Groomed trails every night! Back-country skiing in the mountains! Great
pizza and beer! Downhill skiing for other family members! Long season!
What’s not to like?
While I’ve done it as a road trip (stop to ski in British Columbia and Yukon
Territories on the way up), flying is more realistic. Alaska Airlines flies
direct from Seattle or with one stop out of Bellingham. I believe they count
ski bags as ‘regular checked bags’ (which still have fees, but nothing
‘extra’.) Arguably the best-groomed area is almost within walking distance
of the airport!
- Kincaid and Hillside are the big names. But bored with their 80 km of
trails? Check out Bartlett, APU, or Russian Jack, still within 15 miles
of your hotel. Or check out Chugiak or Government Peak within 50 miles.
- The Nordic
Skiing Association of Anchorage (NSAA) is the main source of
- Driving: For groomed skiing (or downhill skiing at Alyeska or a road
trip to Seward), any economy rental car should be fine – unless you
happen to arrive in the middle of a big snowstorm. To go to some of the
back-country locations such as Hatcher Pass or Williwaw Lakes, you might
- Most trails are groomed nightly for classical and skating.
- Elevation: From just above sea level to 850 ft. Much higher on some of
the back country trips.
- Length of season: Sometimes as early as mid November, usually by mid
December. Almost always by late December. Snow should last into late
March, with spring skiing in the mountains in April. Crust skiing on
Portage Lake out to the face of the glacier can be awesome!
- When would I go? Any time in February or early March. Note that in
December and January, days are short. (Most all of the trail systems
have one or two lighted loops) But in March, there is as much daylight
as anywhere else!
- Expected weather: I’d say 0-35 degrees F. Below zero is rare.
Depending on how late in the season you ski, shirtsleeve weather is
possible. Having said that, they've had a string of below zero (F) days
this year in early December (2021)
- Places to stay / price range: Google Anchorage Hotels and you will
find many hotel options, including most of your favorite chains.
- Places to eat: Anchorage is a big city with all sorts of places to
eat. If I were along, I’d lobby for pizza at Moose’s Tooth / Bear Tooth (ranked as the third
best pizza in the U.S.! (Bear Tooth is less crowded and faster than
Moose’s Tooth)) and Ray’s
Place for Vietnamese (warning: they are closed on the weekend!).
- Pay to ski? Not as a guest in Anchorage – it’s free! But then, feel
free to buy a basic ‘Trail Member‘ for $35 if you want. Note: a number
of the back-country sites require a State Parks pass to park in the lot.
- There should be good skiing all season long. But a race/tour gives you
a chance to be part of an event! Join others for specially marked
trails, feed stations, and the fun of a race! Some to check out: AMH Anchorage Cup – Sven Johansson (up to 30 km at
Kincaid); Alaska Ski for Women (2/6/22); Tour of Anchorage (3/6/22) (up to 50 km, from one
side of Anchorage to the other); the Oosik Classic – ‘a funky, classic ski race/tour’
(3/12/22, 100 miles north of Anchorage, in historic Talkeetna) It’s
classic only because the trail isn’t wide enough for skating!
- Kincaid has several kilometers of snowmaking equipment – not that we
like it when we have to ski on it.
- Other things to do: Excellent downhill skiing at Alyeska, 45 miles south of town; there is night
life, but you’re on your own to find it. You can ski out and cheer on
the teams at the start of the Iditarod!
- Want to talk about it? Want some stories? Want a suggested itinerary?
Pete would love to talk about ‘the good old days… Seriously...’ – firstname.lastname@example.org
Anchorage Bowl (click on map for the complete pdf page)
Natalie on the Tour of Anchorage
A bad snow year at Kincaid!
Above Williwaw Lakes – 20 miles from the airport
What I would do/ski:
- Mize Loop @ Kincaid. 5 km, mountain views across the inlet, relatively
- Spencer Loop @ Hillside. 10 km, serious hills. mountain views
(including Denali in the distance), view of the city.
- Bartlett Trails. Gentle 5 km loop through the trees (and also where I
skied out the back door of the school)
- Hatcher Pass - there might be some groomed trails. Certainly some
user-created trails. Completely safe near the parking lot - but
potential avalanches if you go up the mountains. Need a state parks pass
- Glen Alps: a relatively flat trip out to Williwaw Lakes. You can then
ski up the bowl and telemark back down if you want to. It's definitely
back-country, but enough people go out there that there will probably be
a trail to ski with most any skis.
- Road trip to Seward. Stop and ski on the Seward trails if you want,
but more important is to walk the beach past Miller’s Landing and stop
for halibut and chips in downtown Seward.