Anyone who’s ever skied Alta understands how the mountain is as known for its staunch ski-bum mentality as it is for its champagne powder. The words “change” and “update” aren’t exactly embraced by the locals of this tiny village 40 minutes from Salt Lake City. Nevertheless, the arrival of , the area’s first luxury resort, might at least change the mind of its loyal visitors, especially ones who appreciate after-ski indulgences like a restaurant with an impressive wine list, a sybaritic spa and 300 thread-count linens.
Purchased by real estate developer Brent Pratt seven years ago, the task of turning the oldest structure in Little Cottonwood Canyon into a five-star resort came with a myriad of hurdles, the least of which were the zoning laws, which prohibited extending beyond the structure’s original parameters. Pratt added four floors, creating more than 50 mountain-view rooms, as well as the aforementioned spa, which houses six treatment rooms, a grotto-sized hot tub, an oxygen bar and a yoga studio and gym. There’s also an outdoor heated pool as well as a new chairlift to whisk guests up from Alta’s famous rope tow. And, in keeping with the town’s spartan tradition, 19 dorm-style bunk rooms are also available at rates significantly less than those of its upstairs neighbors’.
The task of creating the lodge’s cozy ski-house feel fell to Pratt’s daughter, Courtney Pena, who picked up antique pieces from Juxtaposition Home and Huit near her Orange County home, and stocked the fireside lounges that grace each floor with blankets and pillows from Nyman’s, a shop in nearby Provo.
“Alta fans will ski Alta over any place else, but we found that those die-hards will stay down in the valley because they don’t like the Alta offerings,” says Pena, who counts herself among those die-hards. “We’re giving nods to the fact that rustic can also be luxurious.”
Both Snowpine and Alta stay open in the off season, where guests can mountain bike or hike to hidden lakes nestled with the Wasatch mountains, but since March appears to be going out like a lion, there are plenty of ski days left in the season (which officially ends on April 28th).