Alta Ski Area, Utah
Alta Ski Area's closing day festivities are truly authentic; the traditions were created by local skiers years ago and continue today without sanction by the resort. Pull up to Alta on the last day, and you'll see tents pitched in the parking lot with coolers of beer and barbeques. It's essentially a tailgate party without the football game.
The real party, however, takes place atop the High Rustler run, where a crowd of skiers gathers into the evening hours. These late-season revelers ride the lift armed with beer, food, and grills and sport outrageous costumes. Each year, there's an unofficial competition to be the last one standing, i.e., the last to ski down High Rustler and mark the close of Alta's season. Some years have seen the last skier make it down around midnight. It's also not unusual for it to dump snow on the last day, giving Utah diehards a last dose of powder before they switch to mountain biking, climbing, and golf.
Alta grows pretty quiet at the end of the season, so deals abound at all of the resort's rustic lodges. The Goldminer's Daughter Lodge, located at the Wildcat base, includes breakfast and dinner in the lodging rates. The Goldminer's Saloon, on the second floor, offers a front-row seat for watching the costumed skiers on their last run of the season. (www.skigmd.com; 800.453.4573)
Prices are based on room occupancy. The least expensive is $130 for a dorm bedroom. A slope-facing large bedroom starts at $208, non-slope-facing large bedrooms start at $187, slope-facing small bedrooms start at $192, and a small bedroom starts at $174. Rates are per night.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication