Logo bar of the Alaska Public Lands Information Centers which are located in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Tok and Ketchikan
A mountaineer attempts a summit in a world made of snow and ice.
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Winter Activities
Things to Do:
Cross Country (Nordic) Skiing
- Next to swimming, cross country skiing is the most beneficial exercise of all sports. There are many places to enjoy this wonderful winter past time:

Northern Light Viewing- The best time of year to see the Aurora is when it is dark and cold. Many winter nights are the perfect combination of clear moonless sky's and subzero temperatures. To check for the Aurora forecast go to:

Skijoring- Is a combination of cross country skiing and dog sledding, with the exception of no sled. It is the perfect opportunity for a dog lover to spend time with their canine friend and get some exercise at the same time. The one and only dedicated trail in Anchorage is the Conner's Bog (Lake) Unleashed Dog Area (Southwood Park) located off the Jewel Lake Road by the Ted Stevens International Airport. In Fairbanks there are many more trails that are listed at:

winter camping
Sled dog from Denali National Park
NPS Photo/Carmen Adamyk
Sled dog from the Denali National Park and Preserve kennels.

Dog Sledding- The traditional way of winter transportation in Alaska is mainly enjoyed by the select few of mushers who have dog teams and train year round, although there are private concessions that do dog sled rides. The most famous race is the Iditarod that is held in March starting in Anchorage and making a thousand mile trip to Nome. Places to go mushing are:

  • Nancy Lakes
  • Girdwood- 40 miles south of Anchorage on the Seward Highway.
  • Golsovia River- Up north between the foot of the South River Mountains and Norton Sound.
  • Exit Glacier- Just north of Seward.





Downhill Skiing and Snowboarding- One of the most popular of all winter activities for Alaskan's can be enjoyed at the following areas:

  • Alyeska Resort- Located 40 miles south of Anchorage in Girdwood, AK.
  • Arctic Valley Ski Area/Alpenglow- Just a few miles north of Anchorage, take the Glenn Highway to Arctic Valley Road.
  • Chugach State Park and National Forest- For the more remote, extreme, and dangerous heliskiing trips.
  • Eagle Crest Ski Area- Located in Juneau.
  • Hilltop Ski Area- Located conveniently in Anchorage at 7015 Abbott Road.
  • Moose Mountain Ski Resort- Located in Fairbanks.
  • Mount Eyak Ski Area- In Cordova.
  • Mt. Aurora Skiland- In Fairbanks.


Young girl ice fishing in one of the many lakes on the Kenai  Peninsula.
A young girl displaying her catch ice fishing on the Kenai Penisula.

Ice Climbing- Equally mentally and physically challenging, it is also very dangerous, whether it is climbing on glaciers in the summer or frozen waterfalls in winter. This sport is for climbers who have the adequate equipment and experience. Popular Places for this extreme challenge are:

  • Seward Highway- Many frozen waterfalls that are in close proximity of the highway.
  • Caribou Creek- About one and a half hours north of Anchorage.
  • Matanuska Glacier- One of the best places that is open for climbing year around and is approximately one and a half hours north of Anchorage.
  • Portage Valley- About 50 miles south of Anchorage.
Ice Fishing- With more than 3 million lakes in Alaska you are bound to catch some fresh fish. Many lakes in Anchorage and surrounding communities are stocked lakes and are great spots for fishing.
For information on renting an ice hut on either Birch Lake State Recreation Site or Quartz Lake State Recreation Area go to:
For most resent updated ice depth information go to and click on ice tests in the last paragraph at the bottom of the page.


Snowmachining in Kenai Fjords National Park at the Exit Glacier
Snowmachining in Kenai Fjords National Park at the Exit Glacier

Snowmachining- Also known as snowmobiling to the Alaskan outsider is the winter equivalent to the summer ATV sports. Places to ride are:

 Snowshoeing- An alternative for the avid summer hiker. There are multiple places to trek during the winter including the following areas:

  • Hatcher Pass- Between Wasilla and Palmer
  • Nancy Lakes- A one and a half hour drive from Anchorage heading north on the Parks Highway.
  • Girdwood- 40 miles south of Anchorage on the Seward Highway.
  • Chugach State Park- Anchorage's backyard/playground.

Always remember that safety comes first. Be knowledgeable in avalanche safety when trekking though the deep backcountry powder and aware of the chances of hypothermia during winter.

For more information on avalanches go to:

For the latest updated snow gauge information go to:

Close up shot of three Walruses at the Togiak National Wildlife Refuge. These marine mammals are reddish brown in color with great, long, white tusks. Did You Know?
Over 30 species of marine and terrestrial mammals are present on Togiak National Wildlife Refuge. Migrating waterfowl use the coastal wetlands, while over 1,500 miles of riverine habitat provide for 5 species of Pacific salmon, rainbow and lake trout, grayling, Dolly Varden, and Arctic char.