Happy New Year! It’s 2013. The often hectic, sometimes crazy, holiday season is over. You know what that means? It’s time to kick that ski trip planning into high gear! But where? And when? Will there be snow when you want to go? Is the area family friendly? Will there be enough challenge on the slopes?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you need to check out Alyeska Ski Resort, in Girdwood Alaska. Why? Why not! Here’s our family’s Top Ten reasons why you too may want to consider Alyeska as your next ski destination.
Top Ten Reasons to Ski Alyeska Resort
Don’t like crowded ski runs? Got kids and looking for a family-friendly ski destination? Want a mountain experience without the mountain-high lift ticket price? Yep, you guessed it. Alyeska Resort delivers all this and so much more. So read on and determine for yourself if you too will be swishing down an Alyeska ski slope.
Lots of it! Copious amounts everywhere. This place averages over 650 inches of snow a year! Wow, that’s a lot of snow. Translation – no shortage of skiable snow well into April. We skied Alyeska the first week of April. Perfect. Weather was warming up, ski slopes still in great shape, and enough daylight for a full day of skiing fun. Not to mention plenty of snow for apres ski antics like the occasional snowball fight!
Reasonable Lift Ticket Prices
Hard to beat these lift ticket prices for a top notch ski mountain. An adult all-day weekend lift ticket is $65. Skiing midweek? It drops to $60. Got kids? They’re only going to cost you $30 on the weekend, $25 for a weekday. Not bad for a mountain ski destination, huh!
A Ski Run For Everyone
Plenty of powdery slopes to appease everyone, beginners to double black diamond skiers alike. Alyeska operates 76 runs spread across 1500 skiable acres. Check out the Interactive Trail Map and see for yourself!
Need a more intense ski adventure? Check out the heli-skiing and snow cat skiing options.
Those Long Ski Runs
Enough to keep the most adventurous skier happy all day, enough to make sure your little ones sleep well at night! Lift-accessible runs climb up 2500 feet in elevation, with a total vertical of 3200 feet from Headwall to Base. And check out that view from the uppermost slopes! Just don’t look too closely while swishing down the slope.
To say the view from the top of the mountain on a clear day is spectacular, is to not do it justice. Even the view on a cloudy day is well worth a “stop and gawk” slope-side moment. Ok, enough said, just look at the photo! Which isn’t half as good as the real view!
The Ski School and It’s Instructors
The Mountain Learning Center has programs for every level. My boys had minimal ski experience prior to Alyeska, and I needed a refresher course. So off to the Mountain Learning Center we went. Within a day, both boys were skiing, and I was almost back to my old black diamond days. Ok, not quite, but I was zipping down those blue runs pretty darn smoothly! Never too cool for ski school!
Ski lessons, like lift tickets, are comparatively reasonable. A two hour lesson, which includes an all-day ski pass, the lesson, and equipment rental (helmet included) start at $70.
Minimal Crowds = Minimal Lift Lines
With a lift capacity of over 12,000 skiers per hour, you’ll be racing down uncrowded slopes in no time. Rarely did we have more than a ten minute lift line wait, the norm for a mid-week Alyeska ski day. As you might expect, lift lines are longer on weekends and holidays, but still reasonable.
Need a break from downhill skiing? Step into a pair of cross-country skis and ski out to Portage Glacier. Get up close and personal with the glacier after you ski across the frozen lake. Maybe not for everyone, but it comes highly recommended. And it’s free unless you need to rent cross country skis. Just please don’t get too close to the glacier!
The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
Need a day off? A few hours off? Check out the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, just a short drive from Girdwood, down the Seward Highway. It might be snowbound, but that’s half the fun! Tip – get out of the car and walk the road. You’ll get up close and personal with local wildlife, but not too close. This place is kid-tested and kid-approved!
Last but not least, our most favorite of all for an Alyeska Ski Vacation:
Alyeska is Pure Family Fun
On and off the slopes, so long as your family loves snow, you’ll all have a blast. Snowball fights, sledding down huge snowbanks, digging your very own snow cave. Hey, even a snow-bound local park can provide an hour of snow-fun. And all just outside your Girdwood front door or a short drive away.
So there you have it. Our top ten reasons to consider Alyeska for your next ski destination. Wish you could see the slopes yourself before committing? Then check out all the slope-side action through the live feed Alyeska WebCams.
Getting to Alyeska Ski Resort
Alyeska is in Girdwood Alaska, just a short one hour drive from Anchorage. Most people fly into Anchorage, rent a car, and drive to Girdwood. It’s a beautiful drive, and on a clear day, is worth stopping along the way for beautiful photo ops.
Think it’s expensive to fly to Alaska? Well, in the summer, that’s often the case but may not be from January to April. Airfare often rivals airfare prices for similar, more popular ski destinations. Factor in lower ski ticket prices and less crowded slopes, and an Alyeska ski trip might not be as far a reach as you think.
Staying in Girdwood
All that snow gear takes up lots of space! You might consider renting a vacation home in Girdwood, especially if you have kids in tow. Our family rented a vacation home, and it was soooo worth it! We even had an outdoor hot tub to soak our aching muscles after a long day of skiing. The Aleska Lodge is nice too, if you prefer the hotel route. It was just too small for our family and all our snow gear.
Here’s several sites to get you on the road to finding the perfect Girdwood lodging:
We rented the chalet at Timberline Drive. Both the place, and the owner, Gaile, are awesome! Say hi if you luck into renting this place.
Want to learn more about vacation home rentals? Check out Vacation Home Rentals -Your Hotel Alternative?
When to Ski at Alyeska
Pretty much anytime from now into April, though mid-March is Alaska public school Spring Break and the slopes will be busier. We skied the first week in April – practically no lift lines and great snow! Oh wait, on Sunday we did have to wait a few times for about five minutes, maybe one time for ten minutes, to get on the lift. Now that’s skiing! Enjoy!
Are you planning a winter vacation? Where are you going? Someplace warm? Or someplace cold? Have you skied at Alyeska? Let us know in the Comments section below.
Images from Alyeska Resort and Carol Biederman.