Winter in Alaska is prime time for Alaskans and the time of year we enjoy our favorite outdoor sports and activities. As Alaska’s natural surroundings become even more dramatic in the winter, new opportunities for viewing aurora borealis (the northern lights), dog sledding, ice fishing, ice climbing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, skiing and more open up new territory for all Alaska visitors.
Alaska’s most popular winter visitor experiences include northern lights viewing and dog mushing, but there is plenty more to see and do. The Interior and Far North regions sit below what is known as the “auroral oval,” a crown of charged particles that rings the earth’s northernmost latitudes and leads to intense northern lights displays. Northern lights viewing tours combine viewing from backcountry cabins or other ideal locations with activities like soaking in hot springs, romantic dinners, dog mushing, skiing, snowmobiling and more.
Alaska dog sledding, or mushing tours can range from an hour to several days, giving guests hands on experience as well as information about the care and feeding of sled dogs. Several of these dog mushing tours are oriented around the state’s biggest sporting event – the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race – including one that follows the 1,049-mile race from the start in Anchorage to the finish in Nome. Other winter activities include visiting museums and cultural facilities, snowmobiling, Alpine and Nordic skiing, snowshoeing and winter rail tours.
Alaska’s main winter cities are Anchorage and Fairbanks, with dozens of tours and activities for visitors to choose from. Girdwood and Alyeska Resort ski area are located just south of Anchorage along Turnagain Arm. From Fairbanks, winter tours are available to the Far North by air, by road on the Dalton Highway, or a combination of the two. The Alaska Railroad’s winter trains run from Anchorage to Fairbanks and back with a stop in Talkeetna along the way. Many hotels offer guests a northern lights wake-up call so you don’t miss the magic, which often reaches its peak after midnight.
Come experience the real Alaska on an Alaska winter vacation or tour with us!