Winters in the Last Frontier are mesmerizing, especially at Alyeska Resort in Girdwood, Alaska. Frozen crystals create the perfect medium to express yourself on the slopes either skiing or snowboarding.
Spending time in Girdwood during the winter months is one of the most incredible experiences one can have on a visit to Alaska, especially when conditions align to create the source of all this amazement and wonder, snow. We have the science of snow to thank for creating the beautiful foundation and terrain Alyeska Resort has to offer.
Girdwood is home to 2,500 year-round residents and hosts local shops, bars, restaurants as well as many trails for seemingly endless recreational opportunities. Given the mellow nature of this quiet mountain town, lift lines are minimal and the general chaos that comes with being at a larger resort is nonexistent. Alyeska Resort has 7 lifts in total, taking you up to 2,500ft. The resort operates 2 high-speed detachable quads, 2 fixed quads, 2 magic carpets, and a 60- passenger Aerial Tram. It is truly a playground for all levels of skiers and riders. With 1,610 skiable acres, 76 named trails and over 669″ of snow annually, Alyeska lives up to its reputation as steep and deep.
The Hotel Alyeska is the only ski in/out game in town and with 300 rooms, fitness center, salt water pool and full service spa, there’s not much that compares to enjoying easy access to the mountains while being able to relax in comfort with all the amenities at the end of a big day.
From December through April, Alyeska is open 7 days a week from 10:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. and also operates Thursday to Saturday for night skiing through March with lifts spinning until 8 p.m. The 10:30 a.m. start time may seem late compared to other resorts in the lower 48, and although the answer is based around daylight, many local skiers and riders say it’s so they can catch first chair without being tired after a long night of dancing. Many locals and visitors find the best après bar in town is the Sitzmark which hosts concerts every Friday and Saturday night, featuring locally and nationally touring acts spanning many different genres throughout the season.
Seven Glaciers is Alyeska’s fine dining, award-winning, mountaintop establishment. A tram ride to 2,300 feet above sea level gives visitors a fantastic mountain venue in which to dine. The wine menu pairs beautifully with the lunch and dinner menu and the mountaintop views are spectacular. The menu emphasizes on locally sourced produce, seafood, and game. No dining experience at Seven Glaciers is complete without sampling the signature cocktail the Fizz, pro tip, it’s not on the menu and the recipe is secret.
For those needing to quench their thirst between runs, the Bore Tide Deli & Bar is the perfect location to saddle up for great eats, local beers and signature cocktails. A chat with the friendly staff will reveal local insight on where to go and stories of stoke found on the mountain. This mountain-top hangout is known for its incredible views of the ski area, Chugach and Kenai Mountains, and the Turnagain Arm. Small bites and sandwiches are available from inside the bar. Soups, sandwiches and small plates pair well with beer on tap, especially the Alyeska Brewski, brewed by Girdwood Brewing Company, about a mile away.
The best part of the ski area is the incredible terrain. The beginner-friendly lower mountain is perfect for learning or just cruising as well as access to the terrain parks, suited for all abilities. The mid-mountain services mostly intermediate and advanced runs with a variety of cliffs, steep trees, perfectly sloped groomers, and no shortage of fantastic corduroy. The top of the mountain is where Alyeska really shines; here terrain is wide open with not many trees calling this alpine environment home. Bowls, steep chutes, awe-inspiring faces, and everything in between can be found in this zone. The crown jewel of the Alyeska is its North Face terrain. Famous for its title as the longest continuous double black diamond ski run in North America, it’s steps from the top of the Tram and offers up over 2000 vertical feet of big mountain shredding, this terrain will put the exclamation point on a day or a trip.
There’s plenty to do at Alyeska for non-skiers. The aerial tram is for both sightseers and skiers alike. Its base is located at The Hotel Alyeska. Take in astonishing views from the Mountain Station and visit The Roundhouse Museum to learn of Girdwood’s history and some fun facts about the area. Nordic ski trails can be access from the hotel as can snow shoeing and fat tire biking trails.
Alyeska Resort is surprisingly easy to get to. With daily flights from Seattle taking around 3 hours and a quick 1 hour drive from Anchorage, Alyeska can be skied on the same day as arrival to the 49th state. Customers flying with Alaska Airlines are encouraged to take advantage of the Fly Alaska & Ski Free promotion which allows for a free lift ticket on the same arrival date. For more information on Alyeska Resort, please call 800.880.3880 or visit AlyeskaResort.com