ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - The strong winds that blew across Anchorage, the Mat-Su and the Turnagain Arm earlier in the week brought fresh snow to the hills and mountains of South Central Alaska.
Local ski operations say the storm gave them a big boost in snow, and several slopes should be open for business by mid-December.
Alyeska Resort is projecting a December 13 opener. Marketing Director Ben Napolitano says that's on par with last year's opening and that the weather this year has been similar to conditions which yielded a strong 2018-2019 ski season for the resort.
The popular kick-off event, 'Santa skis for free,' is currently scheduled to take place on December 19. Come that day, dressed as Santa, Mrs. Claus, the Grinch or a reindeer and you can hit the slopes at Alyeska free of charge.
"This storm actually really helped with getting coverage up here... As you can see," he told KTUU, while standing in knee-deep snow on Friday. Snow was still falling, as crews worked to pack down snow on some of the more popular runs atop Mount Alyeska.
"Our team has done an awesome job utilizing weather windows to put together a lot of man-made snow in the lower mountain as well," Napolitano said. "It's still a little thin in spots but we can connect them all together, we're working our way up the mountain."
Meanwhile, just north of Anchorage, Arctic Valley Ski Area also saw significant snowfall. According to General Manager John Robinson-Wilson, staff were still working to clear roadways up to Alpenglow Lodge.
He says the recent storm produced valuable snow in some low areas that typically don't see powder, but it came at the price of blocked, icy roads.
"Overall it was definitely good for us ... It just creates some challenges in the storm recovery," Robinson-Wilson said. "Our guys are up there right now, trying to move those snowdrifts around to areas where they'll be more productive as coverage grows."
If all goes as planned, Arctic Valley will open up its tube park on December 7, with full ski operations resuming during the second weekend of month.
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