If you love winter recreation, you’ll love this 7-day itinerary through the biggest, best winter adventures that Southcentral and Interior Alaska have to offer in February and March. Use the whole itinerary or choose your own winter adventure!
Day 1 and 2 Anchorage to Valdez or Cordova
Arrive at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport and fly to either Valdez or Cordova. (If your flight doesn’t arrive early enough, you’ll need to fly in to Anchorage the night before, spend the night, then continue onward in the morning.) Both destinations offer world-class heli-skiing on steep terrain or, if you’re not skiing at that level, consider booking a snowmobile tour instead (or as they say in Alaska, a snowmachine tour). Spend the night in Cordova or Valdez before another full day of skiing or exploring the town.
Day 3 Anchorage
Fly back to Anchorage. If you time your visit for the last two weeks of February you can catch Fur Rendezvous, a lively winter carnival that includes sled dog races, fur trading, and a lineup of zany events including snowshoe softball and the Running of the Reindeer, in which reindeers and humans dash through Anchorage’s downtown streets together. Or if you’re here on the first weekend in March you can catch the ceremonial start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, as mushers and a selection of lucky “Iditariders” wind their way through Anchorage’s downtown streets on dog sleds. Overnight in Anchorage.
Day 4 Girdwood
Rent a car and make the 45-minute drive south to the fun, funky ski town of Girdwood and its world-class ski resort. If you don’t fancy riding a ski lift, go Sno-Cat skiing or keep driving another half-hour to Turnagain Pass, one of the most popular places for backcountry skiing in Southcentral Alaska. Stay in Girdwood overnight or return to Anchorage.
Day 5 Talkeetna
Make the three-hour drive north from Girdwood, back through Anchorage, and then on to another fun, funky town: Talkeetna, which is widely believed to have inspired the beloved Alaska-themed TV show “Northern Exposure.” Talkeetna is also the launching-off point for climbers bent on summiting 20,310’ Denali, North America’s tallest peak. On clear days you can catch sight of Denali from Talkeetna, but don’t stop there—board a small plane for a flightseeing trip that gets you almost close enough to touch mountain. If you’re still feeling energetic, close the day by snowshoeing or skiing Talkeetna’s extensive trail system, then spend the night in a lodge or cabin.
Day 6 Fairbanks
Drive back to Anchorage, then board a jet for the short flight to Fairbanks, Alaska’s second-largest city. Here you can shop for Alaska Native art, take a snowmachine tour, or learn to mush a team of sled dogs. As night falls, rent a car and make the short drive to Cleary Summit. There’s no guarantee the northern lights will come out but, if they do, this is one of the best local spots for viewing them. Spend the night in Fairbanks.
Days 7 and 8 Coldfoot
Take an overnight tour from Fairbanks to Coldfoot, a remote work camp located 250 miles north of Fairbanks. Spend the short days visiting with professional mushers and their dogs; by night, have your camera ready in hopes of seeing the aurora borealis. On the second night, take a small plane flight back to Fairbanks, where you’ll spend your last night of this trip. If you are lucky, you might even see the aurora while your plane is in the air.