Alyeska Resort is a ski resort in Girdwood, Alaska, approximately 27 miles (44 km) from the city of Anchorage. Mount Alyeska is part of the Chugach mountain range and the Alyeska Resort is the largest ski area in the state.
The Alyeska Ski Corporation was founded in 1954, and the first chairlift and day lodge were opened in 1959. The Roundhouse ski lodge and ski patrol station at the top of the mountain began construction in 1960. Still standing, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003, and now houses a museum to local ski history.
Currently, Alyeska has six (6) chairlifts, one (1) high-speed tram, and two Magic Carpets. Of the 6 chairlifts, one is co-owned by Alyeska and the Tanaka Foundation (Chair 5). Chairs 6 and 4 are high-speed detachable quads, while Chairs 7 and 3 are normal quads. Chair 4 was updated to a high speed quad in 2012. Chair 1 is the oldest chair lift on the mountain, and leads up to the Roundhouse and Upper Tram Terminal. It also houses a "midway" loading station in the center of the lift.
Chair 4 ends halfway up the mountain. Chair 1 and the tram end three-quarters of the way up the mountain. The interconnected buildings contain the Roundhouse (patrol quarters), and a much newer facility housing the upper tram terminal, a quick-service cafeteria, and the Seven Glaciers 4-star restaurant and bar. At the base of the tram is the modern 300-room Hotel Alyeska.
Chair 6 goes to the highest lift served point on the mountain at 2,750 feet (840 m). Several areas above Chair 6 are occasionally opened, but require hiking to access. Plans to build a new chair lift higher up the mountain have been announced.
Mount Alyeska is a fairly challenging mountain, and has a much higher percentage of advanced and expert runs, as compared to most other mountains in North America. It has a small section for the novice, but the rest of the mountain is almost entirely for the intermediate and the advanced skiers.
Alyeska hosted World Cup giant slalom ski races in 1973 for both men and women. Alyeska first hosted the U.S. Alpine Championships in 1963; the championships returned in 1981, 2004, 2007, and 2009.
Olympic gold medalist Tommy Moe (b. 1970) sharpened his racing skills at Alyeska as a teenager in the 1980s.
Alyeska was bought in December 2006 by John Byrne III, who says he plans to make many new improvements to the resort, concentrating on people who come to ski for the day. Some of the improvements were, installing rfid gates at all of the lifts, taking the bubbles off of chair 6, because they were vandalized, repainting the tram, and building the only superpipe in Alaska.