Although difficult to reach, Juneau is a place where you come, skis or board in hand, for an extended trip. Visitors to this area come with the understanding that a single, very high-quality ski resort is within 15 minutes of the downtown area and beyond that, mountain time will be dominated by heli-skiing and backcountry options.
Juneau, the state capitol of Alaska, is one of the hardest towns to reach in the state. There are no roads that lead directly to Juneau and the only way to find yourself on the doorstep of Alaska’s democracy is by plane or boat. You can ferry your automobile. You’ll find plenty of nearby Alaskan hot springs accessible by boat.
Furthermore, for those looking for a ski adventure, one of Juneau’s pride and joy gems is the Mendenhall Glacier, a 13-mile long portion of the Juneau ice field that, when conditions permit, nordic skiing is possible. Whether you are interested in hitting the slopes, challenging your skill, or want to try something new, Juneau is the perfect place for a winter adventure.
Eaglecrest Ski Area – 12 miles | 18 minutes
Juneau sits elegantly on the Gastineau Channel, a small passage of water that cuts between mainland Alaska and Douglas Island, the home of Eaglecrest Ski Area.
Douglas Island is just one of a series of islands that have produced a complex system of narrows, passages, and bays along the coastline that make up the Alexander Archipelago in southeastern Alaska. It’s the kind of place you’d imagine explorers coming to and have a heck of a time coming up with accurate maps.
On Douglas Island, visitors will find Eaglecrest Ski Area as well as 640 skiable acres overlooking the winding passage and shoreline of Young Bay and Admiralty Island. Eaglecrest has a base elevation of 1,620 feet and a peak elevation of 2,750 feet. During any given year, the ski area experiences on average snowfall of 320 inches.
There are four lifts servicing the resort that spread skiers and snowboarders out over 36 runs which have a 20/40/40 ratio of beginner/intermediate/advanced terrain. A terrain park is available when conditions allow for it, so, it’s a hit or a miss whether it will be up and running at any given point during the season.
Eaglecrest follows in the footsteps of a few other Alaska ski areas and is a genuine community-run effort. Award-winning programs for skiing and snowboarding and community-driven events make Eaglecrest the core of the Juneau community. While there are those that visit Juneau to ski Eaglecrest, the majority of the resort’s attendees are locals.
But, don’t worry, they’re happy to welcome out of towners to their special place, the archipelago skiing extravaganza that is Eaglecrest.
3000 Fish Creek Rd, Juneau, AK 99801 (Map) | (907) 790-2000
Juneau Area Heli-Skiing
Heli-skiing is a common option for those looking to experience Alaska’s ski/snowboard scene for its most genuine experience. There are numerous outlets run out of, or near, Juneau.
Northstar Trekking is an experience-provider run out of Juneau that focuses its heli-skiing on the Chugach Mountain range, crossing as far as Cordova. Heliski operations depend on the weather and can be adjusted to the customer’s preferences.
Beyond Juneau, but inaccessible from other Alaska home bases, Haines, Alaska offers a few top-notch heli-skiing providers. It’s a 5.5hr drive, one-way, from Juneau to Haines, so it’s likely to be a multi-day diversion from Juneau. Additionally, there are seaplanes that run from Juneau to Haines each day as well as a ferry, but those are both subject to weather conditions.
Juneau is a place where skiing is designed to be an experience, not just a day’s activity. If you’re looking for a unique location to enjoy a ski trip, look no further than Alaska’s capital.
If you happen to be heading into the interior, consider these amazing ski resorts by Fairbanks. Or if you stay in on the exterior, discover one of the ski areas close to Anchorage. Either way, you’re bound to have an incredible experience skiing and snowboarding in Alaska!