Sunday, October 02, 2011

Ski Alyeska

It's too easy to judge that you can get a great ski experience anywhere in Alaska. After all, this is the land of the igloos and eskimos and dogsleds where almost every inch of the state is covered in snow. And this is where people are mostly wrong.

While it may be true that Alaska is “full of snow”, great skiing and snowboarding is limited to a chosen few ski vacation destinations that hold years – decades even – of experience in the industry. It takes the best mountain slopes, the most pristine and flawless snow conditioning, and a complete line of amenities to complete that “great ski” package.

With that in mind, Alaska has one ski resort to boast of that perfectly fits the job description: Alyeska Ski Resort.

Alyeska is the archaic spelling of “Alaska”, where the state got its name. The Alyeska Ski Resort and the Alyeska Mountain is part of Alaska's Chugach Mountains located in Girdwood, Alaska, some 30 to 40 miles from the state capital of Anchorage. The mountain holds the record for the biggest ski mountain in the state.

Standing at 2,300 feet high, the Alyeska mountain offers some of the best panoramic views of Alaska. Either aboard the resort's aerial tram or on foot, or even while skiing down its slopes, the views from the mountain are unmatched by anything else in the entire Alaska. The 650 inches of average annual snowfall covering its 1,400 skiable acres sets it apart from most other ski resorts in North America. Not to mention, these thickly-covered skiable terrains are spread all over the mountain and are divided on 73 named trails. These trails can accommodate beginners, experts and intermediate skiers alike. If one does not belong to any of the three, the ski school, fortunately, is open for everyone who wants to learn the sport.

The resort holds quite a long history to its name, having been opened in the mid-1950s after the collective effort of the residents of Alaska. It started with a single lift and a single lodge – both of which have now become part of the resort's museums. The resort's long list of management and ownership changes have given it quite the attitude, and something to be proud of for having survived all those sixty years of ups and downs on the business aspect. It has also made quite a name in the history of the sport after hosting the 1973 World Cup Ski Races in men's and women's giant slalom. And that was after it got rejected from its bid to host the Olympics a few years back. The Alyeska Ski Resort has also taken part in the molding of Olympic golf medalist Tommy Moe in his quest towards becoming a world champion. That stands proof that the mountain has qualities that could mold winners and could host world championship tournaments. What makes anybody think this cannot host the most memorable ski vacations for anybody?

Currently, the resort has completed and is continuously expanding its amenities to accommodate more guests and all the varied needs of each one. It is serviced by nine lifts and a 304-room premier Hotel Alyeska for the best lodging options.

The Alyeska Ski Resort is one proof that quality does not always come with quantity, Alaska has that much snow, and has that much slopes, but only the likes of Alyeska could come up with a world-class quality epic ski vacation.

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