15 Best Winter Activities to Do in Alaska!
Recreation doesn’t stop when the temps drop! There are almost more activities available in the winter. From skiing to ice fishing, the reward increases with the layers of clothing. Experience immaculate sunsets and sunrises through crisp winter air. Immerse yourself in some of the most unique scenery in the country. These are some of our absolute must-do activities for anyone who finds themselves in Alaska this winter. Make sure to enjoy every moment of the season!
1. Backcountry skiing in Turnagain Pass
This is one of those places that makes Alaska so famous. In core circles, skiers know that Turnagain Pass, for its easy access, truly holds some of the best ski terrain for absolutely all skill levels. And with several ski rental services and many qualified guides in Anchorage, anyone can, and should, enjoy this beautiful place.
And if walking uphill isn’t so much your thing, but you love shredding the freshest lines on the planet, book a helicopter! Though a day of skiing can cost you upwards of $6,000, this is, by far, the greatest way to experience the snow sports in Alaska. When you can ride multiple 2,000 foot lines in one day, you know you’ve arrived in somewhere special.
If sliding sports aren’t exactly your thing, you can still get out and see what winter in Alaska offers. Snowshoeing is a great sport for the whole family, and you can find yourself in any terrain imaginable, from deeply-covered flats to traversing steep mountains. Chugach State Park in Anchorage offers will give you stunning, scenic views and a workout. Just remember: don’t try to walk backwards!
4. Ice climbing on the Turnagain Arm
Your family won’t believe it was even possible! Ascend frozen waterfalls, and wield axes like the wildest medieval warrior of old. In Alaska, the picks plunge like a hot knife in butter, and you’ll be set for a day you’ll never forget. Turnagain Arm in Girdwood offers the perfect opportunity for this. Contact Ascending Path in Girdwood, or many other private guides like Nick D’Allessio or Joe Stock.
A local’s mountain with Five Diamond amenities, ranging from the beautiful resort to the incredible fare up at the famous Seven Glaciers Restaurant. A day at this resort is not to be missed, especially if the avalanche forecasts are showing the red light, or you just want to run laps on one of the most beautiful resorts in the country.
6. Backcountry ice skating
With an absurd number of bush flight services available around the state, if you find yourself in Alaska before the heavy snows fall, this experience is one of the most unique available in the North. Pack your skates and your hiking boots, and be prepared for an unforgettable day skating in the shadow of giant mountains, or deep in an untouched, old-growth forest.
Even the winter doesn’t stop us locals from tromping our favorite hiking trails. Many of the same trails that are great in the summer get even better when blanketed with a white sheet of snow. But don’t forget to bring some additional traction for your boots: the last thing we want is to see you sliding back toward your car!
As this new type of winter biking takes hold of the sporty mind in Alaska, more and more areas open to bike recreation. Now some of the most beautiful trails in the state are open for multi-use cycling—not just skiing anymore. Grab a rental, and get out on those trails.
Get a change of pace. Cross-country skiing is one of the best winter exercises. Anchorage has over 100 miles of regularly groomed ski trails, with most them being reserved for skiers only.
10. Scenic flights
This is the perfect way to get a sense of your smallness, and the huge expanse of the last frontier. You can land on a glacier, or fly up to the north slope to see the frozen tundra that leads into the North Sea.
It’s true that everything is made a bit more complicated by the snow and cold, but once you do a bit of research and get the gear, or hire a service while you’re here, the rewards are endless. Hoarfrost-covered trees, glittering sunsets and sunrises over the mountains, steaming cups of coffee and inches-thick sleeping bags are just a few of the great experiences you’ll have winter camping in Alaska.
This could well be the most unique way to experience the park. After the road closes for the winter and plowing ends, recreation is open to the public. Rev up that machine and rocket into the heart of the big mountains in Alaska, and even take a couple of days to camp and soak it in if you can.
13. Dogsledding on the Chena River
A selection of tours are available from some modest (and often famous!) Iditarod dog trainers and racers throughout the state, but the tours on the Chena River in Fairbanks are some of the best. Imagine racing along a frozen rover for miles, wrapped in tens of pounds of insulation, winding through willow trees!
For the most adventurous skiers visiting, Johnson Pass offers remote cabin access and an unforgettable weekend adventure. There are outfits that can provide sleds and the skis, then the rest of the adventure is up to you! Just don’t forget some activities for the long winter nights.
15. Ice fishing on the Chena River
And if sitting is more your style, the fishing doesn’t end just because the snow falls and the rivers freeze. Try your hand at baiting different winter fish, including salmon, rainbow trout, Dolly Varden trout, and Arctic char while enjoying the crisp air of winter.