With deep snow blanketing majestic mountains in a remarkably remote setting, Alaska is a pretty special place to hit the slopes. And it’s not just the terrain of accomplished skiers; there are plenty of slopes for beginners, too. Whether you’re drawn by the adventure of backcountry skiing in Alaska, the thrill of adrenaline-fueled heli-skiing, or the chance to try out the mountains’ less challenging slopes, these winter resorts have it covered.
Just a short journey from Anchorage, Alyeska Resort in the small town of Girdwood is Alaska’s most popular ski resort. This convenient location is also spectacularly scenic, set within a valley of the Chugach Mountains and surrounded by glaciers and creeks.
During the winter months the town revolves around its snow sports, with an annual snowfall of around 650 inches and the longest continuous double black diamond ski run in North America (for those brave enough to take it on). But, all levels are catered for here, with lessons for complete beginners and challenging runs for the more experienced. Each Thursday, Friday and Saturday night throughout winter, skiers even have the chance to ski under the stars, when ski lifts remain open for night skiing sessions.
The Hotel Alyeska provides a luxury base within the resort, combining modern décor with native Alaskan elements, and with the addition of a spa to relax in after coming in from the snow. The Alyeska Aerial Tram transports guests straight from the hotel up Mount Alyeska, with stop-offs along the way to take in the spectacular views from several observation platforms.
By travelling further north to the subarctic city of Fairbanks, you’ll have access to some of Alaska’s most remote ski slopes. Mount Aurora Lodge takes its name from the incredible show of northern lights that are so often visible in the night sky, but it’s also the base for the 100-acre ski resort, Skiland. Just a ten-minute walk from the lodge, the ski resort has what is claimed to be the world’s most northern chairlift, with especially quiet slopes due to the remote location.
This same seclusion can be found in the city of Juneau, which is only accessible by boat or seaplane, situated on Alaska’s panhandle at the base of Mount Roberts. People come to the region year-round to explore the great outdoors and be amidst awe-inspiring scenery.
In winter, keen skiers head up to the nearby Eaglecrest Ski Area, which has 640 acres of ski slopes, with mountainside that’s ideal for backcountry skiing. Here, the more adventurous skiers can also sign up for heli-skiing. A spectacular helicopter ride over snowy mountaintops takes you to otherwise unreachable spots for unparalleled off-piste skiing.
In Alaska’s Valdez-Cordova region, the port city of Valdez is a destination for skiing across all capabilities, but it’s best known for is its offering of intrepid ski experiences, including heli and snowcat skiing. If you consider yourself an expert skier, sign up for heli-skiing with Valdez Heli Ski Guides.
The winter ski season typically runs from November through April in Alaska, so get planning while there’s still plenty of snow.
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Have you been skiing in Alaska? Where did you hit the slopes? Let us know in the comments section below.
Written by Lauren Hill