Skiing down mountains and across charming landscape, snowflakes that stay on our nose and eyelashes, dancing auroras that fill the whole sky, these are a few of our favorite things!
Winter in Alaska is almost officially here and there’s plenty of fun to be had. Alaskans don’t shut down just because it’s cold. In addition to winter activities like skiing, snow machining (or snowmobiling) and aurora hunting, some of the state’s biggest events happen on the shortest days of the year.
Here are a few of our favorite winter events in Alaska to keep an eye on.
Come to Anchorage in December for 10 days of “films worth freezing for.” Over 100 films from 22 countries will be screened this year. The festival was founded in 2001 and has continued to grow since then.
For more than 80 years, this 10-day festival has been the highlight of many Alaska winters. Just blocks away from Westmark Anchorage Hotel, you’ll have a home base. The festival is jam-packed with everything from a carnival and parade to a snow sculpture competition and outhouse races. Bonus: the conclusion of the festival marks the beginning of the Iditarod, so you can check a second event off your Alaska winter bucket list.
Christmas in Ice is a 6-week winter ice park in North Pole, Alaska, next to the Santa Claus House. If you love Christmas, this is the place for you. It features Elf’s Icy Playground with icicles, Christmas-themed ice art, indoor crafts and more. Spend Christmas Day with Santa and New Year’s Eve with a fireworks show. Just about 15 miles from Westmark Fairbanks, you can easily make a few visits during your stay.
If ever there was a reason to celebrate, the return of daylight is one! During the week of Dec. 21, Fairbanks buzzes with excitement that days will be getting longer again. On the night of the solstice, a fireworks show lights up the sky. The town is decorated for the holidays and musical and artistic events can be found throughout the town.
From the end of February to the end of March, residents of Fairbanks participate in a time-honored tradition, Winter Carnival. Since the 1930s, the carnival has brought people together to celebrate winter with the arts, dog mushing, ice sculpting events and more. The carnival has changed throughout the years but remains, at its core, a time for visitors and locals alike to come together and experience the excitement of winter.