Because no one thinks to go to Alaska in winter—at least in the lower 48—you won’t find thronged lift lines, but you will find the kind of snow Colorado can only dream of. Some 650-plus inches falls annually at Alyeska Resort (lift tickets $60; alyeskaresort.com), located 40 miles south of Anchorage in the Chugach Mountains, home to 1,400 acres of glades, bowls, and the longest continuous double-black run in North America. OK, so the days are short, but the ski hours aren’t; runs stay open Thursdays through Saturdays for night skiing. Multisport types will find plenty of diversions off the slopes, including new opportunities to learn to mush from the Seavey family, three generations of veterans of the Iditarod dogsled race, bundled with snowshoeing by Salmon Berry Tours ($189, salmonberrytours.com). The Ascending Path will take you ice climbing on frozen floes ($220; theascendingpath.com). And the Girdwood Nordic Ski Club will unveil four kilometers of new Nordic trails outside the Hotel Alyeska this winter (skigirdwood.org). Alaska Airlines runs direct flights between Anchorage and O’Hare; right now, new applicants for the carrier’s Visa Signature Card get 25,000 bonus miles and a $99 roundtrip companion fare.
Portage Lake in Anchorage
WHERE TO STAY
LUXE Staffers at the ski resort’s Alaskan-art-filled Hotel Alyeska will wake you, by request, when the northern lights are visible. From $169. 800-880-3880, alyeskaresort.com
BUDGET From the 14-room Copper Whale Inn, guests can walk to area restaurants and brewpubs. From $120 ($95 if you don’t mind sharing a bathroom), including breakfast. 866-258-7999, copperwhale.com
GOOD FOR GROUPS Snow-flocked pines surround the cozy three-bedroom Timberline Drive Vacation Rentals, less than a mile from Alyeska’s slopes. From $400, including breakfast. 907-301-4013, timberlinedrivebnb.com
Photography: (top) Ken Graham Photography; (bottom) Ann CecilEdit Module