A biz trip landed me in interior Alaska for a week...with a Sunday to burn and some previous research I did when I found out I may be heading to AK...I made sure to pack my ski boots. Interior AK is not known for the usual huge mountain ranges you may think of when you hear Alaska...though they can be seen in the distance in many directions, my destination of Ski Land would be not to ski the big lines AK is known for...but instead...the most northern lift service on the continent...
Ski Land is about 30 mins outside of Fairbanks...you drive to the top and park, then ski down to a single lift that serves the whole mtn. There’s a couple small lodges at the top. Came in on a red eye flight so I could get a ski day in before the work week, so I was the first guy in the parking lot. I only brought my boots with me, so I rented some skis and poles. Was weird to ski on a basic rental setup when I’m so used to my gear!
It’s a small privately owned old skool place, very much seemed like the Platekill of Alaska
Diesel powered lift runs on this engine all day
Looking back on the summit/lodges
The place was pretty much all locals, it’s a small community up there and everyone seemed to know everyone. Up until around lunch time there was hardly anyone there. Most of the place had just been groomed. Hadn’t snowed in a while, this late in the season it’s more bluebird days. Wasn’t exactly warm though, in the 20s but it warmed up to around 32. Was anticipating corn skiing but it was still very winter like.
150 miles off to the north is the arctic circle on the other side of the White Range
Two black bump runs lookers right...amongst widely spaced black spruce which is the way the majority of the place is.
Lookers left of chair
Ended up joining a group of local guys who saw I was skiing alone, they invited me to follow them around which was really cool. They were regulars and they showed me some of their beer break spots in the woods where they had built some benches. Apparently a few different ones are scattered throughout the mtn.
These dudes said the place is super fun on a pow day...no rules on skiing off trail and snow stays good indefinitely since temps in winter can get down to -20/-30/-40 on a regular basis.
Here’s a couple shots from about halfway down looking back at the lift and summit
There’s also a backside apparently that runs you down to a service road leading back to the lift, which the local crew was gonna show me, but the woods were a little crusty from a recent thaw cycle...but if I have to head up there again I’ll be taking my AT rig.
An interesting thing that happened was mid morning the guys running the lift were reporting that a moose was running around charging ppl (its the aggressive time of year for them)! Didn’t see it myself but apparently the Alaskan species gets up to 1600lbs!!!
Overall a really cool experience and the lack of sleep after 12 hrs of flying was worth adding another US state to my places I’ve skied list.