It’s SNOWING today! Cue up the holiday tunes and break out the boots, Alaska parents, because the event your children have been waiting for has arrived. AK Fam has woken to many a snowy morning since our arrival nearly 10 years ago, but there is nothing, nothing like the first snowfall of the season.
Alaskans thrive with snow; we drive on it, play in it, and worship its pure, fluffy whiteness. No matter how cranky we may get about the slushy, mushy mess snow creates in late April, somehow we all wake up with a shine in our eyes and a sense of excitement that first snowy Alaska morning. Hmm, sort of like childbirth.
AK Kid was full of winter plans at the breakfast table this morning, and many of his ideas were quite logical for Alaska snow play, even if there isn’t that much on the ground, and it’s the wet, sloppy type (which is, by the way, the BEST for snowmen and snow forts and snow ball fights). Here are three Alaska places to get your fill of outdoor recreation, kid-style, without too much fuss. Finally, winter is on its way.
Portage Valley: About an hour south of Anchorage, along the Seward Highway, Portage Valley has been a frequent destination this summer. Once winter arrives, however, Southcentral Alaska residents have a whole new type of playground. Ski or snowshoe the Trail of Blue Ice; pack a picnic, firewood, and warm drinks and venture into either Black Bear or Williwaw campgrounds along the way. Snowy lunches are fun for kids, and a great way to learn wintertime survival skills.
Eagle River Nature Center: A year-round facility operating within the boundaries of Chugach State Park, the center offers classes, guided hikes and walks, and an opportunity to watch the Eagle River Valley and surrounding area snuggle in for winter. Choose the Albert Loop Trail, Iditarod Trail, or Rodak Loop with kids; bring sleds to pull young ones, and let the big kids run along the well-marked system, spotting moose, birds, and the craggy peaks overhead.
Creamer’s Field, Fairbanks. We love to toot the horn of this place. Level, diverse, and within a stone’s throw of downtown Fairbanks, Creamer’s Field is a beautiful way to get a little outdoor time while visiting the Golden Heart City. Take a ski, walk, or snowshoe around the fields, or head into the boreal forest, checking out the great interpretive signs along the way. Kids will love weaving among the birch trees, and adults will love the short distance for little legs. Big kids may enjoy watching skijor (dog/ski) teams making fast tracks around the field; I know AK Kid does.
Many months of snow await us in Alaska; soon the trouble will be not deciding on when to go, but where. With miles and miles of outdoor recreation at our doorstep, it’s a good thing winter lasts so long. Just sayin’.
Have a wonderful day!