2018 - The Ultimate Winter Wonderland Tour Itinerary
Be Adventurous and Visit Alaska in the Winter!! This unique journey includes Aurora viewing in Alaska’s interior, a ride on the Aurora train south to Talkeetna and getting up close to Alaska’s wildlife in the winter including puffins, moose, bison and more. Learn about the Iditarod Sled Dog race from an Iditarod musher during a special kennel visit prior to the start of the “Last Great Race” where you will be surrounded by fabulous four-legged athletes known as sled dogs before they hit the trail to Nome.
This tour operates during the winter in Alaska, so expect cold temperatures, uneven and slippery surfaces (ice). Late night Aurora Viewing opportunities start on arrival day between 10pm and 3am. Prime viewing time is late evening through the wee hours of the morning. So plan on channeling your inner teenager and stay up way past a normal bedtime! Some days are long and active, but the choice is yours as to how much you participate in each day’s events.
To quickly check availability, please link: 2018 Availability!
Day 1 - Sunday
Fly into Fairbanks, the Golden Heart City. Transfer via hotel courtesy shuttle. Please have flights arrive no later than 6pm*. This evening, board your motorcoach as you go Aurora Borealis Viewing (10pm- 2am). Enjoy a warm nonalcoholic beverage this evening. Return to the hotel for your overnight in Fairbanks.
*Purchasing a pre-night Fairbanks is highly recommended, since the first night of Aurora viewing is late night/early morning.
dAY 2 - Saturday
Breakfast will be included this morning. Late morning, enjoy a city tour of Fairbanks including a visit to the Morris Thompson Cultural Center and the Trans-Alaska Pipeline visit. Afternoon at leisure. Depart tonight for another chance to view the Aurora Borealis (9pm-11:30pm-approximate times) at a different venue. Return to the hotel for your overnight in Fairbanks.
Meals: Continental Breakfast
Day 3 - Sunday
Breakfast will be included this morning. This morning, board your coach for your drive south to Healy (just north of Denali National Park). Board the world famous Alaska Railroad, (Adventure Class) for your scenic journey south to the quaint community of Talkeetna. Time in Talkeetna to dine on own, or choose to take an exciting flightseeing tour of Mt. Denali, before touring south to Alaska’s largest city, Anchorage. This full day journey will showcase the beauty of Alaska. A box lunch is included today. Keep an eye out for views of Mt. Denali from the north face to south face. Overnight Anchorage.
Meals: Continental Breakfast, Box Lunch
Day 4 - Monday
Breakfast will be included this morning. Enjoy a day at leisure to explore Alaska’s largest city or to enjoy optional activities. Suggestions include flightseeing thru the Chugach Mountains and Dog Sledding, snow shoeing and much more. Guests may need to sign a waiver and be in good physical health to participate in certain optional activities. Overnight Anchorage.
Overnight in Anchorage
DAY 5 - Tuesday
Breakfast will be included this morning. Today climb aboard your motorcoach for a journey to the coastal community of Seward. Today travel south along the spectacular Turnagain Arm. Visit the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center to see Alaskan wildlife up close. Visit the Alaska Sealife Center for an in-depth look above and below the waters. A visit to the Seward Museum is included to learn more about this Alaskan coastal community. Travel to the resort town of Girdwood for overnight accommodations at the Hotel Alyeska.
Meals: Breakfast, Box Lunch
DAY 6 - Wednesday
Breakfast will be included this morning. A day at leisure at the resort. There are many optional tours to choose from or just relax and enjoy the hotel amenities ranging from relaxation in the spa facility, dog sledding, snow machining, flightseeing, downhill skiing or snow shoeing (costs are additional). Enjoy an included tram ride offering spectacular views of the valley.
DAY 7 - Thursday
Breakfast will be included this morning. Morning departure from Alyeska north to Anchorage. Enjoy a tour through the historic downtown district, Lake Hood/Lake Spenard and visit the Alaska Zoo for a “behind the scenes” tour. Time to explore Anchorage on own, you may want to visit the Anchorage Museum. Tonight, enjoy Iditarod festivities and dinner at the Mushers’ Banquet! Overnight Anchorage.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
DAY 8 - Friday
Breakfast. Today travel north to meet four-time Iditarod Champion Martin Buser at his Happy Trails Kennel. Hear personal stories while viewing a glimpse of the grandeur Alaska has to offer along the Iditarod trail. Returning to Anchorage visit the Iditarod Headquarters and see first hand a replica Iditarod Trail station. Overnight Anchorage.
DAY 9 - Saturday
Breakfast is included this morning. This morning head to 4th Avenue to get a great spot at the start of the Iditarod. Spend time cheering on mushers from all over the world. Watch each of them depart or take off early and enjoy other Iditarod festivities in Anchorage. This afternoon, enjoy the cultural opportunities available at the Alaska Native Heritage Center. Tonight, reminisce over your Alaska winter adventure at a farewell dinner.
Meal: Breakfast, Dinner
DAY 10 - Sunday
Breakfast. This morning depart from your hotel for the adventure north to Willow, Alaska the **Re-Start of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race. Be sure to dress in layers to maximize warmth as the entire day will be spent outside cheering on your favorite dog teams. En-route, stop at a local grocery store in Wasilla to pick up on-own lunch items and additional snacks to meet your personal tastes.
Prepare for a bit of a walk to find the perfect spot along the fence line of the rail. Mushers take off across Willow Lake on their 1,049 mile journey by dog sled to Nome. Willow Community Center is open and offers a break from the cold with vendors selling food and drink as well as local crafts.
Don't miss out on the snacks throughout the day! Your Tour Director will have more information on this edible portion of the program.
The departure time from Willow will depend on weather conditions and guests’ comfort level. It is our goal to see as many of the Mushers depart as possible while still arriving back into Anchorage by 6:00/6:30pm.
Meals: Breakfast, Snacks
*This day includes walking on snow and ice (and a few hills) to get to the official start of the Iditarod, where mushers take off from a lake. A Stop will be made at a local grocery store so guests can purchase snacks/lunch on own. If they wish they may also consider buying a portable chair for sitting. Guests are encouraged to take their time to get to the venue, as there is not a rush.
**In the event that the Iditarod Official Start is relocated (beyond Willow, AK) due to weather and trail conditions, a full day of activities will be substituted for the guests in Anchorage. See below for the detailed alternative Day 10 itinerary:
Alternative Anchorage Day 10 Itinerary - includes a visit to the Alaska Aviation Museum to learn about the huge impact bush planes and pilots have on the survival of the small villages throughout Alaska. Meet a Bush Pilot. Guests will dine in the atmosphere of warm Alaskan hospitality at a local restaurant for an included lunch. This day will also include a stop at the Bear and Raven Theater where guests will enjoy a 30 minute interactive movie about the Iditarod Sled Dog Race.
DAY 11 - Monday
Breakfast is included this morning. On own transfer to Anchorage airport for flight out (taxi service readily available or purchase transfer service from Premier).
*This day includes walking on snow and ice (and a few hills) to get to the official start of the Iditarod, where mushers take off from a lake. A stop will be made at a local grocery store, so guests can get snacks/lunch on own and if they wish buy a portable chair for sitting. Guests are encouraged to take their time to get to the venue, as there is not a rush.