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Alyeska inquiry

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I am planning a 8 day trip for myself and my brother. We are both ex-racers, and like to ski powder or extreme steeps. Since powder days are tough to predict, I like to pick places that have lots of super-steep terrain to keep us happy if the snowfall is minimal.
I have heard great things about Alyeska, but wanted to make sure the terrain is worth the long trip. Places that have worked for us in the past include Jackson, Alta/Snowbird, Whistler, Kicking Horse, Mammoth and Squaw. Places that can be great but don't have the right terrain for us include Telluride, Lake Louise, Sun Valley, and Vail.
We would be going the first week of April, so I'd also be curious how conditions change at Alyeska as you get into spring.
Thanks for the help.
post #2 of 7
Two places that seem to fit your specs (and are a LOT closer than Alyeska) would be Red Mountain in BC, and Castle Mountain in Alberta.

Both get gobs of snow, and both have constant steep pitch from top to bottom. Now that I think about it, they're both similar in terms of vertical too. (~2800ft)

http://www.castlemountainresort.com/
http://www.redresort.com/
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

Worried about Red in April

Castle and Red both seem very interesting, but I am hesitant to go to either so late in the season. We had a trip to Fernie and Red two years ago, but warm temps and rain forced us to bail on Red and go to Kicking Horse. Seems like both places are better bets in Jan/Feb then late in the season.
post #4 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Beekeeper
Castle and Red both seem very interesting, but I am hesitant to go to either so late in the season. We had a trip to Fernie and Red two years ago, but warm temps and rain forced us to bail on Red and go to Kicking Horse. Seems like both places are better bets in Jan/Feb then late in the season.
Sorry, I didn't see that it would be an April trip.

You're quite right, the lower elevation of Red might cause trouble. Castle is 1,000 feet higher, but is still a crapshoot that late in the season. Don't forget that Alyeska will not be the shoo-in you're thinking as the base is right around sea-level and the temps in April can get well above freezing.
post #5 of 7
I have skied most of the places you mentioned and I have a hard time distinguishing between your good list and bad list. I am sure this is a reflection on me, but I don't shy away from steep. I do shy away from cliffs and super narrow chutes. I give you that information so that you understand what parts of the mountain I am not using.

In my first season at Alyeska (almost 40 days now), I haven't found much that strikes me as breathtaking steeps. There are a couple of chutes that haven't opened and there are some stretches of the North Face that have only opened a couple times when I wasn't there so I might be missing the best.

The terrain at Alyeska rolls in interesting ways which means that for most of the mountain, the steeps are not all that sustained. The exception is North Face which is supposed to be the longest double black in North America at over 2000 feet of vertical. It is nice, but I don't think it would be good for 8 days of laps. And the bottom of it will probably melt by April. There isn't much coverage at the lower elevations.

As for powder, we get plenty of snow. I haven't had a day of thigh deep yet. It is usually too heavy to sink that far, but there is almost always some fresh snow. Unfortunately, it isn't always useable. In the last 7 days, Alyeska received over 10 feet (!) of snow. The mountain was closed for several days and the top of the mountain didn't even open today. That 10 feet is pretty much untouched at this point, but it is probably heavy and once they are done with avy control, it might be all giant snow boulders.

If you want to spend some money, cat skiing and heli skiing should get you everything you want up here. I can't help you there as I get my thrills on the cheap.

I can't say for sure what to expect in early April since I have only been up here since May, but we skied the end of last season in late May (top of the mountain, only). I think early April could still be pretty good.

Come to Alyeska because it is in Alaska, the views are unmatched, and it is rarely crowded. I don't think it is a big enough resort for 8 days of intensive steeps skiing.
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

thanks

Thank you for the response! I definitely want to get up to Alyeska, but it doesn't sound right for this trip.
post #7 of 7
When Christmas & New Year chutes and all of the North Face are open its a pretty decent ski area. But I agree with dad, eight days is too many for the resort, unless you go heli skiing. April would be prime time for a heli trip if you've got the coin.

Only problem with Alyeska is they don't open until 10:30, by then the snow can get baked.
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