Going to ALASKA!

ciscokidciscokid expert
in NELSAP Forum Posts: 1,486
Been on my bucket list for a while and figured better do it while I can. When the wife is a gamer and gives the green light go for it.Gotta a 4wheel camper truck reserved and also going into Yukon. Alyeska and 2 areas in Fairbanks to visit. Unfortunately the single chair in Cordova is reachable only by plane or boat.Flying round trip , no cruise for us yet.
Figure I'll do that and Hawaii when I'm in a wheelchair

Who has been to Alaska? Who has skied Alaska?
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Comments

  • ski_itski_it expert
    edited November 6 Posts: 1,740

    Me, but it was so long ago I doubt I can give much insight. Only went half heartedly to ski as it was April. My sis was living in Valdez then so I flew to Anchorage, then thru fiords over to Valdez. Took a ferry south past the future location of the oil spill to Cordova. Spent a couple days there fishing, hiking glaciers and in the rain forest but the ski area Mt Eyak was closed during the week. Their jetport was an open tarmac and we jetted over to Anchorage where I skied Alyeska 2 days by myself. It was snowing on top with like a foot of snow. It was a complete whiteout, tough but still fun. The only way I could find my way back to the upper lift was because I either kept some locals in sight and the liftie had some speakers set up outside the lift blasting away.

    Lower down I recall variable conditions. Beautiful views of the other peaks and the ocean of Turnagain Arm when it cleared out. Somewhere I have pics, but I doubt I took ski pics.  

    ISNE-I Skied New England | NESAP-the New England Ski Area Project | SOSA-Saving Our Ski Areas - Location SW of Boston MA
  • CannonballCannonball advanced
    Posts: 130
    I've skied Alyeska a handful of times over the past few years.  As Ski_It mentions, the lower mountain conditions can be extremely variable.  In fact it's a running joke that Grundens Rain Gear is the Alyeska official uniform.  But the upper mountain gets hammered with snow.  The lift layout is such that it's easy to stay on the upper mountain. Upper mountain is mostly above tree line and has very undulating terrain.  So at times it it can be difficult to get your bearings. You'll often find yourself rolling over something that is steeper than expected...or eating your knees as the hit an unseen 'up'.  The Tram base is in the 5-star hotel.  It's pricey, but well worth a cocktail in the fireside cushy chairs. 

    I've also done 4 days of heli-skiing out of Girdwood (Chugach Powder Guides).  Valdez and Cordova offer more "extreme" heli-ski trips, but I would highly recommend going out of Girdwood for a few reasons. A) it's a little less intimidating.  The terrain is still spectacular but they do a great job of catering to the ability of their clientele. They will take you to the areas that suit you best.  There are some amazing endless powder runs on moderate slopes.  B) you won't get shut out by weather.  Because Alyeska is right there, if you get a day that is to snowy/cloudy/windy to fly you'll ski be able to get a powder day at the resort.  No-fly days in Vadez and Cordova mean hunkering down in a dive bar or inside your camper.

    You'll have a blast!!
  • rickbolgerrickbolger expert
    Posts: 1,118
    Hey Cisco that's fantastic, enjoy!   :)] :)]
  • CannonballCannonball advanced
    Posts: 130
    ...oh yeah, one more thing... If you are into good beer Anchorage and Fairbanks both have some really good breweries.  IMO the 2 best in Anchorage are: Midnight Sun (slightly outside of town) and 49th State (right downtown).  In Fairbanks check out Silver Gulch. 
  • JMaulJMaul advanced
    Posts: 249
    Nice. Enjoy. 

    And we get Alaska trip reports...
    You ski because even if you don't do it well, it's still a blast....
  • Posts: 2,011
    I'll be looking forward to the trip reports!
    - Sam
  • ciscokidciscokid expert
    Posts: 1,486
    Oh I failed to mention it's Sept 18
    No I won't be skiing but will take the tram at Aly
    According to Ricks gondyline there's a ski area right outside of Anchorage (Arctic something or other) and Moose mtn in Fairbanks.( has busses as lifts)

    So excited I'm losing sleep over it

  • rickbolgerrickbolger expert
    Posts: 1,118
    there's a small area down by the Alaska Zoo called Hilltop Ski Area, it's only 300' vert but looks pretty cool.  They have a riblet triple perhaps you can share a photo.  Taken that far north I'm sure the photo will be straight up and down  ;)
  • CannonballCannonball advanced
    Posts: 130
    ciscokid said:

    Oh I failed to mention it's Sept 18
    No I won't be skiing but will take the tram at Aly  

    OK, well the Brewery recommendations still hold up. 
    The summit of Alyeska is cool at all times of year.  They do paragliding off the summit.  It's pretty fun to watch the pros taking off.  It's even more fun to watch the tandem beginners!!  Two people running while strapped tight together is about as hilarious as it gets.

    Another pastime that is a favorite of mine in Anchorage is going into the fur shops. The furs are way out of my price range, and I'm not real keen on wearing dead animals, but it's an amazing opportunity to feel the fur of wolves, seals, bears, etc.  I just walk around touching everything,  

  • mapnutmapnut expert
    Posts: 822
    Just a warning, September in Alaska is November anywhere else. (Was in Alaska, Homer to Fairbanks by train, in September. Facilities in the Denali service area were shutting down.)
  • ciscokidciscokid expert
    Posts: 1,486
    Yeah figured that map, have a four-wheel-drive 1 ton Dodge crew cab with the self-contained camper so if it's the real nasty we just park it burn some propane and wait it out we're going early to mid September so who knows that's all the excitement of it
    Whales Eagles bear who knows what else and I am not a gambler but we are going to pan for gold who knows I might come back with more cash than I left with
  • ciscokidciscokid expert
    Posts: 1,486
    http://www.skibum.net/west-coast/alaska-ski-area/
    I like the alpenglow of the Arctic and Moose Mountain intrigues me maybe I'll take the bus Gus
  • mapnutmapnut expert
    Posts: 822
    I hope you get better weather than we did; never saw Denali. We did have a great sighting from our cruise ship of humpback whales "bubble-net' feeding.
  • ski_itski_it expert
    Posts: 1,740

    Now I'm starting to get excited thru you.

    Cannonball's descriptions of Alyeska is spot on. I was going to send you to the Birdhouse Bar near there to see if my business card was still stapled to the wall but I guess it burnt down. Do not hike on the mud flats of Cook Inlet/Turnagain Arm unless you are well aware of what you are doing. The tide comes in quickly and some people haven't gotten stuck in the muck and drowned.

    That's too bad Mapnut because on a clear day you can see Denali (the mtn) from Anchorage. I didn't go up to the park though.  Next time?

    If you are camping or panning be aware of your surroundings as there are lots of bears around. Panning is cold & hard work. I've heard there are places you can go, pay and pan with their equipment. Here's a Forest Service DIY Gold Panning Guide: https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5195151.pdf

    It doesn't sound like you will be in the right area for it, but instead of a cruise you may want to look into a local ferry ride. For example the one from Valdez to Cordova is pretty long but we saw whales, ice bergs and lots of fog. They even had King crab.

    Enjoy! 



    ISNE-I Skied New England | NESAP-the New England Ski Area Project | SOSA-Saving Our Ski Areas - Location SW of Boston MA
  • ciscokidciscokid expert
    edited November 7 Posts: 1,486
    Thanks for all the insight everyone yeah we will take a whale watch tour through the fjords and what not and yes the Bears concern me but will be all right. I am not taking any firearms but I do plan on renting a satellite phone for emergencies
    My goal is to get above the Arctic Circle
  • ciscokidciscokid expert
    Posts: 1,486
    Heck I've been to Canada the last two years so I have to hit Yukon and if everything goes OK go up the Demster highway into the Northwest Territories
  • pagamonypagamony advanced
    edited November 8 Posts: 129
    cannonball and skit know a lot more than myself.  but fwiw... obviously take the tram to the top of Aleyska and hike around.  take a look down the chutes and pucker.  drive on out to seward and take a sailboat charter for a day and try to count the dolphins, and maybe see a whale.  go see the sled dogs in wasilla.  and then up to eagle river nature center.  +1 for 49th state and the downtown area.  sept is colder but the flys and skeeters should be gone.  alaska people are the most helpful i have seen anywhere in the world, so go meet a lot.
  • pagamonypagamony advanced
    Posts: 129
    and if you have been to canada, just keep driving one summer all the way up to deadhorse. that is fun.
  • ciscokidciscokid expert
    edited November 8 Posts: 1,486
    I wish I could go for solstice in June but the wife can't get vaca ( need 2 wks)tilSept. Besides the camper is less than half price.(wish air was)

    Pagamony, I think I'm going to get Coldfeetfoot) and turn around like a wiseman before the horse dies( dead horse)
  • pagamonypagamony advanced
    Posts: 129
    Cisco how do you know about my time in Wiseman, AK ?  lol, look up that town, one of the best places in the world.  
  • ciscokidciscokid expert
    Posts: 1,486
    I do not know of your time there, like a good mapnut I have been studying and reading everything I can about Ak.
    Coldfoot and wiseman are close, just saw them on map and read about them.

    Would like to hear more of your journey on the haul road. I am trying to decide whether to take the Dalton (Haul) or Dempster in Yukon, don't think I'll have time for both
  • ciscokidciscokid expert
    Posts: 1,486
  • ski_itski_it expert
    Posts: 1,740
    ciscokid said:
    Oh boy that format looks real familiar to me.
    ISNE-I Skied New England | NESAP-the New England Ski Area Project | SOSA-Saving Our Ski Areas - Location SW of Boston MA
  • ciscokidciscokid expert
    Posts: 1,486
    $35 couldn't put it down, need 10 mos to digestimage
    IMG_2874.JPG
    320 x 240 - 52K
  • pagamonypagamony advanced
    Posts: 129
    yes - the bible of the AlCan.  don't miss pink mountain and fort nelson springs.  tip:  never pass a gas station.  goooooooooooo
  • ski_itski_it expert
    Posts: 1,740
    Yes that's the only tip I can recall from my sis who's driven it at least twice, Seattle to Anchorage- so plus 1.
    ISNE-I Skied New England | NESAP-the New England Ski Area Project | SOSA-Saving Our Ski Areas - Location SW of Boston MA
  • ciscokidciscokid expert
    edited November 18 Posts: 1,486
    Flying to Anchorage, driving clockwise up to Denali, Fairbanks, haul road/Dalton to Arctic c, back down to chena hot springs or Steese, to Tok, top of world to Dawson City, maybe up Dempster to Tombstonethen, Downto Whitehorse, Skagway or Haines, back up Alcan to Glen Allen, maybe McCarthy,Valdez, homer
  • pagamonypagamony advanced
    Posts: 129
    good god that will take all  summer.  or two.  trip of a lifetime.  enjoy.  make reservations at denali about now.  breakfast at Fast Eddys in Tok.  U of A at Fairbanks has this  great animal research center with all kinds of big arctic creatures.  

    So we went to  the  Arctic welcome center, very nice, and the rangers told us to stop in Wiseman on the way up.  Turns out they were having a post 4th shindig with all the  leftovers (not  much  electricity for refrigeration).  Salmon, moose, elk, etc... awesome spread.  nice little folk music combo.  just had a great time.  then  we went  on to camp somewhere north of the brooks range.  make  sure you have a cathole shovel.  

    Trip reports will be mandatory !
  • ciscokidciscokid expert
    Posts: 1,486
    2 weeks! Obviously gonna be moving
    They have a lottery in Sept for driving your own vehicle all the way into Denali park for 4 days , 1 in 7 chance, odds are decent about time we are going.

    Yea saw fast eddy in Tok, plan on it
    Northern lights should good
    Yea I don't sit around
  • CannonballCannonball advanced
    Posts: 130
    Make sure you look into details of public access to the ocean/beach at the end of the Dalton. There is a guard shack and some restricted access points. I've gotten through because I was there for work. I got the impression that they didn't allow the general public to go through. That may or may not be the case, I don't really know the details but it seems worth while for you to check it out in advance. Would be a bummer to drive all that way and get turned back a half mile from the ocean.
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