The beginning part of the Alaskan winter is long. Towards the middle to end of October folks start to notice the days getting shorter and colder with that trend stretching into November. The temps drop and the rain storms that frequent southcentral AK start to deliver snow on the higher elevations, the snow line drops as winter enthusiasts anticipate the upcoming season. By December the sun is “rising” at about 11 a.m. Given the vertical reach of the Chugach Mountains the sun barely sheds light on the Turnagain Arm region during this time of year, leaving the area covered in what seems like an eternal shade. By 3 p.m. it’s dark. Then mid February rolls around. The sun rises at 8:45 a.m. with a spectacular morning alpenglow of pink and orange cast onto the mountains. The temperatures are still low but the sun reaches high in the sky by mid day and just being in the sunshine makes the dark days of November, December and January seem a distant memory. Being on your skis or snowboard makes the sunshine that much better.
The sunshine is an energizer and February brings the first real signs of it. By this time of year the sun is high enough in the sky that by mid morning beams of light over crest over the high peaks, lighting up south and west facing slopes. Fortunately for us here at Alyeska, most of the inbound ski terrain is south and/or west facing making for great turns in the sun. On days when the high pressure is settled over the area around Alyeska it is advisable to change those low light yellow and sensor blue lenses in your goggles to a higher pink, black or brown iridium color to cut down on glare and relax your eyes while skiing. The sun can be a shocker when you haven’t been dealing with it for a few months and the added reflection of the snow can really do some damage if you’re not prepared for it.
Skiers and riders can look forward to the next few months of getting out on the mountain and enjoying the longer days. The weather in Alaska is always unpredictable and in no way are we close to spring time conditions. The sun returning to Alaska means just that, sunshine. There is no real warmth to it just yet but it’s very nice to be wearing tinted goggles and sunglasses again! If you’re looking for a great winter activity, get out to Alyeska and burn a few laps in and enjoy the sunshine. Stay up to date with snow conditions and lift status at www.AlyeskaResort.com for updates on live music and events visit www.thesitzmark.com