Alyeska Ski Resort in Girdwood, AK started spinning the lifts last Thursday, and my, what a difference one year makes! Contrary to last season, November started off cold, allowing the snowmakers to fill in the lower mountain with a decent base. This cold snap lasted until opening day, when a large subtropical storm rolled through, raising the temperatures to 37 degrees at the bottom of Alyeska.
Luckily, enough snow has been made for the lower mountain to survive the torrential rain fall. There is currently plenty of snow for some quality lower mountain groomers. The snow is carvable and forgiving. As of now, the runs open on the lower mountain are: Upper and Lower Von Imhof, Sourdough, Race trail, Blueberry Hill and most of the groomers under Chair 3.
During this storm, the upper mountain was continuously hammered with the classic Chugach concrete. Over a three day period, the upper mountain received over 3 feet of high density snow. Unfortunately, Glacier Bowl Express and the tram were not open until the weekend due to high winds and avalanche mitigation. On a positive note, when those lifts started spinning, people were greeted with bottomless powder and large smiles.
Throughout the weekend, patrollers slowly opened up more terrain. As of now, there are several options from the top of Glacier Bowl Express. Currently, Mighty Mite over to Chilkoot Ridge is open and is skiing wonderfully. The consistency of the snow is packed powder allowing for huge turns and fun airs off the gully walls. Kitchen Sink into Trapline is also a fun option at the moment. It is a bit tracked, but the moguls are soft and easy to power through.
From the Tram you can either take the groomer (Main Street), into the south bowl, or ride Don’s Run into Dog Leg or South Edge. Lolo’s and Brown Shorts are currently closed but are looking good!
The weather for this week looks promising. The temperatures are dropping to freezing at sea level and snow is in the forecast. Though it’s looking like snow accumulation won’t be substantial, at least it’s something!!