rapid fire laps on Alta’s Supreme, though Little Cloud [...]

March 19th, 2019|Categories: News|

The Epicurean Alchemists of Alta

This month your blogger had the wonderful opportunity to experience dining at its finest at Little Cottonwood’s only stand-alone restaurant, The Shallow Shaft. And what a restaurant it is, as both an institution unto itself and constant pursuer of culinary perfection. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Originally a ski repair shop, it has served up dishes in its current incarnation for 51 years and gets its name from the miner’s phrase for grabbing beer and grub and repairing for the evening in what they termed taking a “shallow shaft.” Now it’s a premier dining experience destination. You wouldn’t think a [...]

February 12th, 2019|Categories: Local Flavor|

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year…

You’d think that headline was a holdover from Christmas but it isn’t. Right now is still early season but with great snow and no midweek crowds. Yesterday’s fresh 12 inches and today’s additional foot plus of powder are just the beginning. Tonight and tomorrow promise another foot of fallen. So here’s the question: Do you really need to keep that dentist appointment next week? Regarding work and that “all important” meeting that’s anchoring your entire week, why not conference call in with your inputs? Do it from Alf’s restaurant or the summit at Snowbird. They’ll never know. Better yet, [...]

January 19th, 2019|Categories: News|

The Weather Outside is Frightful (soon!)

The season is truly upon us. While we’re not at 100 inches of base yet (both the Bird and Alta are claiming just under four feet), snow is on the way. Your correspondent shouldered the heavy burden of skiing every lift open in the canyon (okay, not Chickadee) to provide you, his loyal readers, a comprehensive assessment going into this holiday season. Happy to say Supreme is up and running, though Catherine’s may leave a mark and require a bit of P-tex if one’s not careful. Groomers and moguls are already looking good with adequate coverage at hand across the [...]

December 23rd, 2018|Categories: News|

Dateline November 19, 2018, Alta

Your correspondent was standing idly in the lower Alta parking lot packing up his speedwing after flying from Cardiff Peak when Mike Maughan, Alta Ski Lift general manager, drove up to say hello. Thinking quickly, Canyon Blog produced his press credentials (valid only in Little Cottonwood Canyon) and requested a no notice interview. To Mike’s credit (with three days till opening he’s an extremely busy individual) he agreed to meet at his office tantalizingly close to the Collins lift that could be seen running from the far end of the parking lot. It was then yours truly, using the best [...]

November 20th, 2018|Categories: News|

Oktoberfest (In October!)

In Little Cottonwood residents often refer to Snowbird’s tribute to beer and German cuisine as Augustfest, given that the festival begins in mid-summer (Aug 18th) and occupies every weekend from noon to 6 PM through October 21st. This differs from the original in Munich which extends only two and a half weeks from late September through the first October weekend. One of the secrets unshared (but now revealed here as a worldwide release) is that the best weekends at Snowbird’s festival are those that take place in the actual month of October. If you can pick a cool day [...]

October 14th, 2018|Categories: News|

Bullwinkle Gets the Girl

Spring may be when a young man’s fancy turns to love, but up here at tree line if you’re a moose it’s fall. Canyon Blog managed to capture local bachelor and amorous ungulate Bullwinkle in action with the help of remote equipment and local photographer Zach Spilinek last week. As we headed up Albion Basin to film a speedwing flight (subject for a future blog) Bullwinkle came ambling up slope. This is not necessarily a good thing as rut sends bulls into a particularly unstable state of mind, making prediction of what happens next anything but a sure bet. It [...]

September 17th, 2018|Categories: Local Flavor|

Building Bridges at Snowbird

Changes continue to happen at everyone’s favorite bird. This summer saw the biggest changes to the Snowbird center since construction was completed in the early seventies. Most prominently and obvious to returning skiers this upcoming season is the three-span foot bridge connecting The Cliff Lodge with the center. Long overdue, it will allow access between them without sliding your way across Chickadee run while simultaneously dodging beginners. Also key for skier convenience is the bridge connecting the center with Peruvian lift. No longer will you have to cross the dreaded Chickadee gauntlet and then skate up to the lift or [...]

August 21st, 2018|Categories: News|

Alta’s Open

Mooses, music and Flowers As previously noted in this space, Alta is running Sunnyside lift Saturdays, Sundays and holidays through September 3rd. On Saturdays music is on the patio at the Albion Grill and where parking is always free. Canyon Blog stepped into the scene to sample the music, capture a few photos of wildlife and flora and grab a beer. The weather was cooperative. For your correspondent that equates to some drizzle to keep the crowds and dust down on the trail. After hopping on the chairlift to experience a leisurely ascent (the only time this skier will [...]

July 15th, 2018|Categories: News|

Welcome to the new Albion Basin

This month your blogger met with Alta’s new (and second ever) marketing director, Brandon Ott. Brandon’s been on the job for a couple months now and we sat down to discuss the big changes in the works. Of these there were many. For the first time in Alta’s 80-year history they’re running a summer lift for hikers and families to enjoy and gain access to Albion Basin. “Albion Basin has been over loved and our plan is intended to encourage responsible hiking while maintaining the basin’s pristine condition,” he stated when we met at his office June 12th. Running Sunnyside [...]

June 12th, 2018|Categories: News|

Father and Son Outing

With spring skiing comes the opportunity for bonding outside the normal family work/school routine drag. This week your correspondent chanced upon a pleasant duo in the form of Larry and his son Jack, enjoying a stay in a Canyon Services property and taking advantage of the full spectrum of spring terrain and sunshine. Larry is a literary agent from the Big Apple and wanted fifteen-year-old Jack to experience the best mountain resort skiing in the country, so naturally they wound up in Little Cottonwood Canyon with direct ski access to Snowbird and Alta. Canyon Blog agreed to join in and [...]

April 5th, 2018|Categories: News|

An afternoon with Wasatch Adaptive Sports

If you’ve called the Reservations Team of Canyon Services within the last few years, there’s a good chance that you’ve spoken with Meagan.  What most folks don’t know, however, is that while she grew up in Salt Lake, hiking and skiing our beautiful mountains, she hasn’t been able to go out and enjoy these active pursuits for a few years, due to a chronic, invisible illness which drastically changed Meagan’s life a few years back.  After Canyon Services’ blog featured Wasatch Adaptive Sports last August and again in February, Meagan decided to give them a call for herself and see if they could [...]

April 4th, 2018|Categories: Local Flavor|

Spring (without the masses), a technical report

One of the wonderful things about writing a web log is the visual aspects. As a writer, one tends to emphasize words, but this space is about skiing, the mountains and locals, transferred from your correspondent to you, loyal readers. And those subjects are to be experienced, first-hand to be fully enjoyed. It’s the reason you read this space at all. For this installment, Canyon Blog went out one spring afternoon and rode every lift between Snowbird and Alta, to gauge the average wait time and crowd density on your behalf. It was a daunting and tough assignment, but [...]

March 22nd, 2018|Categories: News|

Crushing it with Wasatch Adaptive Sports

Canyon Blog spent the day with Wasatch Adaptive Sports, Utah’s premier adaptive program for winter and summer sports , where he had the honor of working with Jonathon Blank on a mono ski. Jonathon is a Utah resident and combat medically retired Marine from Force Recon. He was pretty much a kick ass guy before he retired, when his injuries from combat put him on a different course, specifically, on Snowbird ski runs and where he definitely still kicks ass. Turns out the Marine, who’d only ever skied twice before his injuries, and has received instruction from WAS only twice, is [...]

February 22nd, 2018|Categories: News|


It finally hit. Last night the storm rolled in, crept might be a better description, seeping up the canyon like water flowing uphill. By 9PM there was no doubt it had arrived. Visibility zero, temperatures a comfortable 25, wind negligible. By 5AM it was interlodge in Canyon Services country. But the best news (if you were renting a vacation home in the village or one of our other properties) was when Highway 210 shutdown for three hours in the morning. Why is that? Because by first lift we’d already had 15” at Alta and 16” at Snowbird (Canyon Blog can [...]

February 19th, 2018|Categories: News|

A Day With Pro Skier JT Holmes

Canyon Blog had the opportunity to spend time with the world-renowned skier, ski-BASE and airborne sport pioneer. In town for a corporate leadership event at Snowbird’s Cliff Lodge, he gave an inspiring keynote on the challenges and joys of a life in professional extreme sports. For an hour he held 140 attendees spellbound, before being feted at the Aerie afterwards. Your correspondent tagged along, not so much for JT’s stories (I know all of them) but for the free drinks and festive atmosphere at Snowbird's classiest bar. The next morning, moving slightly slower than usual, we met at Snowbird for [...]

February 14th, 2018|Categories: News|

Alta After Dark

At night they came, girded for battle and invading the town’s only “designated” (for what slope in Alta isn’t its own, self-contained shrine?) place of worship, Our Lady of the Snows. Surely the fiercest combatants to inhabit Alta and enter its coliseum, to compete in the town’s premiere gladiatorial event. Your correspondent wisely stood far back in the wild crowd, observing safely from the perimeter. The first two gladiators approached the ring, eyeing daggers at one another, hoping to gain the upper hand before the battle commenced. Seated, they nodded cordially enough, but when the official referee turned them loose, it [...]

January 10th, 2018|Categories: News|

The New Supreme

Ride Alta's Newest Chairlift December 23rd saw the opening of Alta’s newest chairlift, the revamped Supreme chair. Your correspondent was present on behalf of skiers everywhere with an interest in what exactly the new lift was going to do, and not do. Given the dearth of snowfall so far this season, the heavy (okay, moderate, but we’re working with slim numbers to date in 2017/18) snowfall was an auspicious portent. Over a foot fell and Canyon Blog took the opportunity to visit the new lift late in the afternoon when the skiers had thinned out, which turned out to be an [...]

December 26th, 2017|Categories: News|

Waiting for Snow with Alta’s CEO

Canyon Blog had intended to post this month on the ski conditions and early season to instill jealousy in readers from distant lands. Sadly, such is not the case. The snow gods are punishing Little Cottonwood Canyon (and more importantly and deservedly, Park City) for some as yet to be revealed infraction. Instead, your correspondent took the opportunity to sit down with Alta’s new General Manager, Mike Maughan, in his corner office. The idle Collins and Wildcat chairlifts tantalizingly close yet forlorn through the window. Canyon Blog: Everyone in Little Cottonwood has a tale regarding their journey, tell us a bit [...]

November 27th, 2017|Categories: News|

Friends in High Places (sort of)

One of the things about being a writer is the hours. By that you can infer they’re terrible. At any time, inspiration may come to you and you’ll find yourself up at 2 AM or conversely, dragging yourself through a slow afternoon. The upside is, when it’s time for a fall hike or to ski some lines, one can slam the laptop closed and walk out the door. If you’re in Alta, opening that door delivers you to the mountains. It’s unavoidable really. This afternoon your correspondent set out to climb the south ridge of Mount Superior and gain some distance from [...]

October 7th, 2017|Categories: Local Flavor|

Alta Snowbird Transportation, or: Do I need to Rent a Car?

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 If you were to call and ask if you need to rent a car, you’ll be asked a [...]

September 14th, 2017|Categories: Questions Answered|

High Altitude, High Stakes

They gathered. From across the nation and even the sea: Madison, Wisconsin; Cody, Wyoming; Auburn, Washington; LA; even Seefeld, Austria. Card wielding gladiators at one of the world’s elite annual poker summits. 2017 found the combatants in Canyon Services digs in Alta, duking it out in residential style in our pristine alpine environ. For over 37 years this particular battle has raged across the country, changing venues each year in order to deal 5 card draw and 7 card stud. Six friends, whose individual competitive edges have been honed through decades of reading each other’s tells and betting patterns. Or, [...]

September 11th, 2017|Categories: News|

A Total Eclipse

Dateline: August 21, 2017, Alta (Wyoming, population 394). Even to the remote wilds of the Idaho/Wyoming border they descended. RV’ers from Hungary. Local rednecks. Or Salt Lake City, in the case of Tommy and Katie, a wonderfully pleasant couple who’d staked out their spot early but agreed to share some mountain with your blogger’s family. All of us were hearty, desperate pilgrims , hoping to remain removed from the crowds.   The reason? A total solar eclipse, a happenstance of regularly overlapping orbits aligned against a piece of terrestrial turf. Yet there’s something heartening about hundreds of thousands (millions?), trekking [...]

August 22nd, 2017|Categories: News|

Get involved with Wasatch Adaptive Sports!

Abbie from the Wasatch Adaptive Sports team here, reporting for duty as a guest blogger for our friends at Canyon Services! As a nonprofit organization based at Snowbird and a member of the vibrant and incredibly supportive Little Cottonwood Canyon community, I’m excited to share more about WAS including what we do, who we serve, and how you can get involved. Founded in 1977 (happy 40th birthday to us!), WAS is guided by our mission to encourage individuals with adaptive needs and their families to realize their potential and engage in active living through recreational, educational, and social programs.  We [...]

August 18th, 2017|Categories: Local Flavor|

Surprises in the Dark

Nocturnal wanderings are the stuff of Thoreau and special operations. The senses come alive. Smell is more acute. Some plants are known to be more fragrant in the early morning, attracting the early bird as it were. And sound, of course, also comes to you in a primal manner. Slipping through the undergrowth in the dark is an enjoyable way to pass some hours. It feeds the heightened senses. It’s inescapable.  Shapes take on a life and one has to be careful not to ascribe ancestral fears to the apparitions and figures your eyes and imagination latch onto. A human in [...]

July 12th, 2017|Categories: Local Flavor|

Season’s Done, Summer’s Begun

2016/17 Ski Season Concludes The last day of Utah’s ski season concluded today. Under extremely windy conditions the fashion blind took to the slopes for a final outing and celebration. Little Cloud was the only thing running, with the “snake” making its appearance off Road to Provo as a (mostly) patient crowd waited for their turn. Seeking to capture the action, your correspondent bailed out halfway through the luge style run when he encountered possibly the most egregious outfits on the slope. Three guys going by the names of Alex “Big” Bertha (wearing a disturbingly short set of lederhosen), Cammy [...]

June 10th, 2017|Categories: News|

Skiing’s Still On!

Well, spring is clearly upon us. Alta is closed but don't dispair! Snowbird continues to run the tram, Chickadee and Little Cloud for approximately two more weeks. And here’s the thing, the great corn and festive atmosphere drives on with a base of 123” on a nearly 600” year. There’s still time my friends. On the mountain for Cinco De Mayo Canyon Blog encountered Tristan and Matt skiing down Peruvian with a BBQ grill in hand. Where they intended to fire up was a question your correspondent failed to learn. But one couldn’t argue with their plan. Not one for excessive laboring, [...]

May 5th, 2017|Categories: Local Flavor|

Summer Magic

Summer in Little Cottonwood Canyon is magical! Our snowy mountains transform from a skiers paradise into a mecca for hiking, biking, rock climbing, and amazing festivals and events. With warm sunny days and cool nights, the temperatures are perfect for enjoying the great outdoors. Both Alta and Snowbird host festivals and events throughout the season, so get ready to mark your calendar and put some of them on your bucket list! World Class Events 9th Annual Brewfest at Snowbird | In June, twenty-six local and national breweries sample their finest brews alongside live music and food stations. Gather your friends and [...]

May 3rd, 2017|Categories: Local Flavor|

Spring Time in Utah

Spring time at Alta and Snowbird is awesome! We just enjoyed a number of bluebird days soaking up the sunshine and now the snow is falling. My fireplace is glowing and I'm so excited to be enjoying another winter day and the forecast is calling for snow over the next five days. This weather reminds me that skiing is not over, there are still turns to make and sunshine to enjoy (once the snow stops). Little Cottonwood Canyon has gotten over 400" of snow this year and Alta and Snowbird both have about 120" base. If you've visited this season you know [...]

March 23rd, 2017|Categories: Local Flavor|

Steve Young Classic and Wasatch Adaptive Sports

The 31st running of the Steve Young ski race pitting Wasatch Adaptive Sports participants against professional athletes ran with great success today at Snowbird Ski Resort. Under sunny skies and pleasant temperatures, the pros were once again trounced by the adaptive crowd. Raceway of Champions Your correspondent was fortunate enough to spend time with two of the 50+ racers and WAS veterans. Sophie, age 9 and fluent in Mandarin, was taking no guff from Chad Lewis, former NFL player and BYU Assistant Athletics Director and told him so in her native tongue. Conveniently Chad also speaks Mandarin and let [...]

March 18th, 2017|Categories: News|

Win a FREE Three Night Stay!

We want to see all the fun you’ve had this winter. Share a video from your trip to Alta and Snowbird from this season and enter to win a FREE three night stay at one of our properties for you and three of your favorite ski buddies! In just three easy steps, you could win... 1. Like us on facebook, twitter or instagram 2. Share your video, tag us in the post and hashtag #FunInLittleCottonwood 3. Entries must be posted by March 15, 2017 We’re looking forward to seeing all the fun you’ve been having, now start filming and hash tagging!

February 16th, 2017|Categories: Announcements|

Long Evenings, Good Books

In the winter the sun dips behind the mountains and evening can be long. A good book always helps me get through the long nights, until the sun comes up and I can get outside to play again. If you're stuck working this winter or, heaven forbid, in a place without snow why not at least read some tales of winter enjoyment. From fiction to fact, this list of 33 books has some great reads on it. Let us us know what you think of these books in the comments. Here are the three we're most excited about... 50 Classic Ski Decents of [...]

January 31st, 2017|Categories: Misc|

Powder and Avalanches

The past 36 hours have been a wild ride in Little Cottonwood. Avalanche control and road conditions were driving factors for many. But if you were lucky enough to be interlodged yesterday the winter storm experience was something spectacular. Just one of those “It’s going to be 6-9 inches in the canyon” days that shuts everything down. Yeah buddy. Expecting to find the few inches on the doorstep yesterday morning your correspondent was confronted with 3+ feet. Digging out this morning to catch the first Alta chairs took longer than expected. Arriving at Wildcat and Collins he was confronted with [...]

January 24th, 2017|Categories: News|

Powder Days

Tons of Snow at Alta Snowbird Two weeks into 2017 and snowfall amounts are looking good. The holiday crowds have gone for the moment, leaving the mountains congestion free. Well, perhaps congestion preferable is more accurate, at least during weekdays. This week Little Cottonwood got several feet in as many days. Canyon blog managed to score first trams at Snowbird through subterfuge Tuesday and yesterday. First tracks on upper and lower Cirque and shouts of 'woo hoo!' from across the mountain were common. After a brief closure for continued avalanche control Peruvian reopened and your correspondent was rewarded with an [...]

January 13th, 2017|Categories: News|

Happy New Year!

As we enter into 2017 we are reminded why, year after year we continue to live, work and play in Little Cottonwood Canyon. Here is our Top 10 reasons for why we LOVE Alta, Snowbird and the breathtaking mountains we call home... 10. We have four seasons all of which are fun to play outdoors! 9. Our animal friends in the canyon; our favorite to see? The Moose. 8. Mountains! Just walk outside, no matter where you look, you'll get a stunning view. 7. Sunshine! Even with all the snow we still see beautiful blue bird days. 6. Hiking, biking, camping and climbing! We [...]

January 2nd, 2017|Categories: Top 10|

Christmas POW!

From Canyon Blog to you and yours, a Merry Christmas and most joyous New Year! The POW has arrived, just in time for Santa. Feet expected in the next 36 hours. So don't delay, order your flight before midnight tonight! And just to add flavor (in case you're trapped in Detroit, Miami, LA or any other place not Snowbird or Alta) here's a couple shots of the crowds in Mineral Basin early Christmas Eve. Your corrspondent was forced to share the lift with one other skier (literally). Will these crowds never end?  Sigh...

December 24th, 2016|Categories: Announcements|

Candles and Christmas Trees at Snowbird

Join Snowbird and Wasatch Adaptive Sports in lighting up the holiday season in true alpine fashion. Snowbird plaza Saturday December 17th at 4:30PM is the place to be post ski. The celebration will begin with an Honor Guard presentation of colors accompanied by the Star-Spangled Banner, with a short presentation followed by candle lighting for participants of all ages. The event concludes with the annual lighting of Snowbird’s Highly Decorated trees in honor of America’s veterans, active duty military and their families and a public rendition of America the Beautiful. As a tribute to their sacrifice the trio of Rocky Mountain [...]

December 6th, 2016|Categories: News|

Happy Veterans Day

To all our veterans, thank you on behalf of America and the people around the world who have benefited from your service and sacrifice. Veterans Day on the mountain was quiet… and oddly lacking in snow. However, Canyon Blog has it on good authority that although there’s no snow on Baldy or Hidden Peak today (see banner photo), the snow gods have promised that by the end of next week we’ll be swimming in it. Truly. But back to our veterans. Your correspondent stopped by Wasatch Adaptive Sports at Snowbird yesterday and spent time talking with Alex Mansir and Dave [...]

November 11th, 2016|Categories: News|

The Hazards of Mountain Safety

Returning home from a month overseas I was saddened to learn of the tragic passing of Kasey Christiansen who featured in last month’s blog. He was killed Oct 12 while installing avalanche exploders above Blackjack Ridge. I beg Canyon Blog readers’ indulgence this month in order that I might say a few words about hazardous work and Kasey. I didn’t know Kasey well aside from the conversations he and I had on the mountain when I would visit his construction crew during my hikes along the ridge. But I enjoyed them as we had shared interests and backgrounds. Both of us [...]

November 7th, 2016|Categories: Announcements|

Ski Opening Day at Alta Snowbird

Hail , Ski-bums! We've already seen snow on our highest peaks and opening day at Alta (TBA) and Snowbird (November 19) is coming! You’ve been looking forward to it since April, and now it’s almost here! We've been dreaming of …fresh powder… …bluebird skies… …après drinks… And even though the real powder won’t set in for a little longer, hard-core skiers everywhere are chomping at the bit for first tracks on the slopes. Sure, it’s a bit rough on the joints…not to mention the gear—but so worth it!  Especially if you can come back to a stocked-for-you larder (and a fridge with your favorite [...]

September 20th, 2016|Categories: Local Flavor|

Avalanche Control Starts Early in Little Cottonwood

New Avalanche Exploders Installed in Little Cottonwood Canyon UDOT and Harrison Western Corporation are installing five Gazex avalanche exploders on the Snowbird side of Blackjack Ridge.  Your correspondent, never missing an opportunity to rationalize time away from the computer, climbed up to investigate and interrogate the construction crew. Sling loading their materials by Bell 212 Huey helicopter from the staging area in Alta’s main parking lot, their supplies and concrete moved via sling rope, each load’s arrival announced by rotor wash windstorm. For those who don’t know, avalanche exploders are the silver pipes sticking out of the lower slopes on [...]

September 3rd, 2016|Categories: News|

Oktoberfest at Snowbird

Fans of all things auf Deutsch unite Oktoberfest is in full swing in Little Cottonwood Canyon. Snowbird has raised the bar from years past and the results are superb. The celebration of German food, alpine music, and above all, beer, is enjoyed by more people this year than at any time in its history. Your blogger's first festive encounter were Dave and Michelle of Cottonwood Heights. Decked out in traditional lederhosen and dirndl and armed with full steins they cut a fashionable scene. When asked about their attire Dave replied, “We really enjoy the atmosphere every year and the outfits are just a great way [...]

August 21st, 2016|Categories: News|

Perseid Meteor Show in Little Cottonwood Canyon

Celestial Fireworks  This week kicked off the Perseid meteor shower here in the northern hemisphere. The annual arrival of detritus falling to earth from the Swift-Tuttle comet began Aug 3rd and runs through the 24th. 2016 is particularly spectacular as it’s an outburst year due to the gravitational influence of Jupiter and Saturn on the comet’s trajectory. Both of which are also easily viewed in the western sky as darkness sets in. At 3 O’clock this morning your correspondent hiked into the shadows of Peruvian Gulch to mask the light pollution of Salt Lake City, the right slopes providing the perfect east facing view. [...]

August 6th, 2016|Categories: News|

Little Cottonwood Canyon Wildflower Hiking Guide

Tips for enjoying and capturing the Wildflowers at Alta and Snowbird by Tom Kelly With the heat of July, daydreams of chest deep powder coming off Alf’s High Rustler seem oh so distant. But the winter’s snowfall is doing its job as waves of colorful wildflowers are sprouting all across the hillsides in Little Cottonwood Canyon. The entire Wasatch is alive with color this time of year. But nowhere is it more pronounced than on the mountain meadows surrounding Alta and Snowbird. All July and into August, wildflowers beckon hikers to the mountains - highlighted by the July 29-31 Wasatch Wildflower Festival. If [...]

July 24th, 2016|Categories: Local Flavor|

Alta’s New Bike Repair Station

Giving Back to the Alta Community Each year Alta Community Enrichment (ACE) gives $1000 back to the community by supporting a project in Alta or that affects Alta. This year they have chosen to erect a bike repair station near the picnic and summer both on Highway 210 near the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon. Sara Gibbs, ACE Director, shared that they "chose this community project based on Tim Roger's Community Service Grant funding in 2015." Tim is on Ski Patrol at Alta Ski Area and submitted to receive funding to do a similar project in Leavenworth, Washington, where he resides in [...]

July 21st, 2016|Categories: Announcements|

Discrete Peak Series at Alta

What is it about trail running that is so satisfying at the basic, animal level? A long, hard run, high in the canyon and away from everyone is the surest way to clear the mind and free up writer’s block or the frustrations of modern life. The best. So imagine the surprise of coming off Mt Baldy Peak early this afternoon and running smack into an aid station for the Discrete Peak Series race at the top of Wildcat lift. A short conversation and free Pro Bar later, his curiosity piqued, your correspondent ran to the Albion Lodge in time to catch the [...]

July 16th, 2016|Categories: News|

Rage at Snowbird

The race had all the trappings of a major mountain bike venue. Pro sponsors tents, local bike shops, expensive bikes, sculpted helmets and every accoutrement known to riders, including glasses worth more than your blogger’s car. In the race heat your blogger was most interested in the competitive animal was much in display. Jockeying for starting position, and the all-important “key hole shot” out of the gate, the racers were intimidating, even viewed from safely behind the barriers. There was no way Canyon Blog was getting in the ring with these race warriors. Of course everyone in the “Lil [...]

July 2nd, 2016|Categories: News|

Alta & Snowbird slopes have come alive for Summer

Skiing may be over but Hiking Trails are open in Little Cottonwood Canyon The ski season is finally over. No more false alarms. Aside from a dedicated group of hiker/skiers walking their boards up Wildcat last week even the diehards have given up the white ghost till fall. While there’s snow on the peaks and across swaths of upper slopes protected from the afternoon sun, you’ll have to search for it if you plan get in even a few turns. But the hiking and mountain biking trails are open. The white and red pine trail head parking lot were full last weekend [...]

June 14th, 2016|Categories: News|

Spring Ski Touring Still Open

Well, the ski season is finally over. Wait, that’s a horrible lie. True, the lifts are shut, even Snowbird’s limited weekend offerings. But for those of us still in the canyon there’s plenty of snow under your alpine touring skis. And if you’re lucky enough to be lodged in one of our premiere canyon properties it’s not too late to ski out the door, up the canyon to Alta, hang a right at Sugarloaf, top out, drop in on Collins and traverse back to luxury. Today’s conditions were soft but here’s the kicker, your blogger had the mountain to himself. And [...]

May 20th, 2016|Categories: News|

Alta in April – Stoked for Spring Skiing!

“Alta in April started to encourage people to keep skiing throughout the spring. The sun is shining, the base is deep and there are fun activities throughout the spring. It is such a fun time to be at Alta. Everyone is outside, people are wearing fun costumes, everyone’s stoke is so high, it’s contagious! It’s a fun time to celebrate another great winter season at Alta!” Maggie, Executive Director Alta Chamber and Visitors Bureau We couldn’t have said it better ourselves and we hope you’ll join us this year from April 1 to 16 for discounted Lift Tickets, Free Demo Day, [...]

March 4th, 2016|Categories: Local Flavor|

POW Day – January 13

You know that feeling of peace, calm and overwhelming joy on a Powder Day? The feeling that all is right with the world and you are one with mother nature. Climate change is effecting how many of those we see in our ski season and it's time to raise awareness! On January 13 come together with Alta Ski Area, Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort, Discrete Clothing, Protect our Winters and Ski Utah to raise awareness for climate change. January 13 is statistically the snowiest day in Utah, which is why it was chosen for this special event. Make sure you take action [...]

January 8th, 2016|Categories: Local Flavor|

Gear and Your Ski Trip

Now that the snow is flying, it's time to choose how you want to either get your gear to the slopes or the best way to rent it. Here are some helpful tips to make your choice and have the least amount of hassle on your Utah Ski Vacation! Ship It This a great option so that you don't have to haul your gear from the airport to your vacation rental. UPS Ground, DHL, and FedEx all ship to Alta and you can use standard bag sizes—ski (12in x 8in x 74/80in) or snowboard (14in x 9.4in x 67/72in) when you're printing your labels. You’ll have [...]

November 14th, 2015|Categories: Misc|

Utah Ski Vacation Packages

Wondering where to begin in making all your plans for the prefect Utah Ski Vacation? Well, we're here not only to help you know what you need to know, but also to assist you in every step along the way!  For Utah Ski Vacation Packages and staying at world class Alta Ski Area and Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort - we are your package experts! Here are the steps that we know will help you in your planning! Find your prefect vacation rental! Check out our properties - we have a broad range of options from two bedrooms, sleeping 4 to 6 [...]

October 6th, 2015|Categories: Announcements|

5 Top Questions to Ask Upon Booking Your Vacation Rental

Now that you've decided where you're headed on vacation it's time to make sure you choose a reputable place to stay! VRMA (Vacation Rental Managers Association) has 5 questions you should always ask when you book. Below are the questions and Canyon Services answers... 1. Is there a Rental Agreement? Rental Agreements protect you and the property owner of the vacation rental. It is important to have an agreement in place when you book so you know what to expect from the property owner/management company and you know what you, the renter, are responsible for. Canyon Services answer | Yes, we do have each [...]

May 26th, 2015|Categories: News|

Alta Community Enrichment – Bringing People Together

Alta Community Enrichment (ACE) does just what their name implies - they work to enrich the community of Alta, locals and guests alike, by bringing arts, culture and education to Little Cottonwood Canyon! This organization was started in mid-1970's by locals meeting in each others living rooms learning about art together. Over the years, it has blossomed into a 501c3 non-profit organization with over 70 events each year and has awarded over $23,000.00 of grant money to the local school, artists and those brining culture and education into our community! The Town of Alta serves guests and locals and everyone is invited to Alta [...]

February 15th, 2015|Categories: Local Flavor|

Cottonwood Canyons Massage – Directly to Your Door

Cottonwood Canyon Massage offers the guests of Little Cottonwood a massage epxerince right in thier vacation rental! They are traveling massage therapists trained to work with skiiers and snowboarders offering therapeutic massage that flushes your body to make it feel good for your next day on the slopes. Celebrating their 8th season they are thriving business becasue of their attention to their clients, employees and thier wholistic approach to body work - serving the mind, body and spirit. When you have Cottonwood Canyon Massage come to your vacation rental you can expect: expceptional body work from professionals with 10+ years of experince, tools to help you [...]

February 4th, 2015|Categories: Local Flavor|

Dining at The Shallow Shaft – Alta’s only Independent Restaurant

The Shallow Shaft is Alta's only independent restaurant, meaning that is not connected to the Alta Ski Area or one of the Lodges in the town. Their claim to fame comes from their amazing food, expansive wine list and dedicated staff. We recently had the opportunity to attend a private event at the Shallow Shaft and sit down with Andy, the General Manager and through these two experiences we enjoyed wonderful food, wine and conversation! Chef, Kurtis Krause, serves food that is adventurous yet comforting, eclectic and regional. By incorporating innovative world flavors from Asia his food is beautiful and savory. Coming from a German background informs his cuisine and he uses local, premium [...]

January 5th, 2015|Categories: Local Flavor|

Mountainside Spa – Your spa experience awaits…

We recently had the opportunity to chat with Ezralea Robbins the Founder and Manager of Mountainside Spa in Alta, Utah. Through her innovation, thirst for knowledge and her drive to create amazing spa experiences she has seen her operation in Alta grow from three spa rooms at Alta's Rustler Lodge to creating and managing spa experiences at three lodges in Little Cottonwood Canyon. Through the management of these three spas Mountainside Spa was created. Ez, as she is known, has been in the spa business for 20 years and has been managing the Rustler Lodge Spa for 8 years. She sees three major keys to her success. First, create the presence [...]

December 18th, 2014|Categories: Local Flavor|

Creating Relationships – That’s what it’s all about!

Throughout our 30 years in business, serving the Alta and Snowbird community and those who visit our beautiful canyon, we have learned that our success comes from the relationships we build. We have learned through experience, mistakes and successes how important it is to create lasting relationships. Here are a few things we've learned along the way... Communication is Key | It is imperative to respond, even if you don't have an answer. Respond to the email or better yet, pick up the phone because communication in any situation will create space for you to find a solution if you don't have [...]

November 20th, 2014|Categories: Misc|

Canyon Services Celebrates 30 Years!

In the Spring of 2015 we will celebrate 30 years of living our dream! This dream began with Frank Perkins and his love for Little Cottonwood Canyon and skiing at Alta and Snowbird. Together, with our home owners, guests and staff we have created a unique business that allows people from around the world the opportunity to vsit and enjoy the beauty of Little Cottonwood Canyon year round. As we celebrate 30 years of service to our home owners and guests of Little Cottonwood Canyon, skiing and loving life we hope that we get to share some of this celebration with you! [...]

November 14th, 2014|Categories: Announcements|