Your base might have a golf course, but does it have a ski slope? Airmen at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska and Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, can make that claim.
Both feature small slopes with only a few runs, but what did you expect, Killington or Aspen? We’re talking about the Air Force here. You can’t invest too much on a ski resort and risk stealing away money from the beloved golf courses.
I digress. Both Hillberg Ski Hill at Elmendorf and Iceman Hill at Eielson are busy blowing snow getting ready to open over the Thanksgiving Day weekend. It’s plenty cold in Alaska, but they still haven’t gotten enough natural snowfall.
While it might only take a few turns before you reach the bottom of the slope, it looks like the perfect place for beginners or families. The best part is the trip comes cheap. A lift ticket only costs $17 and rentals $20. You can’t find another slope, I don’t care how big, with cheaper rates. Beginners are typically scared away by the steep price tag that comes with a ski trip, but this gives airmen a cheap way to learn.
Elmendorf is trying to attract even more airmen to the hill this season by running a shuttle between Hillberg and the dorms.
The most popular runs, though, might not even be the ski and snowboard slopes. Hillberg’s staff said the tubing runs get the largest crowds, especially on weekends.
“Even if you don’t ski you can come out and enjoy the tubing runs. Some might say they are too old to go tubing but after a few times down you can’t get them off the mountain,” said Raina Panarese, who works at Hillberg.
More photos after the jump.