Skiers wear masks while waiting in a lift line at Alyeska Resort on opening day Friday. The resort has a number of new policies designed to limit the spread of COVID-19, including increased physical distancing and mandatory mask policies. (Loren Holmes / ADN)
Alyeska Resort in Girdwood starts counting how much snow falls at the top of the mountain each year on Oct. 1. By opening day this year, the tally was 260 inches — more than 8 feet more than opening day last year.
Add to that the 22 million gallons of water turned into snow by an army of snow-making machines, and the resort has a lot to offer early season skiers and snowboarders.
About 1,000 season-pass holders got in on the action on Friday, according to resort director of marketing Ben Napolitano. The resort opened to the general public Saturday.
All of the terrain is not yet open, but much of the challenging North Face is, to the delight of many skiers and snowboarders who took advantage of the uncrowded mountain Friday.
The resort, like many other businesses in the Municipality of Anchorage, has had to deal with restrictions put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19. Lift lines are more spread out, and the quad lifts, which normally seat four people, are limited to two unless a family of three or four is skiing together.
Masks are mandatory when waiting in lift lines, riding the chairlift or tram and in all other public places. The new rules allow skiers and snowboarders to take off their masks when skiing as long as they keep their distance from people they didn’t come with. Napolitano says that for the most part, he’s seen most people abide by the new rules.
There’s another change for anyone who wants to rent gear — online reservations are required in advance, by 6 p.m. the night before you come. The same policy applies to ski lessons.
The resort has a webpage listing all the new policies for the 2020-21 season, as well as a daily report on mountain conditions.