It’s currently pouring rain in Cordova and I’m at the library stealing internet while realizing that the weather isn’t going to improve anytime soon, so I’ll post some general Mt. Eyak hype that is long overdue on this site. The face pictured above is the west face of the ridge and Mt Eyak, accessed by a very short (20 minute) hike from the lift’s top station. It empties into a horrible terrain trap which is scatered with huge mangled trees deposited by previous slides, so it not often safe to ski. But when its safer, like it has been the previous few days, the variety of lines on offer with easy access from the top of a chair rivals anywhere I’ve been before. Local Highschoolers have been squeezing in laps from the peak between school getting out and sunset for the last few days.
The lift runs sporadically, opening at 1 or 2 in the afternoon a couple of days a week- depending on the conditions. Openings are announced via facebook posts and a recorded answering machine message. When not open the lift crew (who’s almost alway up shovelling on closures as the lift is prone to getting burried) will fire up the lift to offer a ride to the top station, drastically shortening any hike up the ridge (top picture), which also has plenty of tree lines for stormier days.
The most notable terrain directly off the lift would be The Darkside (pictured above), a couple hundred feet of steep, west facing trees covered with of drops and pillows. It’s comparable to the best terrain off the Wildcat lift at Alta except with an exit traversse to the left rather then the right. The other common ski line is the lift line known as Towers, which is kind of stair stepped with steep rollovers and both plenty of options as well as small jumps carved out along the sides of the run. Predictably but also dissapointingly I’ve yet to see a chairlift gap attempted despite the obvious possiblity.
The single groomer Mambo (which begins at the midstation) have been a real treat. Its narrow with a couple long corners that are a treat on high speed lift maps, and as with all of Mt. Eyak the views are above average.
I’m far from an expert on Alaskan ski hills, I also have yet to visit Eaglecreast, but I’m both shocked and impressed that tiny Cordova has a ski hill, that when you considering the backcountry terrain and open boundaries policy has arguably the best ski hill in the state. Alyeska will remain massively bigger but really doesn’t have much more to offer then Mt. Eyak. Its also shocking when you consider Cordova’s obvious limitations (small, inaccessible, expensive everything and few tourists) that no other community in the state (the valley, valdez, seward etc.) has been able to put together anything comparable.