09 Sep, 2007

So I was trying to figure out my big snowboard trip this year and it came down to the top 2 which were Banff, Alberta or Anchorage, Alaska. Since I’d already spent time in Alaska I figured that it’d be better to go somewhere new…so Banff won my big trip this year.

I still love Alaska and the riding there is amazing, so I thought I’d throw out this blog solely on Alaska.

Really in my life I have made 3 Alaska trips…

FIRST TRIP: It was back in the early 90’s when I was young with my family on a business trip. I was too young to accompany my brother and dad to Alyeska to spend the day skiing. My time in Alaska was mostly sightseeing around Anchorage. I do remember ice skating in the mall and some kid being mean to me, so I punched him. That was my highlight of the trip. So that really sets the scene on me and Alaska…we have a good history together and those mountain men don’t scare me.

SECOND TRIP: This trip was about hanging out with a boy. I mean really what other reason would I fly to Alaska in September? There’s no snow then and it’s late summer so airline tickets were cheap. That was September-October 2004.

Moose in Anchorage are really common. I heard some crazy stories before I got there about the moose and was pretty excited to see a moose up close. I’ve seen a couple here in Colorado but back then I was living in Seattle and moose were something you saw at the Zoo…not in the middle of the road thinking it’s a dog.
Portage, Alaska. It was a town destroyed by the Great Alaska Earthquake, you can still see the damaged buildings where a town used to be.

During my trip in late September/Early October I was lucky enough to be there for the first snowfall. It happened on a night that we decided to drive up to the highest point looking over Anchorage and I got this photo in the truck…we could barely see in front of us with how much snow was falling.

THIRD TRIP: I had free airline tickets and the boy in Alaska seemed like a good visit to make, especially now that it was snowboarding season and I could finally get my chance to ride Alyeska. So in January 2005, I made the trip back up to Anchorage with my snowboard gear for a short weekend trip.

I arrived late on a friday and hung out in the hotel until Russ and I could make the drive out to Girdwood where Alyeska is. It’s about 40 miles away from Anchorage but the drive is along the water and just beautiful to make…especially when someone else is doing the driving.

I was impressed with night riding at Alyeska. This shot I took from the parking lot but you can see how much terrain is open for the night and lift tickets were really cheap for night riding. Even though it was alaska, there still wasn’t much coverage for January. I still had to ride by snow machines blasting fake snow out onto the runs. I learned pretty quick to keep my mouth closed while riding by. I’m from Washington, we have natural snow so that was fun to see the snow machines.
The next day was spent to riding Alyeska during the day. The mountain has some amazing terrain to ride and even me who was in my first season with a new ACL rode as much as I could of the upper mountain which had the best terrain. The conditions were great even though it hadn’t snowed in a week. Alyeska is a great freeriding mountain with a lot of open terrain and the views while you are snowboarding are amazing.
My last day in Alaska before my evening flight back to Seattle…we took a road trip to try to make it to Denali which wasn’t a very realistic roadtrip. We only made it halfway before turning back but it was relaxing and beautiful scenery along the way.

So when I decided not to return to Alaska for this vacation trip, it wasn’t because the riding wasn’t good or the ex-boyfriend factor but because I decided the next time I return to Alaska…it’s going to be for that epic trip. The most epic riding trip would be heli-boarding and since I can’t afford heli-boarding right now and I’m probably not at my best riding yet…it’s better to wait just a bit longer for that trip.

About the author


From the beginning of time, I was Shannon. From the beginning of snowboarding, I was Shay. From the beginning of online communities, I was Shayboarder. In the end, I’m the writer, photographer, editor, publisher, guru of sorts, product tester, curvy girl, and most importantly the snowboarder behind it all. Follow me on this journey through snowboarding, mountain biking, traveling and fun experiences!

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1 Comment

  1. $teve
    September 09, 2007

    Alaska looks awesome!!! I may have to go up there…soon…before all the snow melts because of that Global Warming stuff. Damn you Al Gore!!! This is all YOUR fault!!!