“This has been the best week of the season so far.” – Pistol Pete, local Alyeskan
We woke up today experiencing malaise, long breakfasts, and some annoyance with our cars having been towed last night at the Bear’s Tooth Grill. We got the cars back by 10am and I hit on the road towards Girdwood, leaving very mild dry weather in Anchorage. On the way to Girdwood [Alyeska’s home], all it did was rain. Pouring rain. The kind of rain that makes you wanna turn around and look for a bowling alley.
I got the resort at noon and still wasn’t sure about skiing. It was raining part way up the mountain and the upper mountain was closed for strong wind. By the time I got my boots on the tram had opened. By the time I finished skiing 16″ of fresh snow down to Chair 6 (the highest chair), it was open.
Pure joy ensued as a handful of locals enjoyed Alyeska to themselves in knee deep, creamy powder. The lower elevation rain was forgotten and the higher elevation powder was thoroughly bathed in. I was lucky enough to ski a couple laps with local Pistol Pete and he claimed Alyeska was having its best week of the season thus far.
As with most of North America, it’s been a dry, bizarre winter at Alyeska. But, this past week has been the start of a normal Alaska pattern: snow everyday. Snow is piling up and filling things in and it’s supposed to keep coming. There’s no break in the snow forecasted this week.
There were some strong winds today. Strong enough to close chair 6 for 15 minutes around 1:30pm. But, this is Alyeska and Alyeska has soul. There are no money holds here and they’re always doing their damnedest to get things open and keep them open.
Powder could be found off chair 6 until I left at 4pm. The resort stayed open until 5:30pm today.
Alyeska has gotten 18″ of snow at the top of the mountain in the past 24 hours. There’s a 100″ of snowpack at the top of the hill. They’ve gotten 414″ of snow this winter.
Not bad for a lower snow year at Alyeska. Most anywhere else, Alyeska’s current numbers would constitute a terrific winter.