Night Skiing Is Where It’s At

Night skiing at Alyeska is one of my favorite childhood memories. There was just something about skiing under the lights with my friends that bore with it no pressure to get more turns, no competition with other skiers for first tracks, no stress of choosing just the right run or getting separated from my group. Night skiing was always easy and light and fun.

This year I’ve been constantly badgering friends to go night skiing with me. Night skiing was fun when I was a kid, but now that I’m an adult and can take in the apres scene while enjoying a great evening of skiing on the mountain; well, now it’s even better.

And with snow like this—insanely better! My friend Morgan and I skied for a few hours last night in steadily falling snow, every run just as soft and creamy as the last. The rain at the bottom was a mere inconvenience because it was just dumping on top. I don’t know why more people don’t night ski; the tram was barely a quarter full at the height of the crowd.

Towards the end of the evening I finally noticed that portions of the lower south face were open for night skiing. You mountain-savvy readers might be laughing at me right now, but I had no idea it was OK to ski there during night skiing. I watched a ski patroller head down and was hesitant to follow—there were no other tracks on the run, why wasn’t anyone else skiing that stash? Was I allowed? Would I get in trouble? As a kid, I was petrified of getting in trouble with the ski patrol, and I think there’s a little bit of the 9-year-old left in there because I was nervous about doing something wrong. But I’m a grown woman now, and that was knee-deep powder waiting to be skied. It turned out it wasn’t wrong, and I was free to partake. Knee deep powder! Night skiing! The perfect evening.

Morgan, who is just learning to ski this year, gave me her blessing to ditch her for a few powder laps (powder laps at night! Awesome) before we joined back up for one last run. When we left the tram and skied down the cat track, we commented on how dark it was and how it would be safer to have some lights in that area—just before we were stopped by patrol as they corralled all the skiers to wait for the lights to come back on. Oh—no wonder it was dark! It was nice and warm out, though, and we could see that the lights were getting brighter by the moment so it was sure to be a short wait, but we still heard grumbling from the more anxious skiers in the group. We just laughed at them.

Lighten up, people! It’s night skiing. You’re having fun sliding on snow. No one turned the lights off just to tick you off. I would think that standing in front of forty excited skiers and telling them they can’t ski just yet is the last thing a ski patroller would want to do, so give them a break. As is usually the case, the complainers were decidedly in the minority, and it was a cheerful group that launched down the mountain once we were given the go-ahead after a delay of no more than three minutes. Morgan and I enjoyed one last run on the race trail and headed down for good to grab a beer and a bite to eat before heading back to “real life,” aka Anchorage. But already we’re talking about how great night skiing is going to be next weekend.

So the next time you’re not sure what you want to do on a weekend night, or you just find yourself sick of the same old, same old, be sure to try catching a few hours of night skiing. This is the year to do it since the snow just won’t stop!

Jill Missal, head of GeargalJill 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.com, 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. She’s still a little bit afraid of the ski patrol.

4 Comments

  1. Michelle says:

    Night skiing runs Thurs-Sat nights through March 23rd this year. Lift 1 (Lift 4 on Thurs) closing at 8:30, Tram at 8:40 and BCQ at 9.

  2. Dave says:

    What a hoot! I think a gluwhein station would enhance the experience too. We (very rarely) go for night time swims or surfs but mr shark starts to prey on the sub concious.

    Good on you !

  3. Morgan says:

    Powder + warm + no crowds= Awesome!!! What a wonderful night. My only regret is that I haven’t night skied more this year. To have the whole day to climb/run/bike/etc. and STILL get several hours of fun, stress-free skiing in- so perfect. Top it off with beer and steak and it doesn’t get much better than that.

    “They should really put a light here.”

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