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Revision as of 20:18, 20 April 2007
Girdwood is a city in Alaska located about 30 miles south of Anchorage along the Seward Highway and is home Alaska's largest ski area the Alyeska Resort which was home to the 2007 US alpine Ski championships.
The main access to Girdwood is The Seward Highway, it is a very senic drive but can be slow in peak summer.
Girdwood does have a small landing strip/airport in town but it is primarily used as a base of operations for local heli-skiing guide companies  and given the length of the runway it is suitable for only small prop planes; thus ruling out air travel as a method for getting to town. This means almost everyone who comes to Girdwood including Alaskan locals come in by car or shuttle. For those originating farther a field the closest major airport is the Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage. The airport is served by most major airlines and can be reached on non-spot flights from such major US cities as Denver, Seattle, and San Francisco. If not renting a car prior to arrival one should arrange shuttle travel to Girdwood and have them meet you at the airport.
By bus Girdwood is 40 miles or 1 hours ride from Anchorage, it is serviced by the Seward bus line .
Currently there is not a pubic transportation system in Girdwood although the Alyeska Resort Hotel does provide and hourly shuttle from the hotel for guests and is in discussion with the City of Anchorage for the permits to jointly operate a shuttle with the town of Girdwood. Given this situation, the tiny nature of the town and that a shuttle is an easy option from Anchorage there is no desperate need for a rental car.
- The Portage Glacier  This is listed as many as one of the most visited tourist sites in all of Alaska, and is unique among glaciers as much of its face is currently underwater.
- Turnigain Arm This section of ocean water near Girdwood is home to the second largest tides in North America and one of the few Boar Tides  in the world, an occurrence where due to the length of the arm and the height of the tides the come in as a wave.
- Alyeska Mountain  Specifically the view from the top of the tram and the soon to be open Round House Museum.
Girdwood and its accompanying ski area Alyeska resort comprise a four season full service resort current available activities are:
- Skiing - Both at the Alyeska Resort  with its challenging 1,000+ acres of skiable terrain and 600+ inches of a snow a year, and in numbers ways in the back country areas surrounding Girdwood, the most popular of those being By helicopter  or by snow cat 
- Fishing - Both locally and far a field from Girdwood, guided trips are a widely available and a popular option 
- Snow mobiling  - This activity is available all year round. Turnagain Pass is a popular Winter spot. In the Summer, snow machiners are lifted by helicopter on to Glaciers in the surrounding Chugach Mountain Range.
- Biking - There is a paved six mile bike trail that goes all the way from Alyeska Resort to Bird Point. Eventually the trail will follow Turnagain Arm all the way to Anchorage. There dozens of Mountain Biking trails in the valley for the more adventurous.
- Cross Country Skiing and Snow Shoeing - Skiers and Snowshoers have over 30 miles of untracked trails to explore, through frozen Musky and Rainforest . Guided Snow Shoe expeditions are run every day in the Winter.
- Big Game Alaska Wildlife Center - An Alaskan wildlife rehabilitation center. You can see moose, deer, black and grizzly bears, owls, bison musk ox and a variety of game birds. They have an excellent Alaskan gift shop.
- Girdwood Forest Fair  The Forest Fair features Alaskan artists, hand-crafted items, exotic foods and entertainers form all over Alaska. Fun for the whole family is kicked off by the Forest Fair Parade on Saturday, July 7 at 11:00 am.
There is not much really in the way of shopping in Girdwood, the Alyeska Resort Hotel  carries a full line of resort and town logo wear in one of it's shops, a few restaurants sell local art work, and of course there is the requisite very good ski shop in town called World Cup Sports  that sells all of the snow sports gear you could ever need.
- World Cup Sports  Full service ski and snowboard shop Phone: 907.783.2282
- Alaska Candle Factory Phone: 907.783.2354
- Kobuk Valley Jade Company Phone: 907.783.2764
- Great Alaskan Tourist Trap Phone: 907.783.5566
- Girdwood Books & News - Newly Opened Phone: 907.783.2020
Girdwood is a surprisingly good place to eat with a lot of genuine, well done, and well priced food.
- Chair Five Restaurant  - Chair Five was conceived on a rainy night in 1982 and opened January 23, 1983 on Crow Creek Road. Following a fire which burned the building to the ground on May 17th, 1987, we moved to our present home (formerly Rosy's Ice Cream Parlor) in October of '87 and have been there since. All of our food is prepared to order from scratch using the freshest ingredients available. This takes a little time, so sit back, relax, and enjoy your visit to Chair 5. Phone: 907.783.2500
- Double Musky Inn  - Welcome to the Double Musky Inn. We are located in Girdwood, Alaska and we look forward to your visit to our restaurant. Our menu contains classic New Orleans dishes done with Alaska Seafood such as crab meat dressing stuffed halibut served with Creole burre blanc sauce. Phone: 907.783.2822
- Silvertip Grill  - A favorite among locals and one of the best food values in town, Phone: 907.783.2594
- Jack Sprat - Fat and Lean World Cuisine. Phone: 907.783.5225
- Maxine's  - Often described as a 'freestyle American bistro', we cook from a wide variety of cuisines that reflect the kitchen's experience - Mediterranean, Californian, French, Italian, Asian, Vegetarian and Alaskan. Our chef Kristine Lewis studied at the New England Culinary School in Vermont and has worked in the restaurant industry since 1989, her mouth-watering dishes are presented in a way that shows her art school background. Phone: 907.783.1234
- The Bake Shop  - Restaurant and Bakery offering omelets, gigantic sweet rolls and huge sourdough pancake stacks. For lunch, sandwiches, pizzas and bottomless bowls of homemade soup. Summer garden dining. Open 7 days a week. Phone: 907.783.2831
- The Sitzmark - At Alyeska Resort, is located on the Boardwalk by Chairs 1 and 3. The Sitzmark Bar and Grill features monster burgers and sandwiches and is open daily during the winter in conjunction with mountain operations.
- Mamacita's - Mexican food / dine-in, carry-out, delivery Phone: 907.783.0088
- The Ice Cream Shop - Enjoy your ice cream treat and espresso drink while viewing our collection of historical photos of Girdwood & our authentic Totem Pole. Phone: 907.783.3182
- The Aurora Aurora Bar and Lounge is located on the third floor of the Alyeska Resort Hotel at the top of the Grand Staircase.
- Chair Five Restaurant - Located in town also doubles as the towns largest and most popular bar.
The primary place to stay in Girdwood is the Alyeska Resort Hotel, expected to undergo a large remodel in May and June of this year (2007) it features hundreds of rooms and no less than six restaurants.  Despite its mega resort billing though rates a very affordable especially when compared with major resorts in the lower 48.
- Carriage House B&B and Stables - The B&B offers privacy and service with a separate entrance and accommodations, while your hosts, Jake and Rachel are there for your assistance. The rooms are furnished with your comfort in mind featuring “dream beds” with sateen sheets and down comforters, cable TV and private baths with all the amenities. The B&B has a separate entrance, private patio overlooking the gardens, a fully equipped guest kitchen and sitting area with visitor information and high speed internet access. Phone: 907.783.9464
- Bud & Carol's B&B - Conveniently situated in the scenic Girdwood valley, at the base of Mt. Alyeska Ski and Year Round Resort, 2 blocks to chair lifts, on ski shuttle route, walking/biking trail and entrance to cross country ski and dog sled trails. Phone: 907.783.3182
- Alpina Inn Bed & Breakfast - B&B with a private entrance to a 2 room suite. Sitting area, kitchen, bathroom with shower. Deck with sitting area that looks across the valley. Phone: 907.783.2482
- Girdwood Good Night B&B - Stowe Drive Luxurious comfort, privacy, and 750 sq.ft. of light-filled, modern living space await you! Enjoy mountain views, numerous amenities, and a full hot breakfast. Sleeps up to 4. Non-smoking. Phone: 907.783.3193
- Hidden Creek Bed and Breakfast - Nestled in the woods high atop Vail Drive, Hidden Creek Bed & Breakfast offers a place to surround yourself with nature, while soaking up the luxurious comforts of this beautiful craftsman home. This top-end B&B is located in Girdwood, Alaska. Phone: 907.783.5557
- The Alyeska Hostel  - Alyeska Hostel is newly renovated 907.783.2222
Crime is not much of a concern in Girdwood and the surrounding area however as is the case in all of Alaska mother nature is less amiable, threats include: bears, floods, and weather. Snowstorms blow in quickly and can cause power outages that may last days depending on the remoteness of your location, as well as block off roads with several feet of snow that may fall in a single night. Bring extra food, just in case, and always carry chains in your car as the road restrictions can come up quickly.
Do not feed the bears. Do not leave food or food wrappers in your car.
Prince William Sound is only a 30 minute drive from Girdwood. Sea Kayaking is a great way for energetic people to explore the coves and bays of this pristine environment.