With the frenzied holiday event calendar behind us, most Alaskans are now settled into the serious business of having fun. From now until the snow makes its final descent, the question of whether or not visiting families can find activities becomes moot. The real point to ponder is which to choose, first.
January through March can be the best time to visit our 49th state. Ski trails are groomed to perfection, daylight is increasing, and the calendar is simply bursting with family-friendly places to go, things to see, and experiences to try.
This very fact became evident over the weekend, when AK Dad, Kid and I, along with a like-minded outdoor family decided to spend a few hours skiing at Hilltop Ski Area, a spare 5 minutes up Abbott Road in South Anchorage. Not just for alpine skiing, the Hilltop/Hillside trails are a diverse network of Nordic trail systems abutting the parking lot of Hilltop Ski Area, with a nice little lodge in which to warm up or cool down, depending upon your level of physical exertion.
AK Dad does not alpine ski much, preferring instead to soothe his work-weary mind on a quiet trail away from the bustle of a downhill area. AK Kid and I, on the other hand, decided that a little speed was just what we needed to throw us into the New Year, so after establishing a tableside meeting place, we parted ways. Nice. Everybody wins, and with kids (or husbands), sometimes that’s the most important way to a successful family outing. We finished up the day with a roaring fire, a bunch of oysters, and some cupcakes for the kiddos.
Alaska also has the Nordic Ski Championships going on at Kincaid Park this week, and Fur Rendezvous, our favorite mid-winter carnival, begins in Februray, just before the famed Iditarod
Sled Dog race. Still need more? How about a getaway for a winter king salmon fishing outing in Seward with your teenager? Bet the buddies at home haven’t fished for big salmon in January.
We hear all the time from family and friends who say if they were going to travel anywhere in the winter, it would be to someplace hot, not a state covered in ice and snow with temperatures hovering near zero. Touche’. But folks, life is indeed short, and family trips are sometimes more about the adventure itself and the memories it creates, than our eternal, external comfort, eh?
Besides, AKontheGO is ready to share all the tips and tricks for keeping kids and parents toasty warm, even on those below-zero days.
On this wintery Monday morning I’m sitting in my office marvelling a the sight of snow-covered mountains and silvery skies, and a mother moose wandering through our yard eating the last of my garden’s kale. I can hear ravens squaking and chuckling as they sit on the light posts, and somebody is skiing down the street with the telltale whoosh, slide, whoosh, slide, of Nordic skis.
It’s not bad, really, to look at winter with fresh eyes, is it?