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Alyeska in April

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Hi All,

I have been lurking for a while and now I have decided to post my first thread. I am planning a  1 week long ski trip for my 30th birthday in April for either beginning or middle and late April. Alyeska is currently on top of my list. I wanted to ask what the snow conditions are like in April at Alyeska and whether is there a large difference between beginning and mid to late April? I realize it may vary a bit from year, but would be very curios to hear what are other people's experiences are. A bit about me and my skiing: intermediate/advanced skier, somewhat adventurous, trying to improve and started to venture off-piste. I could ski some of the groomed black diamonds at Snowbasin (I took part in Ski Diva West meet-up this winter). I was comfortable on all blue groomed blue slopes at Snowbasin. I will be traveling with my husband who is a solid intermediate skier as well. I am very much a novice where it comes to bumps, powder and trees, but I am trying to learn bumps and powder skiing whenever I have a chance. 

Any information about Alyeska skiing in April would be very much appreciated.


post #2 of 12

It could be just about anything, but it will probably be moist.   Weather in AK is extremely variable and the base of Alyeska is only 400ft. above sea level.

It's a really nice place and even if the skiing isn't prime, you'll still have a good time.

post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

Sounds good. I was thinking along the same lines, that  even if skiing isn't the best I still get to see Alaska. Thanks for replying.

post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 

Alyeska was amazing! My husband and I were there April 18-25. Yes, it was spring skiing mostly, but the upper half of the mountain has has had some amazing corn skiing and even powder on the 1st day we were there. I was told that they had a poor snow year, usually they have even more snow, but to me the conditions were great for last week of April. I went heliskiing with Chugach Powder Guides and that was fantastic, powder in places, lots of glorious corn skiing! CPG is a great heliski operator - small groups (4 people), fantastic guides and everything is organized and run very well.

Alaska is so beautiful and nature is not touched bu civilization as much. Girdwood is a funky little ski town, really laid back and the locals are friendly - really liked it. Bake Shop cafe has the most amazing cinnamon rolls I have ever tried, generally the food was good everywhere we went. Great trip overall! I keep thinking about it now, in summer heat - Alaska gave us great memories.

post #5 of 12

You did better than we did. We skied Alyeska April 11.  Off the groomed didn't soften up until ~4PM or so.  The North Face was limited in what was open vs. other visits due to the low snow year. 


My heli week (April 13-18 at Points North in Cordova) was limited also, with only one full day of skiing Thursday plus 2 hours late in the day Monday.  Snow conditions on the lower half of the heli terrain were less than ideal also.  The warmer weather of your week might have turned that to corn. 

post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 

Yes, you are probably right about warmer weather softening snow to corn. Upper half was hardpack/icy in the morning too, but by about 1-2 pm it was turning into corn. Probably because end of April was warmer (it got into 50s in the afternoon), so snow softened faster. The lower half of the mountain where the green slopes was very slushy in afternoon, but the upper half was great. I didn't ski North Face when I was there. Most of the time we were there the North Face were steep bumps - a little much for me (I am a low advanced level) skier. I can handle some soft not too steep bumps, but not the big and steep ones. Just started skiing bumps, powder trees and powder this winter after a trip to Utah and Alaska, and I learned to ski 4 years ago, so not a seasoned skier by any means. When I was heliskiing a few slopes were icy with variable snow on higher up in the beginning of the day, as the day progressed we were skiing some amazing corn and powder. The heliskiing didn't start until 11 cause CPG guides were saying one need to wait till the snow softens up a bit. And they knew what they were doing.  It was only 1 or 2 of the descents that were icy in some places in the beginning. I heliskied on the day of my 30th birthday and that was great! I was a bit afraid whether I am good enough of a skier, so I took several lessons at Alyeska with a level 3 instructor Mike and asked him if he thinks I could go heliski. After I skied almost everything, but the North Face Mike said I'll be fine. So that day I reserved my heliski day and they had a seat on my birthday so it worked out perfectly. I should say that CPG did a great job matching skiers abilities in groups and having a small group to match probably helps. While I was the least experienced skier in the group and felt challenged a few times when the snow was icy or variable,  everyone else in the group was very supportive and mellow, one other person in the group was also first time heliskiing. All in all I am happy that I got to experience Alyeska and heliskiing with CPG.  The weather was fabulous almost all week - high 30s in the morning - low 50s afternoon, sunny most of the time. It rained/snowed only of the days were there. I posted a detailed report with pictures on SkiDiva.

post #7 of 12

You were lucky with the heli group too.  Most of the clientele that is attracted to Alaska heliskiing is there for the super steep terrain as much as for the powder.  Both CPG and Points North will move people around in order to make the groups compatible.  But to my knowledge there were no skiers during my week at Points North who fit the OP's self description.   It does help to have only 4-5 clients per group.

Edited by Tony Crocker - 7/3/14 at 3:12pm
post #8 of 12
Sorry to hear your conditions at PN were less than ideal. I've heard it's a great op and hope to test them out myself someday.
Some of my best memories of AK are skiing at 9pm in late season. What an amazing place!
post #9 of 12
Some of my best memories of AK are skiing at 9pm in late season. What an amazing place!

The limited day Monday we skied from 6-8PM in not the greatest visibility.  The highlight steep run of my 2012 trip to Points North was a west facing exposure that softened to ideal corn about 5:30PM.


I will likely return for my credit of unused heli time, even more of that in 2014 than in 2012.


Yes they are a great op, but it is painfully evident the risk of very limited skiing is much higher than on my annual Canadian snowcat trips.

post #10 of 12

I'm thinking about an Alyeska trip this April, maybe over Easter (1st April weekend) or maybe mid April.  Any insights into the level of crowding for Easter weekend?  The trip would include experts and slower skiing intermediates so I'm hoping the slopes would be fairly uncrowded that late in the year.  (but maybe not in Alaska)

post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 

I am no sure if Easter weekend would be crowded, but I think one of the weekends in April they have slush cup - pond skimming and other festivities so that may make it a bit crowded? I skied there last week of April and the slopes were empty, even on the weekends there was rarely more than 1 or 2 people in front of me before loading the lift. Snow will probably better in the beginning of April. When I skied there in the end of April upper half of the mountain (intermediate/advanced trails) had great coverage whereas lower half (beginner/intermediate trails) was a little thin in places and slushy in the afternoon. There are a lot of fun intermediate trails at Alyeska, so the intermediates in your group will be happy. For the experts there is the whole north face of the mountain. I didn't ski the north face side, but saw from the tram that is was covered in big moguls since it hasn't snowed in while. 

post #12 of 12

Alyeska is never crowded. My first trip there was during the state spring break week in 2007 with epic deep powder on the North Face and it was still walk-on trams all day.


CPG may get a more broad cross section of skiers. My second time there someone was well out of his comfort zone and bailed at lunch, admittedly in variable and challenging surface conditions.  There are probably a few Alyeska visitors who decided to try a couple of days in the heli.  The people who go to Valdez or Cordova are committed to a week, know the weather risk but think getting a shot at some big time terrain is worth it.   CPG is also small groups in a A-Stars, so experts should still be in compatible groups.

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