Alyeska, AK Conditions Report:

Scott Rich | | Conditions ReportConditions Report
Sad looking snow line. No snow at sea level, feet of snow on the peaks. Photo by Allie Gordy

I feel like I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, but really it’s just a recurring cycle of non-stop rain. It’s getting old, and the morale of the locals is far from high. This is the first week, it seems, that people are finally losing their minds. The smart ones have left to Japan, Jackson Hole or booked a trip to Mexico. The ones still holding high hope for winter to return in AK are now beginning to have their doubts, while others are hitting the bottle harder than ever. Though it sounds rough, there is still fun to be had on the resort. You just have to dig a little deeper, find that inner child, and pretend it’s April.

Desi Sherwood race training? The current state of chair 3.

Monday through Wednesday we had non-stop rain. Around 4 inches of rain was measured just over the course of Wednesday evening through Thursday morning; There were 4 inches in just 12 hours and over twice that from Monday to Wednesday. If these storms had come in cold, Girdwood would be in a State of Emergency. Unfortunately we don’t have the luxury this season as it feels as if every storm has come in the form of rain. This system had to be the worst so far as the snow line worked its way up from 3,500 feet- 4,000 feet back down to 2,500 feet. Basically, the snow line has been just above the highest chair lift at Resort Alyeska, Glacier Bowl Express.

Scott Rich saluting Chair One during mid downpour on tuesday. Photographer: Corey Anderson (IG:@chugachski)

During these three days the skiing was less than desirable   Though it was a down pour and the weather was tropical, the snow didn’t seem to soften up due to a consistent wind keeping the snow rock hard. The only places worth skiing were the groomers, as off trail was variable and was like skiing on coral reef.

Jeff Krizman showing off the Dolly he caught during the downpour. Because if your not skiing you might as well be fishing.

On Thursday, the mountain was shut down from high winds and heavy rain to the top of Alyeska. Overnight, the temperatures dropped slightly allowing it to snow just above midway, above the base of Glacier Bowl Express. The top of the mountain received around 10 inches of wet, heavy powder, with midway gaining just a few inches.

Th reason why South edge is closed. The rain pretty much destroyed it.

The riding was great, and the people were sparse on Friday. I think most had their doubts that it had actually snowed at the resort. Alyeska is classic in that regard, as many times you cannot make the judgement call on conditions from the base of the resort.  During a normal season it rains at sea level quite a bit, but is dumping just several hundred feet above. There are many sleeper pow days due to this, don’t be fooled!

The Upper mountain looking beautiful and full of snow. Maybe they should open up headwall for hiking access once stabilized. That would be the day...
The Upper mountain looking beautiful and filled in. Maybe they should open up headwall for hiking access once stabilized. That would be the day… Photo: Allie Gordy

The snow was wonderful! It felt like a “full on pow day” as claimed by many riders that day. Really, its just the snow deprivation talking, but in these hard times you can’t be picky. They ended up closing south face and the groomers below chair one so it could fill in a bit. The groomers in that area had been scraped to dirt in many spots and was becoming a bit sketchy. Hopefully they will have it open sometime this week after a few inches of snow.

Today was all about searching for pow stash’s and taking advantage of the nice visibility. Patrollers opened up part of High Traverse, but it was soon closed after a couple hours. After wondering why, I noticed a huge crown that had formed on The Headwall above high traverse. Im not sure if it formed throughout the day or it was something I overlooked till after High T closed. It looks like a possible glide crack.

The Forecast is looking promising, with cold temps and chances of snow for a good portion of this week. So far the snow accumulations are small with just a couple inches here and there predicted. At this point, we’ll take anything as long as its not rain so we can break this reoccurring cycle.

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