Alaska: The Final Frontier
Alaska, or AK as it’s more commonly known, should be on every adventurous skier and snowboarder’s bucket list.
Here's why you should make it your destination for 2019 based on my boundary-pushing visit to Alyeska Resort in 2015.
Is for Alaska. Just because! The moment I set foot on the hallowed tarmac of Anchorage’s airport something magical happened. I had already accomplished a lifelong ambition and I knew that my time in AK would be something to cherish for the rest of my life. I wasn’t disappointed, this is the stuff of legend...
Is for lift-off. Heli-skiing to be more specific! Chugach Powder Guides offer single and multi-day heli-ski experiences in some of the world’s steepest terrain. The western range of the Chugach Mountains is uniquely situated between the warm, moist air currents of the Pacific Ocean and the Arctic winds that blow in from Alaska’s vast interior, resulting in high quality powder snow that sticks like glue to steep terrain. Though not a cheap option, the epic mountainscape makes for one incredible day. We enjoyed around 12 runs, even with an enforced change of zones mid-morning due to a wolverine running up our ski tracks! Welcome to Alaska.
Is for Aurora Borealis. The icing on the cake. Just being here is enough but with a little luck you’ll get to see nature’s special lightshow too. Being this far north it goes without saying that the Northern lights are often on display. No promises, but keep reading for why it requires no planning or waiting!
Is for scenery. We took a float plane with Rust's Flying Service, adapted to land on frozen lakes up in the mountains. As you can imagine, I was truly blown away. This was followed by a spectacular drive along the Turnigan Arm, a journey everyone will enjoy when heading to Alyeska. Words do not do either experience justice, so I shall let my picture do the talking.
Is for kick-ass terrain. As I exited the Glacier Ridge Express at the top of the ski area, I had only one word in my mind. Steep. Without any doubt it's the steepest in-bounds terrain I have ever seen. While the majority of these steeps are hike-to only, the North Face is easy-access, providing you with the longest continuous double black diamond in North America, massive vert and waist deep powder in abundance. On a good year expect anything up to 650 inches of snow! I chose the Christmas Chute, which got my legs burning, but there are many more to challenge yourself with.
Is for accommodation. Things are kept simple in Alaska and Alyeska is no different. The resort’s one hotel, Hotel Alyeska, is a 4* ski-in ski-out property with superb facilities, great views and really everything you will need for your stay. They even offer a wake up service for when the Northern Lights are making a special display, so you can sleep the night away and only be disturbed when one of the wonders of the world comes out to play.
And one extra reason to make the trip - Seattle! This city is the easiest and most affordable gateway to Alaska and just happens to be my favourite in North America. Its laid-back vibe, coffee culture and music scene make it my kind of place. There are few sights as impressive as when you stand atop the Space Needle looking across the city, over the ocean or towards the mightily impressive Mount Rainier. I suggest a night in this fantastic city at both the beginning and end of your stay to optimise the flights and, more importantly, to prepare for and to reflect on the trip of a lifetime.
For more highlights from my trip in 2015, read my full trip report.
A 9 night ski holiday staying at the 4* Hotel Alyeska and the 4* Crown Plaza in Seattle starts from £1895pp based on 2 travelling and sharing Deluxe rooms, departing in March 2019.
Price includes return flights and transfers. Book by 31 July. Subject to availability.
For more information or to book, call us on 01273 224060, or you can request a quotation online at any time.
Snowboarding since age 16, instructor for 4 years in Canada and New Zealand, four seasons in Whistler, one season in Banff and one season in New Zealand.