Earlier this season I approached Alyeska Resort about teaming up with my web site, Geargals.com, for some photoshoots and gear testing gigs. Sandy, the Resort’s Public Relations director, suggested that I do some blogging for Alyeska instead, and dangled a shiny season pass in front of me to help my decision along. I had been thinking of doing more resort skiing this year (I’ve been strictly backcountry for about six years now) and you know what they say in The Secret, “that which you think becomes reality” (right? I didn’t actually read that book). So here I am, proud owner of the first season pass I’ve ever had in my life and contributing writer here on the Alyeska Resort blog.
And what a great decision it was! I started the resort season on Christmas Day, with 8” of powder on the mountain top to bottom, and a really light and mellow crowd out for a great day of skiing. My friend Cody and I spent the day sampling all the mountain had to offer, from the powdery Christmas Chute to the powdery High T to the powdery Northwest Passage…well pretty much everything was powdery. Conditions were fantastic. I came back the next day, and the next, and the next, and suddenly I was wearing five-day-old base layers and consciously deciding not to shower because, after all, I’d just be back skiing the next day so what did it matter? Conditions have stayed spectacular so I’ve been skiing at least four days a week since, only slowing down this week because of the highway closure yesterday which, though a bummer, gave me time to catch up on my promised blog post.
I get it now. I get how you end up with your gear strewn everywhere, no time for work or socializing, and no clean socks not even halfway through the season. I understand why people are obsessively checking snow reports and weather and why they keep bugging Patrol about when New Year’s Chute is going to open (seriously, when? Just kidding…), I don’t even bat an eye when someone with base layers so dirty they’re practically crunchy gets on the chair next to me (those are my people now), and I’m more likely just to duct tape something than take the time to take it to the shop for fixing. It’s a lot easier to get out of bed in the morning when I know my morning will be filled with skiing rather than answering email inquiries.
Before this season, I haven’t skied much at Alyeska in years (er… close to twenty years… shameful), having turned my attentions to the backcountry. I certainly did pick a good year to come back to the resort—it’s been great to ski nice powder all day without constantly checking snow conditions and being worried about whether my partner is paying attention and whether we’ve chosen the right aspect and all that. I can solo ski at the resort without too much worry (Snow Safety does a great job, but I still wear my transceiver every day; why not?) and getting in a dozen or more runs instead of just two or three is pretty nice I must say. To most people, this is obvious, but to me it’s a novelty. Skiing across the High Traverse and thinking about how I would never get to do something like that in the backcountry has yet to get old for me.
So I’m very happy to be back at the Resort where I spent so many of my formative years. It’s changed a lot, but all for the better, if you ask me, and I think it’ll be a great season. I’m excited to share it with you here on the Alyeska Resort blog.
Jill Missal is the founder, editor, and all around Head Geargal at Geargals.com, a web site for the female outdoor enthusiast who wants to get the most out of her gear, and for the beginner who needs some help knowing where to start. Jill was raised in Alaska and has spent most of her life in the backcountry skiing, climbing, and trekking. When not testing gear for Geargals, Jill works as a consultant in the disaster planning and emergency management field, which takes her to amazing places in the world to do exciting projects. It might be hard to get her back in the office now that she’s got her season pass in hand during one of Southcentral Alaska’s snowiest winters in recent memory.