GIRDWOOD, Alaska — The holiday hustle and bustle is here, and blogger Erin Kirkland’s family recently headed south of Anchorage to beautiful Girdwood and its Alyeska Resort.
Alyeska is famous for its alpine skiing, but that's not the only thing for families to do here. For some visitors skiing is an afterthought, according to Alyeska marketing manager Amy Quesenberry.
“A lot of people think of Alyeska as downhill skiing, but there's so much more to do,” Quesenberry said. “We have Nordic skiing, great restaurants -- you can get a family package, get a movie, come down swim in the pool. There's all kinds of things a family can do inside and outside here at Alyeska.”
Nordic skiing is an easy option that's less expensive than a lift ticket; if you don't have gear, you can rent it in Girdwood. There’s great and accessible cross-country skiing at Moose Meadows near the resort.
When we left Anchorage on our trip to Girdwood, it was 14 below, but you can still go out with your kids. It takes a little extra effort to get them bundled up to go outside, but don't be afraid to go anyway. Even if you're outside for just 10 minutes, the fresh air is going to do everybody a world of good.
Proper gear is essential for kids to have fun in the winter. That’s why my son Owen wore a balaclava, which you can pick up at REI, Mountain Sports or any outdoors store.
He also had a hat with ear flaps, because ears are one of those sensitive parts of the body. I also dressed him in a snowsuit because with kids, that gap between pants and coat sometimes gets a little chilly -- either cold air is going up or snow is going down, and that's not a lot of fun.
In addition to the snowsuit, he had mittens and we had hand warmers. Sometimes I double up with cotton gloves and mittens depending on how cold it is.
One reason that we chose Nordic skiing over alpine is that it burns a little more energy. When we decided we were done, our next stop was the tram up to the top of Mount Alyeska, where we found lunch -- and a great view.
The tram isn’t just for skiers, so if you simply want to bring the kids up to the top, have some lunch and catch the view you’re more than welcome to do so. The five-minute tram ride took us up above the valley below, revealing a beautiful view of Turnagain Arm.
At the top, we headed inside for a well-deserved lunch together -- family time at the top of a mountain.