A few weekends ago I flew up to Anchorage to visit my brother. I always enjoy visiting him because we have such a good relationship.
While there, we decided to go to Alyeska, both Saturday and Sunday for some snowboarding (Aaron skied). Saturday the weather was reasonable, although the mountain was pretty crowded. Sunday was a different story. Being that it was the Super Bowl and the fact that it made for a desolate and chilly day. Adria joined us on Sunday, so it was actually a family affair. The temp was right around 0F with windchills around -20F. To give you an idea of what snowboarding in this type of weather is like, imagine this: you have zero desire to stop on the mountain (for any reason), you can’t sit still on the lift because doing so you’d probably freeze solid (why Alyeska doesn’t have covered, a.k.a. bubble, lifts baffles me), talking or taking pictures is pretty much out of the question (except in the lodge), and any amount of skin exposed is destined to become numb (and red). That was probably the coldest conditions I’ve ever snowboarded in, and I’d think twice about doing it again.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m really glad I got a chance to go boarding at Alyeska. According to Forbes, Alyeska is the 4th snowiest resort in the world. The snow was really nice, especially since it had snowed about a foot total in the days prior.
One thing that would make Alyeska infinitely better would be to upgrade their chair lifts. All of them should have a bubble and even better yet would be seat warmers. It’d also be nice if all lifts had the safety bar with foot rests so you can rest your board (or skis) as you ride up. The inside of my left leg was particularly sore from riding the lifts all day and having my board dangle below me. I guess that creates a lot more stress on your leg than you’d imagine.
The drive to Girdwood (where Alyeska is) is quite nice. The mountain is located near an inlet. On your way to Alyeska, you can see the water flowing in to the inlet. With all the snow & ice, doesn’t look like anything all that exciting. On the way home, most of the water has already flown out of the inlet, so you get huge chuunks of snow/ice mixed with mud that kinda l0oks like cracked earth in the desert, but on a much larger scale.
While on the mountain, we had a great view of the inlet and surrounding mountains. Because of terrain, clouds tend to hang low above the inlet around the peaks in the area. So I think technically when we were at Alyeska, we were above the clouds (and almost in the clouds on Sunday).
After getting in quite a bit of physical activity Saturday & Sunday, it was decided that we start playing video games, Onimusha: Warlords. Although it took almost all day, we were able to beat the entire game (with a little help from an online guide). That was a lot of fun, as I haven’t beaten a game from start to finish in quite some time.
I can’t imagine I’ll be going back to AK anytime soon, or ever for that matter. Aaron & Adria are moving back to MN in May, so the motivation to go back is pretty much gone.