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Northern Lights of Alaska
And
Winter Fun Activities Week

March 11-18. 2018

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Actual photos of the Northern Lights taken at the lodge where we will go to experience this incredible natural phenomenon.

Join us for a unique winter vacation week.

We will head to Fairbanks Alaska to see the amazing natural winter phenomenon of the Northern Lights (also called the Aurora Borealis).  The Northern Lights are a unique and natural display of atmospheric lights that create a mesmerizing sight of colors and patterns, which appear to dance gracefully in the dark night skies above very northern parts of the earth.

We will also enjoy fun winter activities including snowmobiling, dog sledding, a unique city tour, a visit to a most unique natural hot springs to soak in with a beautiful natural landscape behind it and a visit to the World Ice Art Championships.

Unlike the coldest months of Dec. - Feb, the average high Temperature in Fairbanks in mid-March climbs to about 30 degrees.
 

 

Daily itinerary:

Sunday March 11th - Arrive on your own flight arrangement into Fairbanks Alaska and then take the free airport shuttle provided by our hotel, the Spring Hill Suites by Marriott.

Located next to the Chena River in the city's vibrant downtown district, our hotel showcases spacious accommodations, thoughtful amenities and award-winning service. All of our well-appointed suites include free Wi-Fi, plush bedding, a mini-fridge and a microwave, as well as a sofa. Join us for our free hotel breakfast each morning during your stay, and fill your plate with hot and healthy favorites. At the end of an exciting day of touring, you can look forward to dinner at Lavelle's Bistro, our on-site restaurant or other restaurants very close to our hotel.  Also enjoy our free hotel shuttle service to and from Fairbanks Airport. The city's best shopping and attractions are also just a short walk from the hotel as well.

Our hotel features an indoor pool and whirlpool with towels provided and an indoor fitness facility and free wifi.

 

Monday March 12th  - This morning is at leisure to relax.  At 1pm we will be picked up and taken on a unique city tour from 1-6pm.

Learn about Alaska's History, Cultures. Economic/Social Conditions on this Personalized Tour with Native Guides with many years of experience. 

Our first visit on the city tour is to the North Pole House

The town of NORTH POLE, Alaska is the home of the Santa Claus House, where a letter from Santa can be ordered. ... This curiously-named small town is actually about 12 miles south of Fairbanks. City fathers encourage shop owners to carry out the Christmas theme and it is Christmas year around in this town.  It is an excellent place to buy gifts with an Alaska and Christmas theme.

Our next stop is a visit to the Trans Alaska Pipeline, just 7 miles North of Town with an explanation of its impressive engineering, by our local guide.

 

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The Trans-Alaska Pipeline

 

Our third stop on the city tour is to the Museum of the North

Your Guide has spent many hours doing research and writing papers about the exhibits in this Museum.  He will personally give you a tour of these exhibits and answer any questions you may have as you tour the museum.

Our final stop on our Fairbanks City tour is the
MORRIS THOMPSON
CULTURE & VISITORS CENTER
Find all the information you’ll need for your visit to Interior and Arctic Alaska

Explore world-class exhibits of Alaska’s four seasons

Experience Alaska Native art, music, stories & dance
Your guide is a Native whose family is part of the traditional way of life in Indian Villages in Rural Alaska, where they still make their living from the land. This experience enables him to give you a knowledgeable tour of the exhibits.

We will be returned to our hotel for the evening at leisure to relax in the indoor pool, Jacuzzi, or enjoy dinner at your leisure, either at the in house hotel restaurant or one of the restaurants which are a short walk from our hotel.

 

Tuesday March 13th – Today we will enjoy a fun and exciting dog sled tour from 1-4pm. We will be picked up at our hotel and taken to the dog sled site where we will have time to first interact with the dogs and their trainer and hear a brief preparatory talk about the ride and then we will be given warm winter gear to go over our clothes, so we stay nice and toasty in the sled. We will then be placed in the sled and driven by a professional dog sled driver over scenic terrain for our ride of about 30 minutes, followed by time after the ride to take photos with the dogs. Each sled has two passengers and the professional driver.

 

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A scene from our dog sledding adventure

The experience will melt your heart and will provide you a lasting wonderful memory!

We will be taken back to our hotel with the remainder of the day at leisure to relax, enjoy the pool, jacuzzi and gym at our hotel if you wish.

Tonight, after dinner at your leisure, we will be picked up at our hotel, at 11pm and taken for the first of our two  Northern Lights Tours this week.

The Northern Lights is one of the most spectacular natural phenomenons in the world. It is a spectacle in the dark skies above northern areas of the world, produced by particles of light in the sky, which appear to gracefully dance and glide across the sky, creating a mesmerizing natural show of light and color.  Most of the time, the Northern lights appear in the color green, but they can also produce other colors of light in the sky.

Located approximately 25 miles from Fairbanks, next to the Two Rivers Recreation Area, our viewing lodge itself sits on top of a hill, which makes it an excellent place to view aurora in the winter months. The location is rural and away from the city lights, thus creating an ideal viewing location for witnessing the Northern Lights. 

The Lodge has an auditorium that is two stories high with windows clear to the ceiling facing the Northern Sky for optimal viewing.  There is also a door that has a northern exit to the outside Aurora viewing platforms area for easy access to walk as you wish between the indoor and outdoor Northern Lights viewing areas.

 
The lodge is heated and thus no matter how cold the night air is outside, the temperature inside the lodge remains warm and toasty.  

 

The Northern Lights can rarely be viewed from within the city limits of Fairbanks and then the colors are not bright, as they are washed out by the over-glow of the city lights. It helps to get a good distance from Fairbanks where there is dark sky and a panoramic view of the Northern Sky, as that is where you can best see the Northern Lights.

 

This tour offers one of the best viewing locations in Alaska at a comfortable Native Alaskan style heated lodge, away from the city lights, thus providing for an optimal viewing location.

Your hosts for tonight’s Northern Lights experience, Keith and Velma Koontz, are the owner operators of CHANDALAR RANCH.   Velma is Yupik Eskimo and Keith is a naturalist and a Master Guide, both add to your experiencing an evening with real Bush Alaskans.

Your guide for the night, "Brother to the Wolf" (Ben Boyd) is an Alaska Mountain Man who has lived a Traditional Native Way of Life in the remote Athabascan Indian Villages of Alaska. He has been an Indian Hoop Dancer since the age of six and now at over age 70 is the oldest performing Hoop Dancer in the World. (He may even do a spontaneous performance inside the lodge)

Weather Forecasts for Fairbanks do not apply to the valley that has its own weather, where Chandalar Ranch is located. More than half the time when it is cloudy in Fairbanks, it will be clear in this valley.

 

WHAT TO EXPECT
Chandalar Ranch Lodge is a newly constructed two story Alaskan Style heated lodge with an auditorium that is two stories high with windows clear to the ceiling facing to the Northern Sky. The auditorium can seat 70 people and during March the Northern Lights viewing is at its peak demand.

When the Aurora Borealis (The Northern Lights) appears, the auditorium mostly empties out as clients go outside to get a better look at the Aurora and take photos. Aurora viewing attracts one of the most diverse International tourist markets in the World with people coming from over the World to see the Aurora.

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Actual photos of the Northern Lights taken at the lodge where we will go to experience this incredible natural phenomenon.

The drive to the lodge is approx. 30 – 40 minutes.  We will spend approx. 3 hours at the ranch lodge where you are free to relax inside the heated lodge with its two story high windows and then when the Northern Lights appear in the sky, you can enjoy the view from the outdoor viewing decks, or from inside the lodge if you prefer. You can also move between the indoor and outdoor viewing areas as much as you wish, as the lights can appear multiple times for several minutes and then disappear, only to reappear again moments later, with another mesmerizing natural display in the sky.

At the end of our visit at the ranch tonight, we will be brought back to our hotel in Fairbanks.  While the sighting of a natural phenomenon can never be guaranteed, our lodge viewing location is one of the best in Alaska and has a success rate of seeing the Northern Lights of close to 80 %.

We will have a 2nd viewing experience at the same lodge again on Thursday night, as no two sightings are ever identical.

 

Wednesday March 14th - This morning is at leisure to simply relax and sleep in after the late night excitement last night.

This afternoon, at 1 pm we will be picked up and taken on a unique excursion to experience the Chena Hot Springs.

Chena Hot Springs is a unique place of scenic and geothermal beauty, where tourists can soak in a huge outdoor hot springs, amid the snow drifts around the springs.  The sight of the snowy terrain around the springs is impressive and the soothing feeling of just relaxing in the toasty waters is wonderful.  There is also an indoor segment of the springs for anyone wishing to soak in the hot spring waters indoors. 

After you have had enough of your relaxing in the springs, there is a small ice museum where you can walk through a pathway featuring a series of ice sculptures. (Later in the week we will visit the World Ice Art Championships where huge blocks of ice have been carved into tremendous multi block sculptures and those at the museum today will whet your appetite for those we will see later in the week at the W.I.A.C.)
 
After our visit to the hot springs and the ice museum, we will be brought back to our hotel this evening.

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Soaking in Chena Hot Springs with the snow mounds alongside the springs

 
Thursday March 15th – Today is a full free day for skiing or snowshoeing or just relaxing.

Those who wish to spend a day skiing can go skiing at Ski Land.  For those wishing to go snowshoeing, there will be more info provided to you about options for guided or self-guided snowshoeing.

 

Tonight, we will again be picked up at 11pm for our 2nd included Northern Lights tour.  The location is the same as we enjoyed on Tuesday night, but of course, the experience is always unique, seeing the Northern lights.

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Actual photos of the Northern Lights taken at the lodge where we will go to experience this incredible natural phenomenon.

  
Friday March 16th – The morning is at leisure to sleep in from last night’s Northern Lights late night activity.  This afternoon we will head to the World Ice Art Championships Festival.  The festival attracts the best ice carving and sculpting artists in the world to compete and be judged on single and multi-block ice carving and ice sculpting.

 The finished products of the competition are then displayed across the month of March in an open park in Fairbanks for all to walk through and admire in awe of their works. 

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    One of the elaborate ice sculptures on display at the competition

 

Saturday March 17th – This morning we will enjoy a snowmobile tour for two and a half hours of fun.  The tour is guided and each snowmobile is driven by one passenger with another seated behind.  The option is also available to upgrade to having your own snowmobile for the 2.5 hour tour.  The operator provides all the necessary gear including helmets, goggles, gloves, boots, snow pants and even heated hand warmers on the snowmobile handles.

After returning to our hotel, the afternoon is at leisure.  This afternoon, if you wish, you can witness - live in person the Open North American Sled Dog Championships.  This is an incredible experience to watch the speed and thrilling action of one of the top dog sledding races in the world.

The race begins at 1pm and ends at around 3pm and, unlike the more famous Ititarod dog sled race, which is a multi day test of endurance, this race is instead a test of speed and skill over a much shorter distance.  The start and finish is usually set up each year just a short walking distance from our hotel.
 
Tonight we will enjoy our final night in Fairbanks by celebrating St. Patrick’s Day at an Irish pub called the Big I.  The pub is also walking distance from our hotel and will have live Irish music and dancing playing until the late night hours with a fun festive spirit.
 

Sunday March 18th -  You may be hung-over from the St. Patty’s Day party last night or just from all the fun you have had all week, but it’s time to head home today.  Our hotel offers a free airport shuttle so just book your own flights home for any time you wish today and they will take care of getting you to the Fairbanks airport.

 

Your trip includes:

  • 7 nights’ accommodations at the Marriott Springhill Suites in Fairbanks with breakfast daily
  • Free airport transport provided by the hotel to and from the airport
  • All tours as listed in the itinerary
  • Free non-smoking roommate matching of the same gender
  •  Services of our singles trip escort for any day to day questions

 

Trip cost: $1999 per person including tax

Optional single room supplement: $499

Deposits and balance payments:
A deposit of $400 is due within 7 days of booking.  Balance payment is due December 20th.

Cancelations:
If you have traveled with us one or more times before, then you are part of our “Ohana” (a Hawaiian term for family we use to refer to anyone who has traveled with us on any trip before).  As Ohana, your deposit is fully refundable if you cancel for any reason until the trip cancelation date, which for this trip is October 20th.

If you have never traveled with us before, you may cancel until October 20th for a full credit of your deposit toward any future trip with us that you choose, departing any date within 2 years of your cancelation date.  We look forward to your becoming a part of our “Ohana” and to showing you the beauty of your chosen destination and the fun and friendships you will make travelling with our singles groups.
 
After the cancel date, any cancelation will result in loss of deposit.  Any cancelations after the final payment will result in loss of full payment unless travel insurance has been purchased and cancelation is for a covered reason under the insurance company’s policy.

 

BOOK ME A SPACE ON THIS TRIP

 

 

 

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