By Angela Fairhurst
Alta Utah became a ski area in the winter season of 1938-39, and no wonder. Located only a half an hour from Salt Lake City, the mountain receives an average annual 500+ inches of snowfall. This “skier’s mountain” is known for its scenery, diverse terrain and the quality of snow. It’s a purist’s mountain, with only skiing allowed. Snowboards or other snow-sliding equipment are not permitted. It’s also a watershed, so you’ll find no motorized vehicles either.
There’s a new resort in Alta called the Snowpine Lodge; the area’s first luxury year-round hotel. The lodge is positioned at the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon and nestled in Utah’s Wasatch mountains, with its own ski-in/ski-out lift attached to the Alta Ski Resort. Summer activities include mountain biking, hiking, bird watching and wildflower spotting.
The Snowpine Lodge is owned by a down-to-earth real estate mogul named Brent Pratt. For over 40 years, Alta has been their family ski destination and as his family mushroomed in size to a total of 67, including children and grandchildren, Brent decided to make this project a labor of love, creating a new resort for family outings and open for guests to enjoy year-round as well.
The hotel dates back to 1938 with the oldest part of building built during Alta’s mining town days in the 1800’s. The original stone portion of the hotel is preserved to become The Nest, a game room for kids; a movie room; a Kids’ club; an oxygen bar for the spa; relaxation room, wine cellar and a special membership only section. The Stillwell Spa has 6 treatment rooms, a salon, sauna, steam room, and men’s and women’s lockers.
The property has 77 rooms, with 19 of them having bunk rooms (a tradition in Alta), which works great for families and groups. The hotel is beautifully designed by Courtney Pratt, one of Brent’s daughter’s, and although she is not a professional designer, she did an amazing job combining contemporary comfortable furniture in neutral tones with barn style doors, antiques, beautiful light fixtures and local art.
The hotel floors are in “letters” A-F, named after various types of woods in the area. Guests enter the hotel on the “E” Elkwood Level which services as the entrance, lobby, and the dining facilities.
The heated outdoor pool and two jetted spas are mountainside on the terraces. Working its way down the mountain, each floor in the hotel has a large central Lounge Area.
The “A” Ash floor is at the foot of the mountain with its own ski-in/ski-out Snowpine ski lift. The expansive area features personal lockers and restrooms, a full-service ski shop, ski valet and a lounge area that serves fresh baked cookies and hot chocolate après–ski.
Unusual for typical ski lodges, the Snowpine Lodge is steps above the rest with elevated dining options. Swen’s Restaurant (named after Brent’s great grandfather who stayed there in the 1800s), is casual fine dining experience, featuring a sophisticated menu of globally-inspired and regionally-sourced cuisine.
The Gulch Pub is the full-service bar that is packed from 4pm onward. The pub showcases in-house crafted drinks and classic cocktails with a creative approach to food sourced from the Mountain West.