Girdwood Winter Activities
Located just 45 minutes from Anchorage, Girdwood makes a perfect winter getaway for visitors and locals alike. From around mid-November through March, the towering trees and mountains of this temperate rainforest are covered in snow. Whether you want to hit the slopes or cozy up with a cup of cocoa, this is the spot. We recommend at least two nights, but if you love to ski, you could easily stay a week.
Girdwood is home to Mt. Alyeska, Alaska’s premier ski mountain, and at its base lies the luxurious Hotel Alyeska. Skiers flock here all winter long to hit the slopes while enjoying views of the surrounding mountains and Turnagain Arm. And the skiing is phenomenal, with 1,610 skiable acres, 76 named runs and trails, and an average annual snowfall of 650 inches at the top (and 208 inches at the base). Beginners will enjoy the Fun Field and Magic Carpet ski lift, while advanced skiers will appreciate the expert North Face—the longest continuous double black diamond run in North America. Rent your skis at the resort or from local outfitter Powder Hound.
Apres-Ski & Dining
The Bore Tide Deli, set at the top of Mt. Alyeska, is a great spot to grab a bite and a beer. Jack Sprat, located in downtown Girdwood, is a local favorite. Cozy up inside, or take advantage of the outdoor seating area, where the campfire is often lit. For fine dining, check out Seven Glaciers, the AAA Four Diamond restaurant perched atop the mountain. There are seasonal closures, so be sure it’s open during your stay.
Cross-Country Ski & Multi-Use Trails
If you’re not interested in a vertical pursuit, Girdwood has equally incredible cross-country skiing and multi-use trails, thanks to the Girdwood Nordic Ski Club. Moose Meadows is a groomed, multi-use trail that’s mostly flat; it makes for great snowshoeing and Nordic skiing. The trails are wide and have both skate and classic tracks—and you’ll see fat bikers out here, too. If you’re looking for an exclusive ski trail, head to the 5K Nordic Loop. Ski rentals are available at the resort, and fat bikes can be rented from Powder Hound.
Girdwood is an incredible launching point for snowmobile tours. You might explore mountain trails, or head to the bright blue face of a glacier! Contact Glacier City Snowmobile Tours or Alaska Wild Guides.
Just 15 minutes from Girdwood is the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, which is home to moose, wood bison, reindeer, wolves, deer, musk ox, foxes, and more. The sanctuary takes in injured and orphaned animals year-round and maintains more than 200 acres of spacious habitats. Out here, animals feel at home and display their natural “wild” behavior. In winter, you can drive the 1.5-mile loop to see the animals. And it’s even better as your snowy playground! Borrow a kick-sled from the center, or bring your cross-country skis or fat bike.
There’s never a bad time of year to see Alaska from above. Alpine Air Helicopter Tours offers a 30-minute sightseeing tour, as well as a 1-hour tour that includes a glacier landing!
Most lodging in Girdwood is available year-round. Unlike other destinations in Alaska, however, demand is just as high in winter as in summer. For the ultimate ski resort experience, stay at the Hotel Alyeska (and be sure to include a trip to their Nordic Spa, opening 2022!). Or book a room at the eclectic Ski Inn or a charming local B&B.
Explore Alaska’s backcountry astride a speedy and fun snowmachine. Alaska Wild Guides will take you out for one thrilling day, or for several days of exhilarating adventure. Find hidden ice caves and remote glaciers while navigating along frozen rivers and through deep powder.
Hop aboard an eco-friendly snowmobile in Girdwood and ride on groomed trails beneath massive, 7,000-foot glaciated peaks or visit the dazzling blue ice of Spencer Glacier. Or, head north of Anchorage for a trail ride through mid-alpine black spruce forests. No experience necessary, all gear provided, and warm beverages and snacks included.
Alyeska Resort is famous for its downhill skiing and snowboarding for a reason — it’s truly world-class, featuring tons of snow, steep mountains, and views that stretch on forever. But there are a ton of other winter activities that make Alyeska an epicenter for winter adventure. Go cross-country skiing or snowshoeing on one of the area trails; or head off into the backcountry with a guide for some heli- or cat-skiing; try a snowmobile excursion; ...more
There are few things more spectacular than lifting off in a helicopter and soaring over Alaska’s glacier-filled terrain or out across its shimmering waters. Suitable for all ages. Get a taste for helicopter flightseeing on a 30-minute trip into the 20-Mile river valley and the heart of glacier country.
See Alaska’s unique and authentic side by hiring a guide for a day and creating a custom, private adventure for yourself and up to 7 others. Tours depart from Anchorage or Girdwood. Excursions include Matanuska glacier hikes, ATV tours, gold panning, northern lights viewing, snowmobiling, and more.
This is a groomed, multi-use trail that is mostly flat and makes great snow-shoeing and Nordic skiing. The trails are wide and have both skate and classic tracks. Access is from the end of Arlberg Rd where there is parking or the parking lot near Aspen Mountain Rd. It’s also possible to link these trails together with the new 5k Nordic ski trails just north of the Hotel Alyeska.
The Iditarod National Historic Trail is Alaska’s sole National Historic Trail. This network of 2,300-mile winter trails evolved to connect Alaskan Native villages, established the dog-team mail and supply route during Alaska’s Gold Rush, and now serves as a vital recreation and travel link.
The Alyeska Multi-Use Pathway is a paved, lighted multi-use trail that extends from the Seward Hwy to the Hotel Alyeska. The path is popular with walkers and runners, and with a fresh batch of snow it becomes a great classic ski trail.