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Alyeska

Snow is to Alaska what sand is to Arabia, and the state’s biggest ski resort won’t have you anxiously refreshing the slope report. Snow’s in the bag, the “best views in the US” extend in all directions and the Northern Lights may well stop by – Alyeska takes ski holidays and injects Alaskan magic, and we can’t get enough of it.

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

At a glance: • Heliskiing • Snow sure • Northern Lights

Great for: • Experts • Off-piste • Non skiers

Snow is to Alaska what sand is to Arabia, and the state’s biggest ski resort won’t have you anxiously refreshing the slope report. Snow’s in the bag, the “best views in the US” extend in all directions and the Northern Lights may well stop by – Alyeska takes ski holidays and injects Alaskan magic, and we can’t get enough of it.

Alyeska Resort

Steep, deep and buried in 650 inches of snow a year, this isn’t just any old ski resort, it’s an Alaskan ski resort, and bordering the Arctic Ocean it’s the biggest in the state.

Surrounded by the soaring Chugach mountains - the most heavily glaciated area in America - and the waters of the Turnagain Arm, Alyeska is home to some of the most scenic runs ever. The Seven Glacier Restaurant on Upper Bowl is named for the all the ice caps you clock from its tables – a vista that Conde Nast called “the best view of any US resort”. You could spend all your days zooming down all the resort’s open terrain, or just riding the 60-passenger sightseeing tram back and forth, but for all who are able, heli and cat skiing are almost mandatory. These offer you your pick of 750,000 acres, elevations of 6500ft and some of the best experiences of your ski-borne life. For those less steady in the slats, enjoy air time in the form of “flightseeing” tours, zipping past 400ft glacial walls, landing on frozen lakes, and checking out the fjords of the nearby Prince William Sound. Just be sure to charge the camera!

Set between the old gold town of Girdwood and the Japanese chic Alyeska Hotel, this resort is a mix of influences, and toes the line between luxurious and rustic elegance. Lovely locals are the glue that bind it together, and the town of Girdwood is home to about 2000 of them.

Ice floes and forestry, not drinks deals and dining options, are the area’s specialty –and together the hotel and Girdwood only muster up a handful of bars and restaurants. But the grub you do get is good, and with views like these to chew on, you probably wouldn’t be bothered if it wasn’t.

Stats & FAQ

Location: Alaska, USA

Established: 1959

Open: November - April

Downhill: 1610 acres / 76 runs

View our detailed Alyeska snow forecast or snow report and see all live webcams, piste maps, road and travel maps and lift pass prices. For a picture of historic snow conditions see the snow depths month by month with our Alyeska snow history.

Nearest Airport & Transfer Time:
Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC)64km, 45 mins
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced
  • 11%

  • 52%

  • 37%

Top Altitude:3939ft / 1200m
Bottom Altitude:800ft / 240m
Resort Altitude:800ft / 240m
Longest run:2km
Slope Orientation:N S W
Vertical Drop:3200ft / 975m
Skiable Vertical:
Night Skiing:Yes
Glacier:Yes

Snow Report

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Web Cam

Alyeska web cams
Downhill Runs:1610 acres / 76 runs
Beginner slopes:11%
Intermediate:52%
Advanced slopes:37%
Lift Pass Price: $60-80 (adult 1 day)
Nearby resorts:

Skiing/BoardingSkiing in Alyeska

Mt. Alyeska terrain - as Alaskan terrain’s famous for - is steep and it’s deep. Making the most of the piste map’s 1610 acres requires at least a working knowledge of a blue run. But the views at the top make for solid incentive to break the bounds of the beginner area as soon as humanly possible.

This is not to say that the tree-lined green groomers at base aren’t utterly charming. Blueberry Hill, down to the Alyeska Hotel follows the treeline and rewards you with a super lunch spot at the end. Easy open blue runs like Upper Von Imhof are a good way to progress and let you in on some scenic skiing. Until then, see if the resort still offers discount beginner tickets for the Bear Cub Quad and Lift 7.

With 52% of the terrain, intermediates are statistically going to have some good stuff. Lots of the land is made up of top-to-bottom blues (like 2-mile Silvertip), and the entire 2500ft (lift-served) vertical, from the top of the Glacier Bowl Express down to the Day Lodge.

The terrain that experts can cover in Alyeska doubles with a hike above the lifts, where the bounty includes gnarly bowls, chutes and powder that will leave you like a puppy that’s first seen snow. The vertical from the very top extends to 3200ft. As you crane your neck to take it all in, there’s no denying this is extreme terrain. Some of the fiercest in the US, runs like Headwall will never be skiable for the majority. This makes the glory of conquering it all the greater. There’s also plenty of tough terrain with lift-access. The North Face is the longest constantly pitched double black in the land, and has a legion of fans to show for it. With some of the planet’s best backcountry on your doorstep, even if you’ve never done it before, heliskiing and catskiing are a must. Take a Gopro and expect Youtube views.

Definitely not leaving freestylers out in the cold, the resort has a world-class superpipe and two parks.

Lifts usually stay open an hour later than other US resorts - ‘til 6, and night skiing on weekends runs ‘til 9. Reason enough for a trip: During earlier months like Dec and Jan, it’s often possible to ski with the Northern Lights dancing above you.

Alyeska Apres Ski

The Sitzmark Bar and Grill leads the après brigade, with pints and pitchers you can enjoy on the “best deck in Girdwood” or beneath the bar’s high, painted, glow-in-the-dark ceilings (they don’t call this place the “Sitzstine Chapel” for nothing...). Live shows here at weekends and open mic nights in the week get the people going. In and around Girdwood, Chair 5 somehow is both a fun spot for family pizza and has a menu with 40 tequilas and 60 microbrews, while the Double Musky has been described as the “last great American Roadhouse” with the kind of steaks and seafood you’ll tell friends about.

This being Alaska and all, the activities are a little bit special – try a “flightseeing tour”, to hover your way past glaciers and glacial lakes in a private chopper, or dog sledding (Alaska’s official sport). Year-round fishing and cruising tours are offered on the ocean, while a snowmobile will take you on a smashing trip through glaciated peaks and creeks to a campfire for reindeer hotdogs... For the ultimate Alaskan experience, fly from nearby Anchorage to one of several Inupiat Eskimo Villages located on the shores of the Beaufort Sea, 250 miles north of the Arctic Circle. The only thing making this resort more Alaskan is the fact you never know if the Northern Lights are going to burst out and surprise you (ask staff at front desk for a mid-night wake-up call when they do).

Best time to go

Best time to ski Alyeska

When is the best time to ski Alyeska?

Alaska is cold, but it’s not arctic. Average temperatures range from -6°C in Jan to a benign 6°C in April, and snow stays fairly constant throughout that time. 650 inches a season is what we’d call “snowsure”.

This is the furthest north of all the American resorts, meaning limited daylight hours in early winter (when day skiing often turns into night skiing) give way to ridiculously long days in the spring (and midnight sun in the summer). Since you rarely have to worry about snow cover here, March, April and late season skiing can be some of the best, with perfect bluebird days aplenty and up to 16 hours of daylight. But any time from February is considered prime heli-ski season, and it’s worth noting that chances of spotting the elusive Northern Lights are higher the earlier you arrive.

Despite all this awesomeness, Alyeska is rarely crowded - perfect for peak dates - and with its huge snowfall, one of the premier areas for powder skiing in North America.

Peak Dates

Special events at Christmas in Alyeska have included photos and skiing with Santa, a torchlight parade and fireworks show. While all are distracted by the main man, sneak up to the peak and ski “Christmas” (a 45-degree, mist-shrouded chute) in spectacular solitude.

A tradition for New Years in Alyeska, the torchlight parade lights up the mountain as over 350 skiers and boarders glide down in formation with flares. A stunning fireworks show usually immediately follows, after which the live music rocks and champagne corks pop at the Sitzmark.

The days get longer, and the snow is at its level best for Half Term in Alyeska, and activities like chopper tours and Eskimo village trips provide stories to share back at school.

When the days can reach 16 hours and the month still sees 50 inches of snow, the figures don’t lie, Easter in Alyeska is going to be fantastic. The Easter Bunny has his holiday here and is known to hide eggs around the resort.

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Families in Alyeska

From nature trails to the scenic aerial tram (that looks out on seven hanging glaciers and an ocean), Alyeska will enthral your kids, even if the Northern Lights don’t put in an appearance. The queue-jumping “Alyeska Choice Pass”, if still available, can be a good investment.

Childcare is not currently offered by the resort, but there’s plenty to keep the kids busy after hours. Activities range from a 600' (200m) tubing hill to “Slow and Easy” snowmobile tours past fields, rivers, frozen waterfalls and wildlife.

Lessons with the ski school are available to all from 4-12, or 6-12 for a boarder. Take them night skiing for a fun family adventure and let them show off what they’ve learnt.

GroupsGroup Holidays Alyeska

Groups that ski or board at a strong intermediate level and up have some of the best slopes and best snow in the New World in Alyeska – plus a good extra hour on the hill over many other US resorts. This is the state where midnight sunshine is a thing in summer, and spring skiing can see some of the longest, most blissful bluebird days on record.

A group heliskiing trip in the spring will cement friendships for life, and off the slopes, there are more memories to be made exploring the Great Outdoors. Take a flightseeing tour, wildlife trek, or snowmobile out to BBQ’s in the woods, making sure to keep an eye out for Northern Lights to put a cherry on this sundae.

More Alyeska Holiday Resources


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