Last Updated on September 25, 2023
When you think of skiing and snowboarding destinations, Alaska might not be the first place that comes to mind. However, this vast and rugged state in the United States offers some of the most breathtaking and exhilarating skiing experiences in the world. With its towering mountains, pristine powder, and stunning natural beauty, Alaska is a hidden gem for winter sports enthusiasts. In this article, we’ll explore the 10 best ski resorts in Alaska that should be on every snow lover’s bucket list.
1. Alyeska Resort
Located just 40 miles south of Anchorage, Alyeska Resort is Alaska’s premier ski destination. With an average snowfall of 650 inches per year, it’s a haven for powder hounds. The resort boasts over 1,600 skiable acres and a vertical drop of 2,500 feet, making it the largest ski area in the state. Alyeska offers a range of terrain, from groomed runs for beginners to challenging double-black diamond slopes for experts. When you’re not on the slopes, you can relax in the luxurious spa or dine at one of the resort’s fine restaurants.
Girdwood is a small town that serves as the gateway to Alyeska Resort. This charming community is a perfect base for your Alaskan skiing adventure. In addition to world-class skiing, Girdwood offers opportunities for heli-skiing, snowmobiling, and ice climbing. The town’s welcoming atmosphere and proximity to the Chugach Mountains make it a must-visit destination for winter sports enthusiasts.
3. Eaglecrest Ski Area
For those looking to explore Alaska’s Southeast region, Eaglecrest Ski Area in Juneau is a fantastic choice. With stunning views of the Gastineau Channel and the Juneau Icefield, this resort offers a unique skiing experience. Eaglecrest has 640 skiable acres and a vertical drop of 1,400 feet, making it a great destination for families and intermediate skiers. The resort’s laid-back vibe and friendly staff make it a favorite among locals and visitors alike.
4. Mount Eyak Ski Area
Nestled in the charming town of Cordova, Mount Eyak Ski Area is a hidden gem in the Alaskan skiing scene. What sets this resort apart is its community-driven approach. Operated entirely by volunteers, Mount Eyak offers affordable skiing and a welcoming atmosphere. With a vertical drop of 1,400 feet and diverse terrain, it’s an excellent destination for both beginners and experts. Cordova’s unique culture and natural beauty make it a memorable place to visit.
5. Hilltop Ski Area
Located in the heart of Anchorage, Hilltop Ski Area is the perfect choice for those seeking a convenient skiing experience. This small but well-equipped resort offers a variety of terrain, including a terrain park for snowboarders and freestyle skiers. Hilltop is an excellent place for families and beginners to learn the ropes of skiing or snowboarding.
6. Arctic Valley Ski Area
For those looking for a more off-the-beaten-path experience, Arctic Valley Ski Area is worth considering. Just a short drive from Anchorage, this resort offers a unique, unspoiled Alaskan wilderness experience. The ski area is entirely operated by volunteers, and the terrain caters to both beginners and advanced skiers. The real draw here is the breathtaking scenery, as the resort is surrounded by the Chugach Mountains and the Chugach State Park.
7. Mount Aurora Skiland
If you’re in Alaska for more than just skiing and are hoping to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights, Mount Aurora Skiland near Fairbanks is your best bet. This resort offers night skiing with the aurora borealis as the backdrop, creating an unforgettable experience. During the day, you can explore a variety of ski and snowboard trails with stunning views of the Alaska Range.
8. Moose Mountain
Also located near Fairbanks, Moose Mountain is a haven for backcountry skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts. This unpatrolled area offers a challenging and remote skiing experience. It’s essential to have the right gear and avalanche safety knowledge when venturing into Moose Mountain, but the reward is pristine powder and solitude in the Alaskan wilderness.
9. Hatcher Pass
Hatcher Pass, situated in the Talkeetna Mountains, is a backcountry skier’s paradise. While not a traditional ski resort, it offers unparalleled access to untouched powder and breathtaking vistas. You can explore the area’s many bowls, chutes, and glades, but be prepared for a true wilderness experience as there are no amenities or services on the pass.
10. Tordrillo Mountain Lodge
For those seeking the ultimate heli-skiing adventure, the Tordrillo Mountain Lodge is a dream come true. Located in the remote Tordrillo Mountains, this luxury lodge offers access to some of the most pristine and untouched terrain in Alaska. With the help of experienced guides and helicopters, you can access high-alpine bowls, steep chutes, and glaciers for an adrenaline-pumping skiing experience.
In conclusion, Alaska may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of ski resorts, but it offers a truly unique and unforgettable skiing experience. From the world-class slopes of Alyeska Resort to the remote backcountry adventures in places like Hatcher Pass and Moose Mountain, Alaska has something for every type of winter sports enthusiast. So, if you’re looking for an adventure off the beaten path, consider making Alaska your next skiing destination. The stunning natural beauty, abundant snowfall, and warm hospitality of Alaskans make it a place you’ll want to return to year after year.