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Thread: Girdwood area

  1. #1

    Question Girdwood area

    Hello all!
    I have grown up in the eastern sierra for my entire life. I have spent my years here dedicated to hiking, skiing and fishing in the backcountry. I work on ski patrol in the winter, and I am currently trying to figure out a new summer job.
    My girlfriend and I have had a calling to move north to Alaska for a while now, and we finally have enough money saved up to make a move up in the spring.
    Girdwood is the most appealing area to me because of the close vicinity to Alyeska Ski Resort and I could patrol there in the winter potentially. I highly doubt that I could live in anchorage.
    Looking on craigslist, it seems that rent could be anywhere from $600-1200 for a 1 bedroom house. How easy would it be to move in the spring and find a place to rent? What other types of jobs are in the area, both in the summer and the winter?
    Thank you all for any input or thoughts about the move!

  2. #2
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Finding a place in the spring should be relatively easy in Girdwood. Once the ski area shuts down, a lot of the lifties/instructors/etc. move out and their places become available. As for jobs, Alyeska has been working hard to transform itself into a year-round resort, so there are still jobs to be had with the resort doing summer-season stuff. It depends on your abilities, really. In the area there are rafting companies, other tourism guiding opportunities, etc. Getting in with these places can be tough, but for the right person it might be possible.

  3. #3

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    Several people who live in Hope,Alaska work in Girdwood.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    Finding a place in the spring should be relatively easy in Girdwood. Once the ski area shuts down, a lot of the lifties/instructors/etc. move out and their places become available. As for jobs, Alyeska has been working hard to transform itself into a year-round resort, so there are still jobs to be had with the resort doing summer-season stuff. It depends on your abilities, really. In the area there are rafting companies, other tourism guiding opportunities, etc. Getting in with these places can be tough, but for the right person it might be possible.
    This is exactly what I'm looking for. I have been skiing my entire life and would love to get in ski patrolling. I love challenging conditions and environments, so I think I would fit in perfect. My girlfriend is a massage therapist and would hopefully be able to get a job doing that at the resort.

    Quote Originally Posted by AGL4now View Post
    Several people who live in Hope,Alaska work in Girdwood.
    Hope looks like a beautiful, small town. Much like the small town I live in now. It just seems that it would be much too far of a drive to commute, especially in the winter time. I will definitely make it a place to visit though.

    Another question I had is how much snow will stick in town in the winter time. Or does it normally just rain down low?

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    I grew up in Girdwood. I love the place but life, job, etc. took me to Fairbanks. There's ski resorts here also, but nothing that remotely compares to Alyeska.

    If nothing turns up for work in Girdwood, commuting from there to Anchorage is an option. I commuted for work, school, etc. for years. The Seward highway between Girdwood is a very pretty drive, but can certainly be challenging and dangerous at times.

    If you're eventually looking to buying a home, property in Girdwood is not what I would consider affordable. You're probably looking at over a hundred grand for a quarter acre lot with nothing on it. If you've been looking into it, this probably isn't news for you. You might do a little better In Bird or Indian (communities between Girdwood and Anchorage) but prices there have really gone up since I left the area also. There are probably folks on this forum in Southcentral who can give you better information than I can on real estate.

    As far as snow on the ground, there is usually snow cover at sea level during the winter, but it can be hard to predict. I've seen snow over my head all winter, and I've seen bare ground with thin sheets of ice all winter.

    Aside from those problems, Girdwood is an ideal spot in many ways. Right in the mountains, great hiking and mountaineering in your backyard. Whittier and Prince William sound are very close and Anchorage is there for all your material needs. Good luck!....Louis
    Louis Knapp

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    With regards to the ski patrol, getting on with the Alyeska pro patrol (the paid guys) can be tough. There are patrol members who have been doing it for over 20 years, so spots don't come open very often. You might get lucky, but what may happen is that you'll need to join the volunteer patrol for a few seasons and pay your dues that way. Work a different job and volunteer in your off time, then when a position comes open you'll be at the head of the line. Again, you might get lucky and walk right into a job, but realistically that might not happen.

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    You could always open up a patchouli selling business!!



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    thanks for all of the good advice and replies!
    We are not yet in a situation where we are able to buy property or a house quite yet, but it is my goal in the years to come. We are just looking for a place to rent with affordable rates, close to the resort. We also have 1 dog and a cat who we are trying to figure out if we will take or not.
    I figure it'll be best just to move up there and explore and see what Alaska is all about. I have been yearning for this experience for years and am confident that there will be some job up there I will be able to land. I am very flexible and have experience in coffee shops, restaurants, construction, and extensive use with computers. I have an AA in Digital Graphics as well.
    I was afraid that getting on patrol may be difficult and have considered volunteering as an option. Do you know if volunteers receive a pass for their work? or do you just receive a voucher for each day you work?

  9. #9
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Vouchers, unfortunately. Each day you patrol you get a token for another day of free skiing. Part time instructors get passes, though. I instructed one day a week through college so that I could ski free. I had to check in whenever I was there to make sure they weren't shorthanded, but overall I skied 100+ days/year and only had to teach for 15-20 of those days. I didn't make much money, but that wasn't the point.

    (I should note that this info is based upon 5 year old experiences. They may have changed their policies.)

  10. #10
    Member Phish Finder's Avatar
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    Getting in @ Alyeska is pretty easy. Several of the older guys from patrol retired over the last couple of years. This year, half the groomer staff is taking off and about a 1/4 of patrol is leaving. I spent a few years bumming around the mountain, cutting trees in the summer and doing snow cat stuff in the winter. It's a cool place.

    Alyeska is in a conversion phase right now in an attempt to avoid the dips. Many of the employees left last year after the resort cancelled all insurance benefits for all mountainside employees.

    Getting on patrol for the winter is pretty easy if you work hard, keep your mouth zipped, and meet the right folks.

    Ben Habecker took over running patrol mid-season last year. He's a great guy to work for/with and knows the ins and outs pretty well. He's also a great pre-public guide

    Chugach Powder Guides runs a rafting company in the summer. They are always hiring. If you go the snow cat route, CPG also hires groomers to run the cats for their cat skiing area. It's pretty sweet terrain. As an added perk, you get free heli time as a slot filler.

    Not a bad gig.
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  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phish Finder View Post
    Getting in @ Alyeska is pretty easy. Several of the older guys from patrol retired over the last couple of years. This year, half the groomer staff is taking off and about a 1/4 of patrol is leaving. I spent a few years bumming around the mountain, cutting trees in the summer and doing snow cat stuff in the winter. It's a cool place.

    Alyeska is in a conversion phase right now in an attempt to avoid the dips. Many of the employees left last year after the resort cancelled all insurance benefits for all mountainside employees.

    Getting on patrol for the winter is pretty easy if you work hard, keep your mouth zipped, and meet the right folks.

    Ben Habecker took over running patrol mid-season last year. He's a great guy to work for/with and knows the ins and outs pretty well. He's also a great pre-public guide

    Chugach Powder Guides runs a rafting company in the summer. They are always hiring. If you go the snow cat route, CPG also hires groomers to run the cats for their cat skiing area. It's pretty sweet terrain. As an added perk, you get free heli time as a slot filler.

    Not a bad gig.
    Sounds great! Any idea on how strict they are on grooming standards, for example, having a beard? What about the drug testing policy? seems like it would be hard for them to get enough employees with a strict standard.

    What is the backcountry terrain like for skiing? are there places that people generally go to hike and tour? does Alyeska have any good out of bounds terrain?

    Thank you all for your replies! all your input is much appreciated!

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    Member Phish Finder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Codester View Post
    Sounds great! Any idea on how strict they are on grooming standards, for example, having a beard? What about the drug testing policy? seems like it would be hard for them to get enough employees with a strict standard.

    What is the backcountry terrain like for skiing? are there places that people generally go to hike and tour? does Alyeska have any good out of bounds terrain?

    Thank you all for your replies! all your input is much appreciated!
    I've had a beard since starting. There are pre-employment drug tests that check for everything but THC. THC is considered "acceptable" .

    The inbounds terrain is quite challenging. OB skiing is not allowed @ the resort. Do a quick google search for Turnagain Pass and Valdez. There are some great BC areas to tour.

    Shoot a PM if you are heading up. We'll see if you can meet some of the folks who make decisions.
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  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phish Finder View Post
    I've had a beard since starting. There are pre-employment drug tests that check for everything but THC. THC is considered "acceptable" .

    The inbounds terrain is quite challenging. OB skiing is not allowed @ the resort. Do a quick google search for Turnagain Pass and Valdez. There are some great BC areas to tour.

    Shoot a PM if you are heading up. We'll see if you can meet some of the folks who make decisions.
    This whole thing sounds like a dream come true!
    I will definitely be keeping in touch with ya!
    Btw, with a name like phish finder, do you do any fly fishing by chance? That's my second favorite activity to skiing!

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    Member Phish Finder's Avatar
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    I'm a big fan of fly fishing, though the fly fishing here is markedly different than anywhere else I've fished.

    The fishing further up north may be more familiar to you, specifically grayling. Southcentral Alaska trout fishing involves beads and flesh. The catching can be pretty fantastic.

    Mouth snagging sockeye is fun when there are lots of fish. Kings change the game for fresh water fly fishing.

    Good times!
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  15. #15

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    It sounds like you have the same plans I do for when I get out of the Army next year. I looked around at places to rent and the best deal I've found was the condos on the mountian through girdwood reality. If you do a quick google search and check out there website the prices are pretty decent.

    Good luck

  16. #16
    Member Phish Finder's Avatar
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    There are some great places to live in Girdwood. The condos are not the place to be. There are awesome houses around for fair prices. None of them are advertised on the net.

    Glacier City Realty occasionally gets a few listings.

    Sam is a bit of a stickler but he's fair and honest. He is raising all of his kids in town and knows the history of most of the houses in town. Rebecca is his partner and she's AWESOME to deal with. They are located right across the street from the Mercantile.
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