This tour combines our very popular 6 Day Race Start guided tour with a 5 day tour self-guided tour to the Chena Hot Springs Resort. The aurora borealis has fascinated man for centuries and is truly a natural wonder no one should miss. Bands of green, red, purple and white streaking across the sky are symbolic of winter nights in the arctic. This tour takes you to one of the best places in Alaska for viewing the aurora: Chena Hot Springs Resort . Chena Hot Springs is a rustic resort nestled in the Chena Hills and has a wonderful outdoor pool that is perfect for watching the aurora streak across the sky. Sixty miles away from Fairbanks, the resort is beyond the interference of the city's lights and even has heated viewing huts on a remote mountain to further enhance the viewing pleasure. Staying at the resort for 5 nights gives you the best chance of seeing the aurora. Optional activities such as dog mushing, snowmobiling, skiing, hiking and snowshoeing make it the perfect place for a winter getaway.
Tuesday Arrival-You will have to take a taxi or Uber from the airport to the Hilton as downtown hotels do not have shuttles.Your room reservations at the Hilton will be under your name when you check-in.
Wednesday-We will meet in the Hilton Lobby at 12:00 pm with a 12:30 pm departure to Big Lake and the Alaska Mushing School. You will be asked to sign a Waiver of Liability that is required before boarding the bus. Dinner-You will receive a $25 gift certificate when we meet to use at the Bruins Pub in the Hilton, or you can eat out and use the certificate to cover a buffet breakfast.
Thursday -8:30 departure to the Alaska Wildlife Center and Alyeska Ski Resort. We orient you to the resort and shuttle service in Girdwood and will pay for clients wishing to take the tram ride up the mountain. We are scheduled to depart Alyeska at 3:00. If you have booked optional activities through the resort, plan to be back by then. Group will meet in the hotel lobby at 4:30 and walk 10 minutes to the Dena ina Convention Center for the Iditarod Banquet Meet and Greet, followed by the Musher Banquet at 6:00. Admission tickets will be provided by AIT at the door. The default serving at the banquet is steak. Vegetarian and gluten free servings are available on request .
Friday- Friday morning is free time to explore downtown Anchorage. The group will meet for a group lunch at 12:00 at Sullivan’s Steakhouse in 5th Ave. Mall. Fixed menu for the lunch is in this packet. Lunch will be followed by a tour to the Anchorage Museum of History and Art with insight to Alaska's history and land ownership provided by your tour guide.
Saturday - Clients are on their own to watch the Cermonial Race Start on 4th Ave followed by the running of the reindeer at 4:00 pm . We will provide information regarding where on 4th Ave. to watch the race on the Thursday bus ride to Alyeska. Clients wishing to participate in the Running of the Reindeer can register at this website: https://www.furrondy.net/events/running-of-the-reindeer/. This is a fun event with many participants wearing creative costumes. We will have a group dinner at the Glacier Brewhouse at 6:00 pm. Each client will receive a $50 gift certificate to use at the restaurant as they wish for food, drinks and tip.
Sunday- 10:00 am departure for the Iditarod Museum in Wasilla followed by the race start in Willow at 2:00 pm. We will return to Anchorage after the start, stopping for a group dinner in Wasilla.
Monday – Morning departure for Fairbanks on Alaska Air. The Chena Hot Springs Shuttle will pick you up and transport you to the resort. Meal vouchers for 3 breakfasts lunches and dinners will be provided at check-in. Aurora Viewing Tour at 9:30 pm
Tuesday & Wednesday – Clients have the day to soak in the hot springs or explore the resort and the surrounding area by hiking, snowshoeing, x-country skiing or snowmobiling. All activities can be arranged through the Activities Desk after you check-in. Clients can take the Geothermal Tour either day at 2 pm or 4 pm. There is a group reservation to tour the Ice Museum on Wednesday at 1:00 pm.
Thursday – Transportation on the Chena Hot Springs shuttle to your Fairbanks hotel. It is recommended clients visit Ice Alaska and view the magnificent ice sculptures from the World Championship Ice Art Competition. https://icealaska.com/
Friday- Clients board the Alaska Railroad's Aurora Winter Train at 8:30 am for a spectacular train ride through the heart of the Alaska Range. The tour ends when clients reach Anchorage at 8:00 pm.