Here’s to all the casual explorers, the infrequent flyers, and international pedestrians. Cheers to life!

Alaska – Skiing Alyeska

Alyeska Ski Area - Alaska

For me, the Alyeska Ski Area was a challenging, but phenomenal part of our trip to Alaska. If you are like me and are only able to ski 1 – 2 times a year or less, this might be a challenging ski area. If you are pro, then jump right in!

If you are planning to ski/snowboard, I highly recommend flying Alaska Airlines. Not only is a great airline (one of my fav airlines!), it only cost $25 each way for our ski/snowboard gear. You can definitely rent from Alyeska, but it gets pretty pricey, especially if you are skiing for more than one day. We were able to stuff most our bulkier items into our ski/snowboard bags, so we only had a carry-on and backpack for the plane. I was very impressed with our packing abilities.

For lift tickets, we found a deal on the Costco website that was two days skiing for $96/person. Not only a great deal, the price point reduced the pressure of skiing in difficult weather. Definitely check around online for deals. I don’t think Alyeska is currently partnered with Liftopia, but that might change by the time you go!

Alyeska is located in the city of Girdwood, which is about 40 minutes outside of Anchorage. Girdwood is a sweet, sleepy little town. We found a darling Airbnb with wonderful hosts.

The first morning we woke up to avalanche cannons and sprinkling rain. I was so excited to ski that I didn’t totally take the time to consider how rain would affect skiing. The lifts opened at 10:30 am, so we enjoyed a leisurely morning until it was time to suit up and head up. I wish I could say I was completely prepared with the most waterproof gear, but as we were sitting on the first quad up the mountain with pelting rain slowly soaking into my ski pants, it was also slowly soaking in that I might not last very long...

At a Glance:

  • Rating: 4 Stars, would absolutely do it again
  • Intensity: Waterproof ski/snowboard gear
  • Duration: Entire Day
  • Cost: $65/weekday, $85/weekend day (but check around for deals!)
  • Location: Girdwood
  • Restrooms: At Alyeska Hotel, Daylodge, Upper Tram Terminal

Highlights:

  • Fresh powder!
  • Challenging Skiiing
  • Gorgeous views

Recommended for this adventure:

  • WATERPROOF everything (not  fair-weather skiing)
  • Goggles and balaclava
  • Cash/Card for snacks/water at Upper Tram Terminal
  • Courage

At the top of the first lift, the rain became snow. We headed for the very top of the mountain to avoid the rain. I lasted exactly two runs before convincing boyfriend that I was done for the day, pending weather. The bottom of the mountain was a slush-fest due to the rain. We had some lunch ,and a nap, then boyfriend decided to hit the slopes again, while I explored Girdwood.

Lift tickets include the Hotel Alyeska aerial tram, and on the recommendation of our Airbnb hosts to order "The Fizz", I headed to the fine dining restaurant called Seven Glaciers Restaurant, located at he Upper Tram Terminal. The scenery was gorgeous!! I met up with boyfriend for some snowy pics, then into Seven Glaciers, and cozied up to the bar. The Fizz, a specialty cocktail that is not on the menu, has a long and secretive history. The recipe is highly classified and guests are only allowed two per visit. I innocently asked what was in it (mainly thinking of the dairy aspect), but the bartender gently reminded that the ingredients were confidential. I decided to go for it anyways. It was delicious! A blended concoction that was creamy and fizzy with a hint of holiday spice. I savored the drink and was tempted to have a second, but boyfriend was on his last run. Although I didn’t ski very long, the aerial tram and The Fizz more than made up for the weather.

The next morning there were more avalanche cannons, but no rain! We were hopeful as we dawned our slightly damp ski gear. We remained hopeful making our way up the mountain. And we were rewarded with a glorious day of skiing. Not clear, necessarily, but this time we both got a full day of skiing. We even saw a line of skiers hiking their way up to the peak for the truly fresh powder. It was inspiring.

Overall, I would say that Alyeska Ski Area is best for at least slightly experienced skiers. Because we were there in late February and because the ski area is located nearly at sea level, the bottom of the mountain was was slush-fest, making forward momentum unpredictable. The top of the mountain had wonderful snow, but all of the runs at the top are intermediate blue squares and above. It was challenging for me, but the price and combo of the two days with the aerial tram made it completely worthwhile.

Happy Travels,

Hanna



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