this will be new land to you it can be very cold - 20 to- 30 below it is not Maine you will be great distances from help so go prepaired there is "not" a lot of places to stay like Maine the snow will be different not like Maine just be carfull as you can loose your life an have fun Sid
Forgot to say you should have a good GPS an know how to use it, as there will be very little or no trails to follow, the ones you will find will be from a trappers cabin to town an back also the daylight will be very short, a lot shorter then you expect, you will travel a lot in the dark, an do have extra gas on the snowmobile no gas stations around the cornner still want you to know it will be cold very cold then Sid
Can you describe the snow and how it is different than Maine? I have heard reference to this before. Can anyone shead any light on a blow hole? How big/deep and where to find them? Or not find them by accident.
snow in AK is real dry for the most part due to the extreme cold. during that time of the year you may have 4-5 hours of daylight tops. I have no experience riding around Tok, but I have been to Summit (mountains) many times. There seems to be no texture to the snow....kinda like sugar.
I've taken my snowmachine from Tok to Dawson City, Yukon via Top of the World for the past seven winters...in February. There is an international snow machine run that started about 13 years ago and around 200 riders take that trip during three separate runs in February and March. Google up "Trek over the top" and you'll learn about it. The area is spectacular, but can be brutal. -42F was the coldest temp when leaving Tok, and we hit areas around the rivers that were much, much colder that trip. It's almost always "below zero something". Be ready for ice fog, white outs, blow holes and a couple of interesting side-hills (one called "Terrible Terrace"). Also it has been totally clear, but don't count on it. Snow can get skinny on the tops where it is prone to blowing. You are not allowed to cross the border unless you register in advance with customs of both countries, so beware. People live in Chicken year round (about 60 miles up the Taylor) and Boundary (just this side of the border). They will likely have gasoline for you. Do your homework and be safe.
I have been doing lots of homework for this trip and the more I find out the more I want to know. The area from Tok up to Tuktoyaktuk, NWT is the most important at this time. We are all set on Alberta to Maine as these areas have more population and info is abundant. Thanks for all the responses and keep them coming. Every little bit helps at this point. We think we are well prepared and are hoping for a safe enjoyable trip.
I understand a blow hole is a hole in the snow from wind, but can't picture it exactly. Does anyone have a pic or a better description? How deep, how wide etc.?
I'm not sure exactly what you're planning to do. Are you trailering your snowmachines accross Canada and riding in interesting areas or what?
Usually found along the downwind side of a ridge or similar structure, "blow holes" are places where the wind has extensively drifted the snow, then formed tunnels as strong winds passed through the drifts. I've not seen them often, but once on the top of the world highway in February they were so extensive during a 100 yard stretch that we encountered about five or six in a row. The first one was "found" by the lead sled in our group when he literally disappeared right in front of me. His Ski-doo Summit totally nosed straight down into the blow hole. It took three of us to pull it out. No pictures...wished we had.
Our sleds will be shipped to Tok in the fall and we are flying there in January to ride them back to Maine. Exact routes have been planned for certain parts and other areas we will figure out as we get there. We would like to ride in all the provinces that we can get to depending on conditions at the time. Except for a couple ferry crossings in the east the plan is to ride the whole way and for the purposes of this ride trailering will be regarded as a sin only to be done as a last resort. We are doing this self funded, unsupported, just for fun, to meet people from away,to see some new country, do some winter camping and to drive the skis off of our sleds.
It looks like the Nunavut may be a real chore to get to and info on this area has been slow to date.
That area has a strong learning curve. I would not count on gas in chicken in january. And you will not need snowshoes because in january if your snowgo breaks down you will not be alive long enough to make it to safety. January is the coldest month of the year it is normal for temps to be -60 to -70 below zero the record temprature for north america is about -84 below and it was in canada across the alcan hwy just over the border. As the raven flies that is about 100 miles from where you will be traveling. No worries have a good time.
For the record-
In Jan 1943 a US crew was building an airstrip on a hilltop for ferrying planes to Russia. On that fateful morning they recorded a temperature of minus 88 degrees. That temp was taken at an elevation of 1500 ft. above the river below. Can't imagine what the temp was down at lower elevation.
In one of your posts, you said you’re going to fly to Tok. I know you can fly to Anchorage (330 miles to Tok) or Fairbanks (170 miles to Tok). I don’t think you can fly to Tok. Unless you take a small airplane.
We'll be flying to Anchorage and then ride the bus to Tok. We were going to fly to Fairbanks because it's closer to Tok but plane fair to Anchorage is so much less we will save 400 by taking a longer bus ride.
No trailer. We found ways to carry our gear and extra fuel on the sleds. If I figure out how I'll post a pic, it looks like the beverly hillbillies.
seeing that you will be carring all your equipment, when you are all loaded up with your camp gear an gas, how far can you get befor you need to get more gas? that is when you are breaking trail ,an the trail is not marked very well or at all. we have very few groumed trails if you can find them. not sure what you will get in once you cross the line, don't forget to check in with Customs [US & CAN.]every time you cross the Border, they get a little up set when you cross the linean an don't check in with the country that you are going into,
We think we have plenty of extra gas. 25 gallons each total. Over the top will most likely be the hardest part of the trip. As you've mentioned braking trail, getting stuck, wrong turn etc. can chew up gas pretty quick. These 4 strokes get pretty good economy and we've planned on half of the normal fuel milage when planning on how much extra to haul. 200 miles from Tok to Dawson barring any wrong turns would be 4 mpg and we usually get 16 or better on groomed trails. We have to go 250 or better on some other parts of the trip but those will be better trails. WE THINK.
We'll be carrying tent and camping gear, cooking, heating and food for a week if needed. PLB, sat phone, gps, shovel, a list of survival gear and possibles and naturally the afore mentioned useless snow shoes.
As for customs, we've checked with Beaver Creek and Dawson Airport and so far we still have a few questions but we'll work it out. Beaver Creek says we need to write a letter to some minister of tourism to ask permission to even do this ride, and the worst part is they want all my bank account numbers so they can see how much money I have. They also told me I need to carry at least 9000.00 cash with me in case I wreck my sled. I'll need to be able to buy a new one cash so I don't become a burden on the country. I personally think this is wrong and is most likely based on this guys personal opinion. How do you get into Canada with a 400,000.00 motor home? Suit case O cash? We don't mind catching a lift to Beaver Creek to preregister or even better have someone meet us in Dawson. I enter Quebec all the time and have never done more than show my drivers license and answer a few questions. Once in a great while they'll paw through my gear. Any insight on this issue will be greatly appreciated.
The only thing we didn't get a hard time about is the shot gun. Go figure.