After the last cruise ship has left for the season, Alaskans really turn up the heat. Here are just a few of our favorite ways to warm up to the Great Land in winter.
See the Northern Lights Shine: Nature turns on the magic during Alaska’s dark winter months, which are prime time for viewing the aurora borealis. Your travel advisor can work with Virtuoso on-site All Alaska Tours to design a tailor-made adventure that features a stay at a remote lodge in the Alaskan Arctic, where you can watch the otherworldly light show from a dedicated viewing cabin. Also in the lineup: Alyeska’s black-diamond runs and wide mountain bowls. Seven days, Fairbanks to Girdwood. Departures: Multiple dates, December 4, 2019, to March 25, 2020.
Bask in the Dog Days of Winter: Virtuoso travel advisor Trish Mercer calls the annual Iditarod – a historic, 1,000-mile-long dogsled race from Anchorage to Nome – “the Super Bowl of Alaska.” Tour provider Globus leads dog lovers to the front of the pack at both the ceremonial starting line and the official restart in Willow during a special themed journey. Other treats include an exclusive visit with four-time Iditarod champion Martin Buser at his kennels, a tour of the Iditarod headquarters, and a table at the Mushers Banquet, which Mercer describes as “a hub of excitement and activity where mushers draw for starting position.” Eight days, round-trip from Anchorage. Departure: March 2, 2020.
Cool Photo Gear for Winter in Alaska
Ditch the smartphone for a DSLR camera with manual mode and plenty of extra batteries. When you’re shooting the aurora, you’ll also need a “fast” wide-angle lens with a minimum aperture of f/2.8. Wise picks for budding shutterbugs: Pair the Nikon D3500, which has 100-25,600 ISO capability and Bluetooth connectivity, with an AF Zoom-Nikkor 24-85mm f/2.8-4D IF multipurpose zoom lens.
Set your exposure without exposing your hands to the elements with Freehands softshell photography gloves. Magnets hold down the flip-back index finger and thumb caps, while the fleece lining keeps the rest of your digits toasty. Bonus: You can stash a memory card in the left glove’s zippered pocket.
The sleek MeFoto Roadtrip Classic carbon fiber tripod weighs less than four pounds, yet is tough enough to support a fully loaded DSLR. It folds to fit in a backpack, provides 360-degree panning, and easily converts to a monopod.
Top photo: Elizabeth M. Ruggiero/iStock/Getty Images Plus