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The 8 Best Winter Activities in Anchorage, Alaska

Winter is a serene time of year, from the powdery white floors to the crystal-like ice that hangs from buildings, trees, and other natural forms. In Anchorage, you can experience the true essence of winter by immersing yourself in all that it has to offer. Whether you wish to ice skate, cross-country ski, snowmobile, tube, ice fish, build an igloo, dogsled, or see the Northern Lights; Anchorage is the place to be. With these 8 best winter activities in Anchorage, Alaska you can create a book full of memories to last you all year!


view of the moon between the snow-covered trees at sunset

1. Sledding & Tubing at Arctic Valley

One of the best forms of winter entertainment for families is sledding and tubing. In Anchorage, you can find a ton of spots where you can just slide down a ditch, but if you are seeking a designated slope that is easy enough for kids to climb up, then head to Arctic Valley. You can sled down any spot off Arctic Valley Road or venture into the groomed tubing area. Arctic Valley rents large tubes for ages 10 and over or small tubes for ages 3-9. General admission is $16 per session and each session lasts for 1.5 hours. If you hold an Anchorage Ski Club membership, the admission fee is only $10 per session. The tentative opening day is Saturday, November 30, 2019. Reserve online and be sure to sign the liability waiver for easier access into the area.


an igloo glowing from within, below the Northern Lights

2. Build an Igloo

Considered to be a lost art, building an igloo in the winter is a great way to spend time with family and friends. Igloos are structured to work as an insulator, so the warmth created by body heat stays inside and is exacerbated keeping the people warm. Even with dropping temperatures, the inside of an igloo can be 60 degrees! All you need to do is compact snow and build it, the igloos harden over time due to melting and refreezing causing it to turn into ice. Show off your skills and build snow furniture inside. On average it can only take 1 hour to build a common igloo, so you can enjoy your igloo the rest of the day with your loved ones.


3. Ice Fishing

Anchorage offers a handful of lakes to choose from if you are craving the adventure of ice fishing. Stocked with Arctic char, grayling, pike, and landlocked salmon, the local area keeps anglers busy all winter. If you wish to stay close to hotels in Anchorage, Beach, Campbell Point, Delong, Sand, Goose, Mirror, and Jewel lakes are all great places to dig into and fish. You can choose to ice fish on a whim and rent gear through places like Alaska Outdoor Gear Rental. Remember to pick up a fishing license first from a local grocery store or outfitter.


a skiier in blue gear going quickly down the mountain

4. Cross-Country Skiing at Kincaid Park

Cross-country skiers flock to Anchorage’s Kincaid Park to explore its 1,400 acres of serene beauty. Kincaid Park is also home to a biathlon range for individuals who wish to train for the Olympic sport. With 37.3 miles of trails wrapping around the park, skiers of all expertise levels can enjoy a great adventure. For beginners, there is an abundance of flat trails including an 11-mile trail known as The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. Cross-country skiing is a great sport to try no matter your experience level.


5. Ice Skating

A classic sport that is great for the whole family! Ice skating skills can be taught at an early age and can be used for ice hockey too. In Anchorage, there are a few spots to choose from to fulfill your ice skating needs. At O’Malley’s Ice and Sports Center, you can skate on one of their two NHL-size rinks. Whether you want to skate, join a hockey league, or grab a bite to eat at their pub; O’Malley’s is a great place to spend a winters day. If you’re looking for an outdoor rink that you can spend an afternoon at, downtown Anchorage’s Town Square Park is a great spot to glide on the shimmering ice.


three snowmobile riders going single-file down a trail

6. Snowmobiling

The great thing about Anchorage’s large outdoor areas is that you don’t need a groomed designated trail to have fun. Snowmobiling is a fun activity, so grab your helmet and venture through the woods and on the frozen lakes. If you do wish to explore Alaska’s nature through a guided tour, Glacier City Snowmobile Tours, located about 38 miles from Anchorage offers guided tours. The tour trails through the Chugach Mountains and the guides will ensure you have everything you need so that you make the most out of your visit.


a man being pulled down the road by a team of 5 dogs

7. Dogsledding at Salmon Berry Tours

The Dallas Seavey Racing team gives you the ultimate Alaska experience. This dream team will take you back in time and provide you with a front-row seat into dog-sled racing and mushing. Groups of two get to share a team of 4-7 Alaskan Huskies and will get the chance to take turns driving the sled. The shared session goes on a 5-mile groomed trail through the boreal forest. In the second half of the journey, you will get to stop and take pictures of the beautiful surroundings and with the dogs. After your adventure grab a hot drink and warm up. This experience is truly amazing!


the Northern Lights shimmering in green and purple

8. See the Northern Lights

You can not beat the view of the Aurora from Anchorage. Some of the prime locations are right in the city and the view is stunning. Shining bright from August through April, this winter phenomenon is a must-see on your list of places and things to do. It is best to plan to stay for a few nights in Anchorage because the Aurora may not always be visible. Variables such as clouds can impact the intensity of the light. Seeing the Northern Lights is the perfect way to wrap up a weekend get-a-way to Anchorage.


a team of at least 8 dogs rushing around a snowy corner

If you are in search of the best winter activities in Alaska, then Anchorage is a great place to start. From the fresh powder on tubing slopes; compacted snow on igloos; deep ice of frozen lakes for fishing; smooth ice for skating; to the beauty of the northern lights, your sense of adventure will be filled. After you have enjoyed one of the 8 best winter activities in Anchorage, Alaska take a break and grab a warm meal and relax in one of their many hotels. Take advantage of all Alaska has to offer!

Anchorage Grand Hotel

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