The news coming out of the Alyeska Resort in Girdwood on April 1 might have sounded like an April Fool's Day joke, but it wasn't. Maybe it was just the word choice of marketing director Eric Fullerton, who emailed Anchorage media to say they should c'mon down "to help share the good news about winter arriving at our resort."
Winter in April?
All of this comes, of course, on the heels of the winter without winter in Alaska's largest city. The National Weather Service on Wednesday reported Anchorage was about 50 inches behind the norm for snow in March and on record to produce the least-snowiest winter in the city's history, grim news for local fans of winter sports.
Things have been equally grim at Alyeska, about 35 miles southeast of the city. The state's biggest ski area, Alyeska has struggled along on manmade snow most of the winter, and though ski conditions have sometimes been good, they have never quite been up to the standard for which the mountain became famous.
All of that changed this week, said Fullerton, who sent a bunch of photos along with email to prove the point. A snowstorm that swept through the Chugach Mountains at the end of March buried Alyeska in about 3 feet of new snow, and it was snowing again on Wednesday. The forecast calls for more on Thursday, but with daytime highs hitting the mid-40s.
The arrival of winter on April 1 might indeed be an April Fool's Day joke elsewhere. But hey, this is Alaska, where the best skiing of the year usually comes in March and April when the days are getting long and warm. Plus, starting next Friday is the resort's three-day Spring Carnival, which includes the popular Slush Cup at 4 p.m. Saturday, April 11.