Alaska Winter – Iditarod

Take part in the Iditarod experience, from meeting the mushers and dog sled teams at the race’s ceremonial start to the entertaining events of the Fur Rendezvous Festival. A sled ride will introduce you to the thrill of the race, the northern lights will entertain you by night, and elite competitions will wow you with Alaskans’ skills at turning snow and ice into works of art!

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Package inclusions:

  • Private motorcoach transportation
  • 7 nights’ accommodations
  • 16 meals (7 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 7 dinners)
  • Admission to attractions as stated on itinerary
  • Porter service of one bag per person at hotels
  • Taxes and gratuities for included services
  • Professional tour manager
  • 1 single occupancy comp
    (based on 25 full-fare passengers; airfare not included)
  • Travel show
  • Pre-departure meeting
  • 100 brochures/marketing materials
  • Complete document packet for each traveler
  • Special surprises

All tours are completely customizable. Contact us to discuss your group’s unique interests and needs!

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Itinerary

Day 1

Today we will transfer to the airport for our flight to Anchorage, Alaska, where we’ll settle into the beautiful Anchorage Hilton Hotel for the next three nights. This property is the ideal location to witness the exhilaration of the Iditarod Ceremonial Start and the Fur Rendezvous Festival, known locally as Rondy. This lively festival has been proudly epitomizing the pioneering spirit of Alaskans since 1935 and is one of the biggest winter celebrations in the United States. Various events include the Outhouse Races with custom outhouses on skis, the Fur Auction honoring the historic economic importance of the Alaska fur trade, The Blanket Toss which was developed to help hunters on the treeless tundra spot game in the distance, and the exciting Rondy Carnival. The evening is ours to explore the area and have dinner on our own.

Day 2

We will feel the pulse of excitement in the air as Alaskans and visitors alike witness the ceremonial start of the Iditarod. This morning the Iditarod teams will be lined up on 4th Avenue awaiting their turn to start their eleven-mile journey through the city via streets and trails. Following breakfast be sure to cheer on your favorites and enjoy this special 50th Anniversary year. The Iditarod, nicknamed “The Last Great Race on Earth,” is the premier event in dog sled racing. The competition is almost as fierce as the forces of nature that are faced in this battle from Anchorage to Nome. Today is the perfect opportunity to meet mushers, gather autographs, and take photographs of them with their dog sled team. These four-legged athletes receive superior care and nutrition before and during the Iditarod. Browse souvenirs from street vendors and then have lunch at one of the many restaurants or enjoy a tasty reindeer sausage from a food stand. This afternoon includes a visit to the Alaska Native Heritage Center to explore Alaska’s eleven major Native cultures and their traditions. The center features permanent collections as well as traditional Native dwellings that circle Lake Tiulana. Then we’ll return to town just in time to witness a festival highlight, the Run with the Reindeer Race. Similar to Spain’s “Running of the Bulls,” “Run with the Reindeer” is exactly that, but this wacky event features many runners dressed in hilarious costumes. Don’t forget your camera! A delicious dinner will cap off our incredible day.

(Breakfast and dinner included)

Day 3

With the festivities being just steps away from the hotel, we’ll easily enjoy Rondy’s fun and crazy events, browse the shops, and explore Anchorage’s museums. For those seeking unique adventures, two optional excursions are available. The first is a thrilling ninety-minute glacier and wildlife flightseeing tour and the other is a compelling introduction to the art of snowshoeing. Lunch is on our own before a highlight tour of Anchorage. We’ll learn about Captain’s Cook’s 1778 exploration voyage, hear accounts of the devastating 1964 earthquake at Earthquake Park, visit the seaplane base at Lake Hood, and more. Then we’re off to explore the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition in which artists compete for snow dominance and the chance to represent Alaska at the U.S. Nationals. The display of carvings made from eight-foot blocks of compressed snow is impressive! Then it’s all aboard for the drive to the Alaska Railroad Train Depot to admire miniature train displays. Tonight is an evening filled with great food, popcorn throwing, and laughter! We will enjoy dinner at the popular 49th Street Brewing Company and have a fun-filled evening at the Fur Rondy Melodrama, one of the festival’s most popular events.

(Breakfast and dinner included)

Day 4

Today we say goodbye to Anchorage and travel to Whittier via a 2.5-mile tunnel, the longest combined rail and highway tunnel in North America. Upon arrival we’ll board the Voyager and cruise Blackstone Bay, traveling to the face of the Beloit and Blackstone tidewater glaciers and past numerous frozen waterfalls and hanging glaciers. Once back on land, we will head to Girdwood, learning along the way about the fascinating science of the aurora borealis in preparation for evenings to come. The trip south is one of the most scenic in Alaska, with the waters of Turnagain Arm on one side and the Chugach Mountains on the other. Our hotel is the gem of Alaska, the Alyeska Resort in the Chugach Mountains. This luxurious resort offers beautiful guest rooms and amazing views. Settle in and then join the group for an aerial tram ride to the top of Mt. Alyeska for a fabulous meal in an elegant setting at Seven Glaciers Restaurant. At an elevation of 2,300 feet, the views include Turnagain Arm, seven hanging glaciers, and endless peaks of the Chugach Mountain Range. This evening will be our first opportunity to witness the amazing wonder and awe of the northern lights! Auroral intensity varies from night to night and hour by hour, so a northern light wake-up call is a great option.

(Breakfast, box lunch, and dinner included)

Day 5

Our day’s adventure begins with a visit to The Musk Ox Farm for an educational walking tour that will teach us about these animals with a two-layered coat well-adapted to the frigid climate. Qiviut is the soft underwool that is used to create beautiful garments softer than cashmere and eight times warmer than wool. Time will be available to shop for unique qiviut items before we venture to Talkeetna with lunch on our own en route. Historic Talkeetna was established as a mining town and trading post, and it is here where we will stop in to see Aurora Dora to hear aurora hunting tales and browse her breathtaking photography. Our accommodations this evening will be at the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge with its majestic views of the Alaska Range and Denali. Following dinner as a group, consider sitting near the crackling fire to await the amazing aurora borealis that beautifully highlights Denali, the tallest peak in North America. Sign up for an aurora wake-up call tonight if you would like.

(Breakfast and dinner included)

Day 6

After breakfast we will travel back to Anchorage for a quick flight to Fairbanks that will provide stunning views of the region as we fly over Denali National Park. Upon arrival we’ll settle into the Springhill Suites in the heart of downtown and freshen up before dinner. The excitement will continue tonight as we venture to the Ice Alaska World Ice Art Championship to view over one hundred competition sculptures and exhibition pieces. Each year the finest sculptors from around the globe converge on Fairbanks to compete in the world’s most challenging and prestigious ice sculpting competition. The incredible, illuminated sculptures can be viewed on a leisurely stroll along a winding, forest path. You won’t believe your eyes at the skill and incredible detail of these masterpieces! Later this evening, you may choose an optional ice fishing and aurora viewing excursion. This 3.5-hour tour includes everything you need to ice fish in a heated cabin while also hunting the aurora.

(Breakfast and dinner included)

Day 7

Today is a day for dreams to come true and experiences to touch your soul, and it all begins with an exhilarating dog sled ride! Sit back and relax as a skilled musher leads their dog sled team on a trip of a lifetime. We’ll glide along a snow-covered trail into a magical, winter wonderland where the only sounds to hear are the musher’s commands and those of our heart as it pumps with excitement. Afterward we will return to Fairbanks for some time to explore the quaint shops filled with Alaskan treasures and enjoy lunch on our own. Consider visiting the Yukon Quest Visitor Center which tells the story of the famous, 1,000-mile Yukon Quest international dog sled race. Then it’s time to check into Chena Hot Springs Resort, which is world-renowned as one of the best places on Earth to see the aurora borealis. A guided tour of the Aurora Ice Museum awaits us here. The museum was built from over 1,000 tons of ice and snow and boasts a number of iconic ice sculptures! Next up is a geothermal renewable energy tour highlighting the resort’s power plant and greenhouses. The geothermal system is fed by water that has been circulating deep underground for thousands of years. A lovely dinner is included followed by plenty of time to enjoy the resort’s natural hot springs rock lake. As you soak in these soothing mineral waters, enjoy every moment while awaiting the northern lights that will dance above your head. It makes for a thrilling evening!

(Breakfast and dinner included)

Day 8

This morning’s touring will take us to the town of North Pole! If you’d like one more authentic Alaska excursion, be sure to consider the optional snowmobile guided tour to explore a winter paradise of spruce forests, wide open spaces, and wildlife. The rest of the group will make a photo stop at the North Pole. This pole is one of two poles made during a campaign to properly mark the top of the Earth. On December 11, 1951, its twin was pushed out of an aircraft to mark the geographic north pole. A stop at the North Pole wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Santa Claus House. Time will be available to shop for holiday treasures and even have letters from Santa sent to friends and family. We will then head back to Fairbanks for lunch at Big Daddy’s BBQ, a local favorite featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives with Guy Fieri. One last stop will be made at the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Viewpoint for photos before we head to the airport. This impressive pipeline carries oil 800 miles from Prudhoe Bay on the Arctic Ocean to the pipeline terminus at Port Valdez. A short flight back to Anchorage will be followed by a farewell dinner. Then it’s back to the Anchorage airport for our overnight flight home.

(Breakfast, lunch, and dinner included)

Day 9

We will arrive home early this morning.