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Report from February 2, 2021
Alyeska Resort in Girdwood, Alaska is not for the faint of heart nor the weak of legs.
This place is huge, brutal, and beautiful—not to mention STEEP.
It’s my first time here and I got in last night to Hotel Alyeska ready to take on AK.
I was not disappointed today.
The resort opened at 10:30 this morning because it’s too dark this far north to ski any time before then.
By 11:30 when I made it up it was blistering cold and partly cloudy.
Being this far north in the winter makes it feels like the sun is perpetually setting even though it’s noon. This whole place has a rugged, desolate feel to it—like you’re on some sort of massive, mountainous powder-island cut off from the rest of the world.
And you’re not sad about it.
The snow was firm, fast, and intense today. If I had to put a label on it, I’d call it ‘Cowboy Conditions,’ because it was tough, exciting snow that’s fun to ski but will buck you around like a wild horse if you’re not paying attention.
However, if you knew where to look you could still find soft pockets of isolated, windblown deliciousness amongst the crud, like in some parts of North Face.
I crashed hard a couple of times on North Face—a super steep, flowy, big double-black-diamond-zone of the resort. I spent roughly the whole day skiing here.
North Face is too fun. There were steep gullies all along the traverse that cut skier’s right through the zone.
I’d ski one gully, look back up from the bottom of it, see another one right next to it I’d want to ski next, ski down, take the tram, and get right back up there and ski it.
With over 1,600 acres of skiable terrain, a 2,500 vertical-foot drop, and fast chairs and a tram, you can really wear yourself out in a day here.
The mountains here are giant, towering over you as you ski anywhere inbounds, and I couldn’t stop staring at all the side country terrain you could hike to from the resort.
I’m hoping to get on top of some of those suckers this week while I’m here.
Alyeska is having a hell of a season already with 576″ of cumulative snowfall-to-date.
When my legs started feeling tired I stuck to the groomed trails for a bit and was actually ecstatic with how quality they were.
Alyeska does an amazing job grooming runs and they stay fresh all day. Either no one is skiing on piste—or no one is really skiing here at all.
I didn’t wait in a single line all day and twice I rode up the tram with only one other skier in it besides myself.
Alaska is impressive in so many ways I never imagined.
Rumor has it’s supposed to snow this week, and if it’s anything like any of the past storms this place has had this season, I ought to be in for a real treat…