Skeetawk is derived from the Dena’ina word Shk’ituk’t, which means “where we slide down”—a perfect description for this community ski area set in the Talkeetna mountains, 90 minutes north of Anchorage and 25 minutes from downtown Palmer. Hatcher Pass has always been a place backcountry skiers flocked to, but Skeetawk makes the great terrain available to even more snowsports lovers.
Open since 2020, Skeetawk is a unique place—a grassroots operation run by a nonprofit focused on benefiting the community. And that focus shows, with an authentic, intimate atmosphere that attracts 300–400 people on a typical day.
Open Friday to Sunday from late November to late April, the mountain features one chair lift (with more in the works) that takes skiers and boarders up 300 vertical feet. There they can choose from 30 skiable acres along 12 trails of varying skill levels, including 4 black (expert), 7 blue (intermediate), and 1 green (beginner). There’s also a terrain park for aspiring aerialists to hone their skills. Plus, backcountry skiers can use the parking area (donation requested) and access backcountry trails, some of which are maintained. As with any backcountry experience, be sure to take the necessary precautions.
Fuel up with grab-and-go snacks, like burritos and hot dogs, and relax in the warming yurt or at one of the many outdoor tables (which are especially enjoyable in the spring sun). Rental equipment is available, as are by-the-hour lessons for all ability levels. For families with multiple children or a group of friends, the first lesson is full price; each additional child is half price.
Then make plans to come back in the warmer weather! By summer of 2023, Skeetawk plans to have mountain biking and hiking trails. Festival lovers should check out September’s Blueberry Ball, featuring live music and food trucks, and return in the spring for Hatcherpalooza! Sometimes, during these special events they’ll even open the tram for a ride up and hike down!