Alaska’s only ski resort, Alyeska, may not be the biggest ski area on our list, or the most challenging, but the backcountry access to the Chugach range, via helicopter or tracked cat is world famous. If you’ve ever watched a ski movie and the athletes are charging down some Alaskan face that seems impossibly deep in powder despite being incredibly steep, chances are it was filmed in the Chugach range. Since helicopters are somewhat weather dependent, and Alaskan weather is not the most dependable, having Alyeska resort (and the cat skiing option) for down days means an Alaskan adventure won’t get spoiled if the weather doesn’t play nice.
The resort itself has over 40 double black diamond runs, despite only having 5 lifts, so it’s perfect terrain to warm yourself up for big days out in the wilderness. Unlike most Alaskan ‘frontier’ accommodation, Alyeska has several rather luxurious hotels with big fireplaces, spa facilities and excellent restaurants.
Getting there is relatively easy, most major US airports have flights to Anchorage, which is less than an hour’s drive away.