Girdwood Things to Do

  • Sled Dog Team
    Sled Dog Team
    by FatesWarn
  • View From the Sled
    View From the Sled
    by FatesWarn
  • Mama Sierra and Her Pup
    Mama Sierra and Her Pup
    by FatesWarn

Most Recent Things to Do in Girdwood

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    Seavey's Glacier Helicopter Dog Sledding Adventure

    by FatesWarn Updated Jul 4, 2014

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    Sled Dog Team
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    We arranged a summer dogsledding adventure with Seavey's Ididaride (the Seavey family are the Andretti's of the Iditarod). In the summertime, the dogs go to Summer Camp on Punchbowl Glacier. Alpine Air provides the transportation via helicopter (Robinson R44).
    Upon arrival at Alpine Air's hangar in Girdwood, we were outfitted for the cold with boots that fit over our shoes, high-quality rain pants, gloves, and warm jackets. They gave us a safety briefing and sent us up in groups (there were a total of 8 people scheduled for our reservation time - 2 groups of 3 plus my husband and I). My husband and I were given a ride separately since they didn't need to split the groups of three - same went for the dogsledding itself.
    I was very pleased with the high level of safety observed on the hangar - two Alpine Air employees acted as chaperones to ensure safe boarding and exit from the helicopter. This was my first time on a helicopter and I was somewhat nervous about it, but it wasn't bad at all.
    After a short trip over the mountains, we arrived on Punchbowl Glacier and were greeted by the Summer Camp staff, who observed the same safety chaperone procedures for exit and boarding the helicopter.
    After the helicopter left, we were greeted by our musher, Pete. He quickly introduced us to Chinook, she is a gentle and lovable AKC Siberian Husky (one of her pups was in the movie 8 Below) and loved getting pets and attention.
    Pete began to instruct us for our sled-dog ride - he is very concerned with the safety and wellness of the dogs as well as the visitors and he gave instructions like a great coach. Once it was our turn, I had no trouble remembering the important safety instructions.
    The other two groups went first, so while they were sledding, Mark brought us to play with the PUPPIES. These pups are the litter of two Iditarod champs, Sierra and Guinness. It is likely that one of the pups we held will be an Iditarod champ too. They were only 3.5 weeks old and just fell asleep in our arms. Sierra is a sweet mama and had no trouble sharing her pups with us - mama needs love too - don't just pet the pups.
    We got the word from Mark that our sled was coming back so we had to leave Sierra and her pups, because as we learned from Pete, you do NOT keep racing dogs waiting or they will start to break stuff because they just want to run. I sat down in the "princess seat" in front of Pete and Husband stood behind Pete on the sled. Pete called the commands (Ready. Alright.) and we were off... SO awesome! Pete stopped to give the dogs a short break and let Husband and I switch spots - we also got to walk up the line and pet the team before starting up again. We took another break and Pete took the time to take some fantastic shots of us on the sled. We spent time on the sled and afterwards talking to him about his job and life as a musher/trainer. We really enjoyed his enthusiasm for what he does and his great attitude as a guide for this amazing excursion.
    When our helicopter arrived, we said goodbye to Pete and Mark and took the super-fast trip back to Girdwood. Again, the Alpine Air staff was there to ensure a safe exit from the helicopter and then they took us back inside to get out of the cold-weather gear.

    If you do this trip:
    - Apply sunscreen to your face and hands and bring a lip balm with SPF. they have sunscreen in the Guest Tent on Punchbowl if you forget, but don't forget the lip coverage - I didn't have mine and they WILL get burned.
    - Bring a reliable camera and if you want video - check and re-check your equipment before you get to the hangar.
    - Kids: you're the best judge of how your kids will take to this adventure but I watched two teens act bored out of their minds on this excursion. $1000 is a lot of money to spend on something they don't care about.

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    Helicopter Landing on Glacier!

    by jumpingnorman Updated May 10, 2009

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    Showing off my diamond wedding band on Chopper
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    What??? We're gonna land on a glacier??? Those were my words to my sister after she informed me that I had no choice because she already paid my $425 ticket for the helicopter ride.

    Okay.

    The ride would take 90 minutes and we would see seals and other wildlife and then land on a glacier. Well, I just hope the plane was functioning well, the pilot was good and the ice would not crack!

    Fortunately, we had two pilots! And the helicopter is so new (just a month old) -- it looks like this helicopter company in Girdwood sells its old planes and keeps on updating its equipment. And the lady (I think Amanda was her name) was very cheerful and explained to us where we were going and her only advise was that we do not open the door during flight....of course.

    But once I was in the chopper, my fears were gone. The four of us sat comfortably - myself, my sister VTer jumpingwithnnorman and the two pilots. My sister sat in frontn and after landing on the glacier, we exchanged places. We also wear headphones so that we can communicate well with each other despite the deafening chopper wings...

    The views were spectacular and the weather was so good I did not have to wear a jacket on the glacier itself. The bluish hue of the ice was so striking.

    Definitely, do this activity - save up for it because it is really worth it.

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    Ride the shuttle bus!

    by outrider Written Jun 7, 2008

    Glacier Valley Transit is the shuttle bus that takes everyone from the hotel to the restaurants and shops. The shuttle is a great place to meet and talk to locals. If you don't know where you want to go or what you want to do, it's perfectly fine to just ride on the bus and have a look around. The drivers are very friendly and are happy to point out all of the dining and shopping options on the shuttle route. The round trip takes about half an hour. Shuttles run every 20 minutes in the summer. The shuttle costs a dollar a ride, unless you are a hotel guest, then it's free. Do tip the driver if you enjoy your shuttle ride! I know it sounds weird that a shuttle ride can be a memorable experience, but once you get to Girdwood, you'll understand.

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  • Alpine Air Alaska

    by AKGirl Written Mar 15, 2008
    Flying over one of the Glacier
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    We went to go to Prince William Sound via helicopter and had so much fun that we decided to go Summer Dog Sledding too. Everything was incredible! It is a bit pricy but worth every penny! All of the views were once in a life time and totaly made our entire trip! The only bad thing is that after our trips everything paled in comparison. We are planning to go back in the winter so that we can see everything covered in snow. So much fun! I guess they are even taking people back to get married on the Glaciers too, what will they think of next?

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    Winter Skiing and Snowboarding

    by AlbuqRay Updated Oct 9, 2007
    Day Lodge and Aid Station
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    The Alyeska Ski Resort has an average of 631 inches of snowfall every year and covers 1,000 acres with a 2500 foot vertical drop. Alyeska is where Olympic Gold Medalist Tommy Moe trained. There are two certified (International Ski Federation) downhill courses. Alyeska has wide open bowls, and long top to bottom runs. There are 10 black diamond trails and 5 double diamond trails. All 68 runs are open to snowboarders. Here is the online trail guide.

    Wikipedia tells us that Mount Alyeska is the biggest ski mountain in the state of Alaska. The Alyeska Ski Corporation was founded in 1954, and the first chair lift and day lodge were opened in 1959. The Roundhouse ski lodge and ski patrol station at the top of the mountain began construction in 1960, and is still standing today. Currently, Alyeska has 6 chair lifts and one high-speed tram. Of the 6 chairlifts, one is co-owned by Alyeska and the Tanaka Corporation (Chair 5). Chair 6 is a high-speed bubble-quad, while Chairs 4 and 7 are normal quads. Chair 1 is the oldest chair lift on the mountain, and leads all the way up to the Roundhouse. Chair 6 goes to the highest skiable point on the mountain. However, plans to make a new chair lift higher up the mountain have been announced. Alyeska was bought in December of 2006 by John Byrne III, who says he plans to make many new improvements to the resort, concentrating on people who come to ski for the day.

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    Ride the Tramway

    by RickinDutch Written Mar 14, 2006

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    Alyeska Tramway

    Summer or winter, the ride up the Tramway is a great experience. The views of the valley and all the way out to Turnagain Arm are breathtaking. The Tramway holds about 30 people and starts behind the Alyeska Prince Hotel and goes up to the view platform at 2300'.

    Tram runs at half speed during the summer and take 8 minutes so you can take it all in.
    $15 per adult guests of the hotel or $16 for non-guests.
    Free if you are having dinner at the Seven Glaciers Restaurant which is a very good deal.

    You can arrange for a tandem paraglide ride from the platform to the valley floor for about $100 including the tram ride.

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    Alyeska Prince Hotel

    by annk Updated Jan 20, 2005

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    Alyeska Prince Hotel

    An upscale resort worth visiting even if not staying here. Very picturesque but a little dark inside.

    Activities: Tram runs year round & holds 60 passengers. World famous "Seven Glaciers Restaurant" at top of mountain. There is also a cafeteria. Those that wish to hike the 2 miles can take the tram down for free.

    My husband & I tried to reserve a couple of nights stay but their website indicated the resort was full. Friends I travelled with tried the same to no avail. When we stopped by enroute to Seward the resort was almost deserted. Not good marketing on their part as they lost a couple of customers.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Skiing and Boarding

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  • kaloz's Profile Photo

    The Mountain in Summer

    by kaloz Written Feb 4, 2004

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    Dianne and Peggy

    The Mountain looks much different in summer without the layers of snow. Peggy, Diane, and myself rode up the tram to to chalet on Mt Alyeska. Interestingly enough, they had heard about the cable car from a women's magazine they had gotten in the check-out line of their grocery store.

    Get your inspiration from anywhere you can.

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    Turnagain Arm and the Kenai Peninsula-summer

    by kaloz Written Feb 4, 2004

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    A beautiful day in Alaska

    Here is a view on the ride up the cable car in August of the Turnagain Arm and the Kenai Peninsula. It looks different in the summer. Alyeska and Alaska are beautiful anytime you choose to visit.

    As you can see we are not all frozen tundra, we have trees at least south of the permafrost.

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    Turnagain Arm and the Kenai Peninsula

    by kaloz Written Feb 3, 2004

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    Another Glorious View

    Here is another view looking out over the townsite of Girdwood to the coast road (Seward Highway) the Turnagain Arm, and the Kenai Peninsula beyond. Alaska is a beautiful place to visit especially in the winter!

    I like looking down on the clouds in this picture.

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  • kaloz's Profile Photo

    View From The Top

    by kaloz Written Feb 3, 2004

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    View in winter

    In the winter, people come for the skiing, so go up on the Mountain and at least enjoy the view. This is the view in winter (duh). the hotel looks pretty far away. But it is only a short cable car ride of 3 minutes away.

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  • kaloz's Profile Photo

    Artistic Girdwood

    by kaloz Updated Feb 3, 2004

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    Gallery

    Like many towns in Alaska, Girdwood has many artistic people, (it is something to do on those cold winter nights). Visit the Girdwood Center for the Visual Arts to see the displays.

    When I visited, they were changing displays, so they were temporarily closed.

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  • kaloz's Profile Photo

    A beautiful place for a town

    by kaloz Written Feb 3, 2004

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    Town Clock Tower

    This town in the bowl of some mountains is a pretty place to settle, and you never have to worry about urban sprawl, as there is no more land to develop.

    This means that if you wanted to stay in Girdwood on a permanent basis, the cost of housing would be high.

    You can see what is available through the RE/MAX Real Estate Office website, or stop by and say hello to Mel.

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  • mcpangie's Profile Photo

    Sheep Along Seward Highway

    by mcpangie Updated Dec 28, 2003
    I Caught This Little Guy's Eye

    This little guy caught my eye another day when I was driving back to Anchorage from Kenai. It is one of the better pictures I've taken of an animal because it let me catch it looking at me! A trip in the summer to Girdwood from Anchorage will undoubtedly give you the opportunity to see sheep crawling up and down the cliffs along the highway. Rubbernecking and stopping to view the sheep is a common source of traffic jams and even accidents along the New Seward Highway, so please be careful. Everyone wants to stop and take a picture of them.

    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Mountain Climbing

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