Alyeska Resort: A Huffington Post Travel Ski Resort Guide
01/09/2012 01:44 pm ET
Sue Hargis Spigel
The Huffington Post
Alyeska Resort in Alaska is a popular destination for skiers and snowboarders. As part of a series on ski resorts, Huffington Post Travel offers our guide to Alyeska Resort, featuring all the key information snow lovers need to know before they hit the slopes.
Alyeska Resort in Girdwood is 40 miles south of Anchorage and the Ted Stevens Airport and is practically a straight shot on the stunningly beautiful Seward Highway. The ski and snowboard resort sits in the Chugach Mountains, nine miles from Portage Glacier. Each winter month offers enough daylight for a full day of skiing. December averages over seven hours of daylight and April tops out above 16 hours. Night skiing takes place Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 4 to 9 p.m.
The mountain boasts the North Face, the "longest continuous double-black-diamond run in North America." The mountain has a total vertical drop of 3,200 feet, steep slopes and spectacular views of Cook Inlet. With an average annual snowfall that tops 640 inches, the mountain maintains a base of 204 inches. Ski season runs from mid-November through late April and sometimes into May. Monthly temperatures are not as cold as might be expected in Alaska; January's average is a moderate 20 degrees Fahrenheit, February's is 26 and the March average is 32.
Trails And Lifts
Alyeska Resort operates 73 ski runs on over 1,400 skiable acres, including 113 acres that can be serviced by snowmaking machines. The designations for trail difficulty are 11 percent beginner, 52 percent intermediate and 37 percent for experts. Two terrain parks, the 400-foot-long Alyeska Superpipeline, and snowcat and heli-skiing round out the possibilities for adventure. A total of nine lifts -- one 60-passenger aerial tram, two magic carpets, a high-speed detachable quad, three fixed quads and two doubles -- transport people around the slopes.
In The News
Actress Kristen Bell was spotted several times in Girdwood and Alyeska in 2011 while filming "Big Miracle." She climbed Mount Alyeska with other cast and crew members and raved about the amazing scenery in interviews she did while promoting the movie. Iceland's President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson visited the Alyeska Resort in June 2011 to attend the Arctic Imperative Summit.
Alyeska offers several season passes for lift tickets. The adult and student passes are $1,350 and $1,100 for the entire season. Senior, midweek, military, reloadable and other passes are available as well. Single-day lift tickets for adults cost $60, half-day tickets are $50 and half-day plus night tickets are $60. Student, senior and military passes run for lower prices, and children 5 and younger travel the slopes for free. Guests can choose from a variety of equipment rental packages for one or more days. Individual equipment rental is also available with prices ranging from $5 to $60, and a Mammut Pulse beacon is available for $20.
The on-site Sitzmark Bar & Grill has its own apres-ski scene for adults and accompanied children. The restaurant serves an array of build-your-own hot dogs and burgers, chili, hummus, sandwiches and locally brewed beer. Blues bands and other live music acts play at the Sitzmark on weekends. The Snow Film Series presents 10 films from November to February in the Sitzmark. For an upscale experience, guests can ride a tram up to 2,300 feet above sea level to the Seven Glaciers Restaurant for Alaskan scallops, king crab, beef and wild game and a full bar.
WATCH: Alyeska Resort
Snowboarders traverse Alyeska Resort's long, scenic runs in the Alaskan winter sun.