SUMMER MUSHING

Summer Mushing

Riding a sled behind a team of intrepid canines isn’t just a winter sport in Alaska – you can “Mush” in summer, too! Many sled dog kennels offer summer mushing experiences that are not only fun for visitors, but for the dogs as well. These four-footed athletes need to train year-round, and summer mushing just provides an alternative to snow and sleds.

Some kennels use ATVs in place of sleds when the weather gets warmer. The four wheelers simulate the look and weight of the winter sleds, providing exercise and fun for visitors and dogs alike. Other outfitters offer trips to the top of a glacier, where you can stand on the sled’s runners while an energetic team pulls you across the snow.

Another option to see sled dogs in action can be found in Denali National Park. Here, visitors can tour the park’s kennels, see a demonstration, and meet the dogs – who help rangers patrol the park’s 6 million acres of wilderness during the winter months. Winter or summer, you’ll feel the excitement as the dogs leap and bark in anticipation of the trail.

SKIING

Skiing

In winter or spring, go for another type of “run” – downhill on skis or snowboard! Alaska offers endless opportunities to enjoy the snow.

World-class ski resorts in Girdwood are one option. Rent your skis or snowboards on site and take a tram or chairlift to the top for stunning views of the surrounding area before making your way back downhill to the lodge. Smaller – but no less challenging – lift service ski areas can be found in Juneau, Anchorage and Fairbanks.

If you’re interested in getting away from it all, Alaska is home to some of the best heli-skiing places in the world. The Chugach Mountains and the Alaska Range are known for their snow, and operators in Girdwood, Valdez, and Haines offer small-group adventures to tall mountains. Or, put on your ski skins and work your way uphill on backcountry slopes.

For something a little more relaxed, try cross country skiing on groomed classic or skate-ski trails, or coast along frozen rivers and break a trail of your own. Cross country skiing can be as easy as hitting a local trail or heading to the nearest state park. You’ll find Alaskans cross country skiing any time of day – it’s particularly magical on a cloudless, moonlit night where all you hear is the sound of your skis on snow and moonlight casts a silvery glow.

So - bring your gear, or let our outfitters provide it for you. In Alaska, you’ll find everything from Black Diamond to gentle slopes and cozy chalets. There’s something for every ability.

KAYAKING

Kayaking

There’s something incredibly tranquil about kayaking. Perhaps it’s the quiet – just hearing the water moving beneath the hull. Or maybe it’s the rhythmic motion of dipping your double-bladed paddle in the water, moving you along the shoreline. Kayaking is a great way to explore, and with more than 44,000 miles of coastline, 12,000 rivers, and 3 million lakes, Alaska has infinite opportunities for a kayak adventure.

Alaska Native peoples have a long tradition of using qayaqs (Yup’ik) or iqyax (Aleut)– lightweight, flexible skin boats used for hunting and transportation. Russian explorers and trappers adopted and enlarged the kayak (called baidarka) for larger loads and even passengers. Today’s fiberglass or polyethylene kayaks are used primarily for recreation or long-distance excursions, although traditional kayak-building remains an important skill, with classes taught at museums and heritage centers.

Drifting quietly in a one- or two-person kayak allows you to get closer to wildlife like sea otters, puffins, shorebirds – and sometimes bigger animals along the shore like moose and bears. Or, paddle in glacier ice and get close to the face of an ice-blue glacier. And, because you can paddle in shallower water close to the shore, be sure to look over the side to see sea urchins, starfish, and other intertidal creatures through crystal clear water. Looking for something a little more adventuresome? Consider adding in another activity like fishing or hiking to your kayak adventure.

If you haven’t kayaked before, don’t worry. Let our outfitters get you settled in and teach you the basics before launching on a few hour (or few day) voyage. These low boats are incredibly stable! Stretch out your legs and let your core do the work. So see Alaska at sea-level! Grab a paddle and set out on a journey of exploration – by kayak.

ZIPLINING

Ziplining

Take a breath, hold on, and let ‘er fly! Connect with your wild side on a zip line tour above Alaska.

Ziplines use gravity and a series of cables, pulleys, and harnesses to connect different heights and distances. Originally used as transportation in mountainous areas, scientists started using ziplines as a way to explore rainforest ecosystems with minimal environmental impact. Using ziplines for recreation soon followed, and these aerial adventures are now a popular recreational attraction.

In Alaska, you can zip through the air for a birds-eye view of snow-capped mountains, ancient forests, and rushing rivers. Sky bridges and platforms connect the lines, some of which go on for miles over untouched wild land. Zip at your own speed - our outfitters provide safety instructions along with harness, helmet, and gloves to allow you to take that first giant step. Enjoy the ride – and the view!