Boasting a "steep and deep" mountain with one of North America’s longest continuous double-black runs, Alyeska Resort packs both an adventurous punch and about 650 inches of snow annually. The mountain benefits from top-to-bottom snowmaking capabilities across the 2,500 feet of vertical terrain, as well as a brand new Ted's Express high-speed quad chairlift to access beginner runs.
The 76 named trails crisscross 1,500 skiable acres, whose lower regions grant visitors breathtaking glimpses through coastal tree lines. As Claire Walter put it in a 2009 Frommer’s review, "No other resort combines true high-mountain terrain, a low oxygen-rich elevation, and splendid ocean views." In the summer, an aerial tram showcases lush flora and fauna and wildlife such as moose and a vacationing Smokey Bear, who acts as a trail guide.
Aside from quick bites at the Daylodge, skiers refuel with burgers and live music at the Sitzmark Bar & Grill or venture to the AAA four-diamond Seven Glaciers restaurant for more formal dining. Guests can rest their heads at the chateau-style Hotel Alyeska and soothe weary muscles at a full-service spa.
Licensed by the United States Coast Guard, the captains at Stories and Legends ferry spectators over the sea and amid pods of cetaceans during guided whale-watching tours. When the season begins in late February, shuttles bring explorers from airports, hotels, or cruise ships to Auke Bay, where boats carrying up to 24 passengers depart at 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. daily. If they wish, guests may provide their own transportation to the dock via car, bike, or land whale.
The sporting aficionados at Bearpaw Archery believe the art of the arrow can and should be a family-oriented activity. They frequently populate the 20- and 30-yard ranges on their Wasilla facility with activities, instruction, and events that involve archers as young as 5. Youth leagues and 10-week homeschool classes accustom kids to the sport, and veteran competitors and recreational archers are treated to league play and a pro shop outfitted with equipment from brands including Excalibur Crossbow, Genesis, and Parker Compound Bows. The archers also welcome high-level competition by hosting the state shoots—an event where skilled archers plant their arrows precisely where they want them: holding up that slipping poster from Woodstock ‘69.
Body Renew Alaska's 12 boot-camp sessions (three classes a week) help participants shed pounds and build muscle in a group fitness environment. Each one-hour session, available at four different locations, will push participants' workouts to the next level to produce intense results in one month. Augment your muscle chiseling with six months of full access to eBodyLive, where users can utilize a customized online food and workout journal and four one-on-one video chats with a nationally certified trainer who reviews and guides each fitness program. The workouts—sent as detailed instructions with video clips and images—can be sent to most phones, allowing participants to access their fitness regimen from the same device they use to arrange meetings of the Millard Fillmore Appreciation Society.
Not every hotel keeps an on-site helicopter, but Knik River Lodge has a chopper on deck for flight-seeing tours that show off the surrounding Alaska wilderness. Located about one hour northwest of Anchorage, the inn manages to be both isolated in woods teeming with mountain goats and moose yet convenient to the big city. Likewise, its 15 cabins let guests rough it without sacrificing luxuries such as down duvets on king-size beds, free WiFi, and private decks overlooking the surrounding mountains.
Housed in a yurt, the hotel’s on-site restaurant draws inspiration from African safaris. Candle lanterns provide the ambient lighting, and the menu emphasizes its muscovy duck and beef wellington. As the restaurant gets its produce, meats, and seafood from local sources, the menu also changes based on seasonable ingredients, but the selection of local beers and wines remains a steady staple.
In addition to the helicopter tours, other activities available through Knik River Lodge include bear-viewing and wildlife photography outings. Join an Iditarod musher and his dog team in glacier dog sledding, a distinct Alaskan pastime. Participants dash over snow-covered mountain slopes with plenty of opportunities for taking photos and pointing confused Tour de France bikers in the right direction.
Curves has established nearly 10,000 gyms for women in more than 85 countries, with 4 million members worldwide. Three Anchorage locations invite ladies of all fitness levels to the training circuit. Circuit trainees gather in a circle comprised of 13 resistance machines and 13 recovery stations. During the course of a 30-minute workout, they alternate between machines that work two opposing muscle groups with a single motion and recovery stations where they run, dance, or swagger in place to maintain heart rates. Ladies carry Curves Smart chips that feed their personal fitness info into the training machines. A green light on the chip indicates sufficient workout intensity, which rises as one's strength increases.
Curves now offers the 90-day Curves Complete program, which pairs diet and exercise with the motivation of peers and trainers.