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Outdoors/Adventure

Alyeska Resort opens for the season with a 100-inch base and new pandemic guidelines

  • Author: Loren Holmes
  • Updated: December 20, 2020
  • Published December 19, 2020

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.

People ski and snowboard at Alyeska Resort on opening day, Friday, Dec. 18, 2020 in Girdwood. 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)

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.

Skiers do tricks on a jump Friday on opening day at Alyeska Resort. (Loren Holmes / ADN)
Skiers stay spaced apart at Alyeska Resort on opening day Friday in Girdwood. The resort has a number of new policies designed to limit the spread of COVID-19. (Loren Holmes / ADN)

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.

Skiers wait in lift lines at Alyeska Resort on opening day Friday. Tram capacity has been reduced from 60 to 15 and the quad chairlifts carry two people unless a family of 3 or 4 is skiing together. (Loren Holmes / ADN)
Alyeska opened Friday with a 100-inch base at the top of the mountain. (Loren Holmes / ADN)
A sign reminds skiers and snowboarders to maintain physical distance in a lift line. (Loren Holmes / ADN)

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.

A snowboarder takes advantage of ample snow at Alyeska Resort on opening day Friday. (Loren Holmes / ADN)
Alyeska Resort on opening day Friday in snowy Girdwood. (Loren Holmes / ADN)
A skier at Alyeska wears a mask. (Loren Holmes / ADN)
A skier goes past trees heavy with snow on opening day at Alyeska. (Loren Holmes / ADN)
Face masks are as common as goggles in lift lines at Alyeska. (Loren Holmes / ADN)
A snowboarder wears a mask while riding at Alyeska Resort on opening day. (Loren Holmes / ADN)
Skiers wear masks on the slopes at Alyeska Resort on opening day. (Loren Holmes / ADN)
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