May Packages Make it Easy to Enjoy Alyeska The month of May is great. It’s a changeover period between the hecticness of the winter season and the beginning of summer tourism, fishing season and outdoor activities under the midnight sun. Yes, May can be a little bit of a slower ...Read More
Closing out the month of March is quite possibly one of the most unique shows to grace the Sitzmark stage. Colorado based Michal Menert was born in then Communist Kielce, Poland. During his childhood, Michal’s father exposed him to a wide variety of Eastern and Western music, giving his son ...Read More
Spring Break Night Skiing One of the perks of not being in the adult world of work and responsibility is this concept called Spring Break. Spring Break is a week long period in March where everyone in the U.S. educational system has a break because it’s spring. And it’s fantastic! ...Read More
Half a century ago, 11 Girdwood residents passed the hat and raised enough money to purchase what became the land base for a major ski area. Through initiative and perseverance, the 11 formed the Alyeska Ski Corporation and developed a ski area that was small in assets but big in promise. They did it because they understood that the Valley’s future lay in its golden slopes.
They found a French Baron who shared their dream. Francois de Gunzburg installed a poma lift, built ski trails and a day lodge and ordered Chair 1, a 5,700-foot double chairlift that rose 2,000 vertical feet. The upper terminus of the chairlift became known as the Roundhouse.
Built in 1960, the Roundhouse sits on an exposed ridge, 2,280 feet above sea level. The distinctive octagonal building first served as a warming hut and later as a popular mountain gathering place, complete with restaurant and lounge. Alyeska’s ski patrol used the lower level as its headquarters.
Today, the Roundhouse symbolizes the importance and culture of outdoor recreation to this Valley’s legacy, much like Crow Creek Mine serves as an icon of the Valley’s golden past. In summer, the Roundhouse turned into a visitor center for people to enjoy the alpine environment and the panoramic view that encompasses two mountain ranges, seven glaciers and scenic Turnagain Arm.
But age took its toil and public use all but ended in 1992 when the Glacier Terminal and aerial tram opened in 1992. The building was placed on the National Historic Register in 2003 in recognition of its significance to the development and culture of skiing and other outdoor activities in Alaska.
The Roundhouse renovation began in 2003 with seed money from the Turnagain Arm Kenai National Heritage Corridor Communities Association. Since then, approximately $1.9 million for the project has been raised through a combination of public and private money, including the Rasmuson and Atwood Foundations, the National Park Service, HUD and the Eddie Gendzwill estate.
Learn more about Alyeska Resort's rich skiing and outdoor culture. Admission to the museum is free. Open year-round. Visit the museum website.
Photos courtesy of the Roundhouse at Alyeska Museum.