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Summer Skiing In Alaska

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

So I just found out that I might have a chance of finally getting out to Alaska doing a research internship (SO PUMPED!!!), this is one place that I've always wanted to go ever since I was a young kid watching Warren Miller flicks of the pros doing heli-skiing in the Chugach. The only problem is that if I go, it's going to be during the summer, and I dont have nearly enough money to hire a heli for the day. So I was wondering if theres anyone out there that knows anything about backcountry skiing in Alaska (in the summer) and where to go. Ill be traveling around anchorage area if I go, so it would be right next to the chugach mountains. But I have no idea how accesible they are, I'd be willing to rent a car for a few days, or hitch hike, but still, from the maps I've been looking at there arnt that many roads up there. If anyone has any input or info on this area that would be sick.

post #2 of 8

Don't have any intel for you, but you might want to post the specific dates that you'll be there. I'd imagine things fluctuate greatly between June and August.

post #3 of 8

You will want AT gear.  There's tons of stuff to ski near Anchorage on Turnagain and Hatcher pass.  But this has been a poor winter for snowfall in AK,

post #4 of 8

Ease of access to the snow will vary depending on how early in the season you get up there. It's certainly do-able, although the low snowpack means that the lower elevations will melt off early. Remember that Anchorage is getting 20 hours of sun by June 21, so low elevations melt out fast.


The hills right around the city don't get much snow to start with, but it's an hour to Hatcher or Gridwood or an hour and a half to Turnagain. patch skiing can be gotten at even roadside, but any decent vertical will require getting up onto the glaciers. If you don't have experience with that, I would not suggest going it alone.

post #5 of 8

There is a reason the heli guys stop flying at the end of April or the first week of May the snow pack is prone to wet slides on the steeps and with this year's low snow pack, it could be a thrash for 5 turns. There is a guy that leads people into the backcountry out of Valdez, forgot his name, but google it and call him. He could give you some insight. I would say go rafting or fishing, leave the skiing for another time. I know guides who have gone to AK this year, only to return already. 

post #6 of 8

Used to go hike for summer turns on Byron Glacier down at the Portage Glacier area.  (You can find it on Google Earth)  This is not Warren Miller country but it was fun and easy to do.  It was about a mile hike on a good trail to get to the snow and start climbing so it was very easy access.  There are crevasses in those things so be aware, but it is a really pretty valley and easy to get to.



The glaciers, especially the lower parts, had a lot of rock flakes in them so they can be real tough on your bases.  Would consider buying some cheap gear in an Anchorage Goodwill to play with and give it back when your done, would be cheaper than taking your own.



A disclaimer here, it has been a lot of years and all of the glaciers have been receding over the years. 

post #7 of 8

Those who say:

1. It depends upon what part of the summer you are discussing, and

2. This has not been a good snow year

are both right this year. The roadside berms that should be up to your shoulders in Girdwood are barely up to your knees right now.

Still, it should be possible to go to Hatcher Pass or Turnagain Pass if you arrive at the beginning of the summer and are prepared to hike. Be careful out there.

post #8 of 8

One other thought:

If you come before the end of May, Alyeska should (in theory) still be open on weekends.

Most years it is open, and pretty good, right up to the start of June.

With this being a low snow year, that may be problematic unless Spring brings snow.


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