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RE/MAX of Alyeska is a member of the Alaska Multiple Listing Service and can assist you with all properties contained herein.

Girdwood 
Alyeska Resort in Girdwood, Alaska

Past, Present, and Future

Girdwood shares a past common to other great western United States mountain resort destinations. Forged in the hard rock and cold weather of the 19th Century, Girdwood's early years are characterized by a rich mining history carved out by its tough early residents. Originally known as Glacier City, the town was founded at the turn of the century as a gold mining town. With several claims on area creeks, Glacier City became a trail stop on the trail between Seward and what is now Anchorage. With four claims on the Crow Creek, James Girdwood became the eventual namesake of our community.

The development of Girdwood accelerated when the Federal Government began constructing a railroad in 1915. Girdwood became a ghost town in the late 1930's when a World War II presidential order required the closure of the mines. The development of Girdwood again accelerated in 1949 as a road connecting Seward to Anchorage began being constructed.

Girdwood, Alaska Sunrise

Eleven local men formed the Alyeska Ski Corporation in 1954 and began developing a resort in the area that Ernie Baumann, a veteran of the elite Tenth Mountain Division, had identified just a few short years before. By the end of 1960, Alyeska boasted a chair lift from France that had been dismantled and shipped to Alaska. The 9.2 magnitude Good Friday earthquake of 1964 dropped the coastal edges of nearby Turnagain Arm 8 - 10 feet, but Alyeska Resort escaped serious damage. Consequently though, Girdwood was relocated from its original location near what is the intersection of the Seward Highway and the Alyeska Highway today, up valley to its current location.

Three years later, in 1967, Alyeska Resort was sold to Alaska Airlines and Chris von Imhoff, then Director of Tourism for the State of Alaska, was hired to run the resort. A second chairlift, a hotel, and an innovative condominium project were built shortly thereafter. In 1980, Alaska Airlines sold Alyeska Resort to Seibu Corporation who began heavily investing in improvements to the Resort. Snowmaking, a new day lodge, three new chairlifts, including Alaska's first detachable quad chairlift, and a 60-person aerial tram were added, in addition to the exquisite 307-room Alyeska Prince Hotel which opened in 1994 and became Alaska's only AAA Four Diamond hotel.

Girdwood AK Skiing

Purchased for an undisclosed amount in late 2006 by John Byrne III, of Cirque Properties, Alyeska Resort and Girdwood have entered a new phase. Mr. Byrne, an avid skier, hiker, and mountain biker from Alta, Utah, has energized the community with improvement ideas taken from other resorts.  Completed in September 2007, a new Resort Area Master Plan was submitted to the Municipality and approved in December 2007 after review and public hearings.  The design goals of the Plan are to create an economically sustainable four season resort experience that is family friendly, pedestrian friendly, environmentally responsible, and that encourages third party participation.  By creating a new village, recreating the lift system, enhancing snow making, improving the ski terrain, adding ski terrain, adding a music venue, and creating an outdoor adventure area with four season activities (mountain coaster, mountain biking, hiking), the Resort hopes to realize these design goals.  

In support of this plan, several smaller projects have been completed by Resort ownership.  Chair Three was replaced with a new fixed grip quad chairlift, the Bear Cub Quad, in an improved alignment in 2009.  Snow making was also substantially upgraded and expanded to the Roundhouse elevation.  Downhill mountain biking was launched in 2010 with new trails on both the upper mountain and lower mountain.  A new and popular North Face Trail was cut into the North Face, while the Winner Creek Trail was extended from The Hotel Alyeska to the newly constructed Verbier Way just above Taos Rd and below Challenge Alaska.  The long awaited replacement of Chair Four with a detachable high speed quad chairlift, Ted's Express (Named after the late Senator Ted Stevens.), took place in 2012 with corresponding and extensive work to the Runway, Chair Six base, and the Waterfall.  The "Spirit of Alyeska" chairlift, better known as "Chair Six" was replaced in 2013 and renamed Glacier Bowl Express; some earth work, particularly to the top terminal area, was completed as well.  In early 2014, a moderately sized third party project was unveiled in support of the Area Master Plan conceived in 2007.

In concert with private industry, the Municipality completed extensive reconstruction of the Girdwood Townsite in 2012.  On the horizon is work to Olympic Mountain Loop and an extension of Arlberge Avenue to access a world class set of multi-use trails being developed by the Girdwood Nordic Ski Club.

Girdwood Alaska's Upper Valley

Girdwood boasts the amenities of a typical small town, including a new Post Office, grocery store, fuel station, the Girdwood Clinic, the Girdwood School, the Four Valleys Community School, the Girdwood Center for Visual Arts, a library, Powder Hound Ski Shop, gift shops, coffee shops, bakeries, and several restaurants and bars.

Girdwood has much to offer its residents, or tourists, all year-round. It's proximity to Anchorage makes Girdwood accessible, yet its location is something unique. Many of those who visit our state in the summer months take a few days to spend in Girdwood. Many local tour operators are based in Girdwood and offer a variety of outdoor experiences, including paragliding, flightseeing, hiking, rafting, fishing, and glacier hiking. Those who visit Girdwood in the winter usually visit to ski or snowboard. Chugach Powder Guides is permitted to operate on hundreds of thousand of acres of Chugach terrain from February through April. Snow machine tours, dog sledding, and flightseeing is also available during the winter months through local tour operators.

Girdwood is at a crossroads in its history and the future is bright!


Girdwood's real estate office since 1994.

 

 

RE/MAX Of Alyeska
P.O. Box 1029
Girdwood, AK 99587
Located in the Girdwood Townsite at 118 Lindblad Ave, Suite 200.
Phone: 907-783-2010
Fax: 907-783-2011
Email: Bryan@BryanEpley.com

 

 

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