Alyeska Mountain in the snow

Yesterday I pulled myself away from my writerly isolation (is there such a word as writerly? I dunno. Maybe I just made it up) and drove out to Alyeska Resort in Girdwood to visit MM, who was staying at the lodge for three days for a work conference.

I’ve been at the resort but I’ve never been inside one of the actual rooms, which are pricey. But since the State of Alaska was footing the bill (thank you, MM, for working for a company that frequently sends you us to conferences in cool places like Hawaii and Portland and now Girdwood)

The resort is situated against the mountains and the views are incredible, yet the actual building is heavy and clunky and looks terribly out-of-place. But no matter. As I said: The views are incredible.

Why do I always think of “The Shining” when I see this? Source: Alyeska Resort

So of course we hiked and ran up Alyeska Mountain. It was late afternoon, the end of a sunny autumn day, the air crisp with a lingering warmth. Except for one other hiker (who was faster than we were, even though we were booking it), we had the mountain to ourselves. The tram was closed for the interim before the ski season and it was so quiet, and the leaves were turning, and the mountains were topped with snow, and all around was a paradise.

See those wires in the upper left-hand corner? Those are the tram cables. But it didn’t matter because it wasn’t running and we had the whole place to ourselves.

The biggest thrill was running in snow toward the top. Okay, by mid-winter I am sick of running in snow but since the temps were still warm and it was the first snow, it was kinda special.

Dear Brooks: This is snow. Get used to it. You’ll be running in it, a lot.

We went back to the room and did something I’ve never done before. And it was so exciting!

We ordered room service.

Isn’t that tiny bottle of hot sauce the cutest thing?

After we ate, we swam, and the pool at the resort is amazing. It was delicious and warm and the bottom was painted deep blue so that with the lights on it waved the most deep and haunting shadows.

And then it was 11 p.m. and as MM curled up in the very cozy room, I had to get in my cold car (there was frost on the windshield!) and drive back to Anchorage because dogs aren’t allowed in the hotel and we couldn’t find a sitter and poor Beebs is old and set in her ways and poops on the floor whenever we leave her alone.

It’s heartbreaking watching your dog age. Just. Heart. Breaking. I had no idea. I want to take her old and smelly head between my hands, lean down close and whisper: Stop aging. Please? But of course there’s nothing I can do and Beebs is happy sleeping through the day and taking short walks and eating everything in sight. She’s getting a bit chubby but so what? Food makes her happy and I’ll be damned if I’ll put her on a diet, not when she’s 13.5 years old. I’m planning on eating like a pig the last couple years of my life. I’ll still run, though, so I probably won’t get too fat.

Oh, oh: I interviewed Ron Nicholl for a magazine story. He’s 70 years old and runs the Susitna 100 Race each year. It’s 100 miles through off-road winter trails around a series of lakes and swamps.  (Karen and Matt did the 50K a few years ago). This year he’ll be almost 71 at race date. So inspiring. He said that he runs around 40-60 miles a week. Unbelievable. And when I called to interview him, he was in Idaho getting ready to run a 50K the next morning. That is so going to be me at 71. Or at least, I hope. Now I just need to run a 50K and 100 miler now, eh?

Happy weekend, everyone.

8 thoughts on “Alyeska Mountain in the snow

  1. Karen

    Looks like a fantastic getaway! I love Alyeska, it is such a beautiful spot.

    I'm fairly certain you need to introduce those Cascadias to the Little Su 50K in 2014.


  2. Mary

    Oh Girdwood. I've only gone by it on the train but I have this whole fantasy life built up about it. I'll have to go there someday and see if it's as good as what I imagine.


  3. Cinthia

    Ha, ha, Karen, we'll see about the Little Su. I'm not as hardy of a winter person as you, even though I live up here. Still, I'm already eyeing gear. Cheers and happy running,


  4. Cinthia

    No way! OMG, are you coming up here for the marathon? Or for a race? Are you going to be around Anchorage? If so, let's do a blog meet-up, okay? And you must, must go down to Seward. It's the most beautiful of places. And on the way, you have to stop at Alyeska, run/hike up the mountain and breeze down on the tram. So much fun. What exciting news. You guys will totally, totally love Alaska.


  5. Cinthia

    Oh, Mary, I don't think fantasies ever fit reality. Girdwood is beautiful when it's sunny, and it is a hip kind of place, too. In the winter it morphs into a ski resort town, which totally turns me off. It's great in the off-season, though.


  6. ajh

    I'm coming with a college friend. It is a cruise/land planned trip so I don't have a lot of control. I do know we'll be in Anchorage and maybe a day early. She is in charge of all the details. I'll let you know. If you're around I would love to meet you of course. I would love to go for a run if it worked. You could walk and I could run. Because I'm that slow.


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