Help a Reader Travel: Alaska Ski Trip

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Welcome to another post of helping a reader travel! As I’ve mentioned before, I have not been to every destination (unfortunately), but do get questions from friends and other blog readers on all sort of travel destination questions. Thus far, we’ve been able to help other readers travel to MauiThe Greek IslandsPacific Coast HighwayArgentina /Buenos AiresCosta RicaCape Cod & The IslandsIcelandGenevaCanadian RockiesRomeIsraelPeru / Inca Trail, StockholmChicagoParisHanoiAustinPuerto RicoBrugesSalzburgIstanbulLas Vegas, Jamaica, India/Golden Triangle, Auckland, Singapore, Moscow, The Oregon Coast, Seattle, Portland, and Hawaii Islands.

So this weeks travel destination includes skiing in Alaska. I received the following email from reader John:

“Every winter, my friends and I plan a trip to a new ski destination. For next winter, we’ve decided to go all out and go to Alaska. Although we are all expert skiers and have no fear going in any terrain, we really know nothing about skiing in Alaska. Ideally, we’d like to use miles to get there, but know that chain hotels will not be an option. Also, if we are there in the winter and want to add a few extra non-skiing days somewhere, where else would you recommend going/seeing? Overall, anyone have any recommendations? Thank you Deals We Like readers.”

If you’ve ever been to Alaska, and specifically skiing/snowboarding, please help out reader John by commenting below.

Also, if you have any upcoming travel where you need some help, feel free to email me at to be a featured “Help a Reader Travel” Monday special. Thanks!

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The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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11 years ago


Pulseline Adventure is run by one of my best personal friends: ( ). He specializes in big time ski trips all around the world. However, he is an expert in Alaska. I recommend reaching out to him.


11 years ago

Wrote a decent response but fat-fingered it on my tablet, so I will write again after I’m on an actual computer.

11 years ago

Meant to respond to this a while back but forgot. My family lived in Girdwood for several years – the town under Alyeska mountain, which is the ski resort to go to in AK. You can buy slightly discounted tickets from Costco. I’d recommend staying at a VRBO or B&B in the area. We actually have a VRBO and I won’t plug ours, but I will say Bud and Carol’s B&B is lovely (disclaimer: friends). They’re comfortable, affordable, and the owners can usually help you with local skiing info as virtually everyone in Girdwood skis (several Olympians have come from the town, where people ski more winter days than not from the time they can walk). The night skiing is great, but by march/april light is good for day skiing to (can be flay earlier in the year). The “north face” off the back side of the mountain is open when there’s enough snow. There are several entry points but no official trails until a traverse along the bottom. You can traverse on top as far along the mountain ridge as you want to get some different trails, maybe untouched and at the very least less worked over. There’s also a big bowl on the main face you can traverse and ski down. Locals and lifties will be happy to advise (aside: very few tourists in AK in the winter, which is nice. They don’t know what they’re missing!).

I will only recommend back country skiing if you’re all trained in and equipped with avalanche gear. Even my risk-loving teen-at-the-time brother didn’t go for the year he didn’t have the gear because the risks are very real. The land is so vast, it is very possible no one’s been on the snow yet and you will be hard to find. That said, if you’re equipped, Turnagain Pass has some great hike in ski out peaks. The owner of wherever you’re staying can probably tell you what’s good skiing.

Hatcher Pass, north of Anchorage, is also a fun place to stay. There are several little cabins and a main hut where you can buy delicious meals or eat ones you brought. It was originally intended to be AK’s second downhill skiing spot, but they stopped due to lack of funding after building living spaces. There’s an old gold mining site you can look at on skis. There are several xcountry ski paths and a huge bowl you could skin up, ski down.

Combining Alyeska and Hatcher Pass is doable and would let you see more of the beautiful scenery. Anchorage itself isn’t exactly stunning, but there are some good museums (Nativa Alaskan Heritage Center) and more skiing in Eagle River if you really wanted to ski every day.

Oh! And there was a good article on non-skiing Alaskan adventures in the NYTimes weekend travel section a few weeks ago.

I’ll wrap up now, but in short: glad you’re going. It’s an amazing, stunningly beautiful place.

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