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Is Girdwood one of America's best ski towns?

Alaska Dispatch
Loren Holmes photo

Powder Magazine is wrapping up its own election: The publication wants to know which American ski town is your favorite in the 2012 "Ski Town Throwdown." And, Alaskans, that means defending Girdwood, the ski town outside Anchorage.

Powder describes the voting process as "just like March Madness": "In our November issue, we used MIT graduate Groomer Gary’s algorithm to rank the top 32 ski towns in North America. Now, it’s your turn. We used that ranking to give each ski area a seed ... Then we put them in brackets ... The best ski town in North America will rise to the top."

Alaska's Girdwood is home to Alyeska Resort, which was recently named one of the 40 best ski resorts in North America by Outside Magazine. As its first ascent toward the title, Girdwood must face and defeat Stowe, Vermont's Smuggler's Notch. The winner of this pairing will move on to do battle with one of two Idaho resorts: Sandpoint or Ketchum. And from there ... anything is possible.

Polls close at 7 p.m. Tuesday Alaska time. You can follow the election online by clicking here and visiting Powder magazine's Facebook page.

One of the best ski resorts

Outside magazine has compiled a list of the top 40 ski resorts in North America, and has ranked Alyeska Resort in Girdwood, Alaska, in 39th place.

Considered a “smallish” resort by the magazine, with only 9 ski lifts, Alyeska receives kudos for having more powder days than any other resort on the list, at 33 percent per season. They cite discounted under-the-stars skiing on dark winter evenings as one perk, and the 60-passenger aerial tram and its mountain view as another, and it calls the 400-foot Alyeska Superpipeline "a 55-foot-wide freestyler’s in-ground heaven with 18-foot walls.”

However, Outside magazine cites two factors that knock Alyeska down on the list. Lack of daycare, for one. The magazine says Alyeska is the only resort in all of North America to have zero facilities for parents to take their kids. The other was a lack of “green efforts” to conserve energy at the resort.

The No. 1 ski resort, according to Outside magazine? Squaw Valley in Olympic Valley, Calif., the host of the 1960 Olympic Winter Games, which the publication says has retained all its glory in the years since.

Outside mag must be expecting some backlash from dedicated snow riders who think their preferred mountains aren’t topping the list, however: “We don’t expect you to agree with all our decisions,” but there’s “something for everyone in our final list.”

Check out the entire list, here. And read about the new mural being painted on the ceiling of the Sitzmark Bar and Grill, a traditional Alyeska apres-ski spot, here. The new ceiling art has caused one writer to dub it the "The Sitz-tine Chapel."