A Guide to Skiing in Alaska

Alaska | Welove2skiPhoto: (c) Pure Powder. Alaska is different. You can actually see Russia from its northwestern tip and from a few other points in the higher ground. Russia and Alaska are divided by the Bering Strait, which is about 89 km at its narrowest. In the middle of the Bering Strait are two small islands: Big Diomede (Russian territory) and Little Diomede (part of the United States). The closest, these two islands are less than 4 km apart. It is claimed that during the winter months, when the water between the two islands freezes, an “intrepid explorer” can walk from one island to another. In the northwest of Canada, and completely isolated from the rest of the United States, Alaska is America’s largest and most sparsely populated state – and famous for its sometimes intimidating ski terrain. . Denali National Park, in the Alaskan Mountains, is home to Denali (formerly Mount McKinley), North America’s highest peak (6194m). From foot to top, Denali is much taller than Everest – its foot is only about 610 meters above sea level, while Everest’s foot is about 4267 meters high. This is typical of Alaska’s peaks – they are generally upright almost out of the sea, often producing surprisingly giant vertical drops.
Alaska | Welove2skiPhoto: (c) Pure Powder. The Chugach Mountains in south-central Alaska – including Alyeska, the largest and most popular ski area, in the town of Girdwood, a former gold rush camp, along with the iconic Valdez helipad – has several The state has the highest snowfall, and the result is some of the highest concentrations of ice. Girdwood State Park is the third largest park in the United States. Mount Alyeska, about 43 kilometers from Anchorage, is quite a challenging mountain, with a proportion of professional and advanced runners. The name Alyeska is derived from an archaic spelling of the word Aleut (Inuit) meaning “land”, “great country”, or “great land”. Skiing definitely offers the ultimate choice – resort skiing plus skiing and snowboarding with Chugach Powder Guides. Your call! Chugach Power Guides has a great Plan B for dealing with Alaska’s infamous mixed weather patterns: ‘all-weather’ snow cats. Unlike helicopters, these cats are always on support duty even in the worst conditions. But some guests choose to ski all week – it’s cheaper than heli-skiing.
Alaska | Welove2skiTordrillo mountain lodge. Photo: (c) Pure Powder. Charlie Brooksbank, MD of London-based heli-ski and snowboarding company Pure Powder, says: “There’s nothing quite like helicopter skiing in Alaska…the tabletop landings and the skis Deep powder spikes come together to create an unforgettable (and sometimes amazing) helicopter skiing experience. And the real plus with Chugach Powder Guides is the ‘dual redundancy’ of assisting with cat skiing and resort skiing to ensure that even if the helicopter can’t fly, you can still go out skiing snow. “Within a limited range, with a vertical drop of 747m, the resort Alyeska has 5 lifts, a high-speed tram serving 786 trails. At the foot of the tram and near the slopes is the Hotel Alyeska 300. modern rooms, complete with spa, saltwater pool and award-winning restaurant.If you ask the front desk tactfully, they’ll wake you up during the night with good views of the Northern Lights.
Alaska | Welove2skiAlyeska and its only hotel. Photo: (c) Alaska.org Valdez, a six-hour drive east, has some of Alaska’s best helicopter skiing, but that doesn’t mean helicopter skiing and snowboarding. Alyeska’s cat skiing isn’t great either. And if you don’t mind the slopes and depths, the valley floor offers Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, and sledding dog rides. Doug Coombs, former extreme snowboarding world champion and founder of Valdez Heli Ski Guides once said, “I tell all skiers before they die they have to spend a week in Valdez – it’s like nothing nothing else in the world. “Valdez is certainly a mecca for great downhill skiing, but that’s not entirely true when the terrain is mostly inhospitable. Ski movies always show expert ski slopes, but we have plenty of gentle, mile-long runs. About 50% of the runs are 35-50° and the rest 20-40°”.
Alaska | Welove2skiTordrillo. Photo: (c) Pure Powder. However, the large and rather idyllic border town of Valdez, located on the shores of Prince William Sound in the Gulf of Alaska, attracts many of the world’s best skiers and snowboarders. In the early days, safety briefings were conducted in true Alaskan style. Legend has it that the pilot carried a cowboy-style revolver at his belt. Anyone stupid enough to ignore his instructions not to get lost near the deadly blades, spinning while falling or picked up would be shot in the foot – a very effective technique but unlikely to be included in today’s safety manuals. From Anchorage, take a short pontoon plane ride to Lake Judd for Tordrillo Mountain Lodge, a luxury retreat with two separate wilderness lodges, co-owned by 1994 Olympic downhill skiing champion Tommy Moe. Tommy’s taxis transport people into half a million hectares of helicopter paradise in the shadow of North America’s highest peak, Denali (Mount McKinley), at 6190m. The glaciated Alaska Range is massive and offers a wealth of terrain options to keep skiers challenged, with mountain runs at 2286m and more consistent weather than other spots in Alaska. Given its northern latitude, daylight hours limit daytime skiing in Alaska until March, but quickly give way to long days in April and May. With the ski season over, Alaska gets an unusual 5-6 minutes of daylight each day! For more information and to book tickets, contact Pure Powder, Chugach Powder Guide’s UK booking agents.

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