I know that some people don’t get attached to ideas, things or each other. But it must be rare.

I was 10 when skiing entered my life, and I’ve been playing in mountains and snow ever since. At first, Mount Snow in Southern Vermont was the center of my winter universe. Then it was that state’s Stowe and Killington


In the early 70s my new bride and I visited Alta for the first time. It’s the classic ski resort at the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon, just outside of Salt Lake City. We were there for a week. There’s hardly a season since that I haven’t returned.

There are other great areas, some with bigger terrain, more sophisticated lifts, and other bells and whistles. I’ve skied many of them and hope to ski many more.

Alta keeps pulling me back.

The obvious reasons are accessibility, snow, and terrain. 

But there are more subtle things that are part of Alta’s draw. There is a unique Alta culture that understands and appreciates its rich history, its remarkable beauty, and, for those who know and love it, it’s essence.

Over the years I’ve skied most of the area, but some places were out of my reach and, at this age, will remain that way.

Utah’s license plate reads “Greatest Snow on Earth.” Of its 14 resorts, Alta consistently receives the most. The 2010-11 season delivered 724″. Last season snow depths totalled 626″.  This season, to date, Alta has more than 355″.  Click here for its annual totals.

Most people drive up Little Cottonwood Canyon for the day. Unfortunately, as the Salt Lake Valley population grows, that 8 mile drive can take a long time. It took me 90 minutes a few weeks ago. Powder days require a very early start.

In the 47 years of skiing Alta, I’ve stayed at each of its five lodges. The Alta Lodge and The Rustler are favorites. The old Snowpine Lodge was Spartan-like. I have yet to try its posh replacement. Goldminer’s Daughter and Alta Peruvian each have their own charm.

If you’re an Alta regular, you’ll understand. If you’ve never been or haven’t been in a while, it’s time to go. Like everything else, Alta is destined to change. But because it is Alta, when it does, it will only add to the magic.

Masterfit Buyers Guide

The new Masterfit Buyer’s Guide provides comprehensive guidance on the best choices in 2019-20 skis, boots, bindings, poles, insoles, and kid’s gear. The free, 105-page guide is chock full of  valuable information explaining what to buy and how to buy it. It was put together by an all-star team of reviewers and writers who, for years, worked for the nation’s top ski magazines. My strong recommendation: make the Masterfit Buyer’s Guide a “favorite” on your computer (click here for the link). It will be useful the next time you’re considering a purchase. And while you’re there, check out the SeniorsSkiing.com ad on Page 106.

Is Apple iWatch Anti-Skiing?

A few iWatch obsessives I know say the device’s “Workouts” function shows “Snowsports” and “Snowboarding,” but not “Skiing.” Can anyone out there disprove it or explain why?



New Name for Ski and Snowboard Expos

The Denver and Boston Ski and Snowboard Expos have been renamed Snowbound. This year’s Denver event is scheduled for November 6-8; Boston’s is scheduled for November 19-22.

Pico Hosts Blind Skiers

This weekend, more than 30 athletes who are blind or have visual impairments will learn to ski with Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports during the 13th anniversary of the United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) Winter Ski Festival at Pico Mountain. Click here for more info.

Skiing History’s New Issue Now Available

The January-February 2020 issue of Skiing History is online. If you’re a member of the International Skiing History Association (ISHA), a hard copy is on its way to your mail box. If you’d like a free digital copy, click on the ISHA advertisement on the SeniorsSkiing.com home page.  

Mikaela Shiffrin’s Father Dies in Roof Fall

Jeff Shiffrin, father of the World Cup athlet died earlier this week when he fell from the roof of his home in Edwards, CO, near Vail. The 65-year old anesthesiologist was shoveling snow when he fell. He had raced on the Dartmouth Ski Team. 

75-Year Old Uphill Skier Profiled in New York Times

Sharon Crawford, 75, a multisport athlete from Frisco, Colorado, is an uphill skier. he Times profiled her participation in the Breckenridge Ascent Series, which, took her from Breckenridge’s 9,600′ base up 1,500′ vertical on a black diamond. The fastest racer completed the course in 32 minutes. Crawford clocked in at 1 hour 2 minutes. Click here for complete story.

Fantastic Gift For Young Mothers To Be

Mountain Marsupial 4-in-1 Jacket

Mountain Marsupial is a 4-in-1 jacket that can be worn while baby carrying in the front, on the back, and while pregnant. It caught my eye last week at the SIA/OR Snow Show. The jacket lists for $239. If you’re looking for an attractive, functional gift for a pregnant someone or a recent Mom, click here.




  1. I really enjoyed your reminiscences, Jon. My friendship with Alta began with skiing and picnics at Alta with my family. I learned to ski powder at 15 following a cute ski instructor from Austria. My family bought property in Albion Basin with the dream of building a cabin. Instead we pay taxes on a lovely field of Albion wildflowers. At 72, even lazy turns on Sunnyside brings me pleasure. I envy your stays at Alta’s homey lodges, however we have always lived within an hour’s drive. My ski pass is a necessity, not a luxury, so our trails may cross in this heavenly powdery place. M

  2. iWatch

    Look under “D” for downhill skiing

  3. Richard Kavey says:

    Jon, My story is quite similar to yours. I grew up 20 miles north of Manhattan in the legendary snow country of Westchester County. After sliding down back yards and golf course hills I was hooked by 6. Fortuitously, I had sympathetic parents who rekindled their pre- WW II ski interest and drove the weekend / holiday white knuckle express to exotic destinations near (Bromley) and far (Mad River Glen, Stowe, Whiteface, Gray Rocks, Val D’Isere, Zermatt, Klosters). It wasn’t until my 20’s that I discovered Alta. Wow!!!! The snow!!! First tracks on High Rustler and Stone Crusher, a potentially lethal slide off the High Traverse resulting from poor judgement and ending with a broken Dynastar ski and no serious harm. Dumb luck. Dumb being the operative concept. I then migrated down canyon to Snowbird and the lure of the Tram. By hiring an instructor to cut the line George “Coolwhip” Lorant and I made 4 Trams in our hour “lesson” all down Wilbere Bowl and Chute after too fast traverses on the Ho Chi Minh. They did assign us an Instructor, Pat Ashton who acted as our tail gunner as Coolwhip dove last the iconic Snowbird instructor Eddie Moe standing at the entrance of Wilbere Chute with his Mountain Experience class. Our etiquette was correct, they were standing, talking, not skiing. Eddie was not happy and Coolwhip, Pat and I were easily identifiable. There is now a traverse named for Coolwhip at Snowbird which eliminates the Ho Chi Minh aka The Cirque Traverse. And Team Sizzle. Then I discovered The Monashees, CMH. Average snowfall at 6,000 feet, 40 meters / year. Wowie Zowie!!! Hans Gmoser’s wife knitted George a hat with the CMH logo and the words Captain Vertical for the amount he skied. In those days CMH awarded you with a suit for every million vertical feet you skied. By then George had four or five suits. Others in our group ended their CMH skiing with totals of between 10 and 15 million feet – Fred Grunwald, Bob Smith and Jean Smith (of The Goggle), Morty Garrant of Aspen Cat Skiing. Eventually I rekindled my involvement in racing and spend my time coaching near my home in Central New York on 580 feet of vertical. I love it!!! It’s different than Big Mountain, deep snow skiing but just as intriguing.

  4. I am confused. You print reactions/responses to articles in the same issue in which I see the articles for the first time. If I respond at all, it would not appear until well after the issue date.

    • Michael Maginn says:

      We publish on Friday, and comments come in almost immediately. We approve them as they come in or as quickly as we can.

  5. I am jealous. I didn’t start skiing until I was in my early 30’s I love it!!! I taught school for 12 years and one day a student asked me to lead the ski club – It didn’t then exist. I recently completed my 60 page “50+ Year Love Affair with Skiing”. Our son graduated from Naperville H..S. (Il) and went to SLC to ski and to go to college at Utah Univ. – At age 40 he earned his degree and is a very successful engineer in SLC and a back country skier in the Wasatch.! I have skied over 30 Western resorts in my 87 years but Alta is my favorite. I am struggling to keep skiing but hope springs eternal!! .

  6. Who is Eddie Moe and is he still a ski instructor at Snowbird? I assume that is who that “trail” is named after? Any relations to Tommy Moe?

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