Skiing at Alyeska Resort

Alaska's Top Ski Destinations

Alaska's Top Ski Destinations

Alaska is an alpine paradise for skiers and snowboarders. You’ll find a wide variety of terrain – from mild to wild – for every level of skier and boarder. Check out the best places in Alaska for skiing, including downhill, cross country, and backcountry, plus our tips on where to go for Après-ski after an epic day on the mountain.


Alyeska Resort

Alaska’s crown jewel for downhill skiing can be found at Alyeska Resort in the town of Girdwood, tucked into a picturesque mountain-ringed valley just 40-miles south of Anchorage. Home to the largest ski resort in Alaska, Girdwood is truly a winter paradise for all types of snowy adventures, complete with all of the amenities you’d expect in a world-class ski resort town.

With 76 named trails and a vertical rise of 2,500ft, Alyeska Resort has something for everyone, from beginner bunny hills to high alpine double black diamond runs. The 1,610 skiable acres at Alyeska Resort are accessible by 4 chair lifts, a 60-passenger aerial tram, and 2 magic carpets. Alyeska’s reputation is “steep and deep,” with over 650” average annual snowfall and the longest double black diamond run in the world. To top it all off, Alyeska boasts some of the best scenery of any ski area in the state, with panoramic views of the Turnagain Arm and the mountains and glaciers of the Chugach Range.

OPEN: Late November - late April (snow conditions permitting), 7 days a week, with night skiing Thursday - Sunday from December - March

Skiing at Alyeska Resort
Skiing at Alyeska Resort in Girdwood

Cross Country Skiing in Girdwood

While Girdwood is best known for its downhill skiing, it also offers a fun and scenic network of cross country ski trails. The 5k Nordic Loop winds through forested hills next to the hotel, while the groomed multi-use trail in Moose Meadows is ideal for those looking for flatter terrain. You’ll also find several more miles of groomed and un-groomed multi-use trails throughout town, ideal for skiing, fat tire biking, and snowshoeing.

Moose Meadow in Girdwood
Multi-use trails in Moose Meadow


When you need a break from skiing, Alyeska Resort offers a wide range of amenities for a little rest and relaxation. The 300+ room luxury resort features beautiful views, 3 on-site restaurants, a saltwater pool, and shops, plus two restaurants on the mountain (accessible by aerial tram or chair lift), and a bar near the Daylodge. Their newest offering is the Alyeska Nordic Spa, a hydrotherapy spa experience with hot, warm, and cold pools, saunas, steam rooms, and more nestled into the forest next to the resort - a great place to soak after a day of skiing.

For a town of just around 2,500 year-round residents, Girdwood is home to a surprising array of dining options. For a convenient Après-ski spot, head to the Sitzmark, located at the base of the mountain, where you can grab a beer and a filling snack or meal. Other local favorite Après spots include the Girwdood Brewery, serving up craft beer and other beverages with a rotating roster of food trucks parked outside, and Chair 5, known for their hearty pizzas.

Beer at the Bore Tide Deli at Alyeska
Enjoying a beverage from the Bore Tide Bar at Alyeska Resort


Fairbanks is located in Alaska’s Interior region and is known as one of the best places to see the northern lights in winter. Home to two downhill ski areas, plus miles and miles of cross country ski trails, it’s also a prime destination for winter sports. While much smaller and with colder temperatures than Alyeska Resort, Fairbanks’ two ski areas – Ski Land and Moose Mountain – offer the benefits of cheaper lift tickets, less crowds, and their own unique charms.

Ski Land

About 30 minutes northeast from downtown Fairbanks, Ski Land has the unique designation of being the furthest north chair lift in North America. With a vertical rise of 1,027 feet, the ski area’s double chairlift provides access to over 40 trails from beginner to expert. Another unique feature of the area is that you park at the top of the mountain and ski down, then take the chair lift back up. The mountain and lift get good sun, which is welcome in Fairbanks, where winter temperatures are often below 0 degrees F. An on-site grill offers quick bites and locally-made beer.

OPEN: Late December - April (snow and weather conditions permitting), Friday - Monday

Ski Land Fairbanks
Downhill skiing at Ski Land. Photo Credit: Travel Alaska, Matt Hage

Moose Mountain Ski Resort

Moose Mountain Ski Resort is the largest ski area in the Interior, covering 750 acres with a vertical rise of 1,300 feet. The resort is located about 15 minutes northwest from downtown Fairbanks and features views of the surrounding White Mountains. The 40+ trails are mostly intermediate and advanced, with a few beginner runs. Moose Mountain is unique because it has no chairlift; a bus takes skiers and boarders up to the top of the mountain, providing a good opportunity to warm up between runs – as Moose Mountain calls it, “the fastest, warmest ski lift anywhere.”

OPEN: Mid/late November - March (snow and weather conditions permitting), Friday - Sunday plus some holidays

Cross Country Skiing in Fairbanks

For those interested in cross country skiing, Fairbanks is a true winter wonderland of groomed trails across rolling, forested terrain. The Birch Hill Recreation Area and Jim Whisenhant Cross Country Ski Trail System are maintained by Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks and offer 40k of groomed trails for all ski levels, with 10k of lighted trails plus a ski center and warming hut. Another popular destination is the University of Alaska (UAF) trail system, located on 1,100 acres on the north side of campus. The area has at total of over 40k of winter trails, with 24k of groomed ski trails, some lighted. For beginners and skiers looking for something mellow, head over to Creamers Field for several kilometers of mostly flat groomed multi-use trails.

Cross country skiing in Fairbanks
Cross country skiing in Fairbanks


When you’re ready to kick back, relax, and warm up, Fairbanks has a wide variety of restaurants, bars, and breweries to help you refuel. One of the best spots to grab a local craft beer is HooDoo Brewing Company, serving up beers in their lively taproom and cozy outdoor patio complete with fire pits. If cocktails are more your thing, visit the Library, a book-themed cocktail lounge with inventive drinks and delicious food. To truly unwind, plan a visit to Chena Hot Springs Resort for a soak in the natural thermal hot springs.


EagleCrest Ski Area

Alaska’s capital city, Juneau is home to “Alaska’s best kept secret” when it comes to downhill skiing in the 49th state. Eaglecrest Ski Area is perched in the mountains on Douglas Island, a 15 minute drive from downtown Juneau. With a 1,620 foot vertical drop and 640 acres accessible by 4 chair lifts, Eaglecrest is a playground for skiers and snowboarders of all levels. There are 36 marked trails along with open boundaries for backcountry skiing. Riders are treated to beautiful views of the mountains, islands, and surrounding ocean waters, plus lots of room to spread out, good tree skiing, affordable lift tickets, milder temperatures, and short lift lines.

OPEN: Early December – early April, Wednesday – Sunday and some holidays

Downhill skiing at Eagle Crest Ski Area
Eaglecrest Ski Area. Photo Credit: Travel Alaska, Mark Kelley

Cross Country Skiing in Juneau

The Eaglecrest Ski Area is also home to groomed Nordic ski trails across the terrain below the downhill ski area, with a combined 10k of trails on the upper loop and lower loop trail systems. Other popular groomed trails for cross country skiing in Juneau are Montana Creek, Mendenhall Campground, and Eagle Beach State Recreation Area.

Cross Country skiing in Juneau
Cross Country skiing in Juneau


Juneau is one of the top foodie destinations in Alaska and there’s no shortage of places to fill your belly and quench your thirst after a day on the mountain. For a convenient spot, you can refuel at the on-site restaurant, bar, and coffee shop at Eaglecrest Ski Area. Or head to the Island Pub, also on Douglas Island, known for their delicious pizza and water views. You’ll find a variety of breweries across the bridge in downtown Juneau, including Devil’s Club Brewing Company, Amalga Distillery, and Barnaby Brewing Company, along with Forbidden Peak Brewery and Alaskan Brewing Company – one of the state’s oldest breweries – outside of downtown.


Hilltop Ski Area

You don’t have to leave Alaska’s largest city to get in some downhill runs. Anchorage is home to two downhill ski areas: Hilltop and Arctic Valley. Hilltop is a non-profit ski area located at the base of the Chugach Mountains, with views of Anchorage and Cook Inlet. This family-friendly ski area has one chair lift and a vertical rise of 294 feet. There are 12 trails over 30 acres, with mostly easy terrain.

OPEN: December - March (snow conditions permitting), 7 days per week

Skiing at Hilltop Ski Area
Skiing at Hilltop Ski Area. Photo Credit: Travel Alaska, Matt Hage

Arctic Valley Ski Area

Arctic Valley is another non-profit ski area, located just north of Anchorage. With 500 acres and a 1,214 foot vertical rise, Arctic Valley has primarily intermediate and expert trails, with a little beginner terrain towards the bottom. The ski area has 2 chair lifts, a T-bar, and a rope tow.

OPEN: December – mid-April (snow conditions permitting), weekends and holidays, Thursdays & Fridays in spring

Cross Country Skiing in Anchorage

For those interested in cross country skiing, look no further than Anchorage. You’ll find more miles of groomed trails than anywhere else in the state. In fact, many members of the Olympic U.S. cross country ski team come from the Alaska Pacific University team in Anchorage, including gold medalist Kikkan Randall - so you’ll be in good company on the trails.

Kincaid Park is a 1,400-acre forested area in town that’s nestled along the coastline of Cook Inlet. A network of 60km of groomed ski trails winds through the trees and hilly terrain, with 20k of lighted trails. The trails are mostly intermediate, with some easier trails leading from the Kincaid Chalet. Also departing from the Kincaid Chalet is the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, an 11-mile multi-use trail that connects to downtown Anchorage. This scenic trail is groomed for cross country skiing in winter and is also popular for walking and fat tire biking. Once you get passed the first big downhill leading from the Chalet, the Coastal Trail is relatively flat, with several stretches of long flat grade that are great for beginners.

At the base of the Chugach Mountains is the sprawling Far North Bicentennial Park, home to a vast network of Nordic ski and multi-use trails that wander through the forest and meadows and alongside creeks, with views of the Chugach Mountain Range. The area includes Hillside Park, another popular cross country ski area in Anchorage, with about 25km of groomed ski trails, some lighted. Far North Bicentennial Park also connects to trails in Chugach State Park that lead into the alpine playground of the Chugach Mountains, opening up seemingly limitless options for winter exploration.

Anchorage Coastal Trail
The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail in Anchorage. Photo Credit: Travel Alaska, Chris McLennan


Anchorage’s dining scene is vibrant and varied. You’ll find everything from fine dining to food trucks, with no shortage of options for every type of eater. It’s also home to a booming brewery scene with plenty of spots to post up for a local craft beverage after a day in the snow. Popular spots include 49th State Brewing Company, King Street Brewery, Double Shovel Cider Company, Midnight Sun Brewery, Anchorage Brewing Company, and Anchorage Distillery. Or, sample beers from Broken Tooth Brewing, served at the popular Moose’s Tooth and Bear Tooth restaurants.

Hatcher Pass, Mat-Su Valley

About an hour north of Anchorage is the magical Hatcher Pass in the Mat-Su Valley. This alpine paradise is a local’s favorite for year-round recreation. The scenic road to Hatcher Pass climbs alongside the Little Susitna River and then up into the jagged peaks of the Talkeetna Mountains to Independence Mine State Historical Park, with access to several recreation areas along the way.

Skeetawk Ski Area

Alaska’s newest downhill ski option, Skeetawk is a non-profit ski area located partway up the road to Hatcher Pass. This family-friendly area opened in 2020 with one triple chair lift, a warming hut, and access to about 30 skiable acres along with backcountry access. Continued development is planned for additional lifts and access to even more terrain. For now, the area has a vertical gain of 300 feet with runs about 1,250 feet long. This is the most affordable downhill skiing area in Alaska and has beautiful views of the valley and surrounding mountains.

OPEN: December – mid-April (snow conditions permitting), Thursday – Monday and some holidays

Skiing at Skeetawk Ski Area
Skeetawk Ski Area. Photo Credit: Kara Stenberg, Skeetawk

Cross Country Skiing in Hatcher Pass

About 15 minutes up the road from Skeetawk is Independence Mine State Historical Park with its iconic red-trimmed historic mine buildings perched in a high alpine bowl. The final mile up to the park and the trails that weave through the mine buildings are groomed during winter, offering an incredibly scenic spot for some cross country laps. These are some of the first groomed cross country ski trails of the season due to the area’s higher elevation, with trails sometimes skiable by mid-October. There are about 4k of trails including the 1.5k ski on Gold Cord Road from the parking lot up to the mine. The area is fairly hilly, with a steeper upper loop and a mellower lower loop. If you haven’t had enough cross country skiing, head down the road about 30 minutes to the Government Peak Recreation Area, with 7k of groomed cross country ski trails, some lighted.

Cross country skiing at Independence Mine State Historical Park
Cross country skiing at Independence Mine State Historical Park. Photo Credit: Travel Alaska, Matt Hage


Warm up next to the fire with a drink and a hearty meal at Hatcher Pass Lodge. Located next to the winter parking area at Independence Mine, this quirky A-frame lodge has amazing views and tons of Alaska charm.

Backcountry Skiing in Alaska

Heli-skiing was born in Valdez in 1989 and the industry has never been the same. While it may sound extreme, heli-ski operators say that skiers and boarders who are comfortable with blue and black runs at a ski resort have the skills to give it a try. Valdez’s Thompson Pass remains the sport’s epicenter, with multiple operators offering services in the area, including the oldest operation in Alaska — Valdez Heli-Ski Guides. You’re likely to see a few big-name big mountain skiers in town if you visit between February and April. Another popular destination is Girdwood, where Chugach Powder Guides offers heli-skiing and snowcat skiing day trips and private charters in the stunning backcountry.  For those looking for a multi-day stay in the backcountry, consider Tordrillo Mountain Lodge, co-owned by Olympic gold medalist Tommy Moe. 

Still more heli-ski operations are based across the state in CordovaJuneauHaines, the Mat-Su Valley, and Seward. Alaska also offers endless opportunities for independent backcountry skiing for those who have experience with backcountry travel and avalanche safety. Some of the most popular spots for backcountry skiing in Alaska are Hatcher Pass in the Mat-Su Valley, Thompson Pass in Valdez, Turnagain Pass south of Girdwood, and backcountry terrain near Eaglecrest Ski Area in Juneau.

Backcountry skiing in Hatcher Pass area in Alaska
Backcountry skiing in Hatcher Pass area



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