When winter comes, Keystone Canyon’s waterfalls freeze, making them destinations for ice climbers, particularly during the Ice Climbing Festival in February. Valdez itself gets some of the heaviest snowfalls anywhere in Alaska, averaging 25 feet per year; the record came in the winter of 1989–1990 with 47 feet!
It isn’t uncommon to arrive in March to find the town buried to the rooftops in snow. More snow falls here than at any other sea-level location in North America. Because of all this snow, the area can be a winter-lovers’ paradise, especially since the temperature rarely drops below 20°F. Groomed cross-country ski trails are maintained in Mineral Creek Valley.
Several companies offer heli-skiing at Thompson Pass for the ultimate mountain skiing adventure:
- Valdez Heli-Ski Guides
- Valdez Heli-Camps
- Alaska Backcountry Adventures
530/581-1767 or 888/729-9222
- H2O Guides
907/835-8418 or 800/578-4354
© Don Pitcher from Moon Alaska, 10th Edition