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Overview

Covering more than 5.5 million acres (the size of New Jersey), Chugach National Forest is the second largest national forest in the nation; only Alaska's Tongass is bigger. The Chugach encompasses most of the Prince William Sound region, extending west from there across part of the Kenai Peninsula and east beyond the Copper River Delta. Alaska's premier downhill ski and snowboarding area, Alyeska Ski Resort, lies within the Chugach at the town of Girdwood. The resort's 60-passenger tram takes skiers to some of the deepest powder at any American resort; depths often exceed 10 feet. (Because the resort's base is just above sea level, it may ...

Covering more than 5.5 million acres (the size of New Jersey), Chugach National Forest is the second largest national forest in the nation; only Alaska's Tongass is bigger. The Chugach encompasses most of the Prince William Sound region, extending west from there across part of the Kenai Peninsula and east beyond the Copper River Delta. Alaska's premier downhill ski and snowboarding area, Alyeska Ski Resort, lies within the Chugach at the town of Girdwood. The resort's 60-passenger tram takes skiers to some of the deepest powder at any American resort; depths often exceed 10 feet. (Because the resort's base is just above sea level, it may sometimes be raining at the bottom and dumping snow at the top of the mountain.) Backcountry areas within the Forest are very popular destinations for snowmobilers and skiers, with the primary focus at Turnagain Pass, located along the Seward Highway. Because of easy access from Anchorage (one hour to the north), the pass gets heavy use on winter weekends. Be sure to check the avalanche forecast before heading out, and stay off the slopes if snow conditions are dangerous.

Don Pitcher
About the Expert

Don Pitcher has written or photographed 10 travel guidebooks to Alaska, Wyoming, Yellowstone-Grand Teton, and the San Juan Islands for Avalon Travel Publishing, Random House, and Sasquatch Books.

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Don Pitcher for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: A 5.4 million acre National Forest in south central Alaska. It is located in the mountains surrounding Prince William Sound, including the eastern Kenai Peninsula.
  • Research: Southcentral Alaska | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    The best snow conditions are generally January through March.