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Take a Powder

Alta, Utah; April 3-4

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Just when New England ski areas are closing for the season, spring skiing in Utah starts taking off. And since flying to Salt Lake City takes no longer than driving to Vermont, why not enjoy a final spring fling at Alta, where the snow base can reach 150 inches in April and blizzards of fresh powder never seem to stop rolling in. Leave JFK in the morning on a Delta nonstop, and, thanks to the time change and a short shuttle ride from the airport, you'll be riding the chair up Point Supreme (10,595 feet) that afternoon. Alta is known as a ski area for hard-core skiers, but the mountain also offers some of the gentlest, most forgiving beginner and intermediate slopes around. Best places to stay are the spartan but homey Alta Lodge and the fancier Alta's Rustler Lodge. At both, the basic accommodations are minimal (Alta Lodge doesn't even have TVs in its rooms), but the food is first-rate. This isn't a Demi and Donald kind of place; the couple across the dinner table are more likely to be professors from Amherst. And since there's no town to speak of, nightlife consists mainly of sitting by the fire with other exhausted powder hounds, drinking and talking. But that's the way Alta loyalists like it. All the action is on the mountain.

DETAILS Alta Ski Area (801-359-1078; www.altaskiarea.com); Alta Lodge (800-707-2582; double room, $163 per person, breakfast and dinner included); Alta's Rustler Lodge (888-532-2582; double room, $185 per person, breakfast and dinner included); Alta Travel (888-782-9258); Canyon Transportation airport shuttle (800-255-1841; $20 each way); Delta Airlines (800-221-1212).


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