[sponsored by Alyeska Resort]
Alaska. What do you think of or see when you hear that word? Vast, wild, rugged, free and adventurous? How about Images of massive glaciers cascading off huge peaks into the Pacific Ocean, Grizzlies the size of Jeeps, giant trout and salmon, flocks of Bald Eagle, raging rivers; these are all the common images that come to mind when people think of Alaska. For skiers and rider, it goes further. Deeper. Wilder. Alaska is the holy grail of skiing.
Alaska is a little bit the holy grail of everything, when you think about it. And that’s the thing. Alaska kinda has to the best of everything. World class fishing, from the coast line to the Aleutian Islands to the thousands of rivers and mountain creeks around the state. Amazing surfing (yep, surfing) and while it may be a little frigid, anyone who’s surfed in AK will tell you it’s got some of the best and least busy breaks in the world. Mountaineering; towering at over 20,000 feet, Denali, North America’s highest peak, is one home to some of the best mountaineering in the world. The best part? There are thousands of other peaks across the state worthy of anyone who likes to climb. Hiking, mountain biking, sea kayaking are all plentiful.
Alaska is home to some of the most diverse and healthy flora and fauna in the world. From the famous Grizzly bears to wolves, cougars, wolverine, mouse, caribou, elk, eagles, whales, dolphins, seals, sea lions…well the list is endless and those are just the highlights.
People. I love going to Alaska and the folks that call this magical place home are what make it so inviting. From cool little towns like Homer and Girdwood to far outposts like Gnome and Dutch Harbor, Alaska has an friendly, down to earth vibe. Almost everyone who lives up there loves being outdoors. Even in the capital, Anchorage, which is a really cool place, the vibe is one of a passion for everything Alaska is and stands for.
But for us skiers and rider the best part of Alaska is the snow. The great Doug Coombs described Alaska as having the best snow on earth. Going to AK is every skier and rider’s dream and the options are plenty. From world class heliskiing out of places like Haines, Girdwood and Cordova to ski touring in the Thompson and Turnagain Passes, Alaska is still the top of the heap when it comes to skiing in the world. It’s also home to one of the best gems in skiing. Located in the cool mountain town of Girdwood, Alyeska Resort is one of my favourite places to ski in the world and definitely qualifies as a big gem.
There’s reason every pro ski patroller in North America wants to go on ski patrol exchange to Alyeska Resort. The place is awesome. With over 669″ of snow annually (that’s the AVERAGE folks) Alyeska almost always has a good season. It’s got a laid back vibe, chill atmosphere and some absolutely epic, steep terrain. Not to mention the fact that you are right on the doorstep of the Chugach Range. In fact, Chugach Powder Guides has a helipad right at the resort so when you’re tired of riding a chairlift and shredding Alyeska’s famous steeps, you can jump into a helicopter and spend the day shredding lines in the Alaskan Backcountry.
Alaska has it all. It’s a wild and rugged place with some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world and pretty much the best skiing in the world. So don’t wait to visit. Book some time off, winter or summer and head up.
Be safe, ski hard.