Follow the Iditarod Sled Dog Teams from Anchorage all they way to Nome. Enjoy the Iditarod Race Start on Anchorage's 4th Avenue and the bustling preparation of the teams in the morning, a trip to the re-start ceremony in Willow or Wasilla, a visit of an Iditarod veteran, ski plane fly-outs to Rainy Pass, Finger Lakes, McGrath and Nikolai checkpoint within the Alaska Mountain Range as well as to the most interesting native village checkpoints along the shores of the frozen Bering Sea. You'll overnight at a wilderness lodges with excellent Aurora Viewing, in first class city hotels and small inns in Nome and the Native communities in northern Alaska. Witness the finishing of the race live in Nome when the first Iditarod Sled Dog Team arrives after an exhilarating trip of 1100 Miles throughout the most rugged, remote and challenging regions of Alaska. A ideal itinerary for the independent, individual and adventurous traveler and an experience you'll never forget. Travel Alaska beyond imagination!
Anchorage | Mushers Banquet (Thursday)
Upon arrival in Anchorage transfer to your hotel. Join our guided city sightseeing tour (optional) and explore the sights and highlights of Anchorage. Visit the historical and scenic points of interest around Anchorage: Alaska's largest (Ski) Floatplane Base at Lake Hood, scenic lookout at Earthquake Park, the snow sculptures and a stop at the Millenium Hotel to see the Iditarod Headquarters, race info and gift items. At 5:00 PM join the Musher's Banquet Dinner at the Dena'ina Center (included). Main part of the exciting evening entertainment is the bib number drawing, an auction and a 3-course dinner which starts around 6:00 PM. Dress code is casual. Vegetarian meals are available upon request. This is a must for anyone interested to observe "The Last Great Race on Earth" for the first time. Participants have plenty of photo opportunities, good chances to meet and talk with the Iditarod Musher personally, collect autographs and participate in the auction. Overnight: Anchorage.
Anchorage (Friday) Enjoy your free day in and around Anchorage. There are many options available to spend your day: Join our Prince William Sound Glacier Cruise. Get into a comfortable van and leave Anchorage for an exciting day of sightseeing. You will drive along Turnagain Arm with dramatic views of mountain scenery and an inlet with the second highest tide in North America. Watch out for moose, dall sheep and other wildlife. Arrive in Whittier and join a 4 hr cruise to see the massive tidewater glaciers of Alaska at Blackstone Bay and Beloit Glacier - some of the most amazing sights you will ever see. Cruise along Passage Canal and venture into magnificent Blackstone Bay, home to seven glaciers and Yosemite-scale waterfalls. During our adventure you’ll step ashore to experience the natural geology and hike on a glacier. Enjoy a snack and hot drink as you reflect on your journey and this magnificent nook of Alaska. On your return trip to Anchorage stopover at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center or at Alyeska Ski Resort. Overnight: Anchorage
Anchorage | Iditarod Ceremonial Race Start (Saturday) The legendary Iditarod Race starts at 10:00 AM on 4th Avenue in Alaska's largest city. Get up early and observe the start preparations, take close up pictures from about 100 Musher's, over 1000 Sled Dogs and enjoy the bustling and exciting race atmosphere before the teams are leaving from the starting line for the "1050 mile race to Nome". Anchorage parks and green belts are providing also a great alternative to observe the race activities. The Balto Statue marks the ceremonial starting point of the Iditarod. Balto was the final lead sled dog in a relay of dogsleds that brought vaccine from Anchorage to Nome just in time to stop a diphtheria epidemic that was threatening to devastate Nome's population in the winter of 1925. The story of the sled dog relay is a classic tale of adventure and sacrifice, as dozens of dogs and mushers risked their lives in brutal conditions to save their fellow citizens. Overnight: Anchorage
Anchorage – Willow | Iditarod Re-Start - Backcountry Lodge (Sunday)
A full day of race action. Morning departure for the guided tour to the official Iditarod restart in Willow which starts at 2:00 PM. Enjoy the busy and bustling Iditarod race atmosphere and the musher's final preparation for the 1050-mile trip to the finishing line in Nome. Scenic afternoon flight from Willow to the full-service wilderness lodge located 70 airmiles north of Anchorage. The unique location along the Iditarod Trail allows us to watch the mushers and sled dog teams in full action as they mush by on Sunday night. Upon arrival your hosts will welcome you and provide a short motorsled transfer to the main lodge. Check in and enjoy a delicious home cooked dinner. Later in the evening we take you by sled to the frozen Skwentna River. A nice big bonfire keeps you warm ouside and a hot toddie inside, while we barbeque some Reindeer sausages. You'll see the first mushers and dog teams passing by from 10:00 PM onwards. The remote location alos offers the great chance to watch the aurora borealis dancing on the night sky. Overnight: Iditarod Trail Wilderness Lodge
Lodge - Flight to Rainy Pass Checkpoint - Anchorage (Monday)
Breakfast at the wilderness lodge. Morning ski-plane fly-out for a breathtaking flightseeing trip along the Alaska Mountain Range to the Rainy Pass Checkpoint and the nearby Puntilla Lakes. The gateway to the interior offers by far the best and most spectacular scenery of the entire Iditarod Trail. Many teams are taking their mandatory 24 hour layover here before venturing via the treacherous Farewell Burn area and into the flat lands of the interior. A deli style lunch and soft drinks are included. You'll spend the whole day within the incredible wilderness area along the trail observing various dog-mushing activities and teams arriving and departing. Return flight to Anchorage by ski-plane in the late afternoon. Transfer to your downtown hotel and check-in. Enjoy a delicious dinner and share the stories of the day with your fellow travelers. Overnight: Anchorage
Anchorage | Flight to Nikolai Checkpoint (Tuesday)
Fly to the native village of Nikolai for another day of up-close-and-personal race action. With a population of 125 people, Nikolai is the first of many tiny native villages along the Iditarod Trail at the South Fork of the Kuskokwim River. The site was a former trading post and roadhouse during the 1899's gold rush This is usually the preferred area were the leading Iditarod dog teams are taking their mandatory 24-hour layover. You spend the entire day within the incredible wilderness area along the trail observing various dog mushing activities and arrival or departures of the teams. Return flight to Anchorage in the late afternoon with our ski-planes. Upon arrival individual van transfer to the hotel. We recommend a dinner in one of Anchorage's unique brew houses or some shopping for quality Alaska Native Artwork along the 4th Avenue. Overnight: Anchorage
Anchorage – Alyeska Resort (Wednesday)
Morning at leisure or for shopping activities around Anchorage. Early afternoon: Get into a comfortable van and leave Anchorage for a scenic drive to Alyeska. You will drive along Turnagain Arm with dramatic views of mountain scenery and an inlet with the second highest tide in North America. Watch out for moose, dall sheep and other wildlife. You'll notice several nearby glacier and the beautiful scenery around you. Arrive at Alyeska Resort – Alaska largest Ski Area - and stroll around the small mountain community. Optional Tram ride to the top of 3.939 ft. Mount Alyeska and dinner at the renowned Seven Glaciers Restaurant on top of the mountain with a breathtaking view over seven magnificent hanging glaciers. Check in at Alyeska Resort for the next three nights. Overnight: Alyeska Resort
Alyeska Resort (Thursday)
Days at leisure. Despite its elevation the area is home to some of the most challenging skiing in the world. Girdwood has successfully evolved from its gold mining roots into a thriving all season resort community with an average snowfall of 631 inches every year and provides over 1,000 acres of ski terrain with easy to expert runs. Ski gear may be rented at Alyeska Resort. Non-skier have a choice of snowshoeing or x-country ski trips, dog sledding, snowmobiling or simply rejuvenate at the world-class spa facilities of the Alyeska Resort Hotel with large indoor pool, sauna & fitness center, multiple restaurants, bars etc. Overnights: Alyeska Resort
Alyeska Resort (Friday)
Spend another day at leisure. Today you have the option to go on a glacier snowmobile tour (optional). There is nothing like the thrill of driving your own snowmobile! On these machines, we can really see "back country" like we cannot from the highway. Many Alaskans own their own machines and spend the winter weekends outdoors basking in the midday sun and cruising the wilderness on snowmobiles, pumping up the adrenaline - it's what keeps us going! You won't regret really getting out there to see what the Chugach Mountains have to offer you. Wind through open fields, see beaver ponds, and frozen waterfalls. Under the right conditions your professional snowmobile guide will take you out to the glacier to see the icebergs and caves! Considered by many as a “Blue Ice Paradise!”. Overnights: Alyeska Resort
Alyeska Resort - Anchorage - Nome (Saturday)
Get ready for the Iditarod finish. Morning transfer from the Alyeska Resort to Anchorage Airport along scenic Turnagain Arm. Fly in the early afternoon to Nome. Check into your hotel or bed and breakfast in Nome and explore the many sights of the community. Stroll around the city and learn more about the rich history of this gold rush town and the Iditarod Sled Dog Race. Plenty of time to shop for exquisite jade, hand-carved ivory and skin sowings. The nights may provide some outstanding Northern Lights – Aurora Borealis – viewing. Overnight Nome
Nome | Sightseeing & Area Tour (Sunday) Today it is time to explore Nome and the surrounding area. Get to know the deep knowledge of the area's cultures and history. Seeing Nome on a guided tour is a truly authentic local experience you won't want to miss! Driving around, you'll absorb the historic flavor of this city's 100 years--along with thousands of years of Eskimo history. You'll visit the port, the cemetery, tour through town, and take a drive into the country to take a tundra walk and get a insightful take on the unique ecosystem, then, if you like, try your hand at panning for gold on the beaches of Nome. Overnight: Nome
Nome | Fight to Unalakleet Checkpoint (Monday) Today you'll fly to the Unalakleet Checkpoint (or another checkpoint depending on the race progress). Fly along the Iditarod Trail and spot already sled dog teams from the air. Unalakleet on the shores of Norton Sound is a major logistic hub for the race – about 275 Miles from Nome. Unalakleet is the first checkpoint on the Norton Sound in the famous Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. The first musher to reach this checkpoint each year is awarded the title Gold Coast Award, which includes $2,500 in gold nuggets. You have a the afternoon to observe the race activities. By now you are familiar with the checkpoint routine: Mushers come into the checkpoint, mushers leave the checkpoint, vets check dogs, dogs eat, dog feet and muscles are massaged by caring mushers, dogs sleep, mushers sleep and a myriad of other mushing related tasks. Return to Nome in the late afternoon. Overnight: Nome
Nome (Tuesday) The first musher is expected to arrive today. The last stretch of the trail is exposed to the elements and ground blizzards are not uncommon. Gather near the "Burled Arches" along Front street to watch the spectacle as mushers approaches the finishing line with his dog team - greeted by a cheering crowd, TV Stations, Film Crews and newspaper reporter. Throughout the day cheer the mushers as they are crossing the finish line in Nome. You have time to participant in the many activities Nome has to offer during the Iditarod Race: the Bering Sea Ice Golf Classic, Helicopter Tour, visit the Native Craft Fair or the Idita-Mardi Gras Party. Overnight: Nome
Nome | Flight to Koyuk or White Mountain Checkpoint (Wednesday) Morning flight from Nome to Koyuk on the shores of Norton Bay or to White Mountain (depending on the race progress). Koyuk checkpoint is only 171 Miles from Nome. Mushers are usually dealing with bad weather conditions along this stretch. High winds and temperatures of 40-below are common. The way to Shaktoolik is also extremely difficult to run due to the ever-present threat of open water and moving ice. This is certainly one of the hardest stretches of the race. White Mountain Checkpoint is located just 77 miles from Nome, on the banks of the Fish River. It takes its name from that of a picturesque nearby mountain. The checkpoint is located in the community hall building up the hill from the store. White Mountain is most notable as the last of three mandatory rest stops for teams competing in the annual Iditarod. All mushers are required to take an 8-hour rest stop at White Mountain before making the final push to the end of the race, 99 miles away in Nome. Spend the afternoon to observe mushing activities. Return Flight to Nome. Overnight: Nome
Nome | Safety Checkpoint (Thursday) This morning watch more and more mushers arriving in Nome. This afternoon enjoy the snowcat ride to Safety. Travel across the snow covered frozen tundra to view wildlife and gold rush landmarks across a beautiful and wild land. Muskox sightings on this trip are very common! It is amazing to see what it must be like to be out so far from anything like the mushers are. This is their last stretch before they arrive in Nome, and you might have passed a couple mushers. Safety Checkpoint is a warm and welcoming place. Joe runs the place and welcomes everyone with a story. Visitors from near and far visit the Roadhouse and leave a dollar bill with their name on it stapled to one of the walls. Overnight: Nome.
Nome - Anchorage (Friday) Morning on your own. Return flight from Nome to Anchorage during the day. We have several flight times available. Optional tour extension or additional nights in Nome on request.
AKS03 Anchorage City Sightseeing Tour Let our driver-guide show you some of Anchorage's historical points of interest in this sprawling city of over 250,000 full-time residents. Watch for attractions like the Log Cabin Visitor Center and its Crossroads of the World Signpost, Ship Creek Viewpoint overlooking Cook Inlet and the Alaska Railroad Depot, Resolution Park with its Captain Cook Monument, and the Museum of History & Art. Continue to Alaska's largest (Ski) Floatplane Base at Lake Hood and the nearby Earthquake Park, the site of the memorial of the 1964 Earthquake. See what happened to the land as it broke apart and slid into the Cook Inlet. Cook Inlet views and pictures from here are a favorite for guests! Rate per Person: $80.00
AKS05 Mt. Denali Flightseeing Tour You'll fly within 6-Miles of Denali's (McKinley's) 20.320 ft summit. Get a magnificent view of large glacier, ice-falls, mountain peaks and valleys and see how the last ice age has shaped the area. Continue to the Kahiltna Glacier and Ruth Glacier with it's Great Gorge - with over 9.000 ft the world deepest gorge. The flight continues to the Sheldon Amphitheatre – the largest of its kind in the world. Another highlight may be the Wickersham Wall – a 14.000 ft continuous rise of rock and ice. During the tour you may catch also sights of mountain climbers. All flights include window seat and hotel transfers in Anchorage Duration: 3 Hours Rate per Person: $435.00 (from/to Anchorage)
AKS04 Van Zyle Siberian Husky Kennel and Art Gallery Tour Van Zyle completed the Iditarod twice and maintains today a husky kennel near Anchorage. From these adventures he has created the yearly Iditarod poster series commemorating the race and his involvement. Since 1979 he is the official Iditarod artist and in 2004 he was included into the Iditarod Hall of Fame. A book of his art and life "The Best of Alaska - the Art of Jon Van Zyle" were published in 1990 and since then continuously updated. His original paintings are exhibited in many galleries in the USA & Europe. We offer an exclusive 3-4 hour tour from Anchorage, starting around 1:00 pm - which includes a visit of the sled dog kennel, the Art Studio and a lecture about dog sledding, the Iditarod and his exceptional life in Alaska. A mini print of the current official Iditarod poster (Value: $22.00) is included. Rate per Person: $115.00 (Minimum: 4 Clients, Transportation from/to Anchorage Included)
AKS01 Sled Dog Kennel Tour + Dog Mushing Ever dreamed of moving silently across snowy landscape pulled by a team of Alaskan Huskies? Dog sledding, also called dog mushing, is an exciting introduction to a traditional Alaska winter transportation with lively huskies and a musher with a long time successful Iditarod history. The Susitna Valley - dominated by the magnificent Mt.McKinley - is the dog mushing center of Alaska with a great trail system and many well known kennels. Meet the harnessed team and a musher for introductions and photographs. The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is a popular, inspiring topic of conversation. During the educational and inspiring presentation you'll learn about dog team commands, running positions, mushing basics, equipment, sled harnessing and breading. Than drive your own dog team with guided supervision on the beautiful winter trails. The dogs are always ready for adventure as they tour Alaska by winter and it's glaciers by summer. Native Alaskans bred huskies from wolves for companionship, protection and transportation. Step on the runners for this authentic Alaskan adventure. Winter clothing such as parkas, bibs, boots etc.. are provided. Total 3 Hours Rate per Person: $275.00 (including round trip transfer from Anchorage)
AKS13 3-Day Dog Mushing Adventures Tours are available from Feb 01 - Apr 10. Day one includes the above 3-hour introduction to dog mushing and one night at a Bed & Breakfast. In the morning of day two you'll travel north for some of the best Mt.McKinley views. You drive a dog team into Denali National Park to the Tokosha Mountain Wilderness Lodge. After a relaxed lunch you are out for more dog mushing adventure in the middle of a spectacular mountain scenery. Enjoy the hospitality and a great meals at the wilderness lodge. Leave the next morning after breakfast and head home with fantastic memories and great photos. Additional information on request. Rate per Person: $1300.00 (from/to Willow)
The crystal gallery of ice carving competition kicks off the winter festivities in Anchorage each year. It marks the beginning of many activities to come between January and April - such as the Iditarod and the Iron Dog. The ice carving competition occurs around the first weekend of January and happens in Anchorage’s town square with teams traveling as far as China to compete. Teams are provided with two blocks of ice weighing around 3 to 4 thousand pounds apiece and 48 hours to turn the blocks of ice into a masterpiece. Be careful when going to view the ice sculptures as they are located on an ice rink, literally. Or better yet bring your ice skates along for the adventure. Ice skating is free.
Inuit Blanket Toss The blanket toss competition is like jumping on a trampoline, except the people who are holding the blanket are raising and lowering it to toss a person. This is the game often played at festivals and other Inuit celebrations. The "blankets" for the game are usually made from seal and walrus skins, so it can handle the pounding that results every time a player lands on it after the "toss." The winner is the player who bounces the highest. This game started when mountain men, Inuits and old fur traders used to meet in a pre-arranged place in the early spring each year to trade their winter's kills (furs) for cash and supplies. In the early 1900s, these meetings stopped happening because modern trappers and fur buyers had no use for them. But in the 1930's, a group of people who wanted to preserve their history brought back these meetings in the form of a 10-day celebration where games like the Blanket Toss are played.
Native Arts Market Featuring over 150 Native Artisans selling and demonstrating their art - from basket weaving, dolls, beading, carving and more! A rare opportunity to meet and greet the artists and watch them create their one of a kind items. The Charlotte Jensen Native Arts Market is named for Charlotte Jensen as a tribute to her many years of service and her love of all things Rondy. She was a Past President, Former Lady Trapper, Vern Johnson Award winner, and long-time Board member of Greater Anchorage Inc. since the 1970’s. Charlotte was also Chairperson of the Merchandise Committee and the Native Arts Market.
Miners and Trappers Charity Ball Break out the costumes and celebrate the 62nd Anniversary of the Miner’s and Trapper’s Charity Ball. Bring your world class beard and extremely tolerant other half to compete in the “Mr. Fur Face Contest,” the Alaska State Championship Beard and Mustache Contest. The Miner’s and Trapper’s Charity Ball has raised several million dollars for local charities and is produced by area Lions Clubs. The Egan Center - Tickets: $30.00 per person Alaska Trappers Association Fur Auction The South Central Chapter of the Alaska Trappers Association brings you the finest in Alaskan Fur, continuing its legacy as one of the original events of Rondy. World Championship Sled Dog Races With a great big field of amazing mushers from Alaska, Germany, Canada and the lower 48. Sled Dog Races are a Fur Rendezvous classic which began in 1946 and continue today with what is known as "The Rondy." The Open World Championship Sled Dog Race is considered the grandfather of all Alaskan races! The Rondy is produced by the Alaskan Sled Dog Racing Association (ASDRA). Come and witness the sheer intensity and excitement that is the most anticipated sprint race in North America. Endurance, Speed, and agility prove these dogs to be true athletes.
Iditarod fans have an array of spots where they can watch the 62 race teams make their way across Anchorage on Saturday morning. One of the best is at the end, on Campbell Tract in Far North Bicentennial Park. There's parking at the "BLM" Bureau of Land Management Science Center, 5600 Science Center Drive off Elmore Road, for about 500 vehicles as well as shuttle buses to Kasuum Elementary (about 100 spots) and Abbott Loop Community Park (75 spots). After parking, spectators can follow wooded winter trails to viewing areas or use a shuttle to sample different viewing areas. School buses will run a loop route between 10:00 h and 16:00 h With the ceremonial start beginning at 10:00 h downtown, you'll have plenty of time to get a taxi from downtown Anchorage to the viewing areas before dog teams start arriving at around 11:00 h. The BLM staff put a lot of effort into preparing the terminus site to accommodate free public parking and close-up sled dog viewing and the Campbell Tract venue is one of our best kept scenic secrets to watch the musher away from the crowd. Portable toilets will supplement restrooms at the Campbell Creek Science Center, 5600 Science Center Driver off Elmore Road. The center also has hot chocolate and Iditarod exhibits.
Nordic Skiing is available at Kincaid Park, on the Coastal Trail, Beach Lake, Eagle River and along the Hillside.
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