Every year on New Years Eve Alta Ski Resort holds its annual Torchlight Parade. I had never been to this event before this year, and let me tell you, it was awesome.Alta Ski Resort requires participants to donate $5 to participate in the Torch Parade. 100% of the donations are given to the Utah Food Bank.
The Torchlight Parade experience starts as soon as you leave the parking lot and walk into the resort lift/lodge area at the bottom of the Collins chair lift. There are enthusiastic skiers everywhere, and everyone is excited to be there. The crowded fire pit in the middle of the plaza sends sparks up into the air as skiers converse in preparation for the nights events. After standing in line for a little you see the first people board the chair lift and head up the dark mountain. When you reach the top, the crowd that was at the bottom is now bunched up as everyone grabs their torch and prepares for the descent.
It is now time for the ride down. You have your torch held high as you ski down the mountain with the other hundred participants there. You have never met these people before but everyone feels a sense comradery as skiers exchange joyous new years salutations one with another.
I don’t know if you have ever skied in the dark, but it is harder than it sounds. Sure you have the light from your torch, but it’s not a whole lot. Skiing in the dark is like going into an unfamiliar house in the dark, you hit bumps and other unforeseen obstacles, but you just keep going.
You arrive back at the bottom of Collins with everyone else and put your torch in the pile with all the other torches. Then it is time to hang out with other skiers, meet some cool people, and enjoy the fireworks.
Photo: Noah Wetzel