Skiers and snowboarders now have another spot to shred the gnar.

Last weekend Arctic Valley Ski Area just outside Anchorage was finally able to open and I was there to hit the slopes.

Traveling to the end of Arctic Valley Road is like taking a ride back in time. To a time when ski ticket prices were $35 a day and there were no high-speed quads.

“That lift [T-bar] was installed in the early ’60s up here and has been running ever since,” said General Manager John Robinson-Wilson.

But no change has been good to this ski area. The lifts are still slow so you can enjoy the scenery on a nice day.

“We haven’t installed a new big lift since chair 2 in 1979 was installed. So yeah, no high-speed quads, nothing super fancy,” Robinson-Wilson said.

Tickets still only top out at $35, but it can be even less if you volunteer your time.

“You can volunteer here. Then you get to ski for free,” said skier Scott Clendaniel. “You run the lifts, serve up chili, you can run the lift ticket counter and then you can ski for free if you work a couple of hours, which has got to be one of the best deals in skiing in the world.”

The T-bar is the signature attraction at the ski area.

“Well, I love Arctic Valley because it’s got the T-bar, which is an incredibly efficient way to get up the mountain,” Clendaniel said.

It’s a lift that is hard to find anymore in North America.

“A mistake first timers make, they get handed the pima, they put it between their legs and they sit down and it does not support your weight,” Robinson-Wilson said.

When someone rides it wrong the results can be spectacular. In the end, everyone is just happy the wait is finally over and the slopes are open again at Arctic Valley.

“This is the best snow I’ve seen this year and I’m happy about that,” Clendaniel said.

The tubing park has not opened yet, but the ski area will be open every weekend until the snow is gone. For more information check out Arctic Valley’s website.

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