Let us abandon the perceived notion of dreary winters and long-hours of darkness. In actuality, Central Alaska is a winter wonderland worth visiting during the coldest months. In the land of extremes, filled with vast wilderness and untamed nature, there are endless places to visit and things to do, and each is unique that it is difficult to find in the other parts of the world. If you plan to unfold the veils of Central Alaska’s winter, here are the top six unique experiences that are promised to make your Alaska trip memorable.
Aurora Borealis over Chena Hot Springs Fairbanks, Alaska
Northern lights over Chena Hot Springs
Drive 68 miles outside Fairbanks’ city center to reach Chena Hot Springs Resort, a place famous for natural outdoor springs. When it is under -30 Celsius outside, dip into the outdoor heated pool for a relaxing soak in the healing mineral waters that can accommodate dozens of people at once. For those who wish to observe the Northern Lights, Chena Hot Springs are said to have the minimal light pollution that is perfect for the lights to be highly visible overhead. Basking yourself in the water while watching the northern lights display is an exciting way to enjoy your winter holiday.
Northern Lights Forecast: http://www.gi.alaska.edu/AuroraForecast
Aurora Winter Train
Take a 12-hour train ride from Fairbanks to Anchorage to explore Alaska’s country-side, a place filled with the Denali mountain range, rugged terrain, and endless white solitude that is inaccessible by road. The train even stops at Sarah Palin’s hometown, Wasilla, allowing visitors to take a sneak peek at what her city looks like. Settle-in for a relaxed journey in the glass-domed dining cars for a warm breakfast and a 180 degree of sweeping vistas. For those who are tired of driving on the snowy and icy highway, Alaska Railroad promises an exciting journey in complete comfort. It is a hassle-free way to experience winter in Central Alaska.
Picture: View from Aurora Winter Train
Meet Santa on Christmas Eve
If you want a handshake with Santa, then a visit to Santa Claus House cannot be skipped. This property was built by Nillie Miller in 1952 with a mission of providing a true Christmas spirit. The Santa Claus House offers a true Christmas ambiance with Christmas toys, ornaments, and a letter walls display letters sent by the children from all over the world. The Santa also writes tailored letters to millions of children to wish them a Merry Christmas. Do not forget to send postcards to your family and friends from Santa’s House with your heart-warming wishes.
Ice Sculpture at Faribanks’s Ice Park. Photo Credit: Peng Li
World Ice Art Championship
Regarded as one of the largest ice art competitions in the world, the World Ice Art Championship has been held annually at Fairbanks’s Ice Park. The event draws ice carvers, visitors, and volunteers from around the globe. You have the opportunity to browse through the fantastic, intricate pieces of multi-block ice art created by world renowned artists. In addition to appreciating the masterpieces of the ice artists, you have the option to take a quick ice sculpture class, get entertained at the kids’ park, or simply mingle with the artists in the cafeteria. The 2017 World Ice Art Championship starts on February 27.
Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race
The annual long distance Sled Dog Race takes place every March, and it draws the best sled dog mushers and worldwide interest. Covering 11 miles from Anchorage to Nome, the field dog team runs for two weeks and crosses the toughest and wildest terrain Mother Nature has to offer. In addition to the inclement weather, the sled team has to battle with the total loss of visibility, strong wind, treacherous terrain, and long hours of darkness. It is a wonderful event to showcase the local culture and Alaskan spirit. The 2017 race starts on the 4th of March, and the temperature is predicted to be below zero over that time.
Pciture: Seward Highway under the sunset, Winter 2019
If you are looking for an Alaskan road trip, venture to the Seward Highway. This highway is a 200-kilometer coastal road that connects Anchorage and the coastal community of Seward. Throughout the journey, your visual senses will be bombarded by the pristine inlet, jagged cliffs, wildlife, and the snowy peaks on the Kenai Penninsula. A brief stop on the highway allows you to view the waterfall cascading down the valley; see the snowy mountains meet the sea, and marvel at intrepid locals skiing on Mount Alyeska. The sunset even adds an illusion of a soft glow of a soft glow on the snowy peak. An afternoon stroll along the shores of the Portage Glaciers dates you back to the Ice Age, where you will have a close-up view of humongous icebergs on a frozen Portage Lake. Bring your cameras and fill your memory stick with postcard quality pictures.
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