Day 1 You'll See:
Day 2 You'll See:
- Free Time in Girdwood
- Tram Ride to Mt. Alyeska
Day 3 You’ll See:
- Sled Dog Races in Anchorage
Day 4 You’ll See:
Day 5 You’ll See
Day 6 You’ll See
- Chena Hot Springs
- Aurora Ice Museum
- Dog Mushing Tour
Get ready to walk around in a true winter wonderland, as you and your group embark on an exciting 6-day adventure through the heart of Alaska! The annual 10-day Fur Rondy Festival will set the tone for the whole trip, allowing your group to partake in various winter traditions there and throughout the mainland of Alaska. From Anchorage to Fairbanks, this trip is packed full of exciting opportunities to view the winter landscape, partake in winter recreational sports, ski down some of the best slopes in the nation, and even watch the most important dog races in the whole world. There are several opportunities to learn about the history and culture of Alaska through these long-practiced winter traditions, as well as even more opportunities to relax and enjoy the festivities like the locals do! Your group will definitely not be disappointed in this thrilling and beautiful trip to Alaska!
Anchorage Fur Rendezvous Festival - Start your trip off with a taste of the nation’s premier winter festival, the Anchorage Fur Rendezvous Festival, often times referred to as the Fur Rondy or just Rondy. This nationally and internationally renown festival began in 1935 as a sports tournament, including skiing, hockey, basketball, boxing, and children’s sled dog racing. It originally lasted 3 days and on its first year it brought out all 3,000 inhabitants of Anchorage. Now the Fur Rondy lasts 10 full days and brings out thousands of guests, each and every one excited to be a part of this unique piece of Alaskan history. During its 10 day run each February, the Fur Rondy puts on a classic fur auction, paying homage to the 3rd leading industry in Alaska’s economic past. It also features the ancient tradition of the blanket toss, tribal dance competitions, the World Championship Sled Dog Race, an exciting and game-filled Rondy Carnival, the extremely large Grand Parade, lighthearted outhouse races, snowshoe softball tournaments, a Madrid-like running of the reindeer, leisurely and competitive ice skating, and snow sculpture competitions. There is something fun and interesting to do everyday during this festival, so don’t worry about being here on a certain day!
Ceremonial Start of Iditarod Race - Get ready for this once in a lifetime opportunity to view the beginning of “The Last Greatest Race on Earth,” the Alaska Iditarod. This race pits man and animal versus nature as they travel down 1000 miles of the roughest and most beautiful terrain, encountering harsh mountain ranges, frozen rivers, dense forests, desolate tundra land, and miles of windy coastline. The conditions can be brutal, with temperatures plummeting far below zero, zero visibility winds, hours of darkness, and dangerously steep climbs. Thousands upon thousands of guests gather annually the first saturday of March to see the start of the sometimes two week long historic trek from Anchorage to Nome, gathered along various towns on the path along the west Bering Sea Coastline. The purpose of the race will be easily seen by your group, as they witness up close the majesty and power of the sled dogs, an Alaskan Husky breed that needed help being preserved after the introduction of snowmobiles in the area. Your group will not be disappointed to see all the excitement that comes with the start of the Iditarod Race in Anchorage!
Free Time in Girdwood - Girdwood is a small Alaskan mountain town about 36 miles south of Anchorage. Unlike Anchorage, however, Girdwood strives to provide a small town vibe and takes pride in allowing guests to escape all the city hustle and bustle of Anchorage. Girdwood is known as the new ‘recreation capital’ of Alaska, home to the only year-round resort in Alaska, the Alyeska. The city is situated between peaks of the Chugach Mountain Range and is nestled in a lush temperate rainforest, giving the area a completely unique geographical setting. Home to seven awe-inspiring permanent glaciers, the city was originally called “Glacier City” and was first visited by gold miners in need of a permanent and easy-to-find supply camp. After the railroad came through in 1915, industry boomed and the landscape once again changed, bringing about a golden era in tourism. The Alyeska Resort combined with the local Chugach Powder Guides provide the absolute best opportunities for Nordic skiing, snowmobiling, and dog mushing.The summers are full of long days (reaching 20 hours of sunlight and conversely during the winter) perfect for fishing, hiking, biking, rafting, or scenic flying. This resort destination is a perfect spot for a class trip, graduation celebration, or just a well-needed fun-filled vacation!
Tram Ride to Mt. Alyeska - Your trip to Girdwood wouldn’t be complete without a scenic and relaxing ride on the Alyeska Aerial Tram! This 3-7 minute tram ride doesn’t last long but the views you will take in during it will create memories that last a lifetime, voted “best view of any U.S. ski resort.” During your ride from the Alyeska Hotel to the top of Alyeska Mountain you will gain an altitude of 2,300 feet and have the best views of the seven hanging glaciers, Turnagain Arm, endless Chugach peaks, sparkling streams, and tall spruces. If you look down during your ride you’re also likely to see local wildlife, such as moose or bears. Once you get to the top you will have the chance to look once more at your surroundings at the observation deck. During the summer months your group will have the chance to explore the area with multiple glacier hiking trails, berry picking, or paragliding. The observation deck also gives you the opportunity to have a relaxing dinner or take in the gorgeous Alaskan sunset!
Sled Dog Races in Anchorage - Back to Anchorage for the highlight of the 10-day winter festival, the Sled Dog Races. This 3-day event pits the fastest sled dogs on earth against each other in 3 separate rounds of 25 mile heats, a total of 75 miles by day 3 of this weekend Fur Rondy event. This event began in 1946 and has since become the most anticipated sprint race in North America. The race starts on the corner of 4th Avenue and D Street in downtown Anchorage and takes racers through main streets, city forest area, local neighborhoods, and then back downtown again. With the focus on speed and not endurance, this race is one of the most exciting and intense events you will see on your Alaska adventure. The dogs are a testament to endurance, speed, and agility, making them some of the top competitors and athletes in the state. Your group will have an exciting day full of racing and other fun Fur Rondy festival events!
Mat- Su Valley - Continue your great Alaskan adventure here at Matanuska-Susitna Valley, more commonly referred to as Mat-Su Valley. Located in south central Alaska, this outdoor lover’s paradise boasts the best views of Denali while still being only 45 minutes north of Anchorage. Taking up a whopping 23,000 square miles, this destination is an all-in-one vacation location, offering all of Alaska’s scenic views, outdoor activities, and historical landmarks all within the valley.You can visit the historic and fertile farming town of Palmer, boasting some of the largest vegetables imaginable including a 103 pound cabbage. The Iditarod trek path can be visited in the valley, as well as the city of Talkeetna which provides access to Mt. McKinley, North America’s highest mountain peak. Your group will be thoroughly astounded as they take in the views of Mat-Su Valley’s tall mountains, huge glacier valleys, ample rivers and lakes, hiking trails, camping grounds, and historic frontier communities. Choose between flight-seeing the glaciers peaks, ATV-ing Knik Glacier, kayaking the 500 miles of exceptional recreation rivers, or anything else your group desires at Mat-Su Valley!
Hatcher Pass - Deep within the mysterious Talkeetna Mountains, between the small towns of WIllow and Palmer, your group will find the local delight of Hatcher Pass. Locals absolutely love this area for recreation and scenic drives along Hatcher Pass Road, a 60 mile narrow road winding through the Talkeetna Mountains. One of the biggest draws to this location outside of the amazing mountain views is the Independence Mine Historical Park. A visit to this historic landmark will show your group the history of 206 workers and 16 families who, in their time, brought 140,000 ounces of gold out of the mountains. The park shows how this mining effort, along with many others in Alaska, came to face major decline after WWII left its lasting mark. Hatcher Pass also offers unique hiking opportunities among the alpine tundra, dotted with Alaska wildflowers and ptarmigan, as well as phenomenal skiing. After learning about the mining history of this location, hiking the numerous trails and taking in all the roadside scenery you can, enjoy a relaxing lunch or dinner picnic at a breath-taking 4,000 ft altitude, a unique opportunity only Hatcher Pass offers its guests!
Explore Fairbanks -Many people miss out on the opportunity to visit Fairbanks, an Alaskan city further out than most, but this gem of a town is a great vacation destination that you and your group won’t want to miss a second of. Known as the ‘Last Frontier’ and also the ‘gateway to Denali,’ this area in Alaska is vastly wild outside of city limits. With access to the Denali National Park, as well as heavy surrounding woodlands, Fairbanks is a wild adventure lover's paradise. In the city you will have the chance to take in the past era of the gold rush while catching up with the vibrant and diverse art and culture scene present today. The shopping scene here is incredible also, offering many unique art galleries, bookstores, clothing stores, gift shops, sporting stores, as well as several locally owned niche shops. Within Fairbanks your group can get an up close glimpse of the Trans-Alaskan pipeline or head over to Pioneer Park for an authentic look at frontier days, complete with original log cabins. Check out the University of Alaska Museum, the only research museum in the whole state, and brush up on your northern lights facts while observing them or the famous Fairbanks midnight sun! Fairbanks is also full of great food, from fresh seafood to caribou steaks!
World Ice Art Championships - Every March 45,000 visitors flock to Fairbanks' own Ice Park to witness some of the most unique and challenging artistic sculpting in the world and celebrate the coming arrival of Spring. Originally, this event started out as a week-long festival in which locals would celebrate the spring by coming outdoors and ‘playing’ in the soon to be quickly melting snow. Ice thrones were made for the 1930s winter carnival, and from there the festival atmosphere has grown into a world-class competition featuring over 100 ice artists per year. The artists represent a total of 45 countries since the championships’ beginning, ranging from Argentina to Vietnam. Within the 25 acre Ice Park guests and spectators will find O’Grady’s Pond, also commonly called the ‘arctic diamond,’ in which competitors harvest large ice blocks to work with. One of the most unique things about this location is the Kids Park, a 4-acre ever-expanding park full of playful ice attractions. This section includes an ice rink, slides, mazes, and plenty of interactive toys and structures to climb on, all entirely made of ice! Prepare to be amazed by the structures and sculptures these artists can create, while at the same time appreciating the art and culture behind it!
Chena Hot Springs - What better way to start off your last day in Alaska than with a trip to the most developed hot springs destination in the whole state, Chena Hot Springs. Located on Hot Springs Rock Lake, this hot spring is a part of the much larger Chena Hot Springs Resort, which also boasts an outdoor hot tub and indoor family swimming pool. With its remote location 60 scenic miles from Fairbanks, wildlife viewing and Northern Lights views are highly above average out here, especially late August to early May. Some believe these mineral-filled waters are the source of the Fountain of Youth, others believe it cures ailments, and the rest just believe it is one of the best places in Alaska to relax. Though there aren’t known "healing" powers, per say, the water from the hot spring is known to help ease bronchial and muscle irritations with the constant steam and warm temperatures. When you and your group are done soaking up the midnight sun head inside to the Aurora Ice Bar for some delicious adult beverages or book a quick (or long) Harmony Massage. Whether it’s relaxation or a unique adventure you’re looking for, Chena Hot Springs is the place to be!
Aurora Ice Museum- Aurora Ice Museum is the largest year-round ice environment in the whole world, making it another essential winter wonderland tour stop for your group! This museum is made from over 1,000 tons of ice and snow harvested from and around the local Chena Hot Springs Resort. With its humble beginning in 2005, this unique art gallery features heavily the work of Steve Brice, a 16 time Ice World Championship winner as well as his wife, a 7 time Championship winner. Inside, a chilly 25 degree climate will greet you, maintained by a large and highly innovative absorption chiller, the first of its kind meant for this purpose. Be sure to check out the main gallery’s ever-changing colored ice crystal chandeliers, made to recreate the natural wonder of the Aurora Borealis and its lighting effects on the landscape. Your group will have the chance to take a 2 hour ice carving class or maybe just head over to the popular Ice Bar for a rest. Even if you aren’t of age it’s a unique bar viewing opportunity, offering appletinis served in ice-carved martini glasses. Sitting on the caribou fur covered stools by the ice fireplace (yes that’s right, the ice fireplace) will provide your group a cozy rest area while they take in the marvel that is the Aurora Ice Museum.
Dog Mushing Tour - The essence of an Alaskan winter wonderland will have to include an experience with some of the stars of the state’s most impressive athletic teams, the Alaskan Huskies. Stop by Paws for Adventure in Fairbanks for the thrill of a lifetime as you can choose between a 30 minute or full hour ride with a pack of trained dogs! Between October and April the dog mushing business booms, and this company gives you the opportunity to experience the thrill of a dog-powered transportation system and adventure of the cross-snowy country trip, while still allowing you to feel safe and comfortable with an experienced musher on board at all times. Choose between sitting closer to the action in the riding basket or stand up and ride like the pros behind the musher. This action packed route will take you uphill, downhill, and through the thick spruce forest, letting you truly feel the power and eagerness of the hardworking huskies. The Alaskan Huskies used for this enterprise are of the same breed used for long-distance races, such as the Iditarod. Get ready for a lot of personality, and we're not talking about the mushers! The dogs are all well-behaved and have very unique personalities, from possessive to goofy to energetic. And don’t forget, they love doing this so you should love watching this amazing act of animal and man vs. nature as you ride smoothly along the scenic Fairbanks countryside!