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February 2011

Submitted By: RJ Giordano — View from glacier landing near Mt. McKinley

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FEBRUARY MY ALASKA NEWS

When it comes to winter celebrations and recreation, Alaska is anything but ordinary. Beyond the stunning snow-covered mountains and picturesque ocean views are troves of unique winter activities found only in the Last Frontier. Try your hand at an organized snowball tournament, run with reindeer or stand eye-to-eye with a musk ox. Bet money on the melting ice, ski the historic routes of the Gold Rush era, set a bald eagle free or stand on the northernmost point in North America. Whatever the dream, a reality exists in Alaska. Read on to learn more about the quirky events and unique travel opportunities specific to each region of the state.

Southcentral Alaska
The Southcentral region of Alaska is home to more than half of the state's population and serves as a prime destination to take in some of Alaska's most lively winter events and attractions. This year marks the first time Yukigassen - a team snowball fight tournament - has been held in the United States, and will be featured in the fun-filled Fur Rendezvous Festival in Anchorage. Travelers will appreciate the talent and humor showcased in the Cordova Iceworm Festival, and can even enjoy a visit with the furry, prehistoric musk oxen that call the Matanuska-Susitna Valley home.
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Musk Ox
Alaska's Interior
Alaska's Interior is a hub for winter events, and the quirkier the better. This region is home to Denali National Park and Preserve and the state's second-largest city, Fairbanks - host of the thrilling Chatanika Days event and spectacular World Ice Art Championships. Locals and visitors can gamble on the date of ice break-up each winter in the Nenana Ice Classic and celebrate the associated Tripod Days Festival.
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Ice Sculpture
Far North & Southwest Alaska
Some of Alaska's most remote, unpopulated public lands that make up Alaska's Far North and Southwest regions are the most culturally rich. The Far North is home to the Inupiat people, where many locals still live a subsistence lifestyle that has sustained their culture for thousands of years. The Southwest is a prime setting for off-the-beaten-path travel and riveting World War II history. Communities in both regions are quieter in the colder months, but provide some of the most meaningful experiences to take home from an Alaska vacation. Plan trips to these regions in advance, as they are only accessible by plane or boat.
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Blanket Toss
Alaska's Inside Passage
Alaska's Inside Passage may be known as a popular cruise destination, but it's no slouch for one-of-a-kind winter events. In Wrangell, gold rush history is alive during the Tent City festival along the Stikine River. In Haines, learn all there is to know about America's favorite bird at the Alaska Bald Eagle Festival and even bid for the chance to release one into the wild. Skagway's Buckwheat Ski Classic takes skiers along the breathtaking White Pass mountain course, an old gold rush route.
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Eagle
Juneau CVB Visit Anchorage 14 purple Alaska Railroad

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