With or without the sun, Alaskans find ways to have fun all year long
Alaskans find fun with or without the sun all year long.
Alaskans love the winter nearly as much as the summer, and there is no shortage of festivals and events throughout the season celebrating the cold, the snow and the magnificent performances of the Aurora Borealis otherwise known as the Northern Lights, not to mention the rugged spirit of the state’s residents.
Alaskans have found ways to embrace the short days and long nights, and hearty visitors to the Last Frontier who don’t mind a little cold now make up more than 10 percent of the nearly 2 million who travel here each year.
A popular destination is Alyes- ka Resort, a 304-room hotel about 40 miles south of Anchorage in the town of Girdwood, which features world- class skiing of both the downhill and Nordic variety. Find out more at alyeskaresort.com.
The resort gets an average of 650 inches of snowfall each year, and features 2,500 vertical feet of terrain spread over 1,610 skiable acres, including North America’s longest double-black run.
If you’re in Fairbanks between the end of February or through March, checking out the BP World Ice Art Championships is a must. The event has grown from a one-week, 8-team competition in 1990, to a month-long attraction involving more than 70 teams from all over the world.
The competitions, and the accompanying kids park, attract more than 100 ice artists and approximately 45,000 visitors each year. The Ice Park opens Feb. 23, 2015, and you can learn more about it at icealaska.com.
In Anchorage, the 10- day Fur Rendezvous Festival known as Fur Rondy to locals is capped by a fireworks show and the ceremonial start of the Iditarod on downtown’s Fourth Avenue. The festival includes carnivals, sled dog races and the “Running of the Reindeer.”
In 2015, Fur Rondy will celebrate its 70th anniversary and concludes March 7, with the 1,000mile Iditarod sled dog race getting underway officially in Willow the following day. More about both events can be found at furrondy. net and iditarod.com.
Marking spring in Fairbanks, the Arctic Man competition will mark its 30th year in April 2015. Known as the “last and craziest party of the winter,” Arctic Man is a race involving a two-man team of a skier and a snowmachiner featuring steep downhill drops and the snowmachine pulling the skier at speeds faster than 80 miles per hour. See more about this race at arcticman.com.
Also in the Interior is the Chena Hot Springs Resort, one of Alaska’s most well-known destinations in any season. A winter visit is truly a memorable experience at the resort about 60 miles northeast of Fairbanks. Whenever you may visit, make sure to tour the unique Aurora Ice Museum maintained by World Ice Art Champions, Steve and Heather Brice. The facility is operational year round using the same geothermal energy that heats and powers the resort and keeps the Aurora Ice Museum a cool 25 degrees Fahrenheit inside year round. Learn more at chenahotsprings.com.
World- class skiing
Aurora Museum bar
Ice Art Championships