Big mountain snow sports combine with an off-the-beaten path-style experience at this ski area in Alaska’s capital city. Eaglecrest is one of the few community-owned ski areas in the US—and the only one that can boast of being on an island, which gives it the unique perk of having ski slopes with ocean views. Whether you are a beginner looking to play in the snow, or a longtime skier or boarder looking for groomed slopes, wide open bowls, and glade tree skiing, Eaglecrest makes a great all-ages winter playground.
Launched as a Labor of Love
The ski area on Douglas Island opened in 1975 with just one lift, launched by a few committed locals who wanted skiing in Juneau. Today, still owned and operated by the City & Borough of Juneau, the Eaglecrest ski area has 36 runs, four lifts and 1,620 vertical feet of skiing and snowboarding. If you’re into Nordic, there are six kilometers of easy lower trails, and four kilometers of intermediate and advance upper trails, accessible by a ¾-mile hike up the mountain.
Eaglecrest’s winter season runs from the first weekend in December to the second weekend in April (most weeks, Eaglecrest is open five days a week, closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays). The mountain has enough trails for you to spend a few days— it’s just a short drive from the hotels in downtown Juneau. And, you can rent if you don’t want to bring your own alpine skis, snowboards, Nordic skis, or boots. On-site, you’ll also find day lockers, a professionally staffed Snowsports School, a retail shop, and the Eaglecrest Grill.
Terrain for Every Skill Level
Eaglecrest is easy to reach: It’s just a 1.5-hour flight from Anchorage, and 25 minutes from the Juneau airport. Any level of skier or snowboarder will find a variety of terrain here, including bowls, glades, and pitches—and the longest run is about two miles long. Twenty percent of the runs are for novices, while 40 percent are intermediate and 40 percent are for experts.
During the week, you’ll see a lot of locals here: there are midweek school programs for Juneau schools, and local 5th graders get a special passport, so they can ski or snowboard on the mountain for free during their 5th grade year.
Hike and Pick Blueberries in Summer
While winter is the prime season here, summer brings its own fun: hike the trails, ride the downhill mountain bike trail, or pick blueberries. Or, glide through the scenery on the nearby Alaska Zipline Adventures. The most popular trail, the aptly named Summer Trail, runs from the base of the mountain all the way to the summit—with water views on both sides.