Don’t let Alta’s rustic appearances fool you; the resort takes its eating options seriously and knows the value of a tasty, high-calorie fuel-up. Most of its eateries skip any fuss; you can choose how far up you want to dial the level of formality.
For mid-day meals, two options are true standouts: grab pizza and beer at Goldminer’s Daughter Saloon at the resort base, or pony up for a delightful mid-mountain culinary experience at the Collins Grill.
Goldminer’s is a classic Alta experience: a neat old lodge with a large upstairs dining room, fireplace, pool table, and beer on tap. You kind of have to go there at least once. But if you feel like really sitting down for lunch and savoring something that will gladden the tastebuds and restore the quadriceps, have a seat in the lovely Collins Grill for a roasted beet and orange salad along with a mesquite salmon slider. The grill sources as many local ingredients as it possibly can; the fresh taste shines through and gives you a little extra spring in your schuss.
For après, you have a few excellent options. The first is to cruise back to Goldminer’s to commiserate with fellow base area folk. Goldminer’s offers simple bar fare like flatbread pizzas to go along with your draft beer. You can stretch out on the comfy couches and start drying out after a long day in the fluff.
A second après option is making the short schlep up to the Alta Lodge for a drink at the Sitzmark Club. You have to work your way down the stairs and wind through the passages of this lovely old wooden lodge to find this old-timey little ski bar that looks like something out of a ‘40s-era ski tourism poster. Soft couches and armchairs surround a large fireplace, and the sloping A-frame roof enhances the cozy feel. The bartender is top-notch (he’s usually fresh off a ski day himself) and chats with guests while polishing his glassware.
If you stick around long enough for dinner and have the funds for a truly unforgettable meal, it’s worth checking out the Shallow Shaft. It’s a short walk from the resort and consistently gets amazing reviews in every dining guide. This tiny, independently owned fine-dining restaurant has graced the canyon’s culinary scene for 50 years. If you can swing it, do yourself a favor and enjoy a made-from-scratch meal of House Smoked Utah Trout Cakes and Roasted Mushroom Pappardelle or Cast-Iron Chicken. You won’t walk back to your car; you’ll levitate.