Best Ski Resorts In Alaska

What comes to mind when you think of Alaska? For us, it’s dog sleds, jingle bells, tiny cottages, and an almost endless expanse of ice and snow. But for skiers and snowboarders – Alaska means world-class riding and skiing. And for good reason, because the best ski resorts in Alaska are also some of the best places for skiing and snowboarding in the world – period.

Why is Alaska Such a Popular Skiing Destination?

If skiing and snowboarding were a religion, then Alaska would be like going to Mecca, visiting Tibet, or taking a sip of the Holy Grail. But why is Alaska this renowned among skiers around the world?

Let’s see.

Gargantuan Amounts Of Snow

Alaska has absolutely massive amounts of snow, breathtaking views, and skiing terrain unlike anywhere on the planet. In Alaska, you’ll find literally everything in existence in winter sports – from conventional skiing and snowboarding, to X Games, to snowcat skiing, all the way to heli skiing. Needless to say, this makes for some of the best snowboarding and skiing on planet Earth, and powderhounds know this. 

Towering Volcanoes & Primordial Wilderness

Alaska is the home of some of the largest and highest mountains on the planet. It has five peaks over the elevation of 15,000 feet, towering over everything else. Those impressive peaks, in turn, are dwarfed by Denali which watches over all at the height of 20,320 feet. Alaskan mountains are rugged and wild, with a beastly quality to them. The forests are wild, labyrinthine and almost Jurassic. The unapproachable terrain challenges visitors to tame it – or give up trying.

And when it comes to skiers and snowboarders, one of the ways to do this is using snowcats or helis – which keeps them endlessly entertained in the Alaskan winter playground. The Chugach Mountains, or the Wrangell and St. Elias, or the Tordrillo Mountains attract snowboarders and skiers from all over the world, who flock like moths to icy flame.

Ski & Ride The Pacific Ocean

And the snow here can burn. All the humidity coming off from the Pacific Ocean moves up north along the coast of North America, and freezes right over the Alaskan mountains. Then, huge snow storms rain massive amounts of snow over the country, paving the way for the world’s most amazing skiing and snowboarding experiences.

The snow here is wet; which means that it is sticky. And being sticky means that it covers even the most vertical of mountain slopes, which then makes way for some of the world’s most extreme downhill skiing. The vertical slopes of Alaska, winding between pristine, untouched nature, are almost unmatched by any other place in the world.

In a way, skiing in Alaska means skiing on the Pacific Ocean. The ocean just got put in a blender, got minced into frozen snowflakes, and got sprinkled generously over Alaska – like an endless bowl of powdered sugar.

Magical Sights & Aurora Borealis

But that is not all. Far away in the distance, shimmering glimpses of the ocean, where it was all made of. And up in the sky, shimmering high above even the tallest of peaks of planet Earth, are the mesmerizing Auroras – the silky, magical Northern Lights, giving everything an otherworldly feeling.  

In short, Alaska offers everything for everyone. From the most extreme skiing and snowboarding challenges involving jumps, cat skiing and heli-skiing, all the way to the most gentle runs for absolute beginners, supported by some of the world’s best winter sports schools. Ski resorts in Alaska cater to both elite athletes and winter-loving families alike, so if you need a nice winter vacation, we suggest packing right now. 

And while everyone else is busy packing, you can see about that booking – here are the best ski resorts in Alaska! 

Moose Mountain Ski & Snowboard Resort, Fairbanks

When it comes to family-friendly resorts in Alaska, Moose Mountain is definitely one of the best. But that’s not the only perk of Moose Mountain Ski and Snowboard Resort, in fact, far from it. Moose Mountain is also the largest Alpine snowboard and ski resort in the Alaskan interior, with 750 acres of skiable terrain and a vertical drop of 1,300 feet.

Pros

  • Largest alpine resort in Alaska
  • Exciting skiing and snowboarding runs for all skill levels
  • A popular fleet of yellow school busses

Cons

  • Could use more busses to reduce waiting lines

Ski Terrain… And Hot Springs

Additionally, Moose Mountain has over 40 ski and snowboarding runs, divided between all skill levels, so beginners and experts will be just as satisfied. Moose Mountain is best known for its south-facing ski and snowboarding runs, which makes for skiing in the sun and under clear blue skies.

The north-eastern Alaskan winds are usually low to nonexistent in this orientation too, making for an overall very pleasant experience. Besides wrestling with the snow though, there are natural thermal springs here too. The Wilbur Hot Springs and the Tolovana Hot Springs are both excellent options to recharge and thaw after a long day in the mountains.

A Fleet Of Yellow School Busses

The resort has 14 turbo trams that double as ski lifts, and they do their job well. However, whenever Moose Mountain gets a bit crowded, the resort calls its fleet of school buses to the rescue. They carry skiers, snowboarders, and tourists up and down the mountain alike. Needless to say, this is a very charming feature and makes everyone feel those exciting, giddy winter holiday feelings. It can cause some waiting queues, though!

Verdict

All in all, Moose Mountain Ski & Snowboard Resort makes for one wonderful, family-friendly, winter holiday experience. If you’re not a professional powderhound and are looking for something cozy and relaxed, give Moose Mountain a shot. Chances are you’ll enjoy it!

Tordrillo Mountain Lodge, Anchorage

But what if you’re an adrenaline junkie? In that case, curb your pessimism, because Alaska has just the right resort for you – the Tordrillo Mountain Lodge. Located in Judd Lake, the Tordrillo Mountain Lodge is so remote that visitors are first flown to Anchorage, and then take a special flight to this hidden gem of a mountain lodge.

Pros

  • Alaska doesn’t get much wilder than this
  • Climb, or fly your way to surrounding peaks thanks to heli skiing
  • Luxurious lodging

Cons

  • Remote 

Wild Terrain & Heli Skiing 

But what makes Tordrillo Mountain Lodge so special? It’s not a ski resort as such, so you won’t find any dedicated, perfectly groomed ski runs. But you’ll still find a lot of intense off-piste skiing and snowboarding, along with tons of other types of mountainous activities (climbing, fishing, hiking – just to name a few).

But the real highlight of Tordrillo is the heli-skiing. No peak is too high, and no ridge is too inaccessible when you have a helo take you from the lodge and drop you over literally any spot of the mountain you wish to try out! I mean, who needs ski lifts when you have helicopters?

The ski resort itself offers different packages for different tastes. But by far, it’s a magnet for adrenaline seeking powder hounds who tend to stay here for a week or two, and get themselves tons of exciting heli-skiing. The lodge itself is luxurious and provides all the amenities visitors need – wine tasting, fine cuisine, copper hot tubs, and even massage services at your disposal.

Emerald Lakes & Volcanic Peaks

If that wasn’t enough, how about the awe-inspiring views? Tordrillo Mountain Lodge is perched right at the edge of the Judd Lake, which gets you a spectacular emerald spectacle during spring and summer, and a smooth glittery expanse in winter. On top of that, or let’s say on top of everything else – the lodge offers a direct line of sight to two 11,000 ft peaks, including one of the tallest volcanoes in North America, the Denali peak (20,320 feet or 6193 meters).

Verdict

So, if you’re a brave heart in need of a steep mountain to conquer, look no further – Tordrillo Mountain Lodge is definitely one of the best ski resorts in Alaska for you!

Chugach Powder Guides & Girdwood, Anchorage

Known for its dramatic and varied terrain of wide-open spaces, mountains, and untouched forests, Alaska is home to some of the most scenic places in the world. And one of the most impressive landscapes here is the Chugach mountain range, looming over Anchorage. 

Pros

  • Humongous wild area for heli skiing (750,000 acres)
  • Girdwood offers good skiing and snowboarding trails
  • Excellent accomodation and pampering opportunities
  • The town has lots of food and entertainment options

Cons

  • Heli skiing is definitely not for everyone

Fine Snow & Fine Dining

But Anchorage can be too urban or “civilized” for the avid skier and winter lover. That’s why we recommend Girdwood town and the services of the Chugach Powder Guides for the best snowboarding and skiing experiences on the Chugach mountains. Girdwood is widely known for its downhill skiing and snowboarding, backcountry and cross-country skiing, cat-skiing, heli-skiing, and even exciting snowmobile excursions. Add on top of that the rich history of the place, and its wild natural beauty, and you have a winner.

The weather conditions are as close to perfect too, at least when it comes to Alaskan weather. The area around Girdwood has a high amount of annual snowfall, which creates the perfect conditions for all kinds of winter sports or other fun activities in the snow. The town itself has a wealth of bars, restaurants, and cafes, but it also has one of the best heli-skiing offers in all of the United States. 

Endless Expanse For Heli Skiing

And when it comes to heli-skiing options, Chugach Powder Guides (CPG) provides some of the most unique winter experiences in Alaska. The company offers several impressive heli-skiing packages, with the ability to land you anywhere you want, even the most pristine and untouched areas of Alaskan wilderness. Chugach Powder Guides operates in an official partnership with the United States Forest Service, granting it the permission to use 750,000 acres of very diverse terrain. You have 4 helicopters and 2 snowcats on your disposal – so get dropped over a literal mountain peak like an Olympian god, and ski your way down to humanity!

Verdict

The company’s premises offer excellent accommodation and pampering services, along with professional guides for everything you want to do up in the snowy mountains. When it comes to the best ski resorts in Alaska, CPG offers one of the best heli-skiing experiences no doubt!

Skiland, Fairbanks

Skiland is famous for its farthest-north chairlift in all of North America. Additionally, its location ensures one of the longest seasons too – you can ski at Skiland from December all the way to April. The resort is rather small, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in atmosphere and coziness. 

Pros

  • The northernmost ski resort in Alaska. Just like Winterfell!
  • Modest number of runs, but all groomed to perfection
  • Mulled wine, Northern Lights, and a homely atmosphere

Cons

  • Modest lodgings 

Ski Terrain

Skiers, snowboarders and winter loving tourists flock to Skiland every year, where they enjoy dozens of groomed tree-lined trails. The ski resort has 46 runs strewn across an area of 530 acres, with a vertical drop of 310 meters (which you can reach by lift). The runs are divided between 20% beginner runs, 50% intermediate runs, and 30% advanced runs. While there are no super-difficult extreme runs at Skiland, the runs offer quite the challenge even to the most experienced skiers and snowboarders. 

Mulled Wine Under The Aurora Borealis

But visitors don’t come here only for the winter sports. Skiland gives visitors that “home away from home feeling”, not the least because of the dazzling spectacle of the Northern Lights! Whether you’re skiing or relaxing with a warm cup of wine, the Aurora Borealis adds to the experience in magical ways. That being said lodging is fairly modest and limited, so expect no luxuries here. 

Verdict

Good skiing, fine snow, and wine around the fireplace. It doesn’t get more cozy than Skiland. But speaking of wine and the associated dine, you can hop down to nearby Fairbanks and enjoy a wealth of fine bars and restaurants. Skiland offers you all that – and more! – under the magical eye of the shimmering, romantic Aurora lights. Its place among the best ski resorts in Alaska is well deserved.

Mount Eyak Ski Resort, Cordova

But what if you’re not one for romance, eh? Worry not then, because Alaska is also home to the Mount Eyak Ski Resort, located in Cordova, the southern part of Alaska. Mount Eyak is the perfect resort for winter adventuring – it has a single steel-and-wire chairlift that seems taken straight out of the 1930s, taking you to even more rustic and historical areas. 

Pros

  • A perfect blend of culture, history, and winter sports
  • Modest number of ski runs but they’re well groomed
  • Cozy mountain cabins oozing with atmosphere

Cons

  • Few skiing courses in the area

Ski Terrain

But make no mistake, Mount Eyak is perfect for every type of winter lover, be it just you, your friends, or your family. It has more than 30 runs (geared for beginners and intermediate skiers), most of them remote and rural, but that’s where the charm comes from. Its 10 “proper” runs, however, are groomed enough, and the vertical drop at the resort is 800 feet. Skiers of all skill levels will find something for everyone here, and with an annual snowfall of 350 inches, make no mistake, Mount Eyak offers some excellent skiing. You won’t find any skiing lessons here, though, so come prepared. 

Big Glaciers, Deep Culture, And Exciting History

But Mount Eyak is about its location too. It is just across the Prince William Sound from Alyeska, with the small town of Cordova nestled at its base. The area here simply oozes with culture and rich history, and when you’re not up on the mountain kicking powder, you can visit the Cordova Historical Museum or the Ilanka Cultural Center for something different.

But did we mention that you can go on a tour and visit the five biggest glaciers in the area? And the almost ancient chairlift, which is a historical artifact chronicling the history of skiing in and of itself? 

In-between all that adventuring, you can stay at some of the homely mountain cabins in Hidden Valley. These cozy cabins can be rented throughout the whole year, and make for the perfect “home base” for your adventures in the area. Or, romantic escapades!

Verdict

Families and individuals alike will enjoy the sights and excellent skiing at Mount Eyak. In addition to that, however, you also get a side-dish of tasty culture and local history. Perfect for exploring! There’s no question that for those looking for a combination of winter sports and local adventures – Mount Eyak Ski Resort is the best ski resort in Alaska.

Hilltop Ski Area, Anchorage

But if you’re neither for romance or adventuring, and are yearning for more, then rest assured – Alaska’s Hilltop Ski Area probably has what you’re looking for. Open since the 1950s at the very edge of Anchorage city, Hilltop Ski Area combines city vibes with the excitement of winter sports. If you’re wondering what “urban skiing” may be like, then visit Hilltop Ski Area at Anchorage and find out!

Pros

  • Basically in Anchorage, so super accessible
  • Small, but gets the job done 
  • Night skiing available
  • Has one of the nation’s best winter sports schools
  • Excels at ski jumping thanks to its excellent Karl Eid Ski Jump Complex

Cons

  • Basically in Anchorage, so too urban 
  • Small

The resort itself is rather small – it has 13 runs spread over 30 acres of skiable terrain (suitable for snowboarding too), that you can use during the nights too. The skill composition of the runs is heavily skewed towards beginner runs, with 80% of the tracks being intended for beginners, 10% for intermediate skiers, no advanced skiing runs, but 10% for extreme skiing as well.

The 3 ski lifts do the job competently, and carry visitors to the modest vertical drop of 294 feet. Hilltop Ski Area has one terrain park too, and a 30 ac capacity for snowmaking. Combined, this amounts to 7.5 miles of some of the best Nordic-style skiing you’ll find in Alaska. And – you’ll never run out of snow. 

Great Winter Sports School & Professional Ski Jumping Complex

The welcoming and intimate experience that Hilltop offers is one of its highlights. Many visitors come here to start learning how to ski and snowboard, thanks to the excellent winter sports school.

The area is known for the nearby Karl Eid Ski Jump Complex too, which is home to 15, 40, and 60 meter jumps. Needless to say, Hilltop Ski Area is home to many competitions too, both during winter and summer, and last but not least – it even has a golf course.

As far as amenities go – don’t ask. You’re basically in Anchorage, so the sky’s the limit!

Verdict

If you’ve ever wanted to visit Anchorage and go skiing or learn ski jumping – then Hilltop Ski Area is the best ski resort in Alaska for you. Or if you find yourself close to Anchorage, or in Anchorage, or just stopping by Anchorage… You get the idea. Hilltop Ski Area is excellent, and it’s right around the corner!

Alyeska Resort, Girdwood

But you know what’s even better than being situated at the edge of a city? Being situated near three national parks – like Alyeska Resort is. Alyeska is surrounded by the Chugach mountains and the Kenai Peninsula, and offers amazing views to some of Alaska’s most prized natural wonders and volcanic summits.  

Pros

  • When it comes to skiing, Alyeska means serious skiing business
  • Contender for the longest uninterrupted expert-level run
  • Surrounded by three wonderful national parks that you can explore
  • An almost endless supply of entertainment activities

Cons

  • Could use more beginner level tracks

Ski Terrain

But make no mistake – Alyeska doesn’t fool around when it comes to skiing and snowboarding. It has one of the longest, uninterrupted, expert-level run in North America. People take skiing seriously here. Alyeska Resort boasts 76 named runs, sprinkled over a skiable area of 1610 acres. The runs are split into 11% beginner runs, 52% intermediate level runs, and 37% advanced to expert runs. All of this is serviced by 7 ski lifts and 2 magic carpets, which, as the name might suggest, work wonders.

In addition to all this, Alyeska Resort has a vertical drop of 2500 ft, two terrain parks, 550 acres dedicated to night skiing, and a snowmaking capacity for 113 acres. For those fond of cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, there are additional 80 miles of Nordic trails among the mountains. 

Alaska’s Premier Resort Destination

This ultimate skiing establishment is often described as Alaska’s premier year-round resort destination, combining modern architecture without omitting the rich Native influences. Here, you’ll find accomodation options for everyone’s budget, and many excellent dining options. You can also unwind at one of the many spas, saltwater pools, whirlpools, fitness centers, shops, or take a relaxing, scenic tram ride that can accommodate up to 60 passengers. And did we mention dog sledding, jet skiing, glacier and wildlife tours, and so on?

Verdict

So, about those best ski resorts in Alaska? If you’re looking for the perfect combination of skiing, endless entertainment and quality pampering, look no further than Alyeska Resort. They really do have everything. And keep adding more.

Eaglecrest Ski Area, Juneau

But most luxurious doesn’t always mean the best. In fact, the best depends on what you’re really looking for, and we have to say – Alaska’s Eaglecrest Ski Area has the most options for most people. Individually or as a family, Eaglecrest won’t leave you feeling bored even for a second. And that’s true regardless if you’re into skiing, snowboarding, or just touristing around. 

Pros

  • Offers runs for all skill levels, including expert
  • Southernmost ski resort in Alaska, but still gets lots of snow
  • Excellent food in the midst of fairytale-like landscapes
  • Family and community oriented

Cons

  • Eaglecrest is publicly owned, so it’s kinda not into luxury

Ski Terrain

The Eaglecrest Ski Area has 36 runs strewn over 650 acres of skiable terrain, with a decent vertical drop of 1,400 feet. The trails are a good mix suited for winter sports practitioners of all ski levels, with 20% of the runs being beginner level, 40% of the runs being intermediate, along with 30% of advanced runs and 10% of the trails marked as expert level runs. There’s also a terrain park. So when we said that Eaglecrest Ski Resort has something for everyone’s skill level, we sort of meant it, literally.

The trails here are serviced by efficient ski lifts, which transport visitors efficiently without any long lines. Whether you’re in for some skiing or heading down for a tasty snack, everything in Eaglecrest is super accessible. 

The Charm Of Southern Alaska

And have you seen this place? The hills here look like gigantic cakes, with the snow-encased trees strewn around like cotton candy. It may not daze you with stratospheric volcanic peaks, but it can sure charm you with its fairytale landscapes.

Eaglecrest Ski Resort is the southernmost ski resort in Alaska, but it still gets a decent amount of snow, with its winter season lasting all the way to April. The annual snowfall at Eaglecrest is anywhere between 200 to 500 inches, which leaves very little need for snowmaking. Even so, the resort is capable of making snow over the area of 60 acres – so there will be no unpleasant surprises here.

The rental shop here is very well equipped too, making for very little need to drag everything with you. Eaglecrest Ski Resort has good accomodation and dining options as well, with the Eaglecrest Grill offering the famous breakfast burrito, a hearty panini for lunch, or a good old cup of hot soup.

Verdict

After a long day at Eaglecrest Ski Resort, you can lean back and put your legs up in one of the many excellent mountain cabins. And the day will be super long because, man, is there a lot to ski and do and taste! If you’re looking for an authentic winter holiday at one of the very best ski resorts in Alaska, Eaglecrest welcomes you with open wings.

You can check out more on our USA Ski Resorts page.

Article by:
Abby Ward
Senior Content Writer at Bluehouse
Last Updated August 2020