Deep Freeze

Go beyond the Rockies this winter. Alaska has something for everyone.
Alaskan Winter Weather Primer
Temperatures in Anchorage aren't much colder than in central New England. Head inland toward Fairbanks and even farther north, and temperatures drop south of zero, where they stay for days at a time. Days in midwinter are short; how short depends on whether you're in Anchorage or north of the Arctic Circle, where the brightest it gets on December 21 is a sort of muted twilight. But after the solstice, the days lengthen quickly, and by late February there is plenty of daylight, even north of the Arctic Circle.

The bottom line: Where and when you travel makes a big difference. Depending on your inclination and tolerance for cold, you can expect a moderate trip—or an extreme one.

Making plans for winter vacation? Dreaming about somewhere sunny, packing only a bathing suit, maybe a snorkel and a towel?

Or... maybe you're up for something a little different?

Like Alaska. In winter.

No doubt, Alaska is a glorious place to go in summer. The land of the midnight sun offers everything from the luxury of cruises to rugged outdoor adventure—from climbing and hiking to big-game hunting and backcountry fishing, all of it monumental in scale.

But in a very real sense, Alaska in winter—the land of the midday moon—is the "real" Alaska. Somehow its many superlatives seem magnified by the cold. But, contrary to perceptions, it's not inaccessible either. Guided options make even committed cold-weather sports such as ice fishing, ice climbing, and dogsledding a real possibility for a newcomer.

Published: 3 Nov 2006 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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