Results 1 to 17 of 17

Thread: Suggestions for activities for a winter trip

  1. #1

    Default Suggestions for activities for a winter trip

    Long story short, I have long dreamed to live in Alaska and we have a target of 2016. In reading a lot of threads here and elsewhere, I see many people that suggest visiting in the winter. Makes perfect sense to me and I really want to do that before the commitment to move is made. So, what activities would you all suggest during a winter visit?

  2. #2

    Default

    I think the options would really depend on your timeline and/or location. If you have enough time and/or are going to be in the Fairbanks area, I would suggest a run out to Chena Hot Springs. Maybe use it as an overnight stop on a road trip tour from Anchroage to Fairbanks and back or even driving the loop (Anchorage-Fairbanks-Glenallen-Anchorage). If you are interested in downhill skiing, maybe swing down to Girdwood to play at Alyeska for a day or two.

    If you have the flexibility, maybe target your travel plans to fit around something like Fur Rondy that is coming up, although that is more of a spring thing and may not give you a good idea of what to expect in the middle of winter.

    If you have some ideas about what part of Alaska you were considering and what types of things you like to do currently, it might help to steer you in the direction that might be of most interest.

  3. #3
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Eagle River, AK
    Posts
    13,396

    Default

    For a really cool adventure, contact Alpine Creek Lodge and arrange to ride a snowmachine (called a snowmobile elsewhere ) 70 miles out to their lodge. You'll see some incredibly beautiful country and get a feel for the expanse of some areas of Alaska. Granted, that wouldn't really do anything to help you with the decision to move here, but it sure would be fun. You might also consider a winter king salmon fishing charter out of Homer - call Josh Brooks on the Huntress for that one.

    As for low-key, low-expense options, there is still lots of hiking/climbing to be done in the winter.

  4. #4

    Default

    Thanks for the reply. I think the initial target would be somewhere in or around the valley. I have been up there numerous times in the summer for fishing and hunting and this last August I brought the girlfriend up for the first time. For her trip, we did a power tour going from Anchorage down to Whittier, taking the ferry over to Valdez, then driving up to Fairbanks and back to Anchorage. I think the loop would be interesting in the winter time.

    Yeah, timing will be tricky. As much as it makes sense to experience the dark and the cold, I also don't want to spend the whole time in the dark. As mentioned, driving the loop would be cool in the winter but kinda pointless if it was dark the majority of the time. Also, we will definitely be flexible since the weather could definitely play a part in the activities we try to do.

    I like the idea of the hot springs. Been by there a couple times but that never clicked as something to do. It has been years since I have been skiing and the GF doesn't ski so we would probably skip that.

    The Fur Rondy looks like a cool event and the end of February would fit a little better with a little more daylight. I could definitely see attending that and maybe doing a run up to Fairbanks. Thanks for the ideas and please keep them coming.

  5. #5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    For a really cool adventure, contact Alpine Creek Lodge and arrange to ride a snowmachine (called a snowmobile elsewhere ) 70 miles out to their lodge. You'll see some incredibly beautiful country and get a feel for the expanse of some areas of Alaska. Granted, that wouldn't really do anything to help you with the decision to move here, but it sure would be fun. You might also consider a winter king salmon fishing charter out of Homer - call Josh Brooks on the Huntress for that one.

    As for low-key, low-expense options, there is still lots of hiking/climbing to be done in the winter.
    Yeah, as I mentioned, I have been up there a bunch and I have seen a good chunk of that expansive country. Mostly I think this trip would be more for the girlfriend to really show her what it is like. I will be bringing her up again this August so she can do some more fun summer stuff like some fishing, hiking and rafting.

    The snowmachine thing would be fun but the lodge might be a little more than we want to spend. How about some places to rent snowmachines closer to Anchorage/Wasilla or Fairbanks? I wouldn't mind getting out for some hiking but we might need to rent some gear, any suggestions for a place to get some gear we might need?

  6. #6
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Eagle River, AK
    Posts
    13,396

    Default

    There are some snowmachine rental places around, but I don't know the specifics.

    As for hiking, if you stick to the flat stuff you won't need any specialized gear besides a warm jacket. Head up to the end of Eagle River valley and hike the trails behind the Nature Center. They stay packed all winter and are really mild.

  7. #7

    Default

    Thanks Brian. I checked out the website for the Nature Center and that looks like it would work well.

  8. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    952

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by colonel00 View Post
    The snowmachine thing would be fun but the lodge might be a little more than we want to spend. How about some places to rent snowmachines closer to Anchorage/Wasilla or Fairbanks? I wouldn't mind getting out for some hiking but we might need to rent some gear, any suggestions for a place to get some gear we might need?
    The snowmachines will cost you more than the lodge. There is an outfit in Girdwood that does guided day snowmobile tours.

    Another option, although not cheap either, would be to get flown out to one of the lodges in the western Susitna Valley. Time it so you are there for either the Iron Dog or Iditarod. You would have to book early - like now for next year.

    As mentioned, go King fishing out of Homer. Drive down and stay at Land's End or a B&B.

  9. #9

    Default

    Thanks NRick. I just glanced at the lodge site and saw that the 3 day package started at like $3200/person which is pretty steep, especially if we were really looking to put away money for a move. I will look at it further though.

    I definitely would like to get down to Homer. For all the times I have been up there, I have only been down to Seward but nowhere else on the peninsula. What time of year is good for a king charter?

  10. #10
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    5,594

    Default

    I don't know if a winter trip will really give you an idea of how well you'll deal with the winter, as living some place is completely different then vacationing up there. I spent alot of time around Lake Tahoe during the winters and figured I was plenty prepared for long winters, but the reality of living someplace that has 5-6 months of winter is totally different than a 1-2 week visit. Don't be suprised if you find yourself sluggish and iritable from Thanksgiving until around New Years as the prolonged lack of sunlight has a very real and noticeable affect on your body.

    You don't need to go on expensive excursions to enjoy the winter up here and I'd say you're better off trying activities you're likely to be engaged in when you move up here. There are so many trails in the parks and even within Anchorage city limits that it'll take years to discover them all. As far as appropriate footware or specialized gear, the snow conditions very so much through the winter that within a one week time span you could need snow shoes one day, light hiking boots a few days later and crampons by the end of the week.

    There really is no reason not to get out in the winter as there are a host of activities you can enjoy outside depending on your inclination, budget and weather, hiking, ice skating, xc-skiing, downhill skiing, snowboarding, backcountry, ice climbing, ice fishing, snowmachining, photography, etc.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

  11. #11
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    952

    Default

    Everything Paul said is right. You don’t need to go on an expensive trip to experience a piece of winter up here. Some of the other options were already mentioned so I was just throwing out more ideas. Also, there are different lodges with different prices.

    REI in Anchorage rents cross country ski gear and snow shoes. As mentioned, there are plenty of trails around and if you are comfortable on ski gear you go spend time doing that. If not, snowshoes are pretty easy to pick up and would allow you to travel around on snow for hikes if it is soft.

    Yes, a week or two will not be enough to really understand living in winter up here. However, if after two weeks you or your girlfriend hates it, well, that tells you something.

  12. #12
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Palmer, AK
    Posts
    723

    Default

    Hint: if she doesn't hate it in two weeks, she will eventually.

  13. #13

    Default

    Winter activities are pretty much the same in most any northern state/climate. The only real noticeable difference in AK is the darkness factor and the cost.
    “You touch my junk, I'm going to have you arrested.” - Groping objector

  14. #14

    Default

    Thanks again for the replies. I understand and agree that a quick little trip won't be anything like living through an entire winter. I just feel that there is value in at least trying to experience what we can to at least get a glimpse into what might be in our future.

    Unfortunately down here (Kansas City) we are just on the edge of the "northern states" so we get some brutal cold snaps but then it warms back up. Last week we had a foot of snow, tomorrow it will be 50 and should stay warm for a good week or two. Anyway, my point is we really don't have "winter activities" around here so we would like to get out and do some things we normally can't here at home.

  15. #15
    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Wasilla
    Posts
    1,481

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by colonel00 View Post
    I definitely would like to get down to Homer. What time of year is good for a king charter?
    like right now through March

  16. #16
    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Wasilla
    Posts
    1,481

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Old John View Post
    like right now through March
    actually that's misleading, you can catch kings most any time of the year out of Homer, but right now it's the Winter (feeder) kings and some of the boats are doing very nice right now.. Of course there is no guarantee for any time of the year, but Winter King fishing in Feb/Mar is something every fisherman/woman should have on their bucket list..!

  17. #17
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    5,594

    Default

    The important thing to remember is to get out, here are some photos from various hikes over the years.

    Eagle River Nature Center



    Turnagain arm



    BLM/Cambel Creek Science Center Anchorage



    Flat top Anchorage

    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •