Your unique Alaska winter tour experience starts with the arrival in Fairbanks. Spend one night in your downtown hotel and visit the World Championship Ice Carving competition or the Open North America Sled Dog Championship. The following nights are spent at the Chena Hot Springs Resort where you enjoy Alaska’s most outstanding Northern Lights viewing site - in a remote setting just below the Arctic Circle. Other winter activities are including: sled dog toura, x-country skiing, snowmobiling and ice-skating. Return to Fairbanks and travel with the famous Alaska Railroad along the magnificent snow covered Alaska Range to Anchorage. Spend a day in Alaska's largest city before flying back home.
Upon arrival transfer from the airport to your **** hotel near the banks of the beautiful Chena River. Depending on your arrival time you can visit the University of Alaska with its large collection of historical Alaska artifacts, gold nugget displays and Northern Lights background information. Check out the Geophysical Institute on the campus with the current aurora activity forecasts. If you travel during February or March - Fairbanks hosts the World Ice Art Championships, exciting professional Sled Dog Races and a large variety of other winter carnival activities. Optional Northern Lights Viewing Tour (10 PM - 2:30 AM): Fairbanks area provides some spectacular Northern Lights viewing! Evening transfer to a prime aurora viewing lodge in the hills about 20 miles north of Fairbanks. Here you can enjoy spectacular 270-degree Aurora displays through large picture windows from the comfort of a heated cabin or outside. Overnight: Fairbanks
Fairbanks - Chena Hot Springs Resort
Morning at leisure or for additional individual sightseeing activities around Fairbanks. Enjoy the scenic van transfer (60 Miles) to Chena Hot Springs Resort, located in a prime Northern Lights viewing area – far away from any city lights. Tonight join the spectacular Snow Coach tour to see the aurora up close (included). From the resort you travel 30 minutes to the top of a ridge (2600 ft) where no city lights interfere the aurora. After arriving on top you can step inside the heated Mongolian Yurt to warm up and enjoy a hot beverage. For the next few hours you can always step outside and enjoy spectacular 360-degree Aurora displays. Return to the resort at around 2 AM. Overnight: Chena Hot Springs.
Chena Hot Springs Resort
Relax in the large heated mineral indoor pool, the outdoor rock lake and in numerous hot tubs – which are providing a great opportunity to soak or swim until the Northern Lights are appearing in the evening again. In the afternoon you can take a guided tour around the Aurora Ice Museum, visit a dog kennel or run your own sled dog team. Join a guided snow machine tour around the areas of the resort and have your tour guide show you the remote backcountry. Get a work out by renting cross-country skis, snowshoes or ice skates and cruise around the resort's 440 beautiful acres and scenic trails. There is a ice skating pond right next to the outdoor pool. If you prefer relaxing, try a Swedish or Oil massage to rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit. Another evening/night with magnificent and exciting Aurora observation is just ahead of you. The best viewing starts after 10:00 pm and continuous until the early morning hours. Overnight: Chena Hot Springs.
Breakfast at the hotel. Remaining day at leisure. Spend this day with some exiting adventurous outdoor opportunities. Independent local operators are providing x-country skiing lessons and trips, a variety of guided sled dog tours from 30 minutes to 4 hours, wonderful sleigh rides, snowmobiling tours into the Chena Hills or flightseeing trips above the Arctic Circle with it's remote and authentic native villages (optional). In the evening enjoy a delicious dinner at the rustic log lodge restaurant and then join the Snow Coach Tour (optional) or take a short hike for another night of outstanding Northern Lights viewing opportunities. A prow-front heated log cabin with large plate-glass windows facing northeast is open 24 hours per day for guests staying at the resort. It sits high on a hill overlooking the Resort and outdoor rock lake. Overnight: Chena Hot Springs
Chena Hot Springs Resort - Fairbanks
Spend the morning at Chena and depart around lunch. Check into your hotel in Fairbanks for one additional night. If you are an active person, you can go ice fishing or visit a sled dog kennel and learn about dog mushing. Have fun riding in the sled bag or even drive your own dog team through Alaska's winter wonderland. Keep on the look out for moose and other wildlife as you soak up the winter sun. You can also join this afternoon our Fairbanks & area sightseeing tour - combining fun with Fairbanks history, Alaskan craftsmanship and Alaska winter activities. Your first stop is the Santa Claus House in North Pole where you can have a picture taken Mr. & Mrs. Claus. Continue to the Trans Alaska Pipeline viewpoint and the Yukon Quest Cabin where you can interact with a musher and their huskies. If you are looking for an authentic gift, then the Great Alaskan Bowl Company is the perfect place. Overnight: Chena Hot Springs
Fairbanks - Anchorage (by train)
Transfer to the Fairbanks rail station and departure at 8:15 am for a very scenic full-day rail tour to Anchorage. All seats within the comfortable train compartments are pre-reserved and the staff takes care of your entire luggage. Enjoy the ride ! You'll get fantastic and breathtaking views of the snow covered Alaska Mountain Range with its towering 20.320 feet high Mt. McKinley. Stopovers are at Denali National Park and Talkeetna before arriving in Anchorage in the evening around 7:45 pm. Transfer to your downtown hotel. Overnight: Anchorage
Remaining day in Anchorage on your own. Explore Alaska's largest city by yourself and visit the many points of interests. Take a walk on the Coastal Trail along Cook Inlet to Earthquake Park with a magnificent view of the snow capped Alaska Mountain Range in the distance. Don't miss a delicious lunch at one of Anchorage's top seafood restaurants. During February and March Anchorage hosts the annual Fur Rendezvous, Ice Carving Festivals, the Iditarod Sled Dog Race and other super natural winter events. Flight reservations to your home destination may be made anytime for today. The transfer to the airport is included. Individual tour extensions or sightseeing tours are available.
Ideal viewing time is approximately from 7 days prior to New Moon and until 7 days after New Moon. While some people may be concerned that a full moon is a problem, only weak aurora may be obstructed by the light of the moon, but in Alaska the aurora is frequently strong enough that aurora viewing is still possible on a moonlit night. As far as aurora photography goes, the aurora above a moonlit landscape actually tends to have a pleasing effect. On the whole, when participating in an aurora tour, one doesn’t need to be worried about the moon.The moon does not influence the aurora activity, the sky is just darker. You can therefore travel any time of the month.
New Moon Dates:2017 - January 28, February 26, March 28, April 26, August 22, September 20, October 20, November 18, December 182018 - January 17, February 16, March 17, April 16, September 09, October 09, November 07, December 072019 - January 06, February 05, March 06, April 05, August 30, September 28, October 28, November 26, December 26
Aurora Photography: When you do your research for shooting the aurora, you’ll find pluses and minuses for going when a full moon is present. On the minus side is if the lights that night are somewhat faint, the brightness of the moon’s reflection of the sun can fade them out. On the other hand, a full moon can be used to illuminate objects in the foreground. Many aurora shots include buildings with lights on inside to provide an interesting foreground subject. Depending on your shooting location, this feature might not be available. However, a full moon will help light up anything you have in front of you, no matter where you are. Because shots are done for at least six to eight seconds and up to fifteen seconds or more (depending on your shutter and ISO settings), the full moon will do a great job of making what would otherwise be a silhouette into a well-lit subject. Conversely, if you choose to go when there isn’t a full moon, a strong flash can be helpful in popping light onto a foreground subject.
Q: When is the best time of the year to see the Aurora A: In northern regions such as Alaska, the Yukon Territory, Northern British Columbia and the Northwest Territories - the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) are seen from late August to mid April. Furthermore, during the autumn and spring, the weather is rather unstable and has a lower percentage of clear skies. Therefore, we have determined the best viewing seasons to be from mid-August to the end of September and from mid-November to mid-April. In This time of the year offers the best trade off between mild weather and dark skies. During the summer months, night skies are not dark enough to view the Aurora Borealis and in midwinter temperatures in the – 40 degree range make outdoor aurora viewing somewhat unpleasant. In other locations farther from the average aurora oval, the main consideration is the level of geomagnetic activity, which varies rather unpredictably through the year. Q: When is the best time of the day A: Within the most active regions of Alaska and prime viewing areas the Aurora oval typically becomes visible around local midnight. Note: this is an astronomical midnight - which may be an hour or two different from the civil or the “ wall clock “ midnight due to daylight savings time and/or peculiarities in your time zone. Spectacular Aurora displays due to geomagnetic disturbance may be seen at any time when the sky is dark, but they are relatively unpredictable. Under average conditions, observations around local midnight are most likely to yield results. Q: What are the Temperatures in the Northern Regions A: The average daily temperatures in February/March are approximately +20/-30 - equivalent to –8/-33 degrees Celsius.
Q: How to observe the Aurora A: If you follow our recommendations you should be able to enjoy some pleasant Aurora viewing.
Q: What causes the Aurora A: Energetic charged particles from the magnetosphere. These particles are electrons and protons that are energized in the near geo-space environment. This energization process draws its energy from the interaction of the Earth's magnetosphere with the solar wind. The magnetosphere is a volume of space that surrounds the Earth. We have this magnetosphere because of Earth's internal magnetic field. This field extends to space until it is balanced by the solar wind.
Q: What is the altitude of the Aurora Borealis A: The bottom edge is typically at 100 km (about 60 miles) altitude. The aurora extends over a very large altitude range. The altitude where the emission comes from depends on the energy of the energetic electrons that make the aurora. The more energy the bigger the punch, and the deeper the electron get into the atmosphere. Very intense aurora from high-energy electrons can be as low as 80 km (50 miles). The top of the visible aurora peters out at about 2-300 km (120-200 miles), sometimes high altitude aurora can be seen as high as 600 km (350 miles). This is about the altitude at which the space shuttle usually flies.
The solar wind is the outermost atmosphere of our sun. The sun is so hot that it boils off its outer layers, and the result is a constant outward expanding very thin gas. This solar wind consists not of atoms and molecules but of protons and electrons (this is called a plasma). Embedded in this solar wind is the magnetic field of the sun. The density is so low that we may well call it a vacuum. However tenuous it is, when this solar wind encounters a planet, it has to flow around it. When this planet has a magnetic field, the solar wind sees this magnetic field as an obstacle, as protons and electrons cannot move freely across a magnetic field. These charged particles are constrained to move almost always only along the magnetic field. Likewise, when they are forced to move in a specific direction, a magnetic field will move with them or will be bent into the direction of the flow. Whether the magnetic field forces the plasma motion or whether the plasma motion bends the magnetic field depends on the strength of the field and the force of the motion. When the solar wind encounters Earth's magnetic field, it will thus bend the field unless the field gets too strong. The strength of the magnetic field falls off with distance from Earth. The distance at which the solar wind and the magnetic field of the Earth balance each other is about 60,000 km away, or 1/10 of the distance to the moon. The inside of this volume that is bounded by the solar wind is called the magnetosphere. At the interface of the solar wind and the magnetosphere, energy can be transferred into the magnetosphere by a number of processes. Most effective is a process called reconnection. When the magnetic field in the solar wind and the magnetic field of the magnetosphere are anti-parallel, the fields can melt together, and the solar wind can drag the magnetospheres field and plasma along. This is very efficient in energizing magnetospheres plasma. Eventually, the magnetosphere responds by dumping electrons and protons into the high latitude upper atmosphere where the energy of the plasma can be dissipated. This then results in aurora. Here is an animation (1.6Mb) that illustrates this process.
Q: How do I take the best pictures A: For the first -time or for seasoned aurora photographer, a 35 mm camera on a tripod equipped with a cable release is a must. Use a wide-angle 24 mm to 50 mm lens and set it to an f-stop which is the fastest – or one slower to avoid distortion of bright star images – usually f/1.4 – f/2.8.
Q: Can I videotape the Aurora A: Videotaping the aurora generally takes highly specialized video equipment. Generally – camcorders are not sensitive enough to see the aurora, though a few will record a faint, smoky image given a sufficiently bright aurora. Your best bet for video showing the color and motion of the aurora is to purchase a professionally – recorded tape such as one distributed form the Geophysical Institute in Fairbanks. Thus, some home video cameras are capable of picking up bright auroras. In particular, a camera rated at for example: less than one-lux sensitivity has captured – faintly and colorlessly a bright auroral arc. Many cameras which have special features such as digital zoom and / or vibration compensation are much less sensitive and will not show the aurora. The most annoying problem with home video cameras in low-light situations is their inability to focus. If your camera has a focus-lock button, you may be able to focus on a distant, brightly-lit object, and lock the focus then see if you can pick up the moon or perhaps catch a hint of an extremely bright aurora. Just don’t expect much, because home video cameras aren’t designed to do low-light recording.
Q: Do you have any Aurora Photography Tips A: When you do your research for shooting the aurora, you’ll find pluses and minuses for going when a full moon is present. On the minus side is if the lights that night are somewhat faint, the brightness of the moon’s reflection of the sun can fade them out. On the other hand, a full moon can be used to illuminate objects in the foreground. Many aurora shots include buildings with lights on inside to provide an interesting foreground subject. Depending on your shooting location, this feature might not be available. However, a full moon will help light up anything you have in front of you, no matter where you are. Because shots are done for at least six to eight seconds and up to fifteen seconds or more (depending on your shutter and ISO settings), the full moon will do a great job of making what would otherwise be a silhouette into a well-lit subject. Conversely, if you choose to go when there isn’t a full moon, a strong flash can be helpful in popping light onto a foreground subject.
Q: Flights to Alaska A: Alaska -, Continental -, United -, Delta Airlines and US Airways are providing multiple flight connections daily to Anchorage and Fairbanks from the lower 48's. For current rates please refer to: >> Alaska Airlines or other airlines and any ticket reservation systems of your choice. Sorry, but we do not provide a reservation service for airlines tickets. Accordingly our advertised tour rates do not include any flights to/from Alaska.
Q: Recommended Clothing A: We recommend fleece or heavy wool sweaters, down jackets or similar cold weather gear with attached hood, gloves, sun glasses, swimsuit, wool shirts, cotton or thermal underwear, mittens, sturdy winter boots, lip balsam, moisturizing cream. Winter gear and clothing may be rented at your local outdoor stores or at REI - Recreational Equipment INC - in Anchorage (please contact the stores directly) >> More Information
Q: Meals A: Meals are not included in our tours (except as otherwise stated within each "Tour Included" section) The cities of Fairbanks and Anchorage are providing a large number of restaurants in all categories. Our lodges and resorts are providing a dining room or a full service restaurant with a extended food and drink selection.
Q: Sightseeing Tours A: Sightseeing tours are not included in our tour packages (except as otherwise stated within each "Tour Included" section) Thus, we do offer a variety of optional tours. Please contact us or simply check our websites.
Q: How far in advance should I make a Reservation A: This is hard to predict but if you travel during: (1) New Moon Dates (2) Public Holidays (3) Long Weekends (4) Alaska Events etc. tours are most likely sold out and it will be virtually impossible to materialize a last minute request. Accordingly it is highly advisable to book as early as possible.
Moose Lodge Room / First Class Category
The Moose Lodge features 40 spacious rooms with two queen beds that have comfortable 14 inch mattresses.
Each room includes a full bath, 8 channel TV, hair dryer, coffee maker, telephone and unlimited swim/soak passes during your stay.
Fox Room / Superior Category
The Resort features 32 Fox Rooms, each with a unique Alaskan Decor and close proximity to the hot springs.
A comfortable option, smaller and more intimate than the Moose Lodge yet cozier, each room has two double beds,
a 3/4 bath with shower, 8 channel TV, hair dryer, coffee maker and unlimited swim/soak passes during your stay. No room-in telephone.
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