[Sponsored by: Alyeska Resort, AK]
Intriguing because it’s true, ‘Alaska’ alongside ‘Beauty’ seem somehow to read synonymously. And Alyeska Resort home turf, Cook Inlet adds unforgettable pop to that inter-word association. If stunning scenery is the goal, the Great Land—and Alyeska—have got it by the acre.
Situated majestically at the head of an already handsome Girdwood Valley, Mount Alyeska is a prominent feature to an environment iconic, historically for strikingly panoramic surrounds. At less than one hour’s drive from the diversion of seaside hub city Anchorage, Alyeska (and its Girdwood home) are year-round easily accessible. Yet, the sparkling valley hideaway manages to preserve a feel of being worlds apart from every day’s bustle.
Seward Highway, the pulsing transit vein which connects Alyeska Resort and Girdwood Valley to the great state of Alaska is, in itself, a near nonstop photo opportunity. Pressed in-between walls of towering mountains and paralleling tidal, at times colorfully ice-choked Turnagain Arm, the highway is an understandable highlight for first-time visitors and a simple, stunning pleasure to a resident’s everyday life.
On the water’s south shore waits the captivating charm of Kenai Peninsula. It is a seasonally popular hotspot known for world class backcountry skiing, gorgeous waterways, wildlife—especially fish—and happens to be accessible solely by passage past Alyeska Resort. Opposite that, and a seeming stone’s throw distant, looms the majesty of Chugach National Forest, a sprawling zone known for all things that make Alaska winter famous globally. And in-between those, lovely Turnagain Arm pleasantly ebbs and flows. Its tidal waters host one of planet Earth’s longest, continuous surf opportunities in its bore tide; a curious aquatic affect as visually interesting as it is awesome to ride—making Alyeska Resort one of the world’s few locations to boast the option to Ski-Skate-Surf in a single day.
Near the Girdwood Valley access, Crow Creek waits as a concealed wonder, and geographic neighbor to Alyeska Resort. There, pioneer roots still thrive, hidden within the trees. And evidence of that early history not only still stands but waits open for visitation. Wildlife is abundant, scenery stunning, and locals only warmer the deeper one dares to explore. The wise pack extra photo storage, a staunch constitution and healthy appetite. Alaskans at home in this bush know how to host a welcoming party.
Next, one takes in an Upper Valley view marvelous enough to encourage literal centuries of Alaska exploration. What today mankind classifies as Chugach National Forest is a planetary wonder. High stone ramparts, painted with rainforest growth, rise into cloud-dappled, mist-swirled sky. Girdwood Valley floor snakes in and amongst these goliaths before it too is engulfed by the Great Land’s coy, calculating environs.
From the valley headwall, patiently watching over The Hotel Alyeska and piste, are no less than seven enchanting glacial tongues. They protrude from outcropping of rock as photogenic as any to be seen on Earth. These frozen masses draw the eye, captivate the spirit, and offer unprecedented panoramic views from within one of the signature dining options at Alyeska Resort, Seven Glaciers Restaurant.
Vistas thru the windows of fine dining icon, 7G’s (as it’s locally known) or the viewing decks of the Aerial Tram top station, or neighboring cocktail bar-meets-deli, Bore Tide all encourage many a’visitor to choose to stay in Girdwood Valley—indefinitely. To the north, mountain flanks like castle walls crowd close and ice-topped. Beyond those there’s only imposing land and little-to-no development, as far as the eye can see.
Equally alpine-styled (and stunning) are the many facets of Mount Alyeska itself rising directly above The Hotel Alyeska of the same name.
Careening faces, rock narrows, and frozen waterfalls are but a few of the intrigues to the famed peak at Alyeska Resort. Then, in the distance, shimmer of water can be witnessed. Turnagain Arm is a marvelous stretch of sea snaking as a serpentine median for the valley and it’s cross-water neighbor the Kenai.
As if world-famous skiing wasn’t enough already to draw thousands annually to this great valley in the Great Land, the awesome vistas of Alyeska register the resort in the minds of every visitor as a truly special, wild wonder—and a destination to which they desire to return.