Winter is the season for outdoor activities. what? Most people can’t wait for summer to go hiking, sightseeing, and fishing. Well, these are all things you can do in winter, and there are many more. Over the past decade, winter tourism has surged. Many come from China and Japan, but India also contributes a fair share. In general, winter tourists come from warmer climates. They want to see the Northern Lights and want to experience real winter conditions. The influx of visitors has spawned a number of smaller tour operators offering multiple activities.
The majority of winter tour operators are home businesses. These people do not receive visitors for their livelihood, but they are an important additional source of income for their households. There are also a number of tourist-only businesses that can operate full-time businesses by serving out-of-towners.
Perhaps the greatest attraction Alaska has to offer is the Northern Lights. Northern lights are on almost everyone’s list of things to see. There are no guarantees when it comes to finding the light. Even when aurorae do appear, they are rarely as bright as the pictures on the calendar. Few tourists understand photography better than the capabilities of the iPhone. The published photo was taken with the aperture open on a tripod, giving the lights time to stack. And many times the clouds get in the way. Northern Lights Tours His operators are generally very good photographers and can afford to chase the firmament in search of the Northern Lights for their customers. It is not uncommon for him to travel 100 miles at night in search of the sky.
Northern winter has a lot to offer. Dog sledding is always a popular attraction. Opportunities for short general rides abound and are always popular among people checking things off their ‘to do list’. There are better experiences out there. Those who want to take their time and spend more time can visit kennels that offer more time with their dogs. Everything from a 2-mile ride to a 200-mile trip is available.
If you don’t like dogs or need to pack more, there are knowledgeable wildlife guides who will take you to photo opportunities with elk, reindeer and bison. Ice caving has also become popular in interiors for the last few seasons. There are several caves with easy access. The heavy tourist traffic at these locations can diminish the experience, but nothing beats the experience of walking under a glacier. Almost all glaciers are located in avalanche zones. Certain times of the year, certain types of snow cover, and current local weather can all create danger zones. Those without glacier experience need a knowledgeable guide.
[In Alaska, we get plenty of snow. But what do we really know about it?]
Snowmobile tours and rentals are also available for winter guests. If you have an Alaska resident friend or relative who would like to try snowmachining, tell them to bring their credit card. Not cheap. For those less brave and wanting to ride his one of these rockets, the tour is probably best for you. Guests are typically on well-maintained trails with all the proper equipment.
Ice fishing is another go-to activity for those from warmer climates. Fishing is never great in the dead of winter, especially when there is a lot of snow on the ice. Fishing generally improves as the days get longer. Tour operators targeting deeper lakes will have better success. Deep lakes have plenty of oxygen, which increases trout activity. Avoid people fishing in shallow lakes. Success rate is reduced in lakes less than 20 feet deep.
We’ve touched on winter activities that are more common for both visitors and residents: snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and even just sightseeing. If you are using a tour company, check them out. There is a big difference in price, experience and availability. See if your guide can equip you, at least partially. Winter gear rental companies exist, but most are not well equipped for outdoor activities lasting more than 30 minutes.
Here’s a general price guide you can expect for interiors:
Dog Sledding: $95+ per person. It depends on the length of the ride. Children are usually discounted. Ask if there are group discounts.
Snowmobiles: Snowmobiles can be rented for $275 and up per day. The tour he is $150 an hour and half more for a two-seater. Riders are also responsible for any damage they may cause to their machines. Broken front his glass will be about $150.
Ice fishing: $125 per person. It usually covers all gear, including heated tents. Those who want to experience the Alaskan climate directly may or may not need a tent. That’s your call.
Northern Lights Tours: These tours are all-inclusive. Special northern lights tours accompanied by knowledgeable photographers can start from $250 for a minimum of two people. More common group tours include 4 or more of her unrelated people. They start at $100 per person.
Ice Caving: Opportunities for this activity are limited. There are several guides who offer walking tours to various caves and offer snowshoeing. There are also some unscheduled snowmobile charters, which can be booked a day or two in advance. Walking trips start at $125 per person. Snowmobiling is about the same, but less if you have a group. Charter guests ride a sled rather than drive their own machine.
For visitors, bus service in Alaska is limited. Car rental is really the way to go. However, if you choose the bus service, allow extra time. Schedules are outside the Anchorage area or very limited. Visitors — Enjoy what our state has to offer. Resident — get up and get out! See what you’re missing!