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Alyeska is an archaic spelling of the Aleut word Alaska meaning "mainland", "great country", or "great land". The American state of Alaska derives its name from this word. Alyeska is related to the word Unalaska (or Ounalashka) from the same root. Alyeska, in loose translation, also means "the object towards which the action of the sea is directed," or "that which the seas breaks against."
An alpine ski area which developed in the early 1960s near Girdwood took the name "Alyeska" and, in following years, the developing neighborhood of ski cabins, condominiums, and supporting facilities built an unincorporated community using the name. Located about 35 miles (56 km) southeast of Anchorage (in the Municipality of Anchorage), Alyeska Resort at Mount Alyeska is a few miles northeast of Girdwood, a town alongside the Seward Highway that was largely abandoned after the 1964 Alaska earthquake lowered its elevation below the high tide levels of Cook Inlet, causing the town to move to a new site 3 miles (4.8 km) inland, absorbing the Alyeska community into Girdwood.
- Ransom, J. Ellis. 1940. Derivation of the Word ‘Alaska’. American Anthropologist n.s., 42: pp. 550-551
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