Alyeska Resort, Girdwood, Alaska

exterior in winter

by Sophia Schoen

Nothing says beautiful winter getaway like a ski resort. There’s always a roaring fireplace in the lobby and complimentary hot chocolate. The rooms are clean and cozy, and out the window snow is falling in big, fluffy flakes. And of course, you can’t forget the never-ending list of outdoor winter activities to partake in. Something magical stirs the air this time of year at Alyeska Resort in Girdwood, Alaska. It’s the biggest ski resort in the state and is definitely the place you’ll want to be this winter.

In the Chugach Mountain Range, complete with towering peaks, deep powder, and steep bowls, the resort offers skiing for all levels. The mountain consists of 76 different runs ranging from a magic carpet at the base of the mountain to a double black diamond reaching all the way to the top. Whether you want a mellow meander down on Blueberry Hill or are looking for a faster, more intermediate downhill experience on Silvertip, they’ve got it. And with seven chairlifts and an Aerial Tram, access comes easy. If you’ve ever wanted to ski under the moon, night skiing is also an option for those looking for a longer day or a little extra thrill.

A unique luxury of Alyeska Resort’s offerings are the helicopter tours, otherwise known as flightseeing. These take you directly over the vast, wintery landscape of Alaska, giving you the opportunity to see every nook and cranny it has to offer. It all depends on which of the numerous tours you choose. Soar over snow-covered summits, the glittering water of Prince William Sound, or magnificent glaciers like the Whiteout and Colony Glacier. Fly with the birds and try to spot the moose or the mountain goats. And, with the helicopter tours, comes the chance to get out and do some hiking atop the very glaciers you might see from the sky. The hiking and trekking tours can be quite long, extending from 2-8 hours. But don’t fear! Food (and bear protection) is provided, and they take you along icebergs, lakes, waterfalls, more wildlife and even mining ruins, so it’s absolutely worth it.

Helicopters aren’t for you? Check out the Aerial Tram instead, a great alternative to breathe in the wonder of the surrounding landscape. In the winter, they operate it at top speed (26 mph), which means you get a four-minute ride of comfort with Alaska unfolding beneath you.

Whether it’s after a long, exciting day spent in the cold, or in the morning for a fresh start, the resort’s Nordic Spa is exactly the place to unwind and warm up. Breathe in and breathe out in this nature-filled sanctuary. Rejuvenate with gentle or tension melting massages and aromatherapy. Amenities include an exfoliation room, hot and cold pools and saunas.