This tour combines the Highlights of the Iditarod Race, a scenic trip with the Alaska Railroad to Fairbanks and the Northern Lights. Witness the highly active Iditarod Ceremonial Start in downtown Anchorage, the re-start activities in Willow and the extremely scenic checkpoint flight to Rainy Pass within the magnificent Alaska Mountain Range. Travel with the famous Alaska Railroad along the magnificent snow covered Alaska Mountain Range to Fairbanks. Chena Hot Springs Resort provides some of Alaska's most perfect and almost 100 % guaranteed Northern Lights viewing in a remote wilderness setting just below the Arctic Circle. This is the perfect itinerary for our independent and active travelers who strive to experience some highlights of the Iditarod. Join us and get an unforgettable insight view and first hand race information from the thoughest and most popular sled dog race in the world.
Anchorage | Mushers Banquet (Thursday)
Upon arrival in Anchorage transfer to your hotel. Join our guided city sightseeing tour (optional) and explore the sights and highlights of Anchorage. Visit the historical and scenic points of interest around Anchorage: Alaska's largest (Ski) Floatplane Base at Lake Hood, scenic lookout at Earthquake Park, the snow sculptures and a stop at the Millenium Hotel to see the Iditarod Headquarters, race info and gift items. At 5:00 PM join the Musher's Banquet Dinner at the Dena'ina Center (included). Main part of the exciting evening entertainment is the bib number drawing, an auction and a 3-course dinner which starts around 6:00 PM. Dress code is casual. Vegetarian meals are available upon request. This is a must for anyone interested to observe "The Last Great Race on Earth" for the first time. Participants have plenty of photo opportunities, good chances to meet and talk with the Iditarod Musher personally, collect autographs and participate in the auction. Overnight: Anchorage.
Anchorage (Friday) Enjoy your free day in and around Anchorage. There are many options available to spend your day: Join our Prince William Sound Glacier Cruise. Get into a comfortable van and leave Anchorage for an exciting day of sightseeing. You will drive along Turnagain Arm with dramatic views of mountain scenery and an inlet with the second highest tide in North America. Watch out for moose, dall sheep and other wildlife. Arrive in Whittier and join a 3 1/2 hr cruise to see the massive tidewater glaciers of Alaska at Blackstone Bay and Beloit Glacier - some of the most amazing sights you will ever see. Cruise along Passage Canal and venture into magnificent Blackstone Bay, home to seven glaciers and Yosemite-scale waterfalls. During our adventure you’ll step ashore to experience the natural geology and hike on a glacier. Enjoy a snack and hot drink as you reflect on your journey and this magnificent nook of Alaska. Overnight: Anchorage
Anchorage | Iditarod Ceremonial Race Start (Saturday) The legendary Iditarod Race starts at 10:00 AM on 4th Avenue in Alaska's largest city. Get up early and observe the start preparations, take close up pictures from about 100 Musher's, over 1000 Sled Dogs and enjoy the bustling and exciting race atmosphere before the teams are leaving from the starting line for the "1050 mile race to Nome". Anchorage parks and green belts are providing also a great alternative to observe the race activities. The Balto Statue marks the ceremonial starting point of the Iditarod. Balto was the final lead sled dog in a relay of dogsleds that brought vaccine from Anchorage to Nome just in time to stop a diphtheria epidemic that was threatening to devastate Nome's population in the winter of 1925. The story of the sled dog relay is a classic tale of adventure and sacrifice, as dozens of dogs and mushers risked their lives in brutal conditions to save their fellow citizens. Overnight: Anchorage
Anchorage - Iditarod Race Re-Start Willow (Sunday)
After breakfast board the van or motorcoach for a guided tour to the official Iditarod Race Start in Willow (included). Leave at 10 AM and enjoy the drive along the scenic Glenn Highway with a brief stopover in Wasilla. Continue to Willow where the Iditarod restart ceremony begins at 2:00 PM. Enjoy the busy and bustling Iditarod race atmosphere and the musher's final preparation. For mushers, thousands of cheering fans at the official race restart -- following Saturday's ceremonial start in Anchorage -- now give way to remote Alaska wilderness and the promise of a finish line in Nome some 1,000 miles away, but not before crossing a trail that may prove perilous for both mushers and dogs. Our tour is fully narrated! Return to Anchorage approximately 7:00 PM.
Anchorage - Flight to Rainy Pass Checkpoint (Monday)
Morning ski-plane fly-out for a breathtaking flightseeing trip along the Alaska Mountain Range to the Rainy Pass Checkpoint and the nearby Puntilla Lakes. The gateway to the interior offers by far the best and most spectacular scenery of the entire Iditarod Trail. Many teams are taking their mandatory 24 hour layover here before venturing via the treacherous Farewell Burn area and into the flat lands of the interior. A deli style lunch and soft drinks are included. You'll spend the whole day within the incredible wilderness area along the trail observing various dog-mushing activities and teams arriving and departing. Return flight to Anchorage by ski-plane in the late afternoon. Transfer to your downtown hotel and check-in. Enjoy a delicious dinner and share the stories of the day with your fellow travelers.
Anchorage - Fairbanks | by train (Tuesday)
Transfer to the Anchorage rail station and departure at 8:30 AM for a scenic full-day rail tour to Fairbanks. Enjoy the ride ! You'll get fantastic and breathtaking views of the snow covered Alaska Mountain Range with it's towering 20.320 feet high Mt. Denali. The train stops in Talkeetna and Denali National Park before arriving in Fairbanks at 8 PM. Transfer to your downtown hotel. Optional Northern Lights Viewing Tour (from 10:00 PM - 2:30 AM): The Fairbanks area provides some renowned and outstanding Northern Lights viewing! Evening transfer from your hotel to a prime Northern Lights viewing lodge in the hills about 20 miles north of Fairbanks – far away from any city lights. Enjoy spectacular 270-degree Aurora displays through large picture windows from the comfort of a heated cabin or outside.
Fairbanks – Chena Hot Springs Resort (Wednesday)
In the morning you have time to visit the University of Alaska with its large collection of Alaska artifacts, gold nugget displays and Aurora Borealis information. During the winter month, Fairbanks hosts the World Ice Art Championship, exciting Sled Dog Races and a variety of winter carnival activities. Enjoy the scenic van transfer (60 Miles) to Chena Hot Springs Resort, located in a prime Northern Lights viewing area – far away from any city lights. Tonight join the spectacular Snow Coach tour to see the aurora up close (included). From the resort you travel 30 minutes to the top of a ridge (2600 ft) where no city lights interfere the aurora. After arriving on top you can step inside the heated Mongolian Yurt to warm up and enjoy a hot beverage. For the next few hours you can always step outside and enjoy spectacular 360-degree Aurora displays. Return to the resort at around 2 AM. Overnight: Chena Hot Springs.
Chena Hot Springs Resort (Thursday)
Relax in the large heated mineral indoor pool, the outdoor rock lake and in numerous hot tubs – which are providing a great opportunity to soak or swim. In the afternoon you can take a guided tour of the Aurora Ice Museum, visit a dog kennel or run your own sled dog team. Join a guided snow machine tour around the areas of the resort and have your tour guide show you the remote backcountry. Get a work out by renting cross-country skis, snowshoes or ice skates and cruise around the resort's 440 beautiful acres and scenic trails. In the evening enjoy a delicious dinner at the rustic log lodge restaurant and then join the Snow Coach Tour (optional) or take a short hike for another night of outstanding Northern Lights viewing opportunities. A prow-front heated log cabin with large plate-glass windows facing northeast is open 24 hours per day for guests staying at the resort. It sits high on a hill overlooking the Resort and outdoor rock lake.
Chena Hot Springs Resort - Fairbanks (Friday)
After breakfast spend some time to enjoy Chena Hot Springs Resort facilities. Individual transfer to Fairbanks airport or downtown. Flight reservations to your home destination should be arranged preferably after 10:00 am. Please Note: all flights to/from or within Alaska are not included. Rest of the day on your own and tour extensions are readily available.
AKS03 Anchorage City Sightseeing Tour Let our driver-guide show you some of Anchorage's historical points of interest in this sprawling city of over 250,000 full-time residents. Watch for attractions like the Log Cabin Visitor Center and its Crossroads of the World Signpost, Ship Creek Viewpoint overlooking Cook Inlet and the Alaska Railroad Depot, Resolution Park with its Captain Cook Monument, and the Museum of History & Art. Continue to Alaska's largest (Ski) Floatplane Base at Lake Hood and the nearby Earthquake Park, the site of the memorial of the 1964 Earthquake. See what happened to the land as it broke apart and slid into the Cook Inlet. Cook Inlet views and pictures from here are a favorite for guests! Rate per Person: $80.00
AKS05 Mt. Denali Flightseeing Tour You'll fly within 6-Miles of Denali's (McKinley's) 20.320 ft summit. Get a magnificent view of large glacier, ice-falls, mountain peaks and valleys and see how the last ice age has shaped the area. Continue to the Kahiltna Glacier and Ruth Glacier with it's Great Gorge - with over 9.000 ft the world deepest gorge. The flight continues to the Sheldon Amphitheatre – the largest of its kind in the world. Another highlight may be the Wickersham Wall – a 14.000 ft continuous rise of rock and ice. During the tour you may catch also sights of mountain climbers. All flights include window seat and hotel transfers in Anchorage Duration: 3 Hours Rate per Person: $435.00 (from/to Anchorage)
AKS04 Van Zyle Siberian Husky Kennel and Art Gallery Tour Van Zyle completed the Iditarod twice and maintains today a husky kennel near Anchorage. From these adventures he has created the yearly Iditarod poster series commemorating the race and his involvement. Since 1979 he is the official Iditarod artist and in 2004 he was included into the Iditarod Hall of Fame. A book of his art and life "The Best of Alaska - the Art of Jon Van Zyle" were published in 1990 and since then continuously updated. His original paintings are exhibited in many galleries in the USA & Europe. We offer an exclusive 3-4 hour tour from Anchorage, starting around 1:00 pm - which includes a visit of the sled dog kennel, the Art Studio and a lecture about dog sledding, the Iditarod and his exceptional life in Alaska. A mini print of the current official Iditarod poster (Value: $22.00) is included. Rate per Person: $115.00 (Minimum: 4 Clients, Transportation from/to Anchorage Included)
AKS01 Iditarod Presentation, Kennel Visit & Sled Dog Ride Visit the sled dog kennel of a famous Iditarod musher and get to know all about the Iditarod Race and Mushing Basics combined with the exhilaration of a sled dog ride and driving a team (included). This tour is an exciting introduction to the traditional Alaska winter transportation with lively huskies and a musher with a long time Iditarod history. The presentation is inspiring and educational where you'll learn all about the sled dogs, required equipment, how the Iditarod race is organized, checkpoints procedures and mushing basics including dog team commands, running positions, sled harnessing and breading. Then it is all about mushing. Ever dreamed of moving silently across snowy landscape pulled by a team of Alaskan Huskies? Meet the harnessed team and a musher for introductions and take some pictures. Then enjoy the sled dog ride on one of the beautiful winter trails. A delicious lunch is included. Duration: 3 hours * length of the sled dog ride depends on the weather & trail conditions Rate per Person: $275.00 (including round trip transfer from Anchorage)
AKS13 3-Day Dog Mushing Adventures Tours are available from Feb 01 - Apr 10. Day one includes the above 3-hour introduction to dog mushing and one night at a Bed & Breakfast. In the morning of day two you'll travel north for some of the best Mt.McKinley views. You drive a dog team into Denali National Park to the Tokosha Mountain Wilderness Lodge. After a relaxed lunch you are out for more dog mushing adventure in the middle of a spectacular mountain scenery. Enjoy the hospitality and a great meals at the wilderness lodge. Leave the next morning after breakfast and head home with fantastic memories and great photos. Additional information on request. Rate per Person: $1300.00 (from/to Willow)
The crystal gallery of ice carving competition kicks off the winter festivities in Anchorage each year. It marks the beginning of many activities to come between January and April - such as the Iditarod and the Iron Dog. The ice carving competition occurs around the first weekend of January and happens in Anchorage’s town square with teams traveling as far as China to compete. Teams are provided with two blocks of ice weighing around 3 to 4 thousand pounds apiece and 48 hours to turn the blocks of ice into a masterpiece. Be careful when going to view the ice sculptures as they are located on an ice rink, literally. Or better yet bring your ice skates along for the adventure. Ice skating is free.
Inuit Blanket Toss The blanket toss competition is like jumping on a trampoline, except the people who are holding the blanket are raising and lowering it to toss a person. This is the game often played at festivals and other Inuit celebrations. The "blankets" for the game are usually made from seal and walrus skins, so it can handle the pounding that results every time a player lands on it after the "toss." The winner is the player who bounces the highest. This game started when mountain men, Inuits and old fur traders used to meet in a pre-arranged place in the early spring each year to trade their winter's kills (furs) for cash and supplies. In the early 1900s, these meetings stopped happening because modern trappers and fur buyers had no use for them. But in the 1930's, a group of people who wanted to preserve their history brought back these meetings in the form of a 10-day celebration where games like the Blanket Toss are played.
Native Arts Market Featuring over 150 Native Artisans selling and demonstrating their art - from basket weaving, dolls, beading, carving and more! A rare opportunity to meet and greet the artists and watch them create their one of a kind items. The Charlotte Jensen Native Arts Market is named for Charlotte Jensen as a tribute to her many years of service and her love of all things Rondy. She was a Past President, Former Lady Trapper, Vern Johnson Award winner, and long-time Board member of Greater Anchorage Inc. since the 1970’s. Charlotte was also Chairperson of the Merchandise Committee and the Native Arts Market.
Miners and Trappers Charity Ball Break out the costumes and celebrate the 62nd Anniversary of the Miner’s and Trapper’s Charity Ball. Bring your world class beard and extremely tolerant other half to compete in the “Mr. Fur Face Contest,” the Alaska State Championship Beard and Mustache Contest. The Miner’s and Trapper’s Charity Ball has raised several million dollars for local charities and is produced by area Lions Clubs. The Egan Center - Tickets: $30.00 per person Alaska Trappers Association Fur Auction The South Central Chapter of the Alaska Trappers Association brings you the finest in Alaskan Fur, continuing its legacy as one of the original events of Rondy. World Championship Sled Dog Races With a great big field of amazing mushers from Alaska, Germany, Canada and the lower 48. Sled Dog Races are a Fur Rendezvous classic which began in 1946 and continue today with what is known as "The Rondy." The Open World Championship Sled Dog Race is considered the grandfather of all Alaskan races! The Rondy is produced by the Alaskan Sled Dog Racing Association (ASDRA). Come and witness the sheer intensity and excitement that is the most anticipated sprint race in North America. Endurance, Speed, and agility prove these dogs to be true athletes.
Iditarod fans have an array of spots where they can watch the 62 race teams make their way across Anchorage on Saturday morning. One of the best is at the end, on Campbell Tract in Far North Bicentennial Park. There's parking at the "BLM" Bureau of Land Management Science Center, 5600 Science Center Drive off Elmore Road, for about 500 vehicles as well as shuttle buses to Kasuum Elementary (about 100 spots) and Abbott Loop Community Park (75 spots). After parking, spectators can follow wooded winter trails to viewing areas or use a shuttle to sample different viewing areas. School buses will run a loop route between 10:00 h and 16:00 h With the ceremonial start beginning at 10:00 h downtown, you'll have plenty of time to get a taxi from downtown Anchorage to the viewing areas before dog teams start arriving at around 11:00 h. The BLM staff put a lot of effort into preparing the terminus site to accommodate free public parking and close-up sled dog viewing and the Campbell Tract venue is one of our best kept scenic secrets to watch the musher away from the crowd. Portable toilets will supplement restrooms at the Campbell Creek Science Center, 5600 Science Center Driver off Elmore Road. The center also has hot chocolate and Iditarod exhibits.
Nordic Skiing is available at Kincaid Park, on the Coastal Trail, Beach Lake, Eagle River and along the Hillside.
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