- Ski resort(s)
ALASKA, AN EXPERIENCED SKIERS PARADISE
By Claudine Hébert, Special Contributor and Journalist
Most of the Canadians who make their way to Alaska do so aboard a cruise liner or caravan-style. There are really only a handful of diehards who dare visit the Last Frontier in the middle of winter with skis in tow.
One thing’s for sure, Alaska isn’t exactly around the corner. To boot, it’s far from being the most impressive of ski destinations. You can forget all about those quaint pedestrian villages, shops and all the rest. And yet, it’s one of those places that skiers dream about. Before, during… and even after they visit. Panoramas that will forever remain etched in your memory are those you will experience at the Alyeska ski resort, located less than 45 minutes from Anchorage, along the shores of Turnagain Arm. Even with the faintest rays of the winter sun, the sparkling reflection of the crystal waters (with the second highest tides in North America) dominates this landscape of snow and ice.
You should note, however, that these spectacular views are reserved for experienced skiers only. At Alyeska, 90% of the 1,400 acres of terrain is intended for intermediate and expert skiers. In fact, when snowfall is abundant—it was once 16 metres in a single season!—this mountain becomes sheer paradise for backcountry enthusiasts. And here, there’s no reason to exert yourself reaching those perfect spots. Most of the backcountry sectors are available using the various lifts. They are also all located under 1,200 metres in altitude. So, even if some effort is needed to enjoy that untouched slope, you won’t be affected by altitude sickness.
It goes without saying that a trip to Alaska would not be complete without a heliskiing or cat-skiing excursion with the guides from Chugach Powders. This team of professionals will not only pick you up at the hotel door, they will also take the time to explain everything you need to know about this incredible experience you’ve so often seen gracing the covers of ski magazines. These guides will make you feel like a star for a day, capturing you on camera and in pictures.
To finish off, if you are looking to celebrate these memorable days into the night at popular spots like the Girdwood or Double Musky restaurant, don’t worry about getting to bed too late! Skiing near the Arctic Circle has its advantages—the lifts don’t open until 10:30 in the morning. Cheers to sleeping in, and fabulous skiing!