Looking out the giant windows of the Sitzmark towards the mountain, I catch a glimpse of a biker cruising down Roll Over Trail then disappear into the woods, only to emerge moments later cranking through a few banked turns and a jump to complete another epic run. Those few hundred feet of banked turns gets a small crowd talking in the Sitz. Three native Alaskans who work in the fishing industry sit to my left and debate the progression on bicycle riding from “when they were kids” as each tries to convince the other that “they could do that”. The inside of Sitzmark is filled with antique ski gear and taxidermies, the walls are plastered with concert promotional posters and photos from perfect ski days of the past and a shout out area for the ski patrol. Looking out side I’m a little surprised to see green instead of white as this is the first summer of Sitzmark operations. What’s the occasion? It’s because of Downhill Mountain biking of course! Alyeska is working on making the downhill mountain biking scene a reality in Girdwood given the terrain, accessibility and demand for the activity from the public, the Sitzmark is set up as an Après bike stop for hungry bikers as they pull off from the hill for a quick bite to eat before starting another lap or to grab a beer at the end of the day and relax.
The back deck has a prefect layout of spacious tables, beautiful floral arrangements and a fire pit to gather around when the temperature dips. The back deck sits almost directly over the Bear Cub Quad and I almost need to look straight up to see the sky as the mountain is so tall and so steep. The deck fits well into the laid back atmosphere of this place. As I sit back to enjoy the view you can almost feel the residual energy in the dance floor from the concert the night before. I can tell people gathered in this very spot as they stepped out for a quick smoke only to get surrounded by friends, turning the quick smoke break into a 45 minute ordeal of bullshitting and talking up there bike skills.
My lunch arrives, it’s the Tanaka Sandwich, which came highly recommended from my buddy Ribich who tends bar. I was going to go for the beer battered halibut but Ribich is a good sales person what can I say. The bar I am sitting under has not only a great view of the outside world but also prime viewing of the newly installed flat screen TV’s, which is great because the USA is playing Brazil in the Women’s World Cup and I can not miss this game. The beers on tap feature the brews of Alaskan, Glacier and Moose’s Tooth. There is also a mystery tap covered in a brown paper bag (which I tried, it’s a pale) and 4 different mystery shots ranging from $1.00 to $4.00 a shot. As I eat and drink Ribich tells me about all kinds of people he has seen come into this bar. At one point the night before he had four people sitting in front of him at the bar, one from Virginia, one from London, one from Rome and the last guy was from Korea. None of the people have meet before but all ended up at this one point in time and space, crazy if you think about it.
The Sitzmark is going to be open for the rest of the summer through mid October every Friday, Saturday and Sunday until mountain biking concludes. Whether you want to watch a football game, catch a concert or enjoy some bike après, Sitzmark is a remarkable spot to enjoy the afternoons in Girdwood.