Chris: Where are you from, and what do you do when you’re not skiing Alta?
Lauren: We’re from New York City. When I’m not skiing I’m the Chief Investment Officer in a registered investment advisory firm. So I pick the stocks and manage our market research.
Katie: I am in fifth grade at the Hewitt School in New York.
Bill: Well I’m an engineer. I don’t have a formal job right now; instead I’m making skis out of a shop in a house Lauren’s family owns in Westport CT. I’ve always wanted to build skis, and this winter I’ve finally produced two pair of useable skis. Chris: big fat powder skis, I’m sure? Bill: No these are really east coast skis. I think it’s a little harder to make a ski that works well for skiing hard snow and frankly, I enjoy Alta powder skiing even on skinny east coast skis. Chris: Are you hoping to sell skis eventually? Bill: Maybe. Next year I’ll make a few pair for friends and family, and hopefully the year after I’ll bring some skis to market. As you may know, there are quite a few ski makers out there these days; people make “craft” skis like they make craft beers.
Chris: Did you grow up skiing? How/when/where did you learn to ski?
Lauren: I grew up in New York City and I actually didn’t start skiing until I finished grad school. I was living in Boston, and even though I didn’t have any friends who skied I decided I wanted to get into it, so I bought a pair of skis and on the weekends I would drive up route 93 to Loon Mountain or Waterville Valley in New Hampshire. I think I first came to Alta in 1988.
Katie: I learned to ski when I was 2, in Alta.
Bill: I grew up in Locust Valley, New York and my parents put me on skis when I was four. They’d started skiing in the 1940s at Stowe. I started going on trips to Stowe with them when I was nine, and in 1968 we built a house in Stowe so I got to ski quite a lot. Then I went to Dartmouth College, where skiing is part of the culture. After grad school I got a job in Ohio and from there I started venturing west. On my first trip to Utah with a friend, which was in 88 or 89, we skied in Park City and at Solitude and Snowbird, and at the end of the trip we finally skied Alta. It snowed the whole time; I never got a full view of the ski area. But there was one afternoon we skied in Westward Ho non-stop; it was so deep I couldn’t see my next turn and sometimes I couldn’t even breath. But that afternoon…I’ve been coming back ever since!
Chris: How long have you been coming to Alta? What keeps you coming back?
Lauren: When I first started skiing Alta, I was single. At other ski areas, I’d show up by myself and I would generally feel sort of alone. But here at Alta, I have always enjoyed how easy it is to find yourself among good skiing company. The Alta Lodge, and other places I’ve stayed here, are social places; you don’t necessarily just retreat to your room or the condo at the end of the day. Not to mention the great terrain and the most reliable snow. Over the years we’ve made lots of friends here and so we feel we’re amongst a certain family when we’re in Alta.
Bill: Growing up skiing so much in the east, the first time I skied in Colorado I realized it was an order of magnitude steeper than it was back east, and with much better snow. And then I realized that Utah was steeper still, with much better snow than Colorado! Of course the other ski areas in Utah are generally all pretty good but…the Alta difference comes down to character and attitude. Its relaxed and friendly, and everybody is here for the skiing.
Lauren: I should add that I don’t think a lot of people really understand how family-friendly Alta is. The day-care service available over at Albion blends in with early “pre-ski” activities at the ski school and between those two services, we’ve been able to make our frequent Alta trips work even as Katie grows up and her needs and interests change.
Chris: Alta Lodge is not merely synonymous with Alta Ski Area and the place we call Alta generally. It is elemental to Alta and to its history, and like other establishments its clients are fiercely loyal. Why do you stay at “the lodge”?
Lauren: Well when I first came here, I was in between jobs and I was looking for a fun solo trip. I called the lodges looking for a women’s dorm room, and the Alta Lodge was the only place in town offering that. And like I said, it was so easy to make friends and meet ski partners here–and it still is. These days, the Alta Lodge works hard to accommodate their guests and make our visits easy; for instance, you can ship your skis before a trip and they’ll store your skis longer term if you’re returning to Alta, and the kitchen has always been 100% accommodating of dietary needs.
Bill: You should know that Lauren and I met on the Wildcat Lift in 2001. At that point, I was staying at the Snowpine. Lauren was already an Alta Lodge person at the time, and she brought me over.
Katie: I like Alta because the snow is better, and they have harder terrain, and the lifts don’t stop as much!
Chris: What’s your favorite run at Alta?
Katie: I like High Rustler and Gunsight.
Lauren: We talked about this before sitting down with you and I think we like Lonepine the best.
Bill: I don’t know because it doesn’t have a sign on top of it!