Winter Sports, Alaska



Colorado, Utah, Wyoming — these are the places one thinks of as winter sports paradises in the United States. But Alaska? Too dark, too cold, too, well, extreme? One imagines frostbite temperatures, cloud-scraping mountains, and tundra too inhospitable for trees. The numbers bear out the prejudice: in the spring and summer close to 1.2 million people visit Alaska for vacation; in fall and winter, that number is just 34,000.

As March approaches, average highs creep up to a balmy 34 degrees in Anchorage. Conveniently for winter-sports enthusiasts, most of the 600 inches of snow the Chugach Mountains see each year remains. Still, few people go, leaving one of the country’s largest snowy playgrounds unvisited by any but locals and the few who are savvy enough to make the trip. I covered this story for the travel section of The New York Times.