Forget that dusting of snow on Anchorage's Hillside.
Eielson Visitor Center in Denali National Park was buried under two feet of snow Tuesday, according to Kris Fister, a public affairs officer at the park.
The dump came after 1,383 passes were issued to drivers to travel the 92-mile Denali Park Road to Wonder Lake from Friday through Monday.
"This is our single-largest special event in the park, and it's very popular ... with Alaskans," Fister said. "It gives us a chance to get to know our users and have an opportunity to reach the folks in the state."
Snow held off for the Denali visitors, but the sterling fall weather of earlier in the week also yielded to clouds, fog and muddy road conditions for the drivers.
"By all accounts, visitors had a great time," Fister said while noting the weekend saw the usual vehicle breakdowns, wildlife-induced traffic jams and overzealous photographers getting too close to animals. One dog off its leash tried herding Dall sheep, she noted.
Despite the snow at Eielson, which is at an elevation of 3,733 feet, Denali Park Road remains open to private vehicles to the Teklanika River Rest Area at Mile 30. Visitors are advised to call ahead for weather and road information, as conditions can change rapidly at this time of the year.
On Wednesday, the park's Murie Science and Learning Center began functioning as the winter visitor center. The center is open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily for information and backcountry permits. A vault toilet and water are available at the center, and food, gas and lodging are available year-round in Healy and Cantwell.
Denali National Park and Preserve collects an entrance fee $10 per person or $20 per vehicle year-round. It's good for seven days.
The majority of the money collected remains in the park to be used for projects to improve visitor services and facilities.