During the summer, a ski mountain's winter snow melts away, prompting the resort staff to lather its rocky surface in suntan lotion. Ascend a slippery slope with today’s Groupon for aerial tram tickets or mountain biking at Alyeska Resort in Girdwood. The aerial tram runs daily May 27–September 30, and weekends October 1–October 10. Lift-assist mountain biking begins June 24 and runs through October 10, weather permitting. Choose from the following options:
- For $20, you get two adult tickets to the Alyeska aerial tram (a $40 value).
- For $10, you get two child's tickets to the Alyeska aerial tram (a $20 value).
- For $40, you get two adult tickets for lift-assisted mountain biking (an $80 value).
- For $30, you get two student/military/senior tickets for lift-assisted mountain biking (a $60 value).
Genuflecting at the feet of the Chugach Mountains, the Alyeska Resort's aerial tram hoists visitors from the valley to the 2,300-foot peak, where they can marvel at panoramic vistas or refill depleted adrenaline levels by mountain biking a 2,000-foot descent. The seven-minute tram lift glides past pristine sights such as the Turnagain Arm and several hanging glaciers. Telescopes at the upper terminal's observation deck transform the world below into a postcard and sightseers into unidentified people immortalized in postcards. Travelers can also enjoy the simple pleasures of hiking, picnicking, and berry picking.
Lift-assisted mountain bikers depart from the upper tram terminals to one of trails down the mountain, which range in length up to 3.5 miles. The gravel trail cuts through breathtaking cross-country stretches, encouraging riders to scout for wildlife and partially melted abominable snowmen. Though not included in this Groupon, bikers can rent helmets ($5) or bikes ($10–$30) from the Daylodge rental shop as well. Before heading home, guests can refuel at the resort's several restaurants, including the mountaintop Glacier Express.
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.