What Are Some Time-Honored Alaskan Winter Traditions?
People come to Alaska for the endless outdoor recreation opportunities. In the winter, when the snow is falling and the lakes freeze over, there’s still plenty of fun to be had indoors and out. If you’re planning a winter vacation to Alaska, you’ll be delighted to experience some of our favorite Alaskan winter traditions.
Here are a few of the things we look forward to when the temperature drops and the snow starts to fall.
Winter solstice celebration
The winter solstice is the shortest day of the year. In Fairbanks, the town celebrates December 21 as “the return of the light,” including a fireworks display, holiday lights, music, arts and crafts vendors and more. It’s a beautiful way to enjoy the changing of the seasons, and a happy reminder that sunshine and warmer days will soon be on their way. Most of the celebration takes place in downtown Fairbanks.
Anchorage International Film Festival
Love movies? Since 2001, Anchorage has been home to the International Film Festival, which brings filmmakers and viewers from all over the world. The AIFF aims to promote filmmaking and media within Alaska while providing a great cultural opportunity for locals and visitors alike. You can expect to enjoy film workshops, movie screenings and, of course, plenty of celebrations. The AIFF usually takes place in early to mid-December.
Also located in Anchorage, the Fur Rondy is a 10-day winter festival that includes everything from outhouse races to dog sledding. In fact, this festival marks the beginning of the Iditarod, so you can enjoy two major Alaskan winter traditions in one place. You’ll also love the snow sculptures, food, music, art and other attractions.
Fairbanks Winter Carnival
The Fairbanks Winter Carnival takes place from late February through the end of March each year. This fun tradition, which was started in the 1930s, offers activities like dog sledding, ice sculpture, arts and crafts and more. You’ll get an evenly mixed crowd of locals and tourists who want to enjoy arts and recreation. Look for snowshoeing competitions, curling, hockey and more, all against the scenic Alaskan landscape.
Christmas in Ice
If you’ve got kids—or you’re just a big kid at heart—it’s time to head to the North Pole. North Pole, Alaska offers a six-week celebration called Christmas in Ice, which features fireworks, time spent with Santa, an elf playground, ice art and even some indoor arts and crafts opportunities. North Pole, Alaska is located about fifteen minutes from Fairbanks.
There’s Always Something to do!
Despite the icy temperatures and long, dark nights, Alaskan winters have plenty of recreation, fun and beauty. No matter what time of year you visit, you’ll love your Alaskan vacation. There’s plenty to see and do—you’ll just need to bundle up to enjoy it all.
If you’re ready to book an Alaskan fishing trip, call Phantom Tri-River Charters. We offer once-in-a-lifetime salmon fishing trips, and we’re the perfect excuse to visit Alaska all year round. While you’re here, see if you can attend any of the exciting events listed above! What are some Alaskan traditions you’re looking forward to?