A relatively small ski area
within the City and Borough
). Located on Douglas Island about 12 road-miles from Juneau.
skiable terrain: 600 acres
named trails: about 30
vertical drop: 1,400 ft
lifts: 2 double chairs, 1 platter pull, 1 snow-tubing lift
x-country trails: about 8 km total
Despite its relatively small size, Eaglecrest is noted for its outstanding diversity of terrain. The area at which (silver medalist and former US Ski Team captain) Hillary Lindh learned to ski; Eaglecrest is considered by many to be the best ski area in Alaska, surpassing even the larger Alyeska Resort (as far as terrain, at any rate).
As far as snow conditions, Eaglecrest is a bit erratic. Some winters there are freshies all season long while at other times the area is hard-pressed to open by January. This last winter, for instance (2000-'01), saw a record-late opening of January 30, but once the season got underway there was consistent snow. As with most Pacific Coast ski areas, Eaglecrest usually recieves at least a little rain every winter; and the snow is substantially heavier than would be appreciated by most Coloradoites or folks like that. Eaglecrest's tendency toward crud can also be overwhelming to these types of "skiers". But to those who know how to ski it, this snow is deligthful; a perfect compliment for the area's steep terrain. Such snow conditions make Eaglecrest locals among the world's best-prepared skiers.
What of this terrain? Really, this is what the area's reputation is based on. As stated above, the diversity of such is outstanding for an area of its size. There is no shortage of cruisers, tree-skiing, glades, steeps (up to 50 degrees), chutes, Steep Chutes, bowls, or any stuff like that. Good places for advanced skiers to check out are the Benches and the chutes off the East (Steep Chutes, Hang Ten, Wolverine, et cetera). There's also plenty of fatty OOB to choose from w/out the fear of getting your ticket clipped or anything like that (Eaglecrest has an open-boundary policy).
A bit of Historical Background: Traditionally, Juneau skiers skied in the area of the Dan Moller cabin, where there a rope tow or two, and some snowmobiles to transport skiers. In the early 1970s, however, the City and Borough of Juneau decided to build a "real" ski area; and so they appointed two experienced individuals, Bob Janes and Craig Lindh (the father of Olympic silver medalist and former US Ski Team captain Hillary Lindh), to pick out a site. An extensive survey was done, and after considering other possible areas (the face of Mt. McGinnis, lower Fish Creek Valley, et cetera), it was finally decided that the area would be located on a mountain adjoining the upper Fish Creek Valley. Eaglecrest's platter pull, as well as a rope tow, were opened in 1974 (I believe); and the main chairlift, Ptarmigan, in 1976. A few years later, a smaller chairlift, Hooter, was opened. The area has expanded gradually, but has no plans for major expansion in the near future.