No matter how it is described or what pictures or words conjure images in your mind, it’s still nothing compared to Alaska’s enormous and magnificent reality. Skiing there is simply something that must—and we mean MUST—be experienced. Until you’ve seen it with your own eyes or stood atop a peak with your skis, there are no words to describe it, but of course, we’re going to try.
Alyeska Resort sits in the heart of Girdwood, a glacier-carved valley, and Alyeska Mountain is nothing short of a miracle. You’ll look at it, and part of you is excited, while the other part is a bit apprehensive, thinking, “Am I going to ski that thing?” But yes, you are. The slopes are well groomed, and the conditions are superb. You’re going to ski it — and you’ll love every moment! If you’re a novice, the instructors will get you going on skis or a snowboard and make it so easy you’ll wonder why you never did it before! You’ll be navigating your way down the pristine white slopes in no time.
From beginner to expert and beyond, Alyeska brings you the best skiing in the most breathtaking country imaginable. Want to take a day off from alpine skiing or snowboarding? Try snowmobiling (called “snow machines” by Alaskans), the state’s unofficial winter pastime. Or go Nordic, cross-country skiing or snowshoeing or dog sledding, ice climbing, mountaineering, and ice fishing are all also available. In addition, Telemark lessons open up a new way of looking at skiing. How about a parasail with skis? If you can dream it up, you can do it in Alyeska! Ready for the kicker? Sure your heart can handle it? They have heli-skiing, too! You can get a helicopter ride to the backcountry and ski down a guaranteed 16,000 – 20,000 vertical feet of virgin Alaskan powder daily!
The Alyeska Resort offers fine restaurants, clubs, live music, dancing, and even a body spa; you don’t have to leave the resort at all. But if you decide you want to, nearby Girdwood is there to bring you an ice cream shop and bakery, book store, candle factory, a ski and snowboard shop; many lodging choices await. And the Northern Lights are as impossible to forget as the mountains themselves.
There’s nothing else quite like it, and no way to describe the experience of skiing in the Last Frontier. If you’ve thought about Alaska, dreamt of Alaska, or wondered what it’s like, Alyeska is something you have to do. Give yourself this ski or snowboarding experience. Then try telling others how awesome it was.
The home of the World Extreme Snowboard Championships, the Chugach Mountains receive between 600 and 900 inches of that tremendous white powder so that there is always virgin snow to slice through. Alyeska gets a completely mind-blowing 782 inches per year, has nine lifts, a high-speed quad to take over 10,000 people per hour to the top, and 68 trails with the longest run of 10,560 feet. The runs are rated 11 percent for beginners, 52 percent for intermediate, and 37 percent for advanced. Alpenglow gets 250 inches annually, has four lifts, 25 trails, and the longest run of 4,545 feet. The runs are rated 20 percent for beginner, 50 percent for intermediate, and 30 percent for advanced.
Alpenglow has the first Terrain Park in south-central Alaska with kickers and rails to play on. Dean Cummings H2O Heli Guides and Alaska Backcountry Adventures are two of the services to contact to make the arrangements to experience the most astounding mountain vistas you’ve ever imagined while flying to the ultimate snowboard ride in history.
Anchorage is the launch point for all your Alaskan adventures from dog sledding to tandem paragliding to snow catting, as well as fjord and wildlife tours. The Columbia and Meares Glacier Cruise on the crystal clear waters of Prince William Sound will take you to two of the continent’s most amazing glaciers, where you’ll witness the neon-turquoise color of truly pure ice.
In Alyeska, The Aurora Bar and Lounge in the Hotel Alyeska has a fun, lively atmosphere, and the Sitzmark Bar has live bands on weekend nights during ski season. For après ski, head to the Double Musky and Chair 5 taverns. However, if you are looking for blowouts, you’re 40 miles away from Anchorage’s great bars. If you’re a country music fan, go to Last Frontier Bar or Buckaroo Club. For ear-splitting rock and dancing, try Chilkoot Charlie’s, with two stages, six bars, and about 30 beers on tap. The ladies have their pick as the men outnumber the women by a fair number. Check out Mr. Whitekeys’ Fly by Night Club for Spam appetizers the crazy “Christmas in Spenard” show. Unfortunately, Whitekeys closes in January for the rest of the winter.