View Full Version : Ski Train to Backcountry Alaska

01-02-2006, 02:41 AM
This was in Friday's NY Times:

"ALASKA in winter is an intimidating prospect: one characterized by frigid temperatures, long nights and forbidding landscapes blanketed in snow and ice. At 7 a.m. on a dark winter day last February, when I found myself awake and aboard the Alaska Railroad's annual ski train to Grandview, the sun had yet to rise, and the train was filled with slumbering bodies.

"But if, like most people, you avoid this state during the winter months - perhaps opting to spend a February vacation in, say, St. Thomas - you'll be missing out on what may be Alaska's biggest backcountry secret. With two departures from Anchorage each winter - the first southbound to Grandview, in the snowy backcountry terrain of the Kenai Peninsula, and the second northbound to the now-abandoned town of Curry, in the mountains near Denali National Park - the seasonal ski train has been operating in one form or another since 1937.

"Despite Alaska's frosty reputation, the winter weather around Anchorage can be milder than Chicago's, tempered as it is by the waters of Cook Inlet. Accompanied by my boyfriend, I had a full day to look forward to; because we were nearing the March equinox, the brief spells of sunlight that had punctuated much of the season had already given way to more tolerable, 10-and-a-half-hour-long days."