Alyeska Ski Resort - Girdwood, Alaska
A 40 minute drive south of Anchorage along scenic Turnigan Arm is the historic gold mining town of Girdwood, Alaska. It is also home to Alaska's largest ski resort. Guests can enjoy the hotel and spa with a large salt water pool, a gorgeous tram ride to the top of the mountain, Seven Glaciers Restaurant (at the top of the mountain), and 2500 vertical feet of ski slopes from the top of chair 6 to the hotel. Because of this, Alyeska is one of the most popular man-made destinations in the state.
As we pulled up under the arch at the hotel for our annual family get together, smiles beamed on our children's faces. As I unloaded our bags, Heather checked us into our room. By the time we got settled in our room, it was too late to hit the slopes. We decided to take the kids to the pool and turn in for an early night. We were woken from a deep sleep to the shaking of a 7.9 earthquake and the phone vibrating a tsunami warning. Fortunately, Alyeska hotel is 250 feet above sea level and built to withstand such events. Though the excitement kept us awake for a few hours, there was nothing really to worry about.
The next morning we grabbed our snowboards, put our lift tickets in our pockets, and headed out the hotel door to chair 7. As Luke, Cody, and I rode the chair left, I reviewed some snowboarding basics with them. We dismounted the chairlift and both boys fell down on either side of me. Luke and Cody struggled down the hill to the day lodge where Heather and Beth were waiting for us. We decided they might need to hit the magic carpet, Alyeska's beginner hill. After a few runs on the magic carpet the boys were feeling confident enough to ride up the chairlift again. Up the lift, down the hill, again and again and soon they were carving down the lower mountain. Could they ride the full mountain?
We took our last run down to the hotel, while Heather and Beth drove back to meet us there. We met up with Justin, Heather's brother and his family. We decided that it would be fun to ride the tram to the top of the mountain to have lunch together, so up we went. After eating some french fries and scoping out the conditions, Justin and I decided to take a few runs down
the mountain. Luke and Cody would have to wait until next year to try their new skills on the upper mountain. Justin and I snowboarded down to chair 6 for a couple of runs. Though we could see some blue skies through the clouds it was still snowing and the visibility wasn't what we had hoped for. We had fun snowboarding down the mountain but had to be extra careful due to the poor visibility. In Alaska you don't always get perfect conditions, another time I guess...