February marks the 50th anniversary since William (Bill) Levitt purchased the Alta Lodge in 1959. Arriving in Utah from New York City in 1954, Bill fell in love with Alta - which recently celebrated its 70th anniversary. When the opportunity came along to purchase the Alta Lodge, Alta's first ski hotel in 1939, he took it.

"I fell in love with Alta and figured out this was the place to be. From that point, moving the family to Alta was an easy decision to make. The unique beauty in the mountains was a stark contrast to our New York life," commented Levitt. After a successful career in documentary filmmaking, Bill had found a new passion with skiing, and the move came about effortlessly.

Since then, the Levitt family has focused on providing a place that Lodge guests can call a second home, with the hope that guests will feel they can leave their troubles behind when they walk in the door. The emphasis is on providing guests with personal service, great food, and a relaxing environment with a minimum of fuss. G

Guests walk down the hall to the Lodge dining room for meals, and ski out the back door to Alta's lifts. Afternoon tea is served from 3-5 p.m., and the Sitzmark Club opens to any and all for après ski at 4 p.m. Families are encouraged to stay at the Lodge. A free kids' program provides a ski school shuttle, as well as activities for children after skiing.

All of these efforts have paid off, with 70 percent of Lodge guests returning each year, many of whom bring their families as their parents did before them.

"We want to provide a safe haven for our guests, especially in these current times. I feel that we have accomplished that and continue to do so," added Levitt.

The 57-room hotel is usually booked up a year in advance with rates ranging from $108 for a dorm room to $509 for a slope-facing room with a sitting area. A spurt of cancellations has opened up rooms, so book now. Call 800--707-ALTA (2582) for reservations.