or Connect
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Mountain/Resort Related Forums › Resorts, Conditions & Travel › Alyeska Resort (Alaska)...any info?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Alyeska Resort (Alaska)...any info?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Read about this place in a ski magazine and just checked out the website. Not far from Anchorage with a 2500' vertical. Base is only 250' or so. Most incredible part is they AVERAGE over 600" of snow per season and have had as much as 900". Being from NJ I kinda weep reading those stats.

Looking for something off the beaten path for next year. Anyone been to this mythical place???



post #2 of 11
I went to Alaska a couple years ago on business and stopped in at Alyeska to look at it. The runs under the gondola looked pretty steep and the hotel at the base of the gondola is very very nice. At the time they had a $99 day ski and stay package. I think the hotel is named the Prince Edward. One thing I was reminded of in Alaska in January when I was there , the sun doesn't come up till about 10:30 AM and sets pretty early in the PM. Maybe I'm wrong but sunny winter days don't appear to be very frequent.
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks. We were planning for next March. I guess what I am really asking is it worth the 8 hours of air from NJ? Again we are looking for something off the beaten path. We were considering either Big Sky or Big Mountain in MT or Grand Targhee in WY but then I read this article.
post #4 of 11
If they have snow, like this year Mammoth would be an awsome place to go in March. Once spring hits in So. California it is not very crowded. IMO there is no place better for spring skiing and they usualy get 1 or 2 dumps in March or April so cpuld hit powder as well.
post #5 of 11
Originally Posted by gores95
Thanks. We were planning for next March. I guess what I am really asking is it worth the 8 hours of air from NJ? Again we are looking for something off the beaten path. We were considering either Big Sky or Big Mountain in MT or Grand Targhee in WY but then I read this article.
I've never been but have looked into it...1600 acres which is not really what I would consider a destination resort, however they do get a lot of snow. Lots of Cat/Heli skiing operations out of Girdwood too.

I would vote for Grand Targhee (you also have the option to ski JH) or Big Mountain MT (side trip to Fernie BC) or Powder Mt/Snowbasin Utah.

Some friends went to Alyeska a few years back in March I think...sadly no fresh pow.

post #6 of 11
I have several friends who have skied at Alyeska, all in late February or early March (they all live on the East Coast, so it's a similarly lengthy trip). From what they've told me, you go to Alyeska because you want to experience Alaska, not because you want an epic ski trip. Winter is low season, so it's cheaper to visit, and there are less crowds (going to Alaska in summer is like going to Yellowstone National Park or Banff). And, overall, the resort itself is not crowded, so you pretty much have the mountain to yourself.

I don't know what level skiers you are, but Alyeska is really an intermediate's mountain as far as terrain is concerned. My friends all said that experts have some good drops but the real challenge of Alyeska is the tremendous variety of terrain and snow conditions from top to bottom. Snow may be groomed, cut up or untouched. Sometimes it's powder at the top and mashed potatoes at the bottom. Since those conditions affect terrain for all ability levels, you should feel comfortable skiing in variable conditions to really enjoy it. If the snow is not fresh, it is very technical and difficult skiing. While my friends didn't say as much, it sounds like Alyeska can be a bit like Whistler because of it's low elevation and location on the ocean. Perhaps someone else here can confirm or deny that.

When they have whiteout or flat light conditions (which apparently is often enough), you can't ski a large portion of the mountain because there are no trees to provide definition. On those days, you do something else: dogsledding, visit museums, wildlife cruises, sightseeing, and so forth.

As someone else said, it gets light later in the day. However, by mid-February, Alyeska gets more daylight hours than other resorts in North America. Lifts open at 10:30 AM and normal closing time is 5:30 p.m., but on Friday and Saturday nights from mid-December until mid-March, the lifts remain open until 9:30 p.m. By late-February/early-March, temps average about 30 degrees F, so it's fairly warm (not as cold as you might expect in Alaska).

If you're really into dogsledding, go to Alyeska at the same time as either Fur Rendezvous (late Feb.) or the Iditarod (early March). Everyone I know said both of those events are worth making the trip for. Also, you'll probably see Northern Lights, which are truly spectacular so farth north.

I hope that helps some!

post #7 of 11
It has been many moon since skiing Alyeska. For example, we organized a bunch of college mates and bought season tickets for way UNDER $100. Guess that makes me a bit of an old fart.

The area is massively different so I can not tell you about current area details. The days are short. It can be cold as a bitty. That is where I learned to ski powder (what I then called powder would kill me today).

What is your skill level? If you want to extend yourself, buy some skins (when you get there), verify the glacier is open and hike from the top 2700' to the higher points of the glacier for the best powder (best accessable snow by slow speed quads, yours), take 2-3 bottles of beer or wine shorties per person, bury them at the top, make bracelets, hike back up, enjoy a refreshment, make bracelets, hike, enjoy.... That may be as good of an experience as you'll find. What can I say, I'm telling a 1966 story +/-.

Good Luck and Good Skiing!
post #8 of 11
I think its a nice little mountian and I really like Girdwood. 2000' laps on the tram if the North Face is open. If you book some Heli and Cat skiing with Chugach Powder Guides you can have a very nice trip.
post #9 of 11
I skied there a few years ago and it is a great area. We were blessed with 5 ft of snow that week, so my experience was atypicial. They have some nice long steeps off the tram that takes off right from the Alyeska Prince Hotel. Also the cat skiing leaves right from there, which was much better than any of the 3 other cat skiing operations' terrain I've experience in the US. They've had Red Bull Extreme contests there, and they also have some intermediate terrain. It is an easy drive from Anchorage down the coast highway. Also, great backcounty skiing at Turnagain Pass just up the road from Girdwood. Skiers on one side of the road and snowmobiles on the other.

The problem is that the base elevation is 400 ft. above sea level and about 2 miles from the coast, so if they get snow it is often heavy, or turns that way rather quickly, and can be foggy. If you can hit it in the right conditions, it is an excellent area.

If you go, try and get on the waiting list for the cat skiing. The helis can only fly about 50% of the time, so they get first shot at the cat as a backup. If the weather is good and they can fly, you get a deal on the cat if you are ready to go.
post #10 of 11
North American Ski Training Center (NASTC) just did an Alyeska trip on April 3rd. (I haven't done that trip, but have done others with them. Great grou).
You can read about it here. They'll probably do it again next season.
Here's the link, in case you want to get info:
post #11 of 11
Destination resort? Hardly. The destination is Alaska, Alyeska just happens to be here.
What everyone is basically true- the low elevation and proximity to the inlet make for some interesting snow conditions. An average of 500" of snow might be a little low, but not all of that is powder. Flat light or whiteouts are common occurances during January and February, but a lot of us just deal with it and ski anyway. There is a painful lack of beginner terrain for families. There is no "village" for those interested in that kind of stuff, although there are restaurants and bars. While we don't groom with fishing nets and snow machines (there is a resort up here that does), don't expect the miles of wide groomers like you would get at Mammoth.

Don't get me wrong, Alyeska is one of the biggest reasons I chose to live here. There are a some VERY good skiers here, and when the skiing is good there's no place I'd rather be. Tying the trip in with heliskiing with CPG or watching the Iditarod (the actual race, not the Anchorage start) would make a great life experience. The scenery is incredible, and the Douby Musky is a great restaurant in Girdwood.

Lito Tejada Flores visited a few years ago and did a writeup on his website. You can probably find a few more if you look hard enough. It's a great place to visit, but I wouldn't make the only reason I came up here.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Resorts, Conditions & Travel
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Mountain/Resort Related Forums › Resorts, Conditions & Travel › Alyeska Resort (Alaska)...any info?