ALTA, UTAH — The family that skis together……stays at the Alta Peruvian Lodge. We’ve done it twice now, because we had such a wonderful time on the first visit. Note that this is multi-generational family consisting of seven people aged 2 to 70, including skiers of every ability from the littlest one who just received her very first skis and has not been on them but wants to just make snow angels for now, to three hot-shot double black diamond skiers including one who prefers snowboarding, to one pregnant skier not skiing this particular season, to grandma who with her fragile breakable bones, has decided to move into cross-country only.
Alta, known for its great powder, accommodated everyone. The mountain, which charges $64 for a daily pass, has every sort of terrain, including a cross-country trail, and although it does not allow snowboarding, you can purchase a Snowbird/Alta combination ticket for $88 per day which allows skiers to cross over on top of Alta mountain and traverse to the snowboard runs of Snowbird, just minutes south of the Peruvian. You can also take a regular free shuttle bus to either mountain, which we did.
The great thing about the Peruvian Lodge is that unlike some of the snootier ski resorts (such as the nearby Alta Lodge), the setting is unpretentious and welcoming to all ages. The prices — from $107 to $276 per person per day, including all meals and afternoon snacks — are much more reasonable than many other resorts. Because we’re in Mormon country, there is little emphasis on the apres-ski drinking scene. In fact, only in recent years has the lodge even had a bar, and the one it has now is located in a hidden hallway upstairs near some of the bedrooms, leaving the main living room a wonderfully warm center for little ones to play board games, enjoy some hot chocolate, open Christmas gifts, and visit with the adults.
First, though, everyone jumps into the heated swimming pool set amidst the snow banks, with a hot tub nearby.
Yes, the bedrooms are basic, with the most spartan being the dorm rooms. But plain sleeping accommodations are more than made up for by the meals, all three of which are included, and which are served family-style, with plenty of choices and plenty of good, delicious varied food including vegetarian and carnivore meals for fussy babies and adult gourmands alike. Breakfasts and lunches are buffet style but dinner is a sit-down affair with menus and waiters. Afterward, there is always a choice of dvd movies, free in a nearby room with blazing fireplace, as in the living room.
The Alta Peruvian is a happy place, a perfect place to gather a far-flung family for a Christmas week, or winter school vacation. We New Englanders, who always have an iffy chance of snow in December, have decided it’s worth the trip to head west to Utah for guaranteed snow at this time. It is a quick drive up from Salt Lake City airport, at 10000 East Cottonwood, Alta, Utah 84092, telephone 801-742-3000, www.altaperuvian.com.