Hilltop Ski Area

If you have never tried downhill skiing or snow boarding, this small ski area is the perfect place to learn.  The area features a single chair lift that allows you to get used to gravity on a very gentle slope.  There is generally plenty of snow from November through the end of March. And if cross country is more your style, the Hilltop area also features some pretty impressive and fun cross country trails.  And these cross country trails are free!

  To find Hilltop, drive south on either Minnesota or the New Seward Highway.  Minnesota will become O’Malley, which crosses New Seward Highway.  Head east on O’Malley toward the mountains.  O’Malley will end, curving to the left and will become Hillside Drive.  Follow Hillside until in curves around to the left heading back toward the city.  There is a parking lot and road at the end of this curve on the right hand side of the road.  Park in this parking lot for cross country skiing.  Follow the road at the east end of the parking lot up to the area developed for downhill skiing and snowboarding.  The ticket counter and rental area is to the left of the lift (looking east up the mountain).  A ski school and practice area is to the right of the lift.

 The down hill area is groomed each morning ensuring a nice even snow cover.  Tickets range $14 - $22 depending on your age, number of hours, and whether it is a weekday or weekend.  The facility rents both down hill skis and snow boards.   Prices for rentals range between $14 and $28 depending on age, what you want to rent, and how long you wish to rent the items.  Lessons can be purchased also for an additional charge.  There are small restaurants at both the top and bottom of the ski lift, providing a good place to warm up with a cup of hot cocoa.  The restaurant at the bottom of the hill also has restrooms around the back of the building.

The lift, having been designed for beginners, runs very slow.  It takes seven minutes to ride to the top of the hill.  This may not seem like very long unless you are not dressed warm enough.  Be sure to wear multiple layers.  For contact information about the downhill ski area, click here.

The cross country trails stretch through an area of town designated as a municipal park.  The Hillside Park and Far North Bicentennial Park feature numerous ski trails.  All of these trails are open to the public and there is no usage fee.  The trails are groomed fairly regularly and are a favorite activity for many Anchorage residents.  Whether you enjoy a long grand tour of the park or a brisk skate-ski workout, there are plenty of loops and routes to challenge you no matter what your level of ability.

Claimjumper and I have spent hours on these trails, but have only begun to explore them.  There are many trails we have not yet had the chance to follow.  A word of caution…if this is your first time on these trails or you are otherwise unfamiliar with them, stay on a “lighted loop.”  These trails have lights that come on at sunset and remain on all night.  These trails lead back to the parking lot, so you will not get lost.  Furthermore, assuming you are here in the winter, the sun will set earlier than you are used to. 

For those of you who are visiting in the summer, and you are looking to explore these trails either by foot or by bike, you will not be disappointed.  The park is a wonderful place to roam free.  The wide dirt trails and the rolling hills will get the heart pumping, and the breathtaking views will provide plenty of photo opportunities.  I have spent entire days exploring the trails by mountain bike.  I have hit dead ends and been knee deep in mud when common sense gave way to adventurous spirits.  Stick to the main trails and you should have a fantastic day. 

 

Last Visited: July 2000

 

 


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