This Mountain Gets Double the Snow of Most Ski Areas — and Is Home to the Longest Double Black Diamond in America

Skiing in Alaska is at the top of a lot of ski and snowboarder wishlists. And while the state is best known for its helicopter-accessed big-mountain surface, I took a more conservative method for my very first visit to Alaska with a see to Alyeska Resort, the state’s biggest ski area.

Remarkably, The ski trip was among the most convenient I’ve ever taken, thanks in large part to the truth that I was on a press trip with Eddie Bauer, who took care of the details and outfitted us in Alaska-worthy winter gear.

My aircraft landed in Anchorage in a snowstorm (a good indication for a ski trip accompanied by a travel suitcase full of down Eddie Bauer outerwear), and I hopped in a taxi for the 45-minute drive along the coast to Alyeska Resort in Girdwood, my home for the week. It took me about 20 of those 45 minutes to understand I was about to experience a ski journey unlike any other.

On one side of the roadway, mountains towered. Here, I discovered from my driver that internet users gather two times a day to ride the wave formed when a very low tide and an incredibly high tide clash.

I wasn’t here for the browsing, and ultimately, the roadway drifted away from the water and into the mountains where Alyeska Resort is tucked. The grand chateau-style hotel is generally a hotel and ski location basecamp in one. It sits at the base of the four-minute aerial cable car, the most direct method of accessing the ski location’s infamously high and deep surface– including the North Face, where you’ll discover North America’s longest constant double-black-diamond ski run.

On my first ski day, six inches of fresh snow fell, a snow overall that had me, a long time Colorado skier, delighted. It ends up the Alyeska regulars don’t get excited unless there are eight-plus inches of fresh, an entitlement substantiated of the truth the ski location sees 669 inches (nearly 56 feet) of yearly snowfall on average. For context, that’s well over double what my home Colorado resort sees yearly.

This winter is no various. According to Kara Edwards, the Alyeska Resort general manager, “As of January 15, the resort is exceeding its snow average, with 428 inches collected this season thus far. Remaining in Alaska, the mountain likewise closes later on in the ski season, with strategies to remain open until April 28, 2024, conditions allowing.”
With another deep winter on tap, here’s whatever you need to understand to book a trip to this excellent northern ski location, including what to consume, where to play off the mountain, and most significantly, where to ski.

When to Go
Alyeska’s ski season usually runs from late November to late April. To enjoy among Alyeska’s infamous powder days, your best choice is to visit in January and February, when the ski location generally sees the most snow. Excellent snowboarding continues into March and April.

If you wish to party, visit the closing weekend (April 26-28, 2024) for Spring Carnival, including costume contests, live music, and the beloved Alaska Airlines Slush Cup, a pond skim that has actually belonged to Alyeska’s closing weekend for over 38 years.

Where to Stay
Alyeska Resort: To be truthful, it’s hard to suggest anything aside from Alyeska Resort, which is part of the ski location and provides the very best access to the mountain (plus an incredible Nordic health club). For an upgrade to the standard hotel room, Edwards recommends scheduling a space on the top flooring in the brand-new Black Diamond Club, which has actually 36 newly remodelled spaces, a personal concierge, complimentary breakfast and après drinks, and a VIP ski valet. All visitors, Edwards notes, have access to my favorite in-hotel function, a “Northern Lights concierge, where guests can sign up to be gotten up and alerted for aurora viewing.”

Girdwood Vacation Rentals: If you’re not remaining at Alyeska Resort, your best choice is to stay in the town of Girdwood, which butts up against the southern side of the ski area. You can stroll to the base and rapidly get on the Ted’s Express chairlift from a lot of the holiday leasings on Airbnb.

Where to Eat
Jack Sprat: One of the very best meals I had on my Alyeska trip was at Jack Sprat, a Girdwood spot that serves up “fat and lean world cuisine.” All their seafood comes from Alaska and is sustainably caught, and they change their menu based upon what components are readily available. The restaurant has just as numerous alternatives for meat eaters as it does for vegans, and the ambiance is warm, inviting, and hip.

Seven Glaciers: Eating a meal at Seven Glaciers is simply as memorable as a ski day at Alyeska. The restaurant sits atop Mt. Alyeska and is accessed by the Aerial Tram, which is an experience in itself. In addition to a multi-course prix fixe chef’s tasting menu and award-winning red wine list, Edwards states the dining establishment provides “unparalleled views of 7 hanging glaciers” and “is a AAA Four Diamond Award restaurant.” Bookings are a must.

Specialty Alaska: I consumed the majority of my meals at Forte, which is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and is inside the Alyeska Resort hotel. My breakfast favorites included the Forte Italian Bake and Breakfast Pizza (sans meat) and the Alaska halibut over orzo for dinner.Where to Après Ski
Girdwood Brewing Company: For a conventional brewery ambiance within walking distance from the base of the ski location, head to Girdwood Brewing Company. The timber-framed taproom has craft beer galore (plus root beer and kombucha) and a rotating cadre of food trucks– including crepes, ramen, pizza, and Mexican fare. If you want a bite with your beer, check out the food truck schedule here.

Chair 5: Chair 5, likewise known as “The Dive,” is the regional hangout. It’s been in operation given that 1983 and has the wall-to-wall memorabilia to prove it. The rustic vibe is the best place to put you at ease, and the swimming pool tables supply redemption following a tough ski day. In addition to being Girdwood’s go-to watering hole, Chair 5 also has a different dining-room and a reputation for exceptional deep-dish pizza.
Ski lift
Sitzmark Bar & Grill: Sitzmark, which is part of Alyeska Resort, beings in the southern base area. It’s the mountain’s go-to après spot, with a menu of warming winter season mixed drinks– like the Nutty Irishman made with hazelnut schnapps, Irish cream, and coffee.

Aurora Bar: While closed throughout my 2023 go to, Edwards states the brand name new Aurora Bar is this year’s après go-to. She hints that at Aurora, “skiers can take in mountain views while getting a beer and a bite to consume.” And notes that the bar is close to the Nordic Spa, which has a “Twilight Soak for an evening of hydrotherapy soaks, saunas, and massage treatments.”

Off-mountain Activities
Alyeska Nordic Spa: When the Nordic medical spa opened at the Alyeska Resort in 2023– all 50,000 square feet of it– it triggered waves. Not just is it Alaska’s very first Nordic day spa, but it has actually ended up being a location in its own right, drawing Alaskans and visitors to its hot and cold hydrotherapy swimming pools. The full-day day spa experience is set outside, at the base of the ski area, and is surrounded by the northernmost rainforest. For a much shorter, less costly soak, reserve the Twilight Soak, which runs from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Snowmobiling: One of the most memorable things I performed in Alaska was a snowmobile trip around a personal gold mine. The journey, which was led by Glacier City Snowmobile Tours, Alaska’s longest-running guide service, was a short drive from town and included a fire-pit lunch that was crashed by a rogue Alaskan husky that freely strolls the basin and when conserved someone’s life. The assisting company also takes individuals to the blue glaciers, icebergs, and ice caverns of the Alaskan backcountry. Just make certain and wrap; I wore my puffiest Eddie Bauer coat for this expedition.

Heli-skiing: If you want to go beyond the confines of the ski area, Edwards advises scheduling a heli-ski trip, which easily departs from the resort’s helicopter port. The trips are offered between February and April, snow reliant, and supply much deeper access to the world-famous Chugach Mountain Range.

Glacier Cruise: Starting in mid-February, winter visitors to Alyeska can schedule a glacier cruise up Blackstone Bay, a beautiful fjord sculpted by retreating glaciers. The boat trip includes a visit to two tidewater glaciers, Beloit and Blackstone, and many waterfalls. Along the way, you’ll see sea otters and harbor seals and experience a walk through Alaska’s surprisingly thick and rich jungle.
How to Ride
Tickets: If you have the Ikon Pass, you’re in luck. Alyeska joined Ikon for the 2023-2024 season, giving Ikon Pass holders seven days at Alyeska Resort without any blackout dates. Ikon Base Pass holders can ski Alyeska for 5 days with choose blackout dates. Alyeska Resort is also available on the Ikon Session Pass. Grownup, full-day lift tickets start at $109. Half-day tickets start at $99, and night snowboarding (4 p.m. to 8 p.m.) starts at $69.

Rentals: There are two on-resort ski rental areas– the Daylodge in the southern base location and the rental store within Alyeska Resort hotel (the latter is for hotel visitors only). At either area, a standard setup (ski or snowboard) runs for $72 a day. For a non-resort choice, checkout Powder Hound, a ski store at Alyeska’s southern base.

Mountain Stats
Alyeska has just seven lifts, consisting of the 60-passenger aerial tram, and 1,610 skiable acres. It isn’t anywhere near to the size of North America’s bigger resorts, however Alyeska’s 76 called routes don’t incorporate all of the skiable terrain. “The popular Glacier Bowl develops a blank canvas to carve our tracks,” stated Edwards.

Programs: Alyeska’s surface can be daunting, even for sophisticated skiers, but it’s worth keeping in mind that much of the lower mountain includes blues and greens, and there are 2 magic carpets.

Edwards says the ski area’s snowsport school has “classes for skiers as young as four, [and] utilizes the award-winning approach to ski and snowboarding teaching the Terrain Based Learning Method.” There are also teen-specific classes, adult groups, and private lessons.

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