Photo Credit: Alaska Wild Guides

Girdwood Winter Activities

Outdoor enthusiasts flock to Girdwood all winter long to hit the slopes

Outdoor enthusiasts flock to Girdwood all winter long to hit the slopes

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.

Downhill Skiing

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.

Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

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.

Snowmobile Tours

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.

Winter Wildlife

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.

Flightseeing

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!

Lodging

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.

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Winter Activities

$340+ 5-6 hours (day trip) or 4-10 days (multi-day)

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.

Season: Year Round $299+ 30 - 90 min

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.

Season: Dec 18 - Mid April $75+ Half or Full Day

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

Season: Mid-November to mid-April $275+ 3.5+ hrs

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. 

Season: Year Round $115+ 3+ hrs

Short on time and want to see anoth­er side of Anchor­age and the gor­geous sur­round­ing area? Take a small-group tour with Escap­ing Anchor­age, whose own­er, Brit­tney, cre­ates per­son­al­ized adven­tures fea­tur­ing beau­ti­ful scenery and real insights.

Season: Year Round $825 | Up to 8 people 8 hrs

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.

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 6 miles

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.

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 4 miles

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.

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. 

Access the trails from the end of Alberg Loop. The trails are mod­er­ate to dif­fi­cult for ski­ing and should be skied coun­ter­clock­wise. These are mul­ti-use trails dur­ing the sum­mer and then tran­si­tion to being Nordic only in the win­ter months.

Con­nect­ed to the mul­ti-use trails and Snow­cat Trail, this recent­ly opened loop is a great way to extend your nordic ski­ing experience.

Con­nect­ed to Snow­cat Trail and the Nordic Loop, this win­ter trail pass­es through woods and snowy fields, even­tu­al­ly end­ing at Win­ner Creek Gorge. 

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