Alaska Winter Takes Center Stage This Snowy Fun Friday

Hello, hello? Is anyone out there? Southcentral Alaska is positively buried in snow; from driveways to rooflines, we’re full, full, full of white stuff. I think it’s just perfect for throwing down that snow shovel and jumping headlong into a pile of family fun, Alaska-style. Welcome to Fun Friday, your weekly newsletter of interesting Alaska events and activities!

This week’s Alaska Travelgram Show was very n-ice, indeed, with guests from both Ice Alaska and the World Ice Art Championships in Fairbanks, and Fur Rendezvous in Anchorage. Ice Alaska kicks off a month of festivities in mid-February, featuring incredible works of icy art, a children’s park, music, and those incredible ice slides. Fur Rondy begins the last week of February with a Grand Parade and frosty footrace, and culminates with the Ceremonial Start of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race. Give a listen and make plans now to attend one or both of these great wintertime festivals!

America’s National Parks are proud to offer FREE admission all weekend at over 100 parks nationwide, and our own Denali NP is no exception. If you go, be sure to equip yourselves and your kiddos with appropriate winter gear, and be prepared for a variety of winter driving conditions all along the Parks Highway. Once in the Park, however, you’ll be greeted by seasonal rangers at the Murie Science and Learning Center at Mile 3 of the Park Road, where a ton of cold-weather fun can be had. Snowshoes are available for the borrowing, and rangers keep a few miles of pristine Nordic skiing tracks waiting for skiers. On weekends throughout the winter, Denali NP rangers will lead snowshoe walks through the forest surrounding the Murie Science and Learning Center, from 1-4 p.m. (or so, depending upon weather and participants). These hikes are free. Check the AKontheGO Calendar for a schedule of hikes and Free Admission Days for 2012.

The week of January 14-22 has been designated as National Safety Awareness Week by the National Ski and Snowboard Association, and with all the snow falling around Alaska’s high country, there is no better time for skiers, riders, and backcountry recreation enthusiasts to educate themselves. Alyeska Resort is offering a variety of events, activities, and special offers all week. Meet avalanche rescue dogs, create your perfect skiing or riding helmet, and help kids establish smart snow habits. Visit Alyeska’s website calendar for a complete schedule.

Eagle River Nature Center joins in the icy fun this weekend with their Junior Naturalist Program on Saturday at 2 p.m. “Tales in Ice and Snow” will show kids K-6 the beautiful aspects of ice, and allow a little time for fun in the snow. Crystals, snowflakes, and even an ice cave will be explained! FREE, $5 parking for non-members.

Image courtesy Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies

Snow is also a great tool for viewing who’s been wandering around the neighborhood, and Fairbanks families will have an opportunity on Saturday at Creamer’s Field. Meet inside the Farmhouse at 1 p.m. to talk about animals who wander the forests and fields of Fairbanks, then step outside and see if any tracks or trails can be found. Call 907-452-5162 for information.

BIG NEWS! After several years of wandering the state of Alaska with my little family, I’ve decided to put our adventures into a guidebook. That’s right, in a year (or so), “Alaska On the Go: Exploring the 49th State With Children” will be available on eReaders and bookstore shelves everywhere I can beg, borrow, or whittle space. How awesome is that? You can follow along this journey of investigation and intrigue at a new blog, “Alaska On the Go: From Blog to Book,” where I’ll be sharing the good, and challenging, aspects of writing a book about our nation’s largest state.

Don’t be shy, get out and about this weekend, and share your favorite experiences with us! Our email is togoak@gmail.com; we love hearing from our friends around the state, and world!

Posted in Alaskan Winter Fun, Downtown Anchorage, Fairbanks and Interior Alaska, Festivals and Events, Miscellaneous, Parks Highway, Podcasts and tagged , , , .