Let ‘er rip

by • November 14, 2016 • Feature Photos, Highlights, White PagesComments (0)635

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There is nothing like skiing fresh powder. Alyeska’s Ben Napolitano says Headwall is “hands down the best powder skiing on the mountain.” Courtesy Ralph Kristopher.

These favorite runs serve your every skiing need

It’s been said that if you can ski well at Alyeska then you can ski well anywhere. And it’s true. The skiers and riders who grow up with Alyeska as their home mountain all have one thing in common: They rip! Maybe it’s the challenging terrain and outer hike-to areas or maybe it’s the challenging weather with flat light breaking into bluebird and then back to storming that makes these skiers and riders tougher. Whatever it is, skiers and riders in Alaska are a different breed and know how to charge. And here is a list of the trails they like to charge on. With a tentative opening date of Nov. 24, skiers and riders should start getting ready to shred – and hard!

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Skiing with friends is fun, and the best Party Ski Runs can be found on the North Face. Choose from Chuck’s Gate or the powder fields of Tram Pocket and Banjo. Photo by Ralph Kristopher.

Best Powder Run
Alyeska’s Headwall is hands down the best powder skiing on the mountain. The higher elevation of the Headwall ensures that the snow is always cold and light. The consistent 45- to 50-degree pitch makes the turns fast and sluff-management crucial. Popular shots like Slo Boy, Fastboy and Alyeska Chute get skiers and riders in steep POW while hiking routes up the Saddle or Center Ridge will ensure skiers’ legs are warmed up, putting them in position to drop. Beacons are required and backpacks are strongly suggested in this hike-to area. All terrain is considered Double Black Diamond, and ski patrol will check for beacons before hiking is allowed.

Best Storm-Day Run
Skiing while it’s dumping snow can be tricky, and it dumps at Alyeska seemingly more often than not. Storm days make for difficult visibility and complicated lighting, so it’s important to stick to runs that have certain features that make seeing easier. But with “free refills” all day, you want it to be steep and playful. For this, Lolo’s offers some of the best terrain for storm-skiing. This zone develops playful pillow lines while smaller cliff bands that make for fun and sendable drops for intermediate and experts alike.

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A skier descends fresh powder at Alyeska last winter. This month, White Pages columnist Ben Napolitano shares his favorite runs at Alaska’s favorite downhill ski venue. Photo by Ralph Kristopher.

Best Party Ski Run
Skiing is fun, and skiing with friends is more fun. Group skiing, also known as party skiing, can be just that – a party! Like-minded and like-ability skiers and riders posse up and shred, one upmanship being the name of the game, and impromptu jib sessions a common sight. To do this, they need space and North Face has plenty. But with a sizable group, where’s the best place to drop? Chuck’s Gate or the Sundeck Gate will treat a small group of friends well, especially if they drop fall-line into the powder fields of Tram Pocket and Banjo. Both offer steep pitches and opportunities to get creative while ripping these runs to the base of the tram and lap it all day. Don’t want to ski to the base? Cut out Spoonline and head up Glacier Bowl Express to stay high up all day. Either way, North Face skiing with a group of friends will always be a good decision.

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