Thursday, October 22, 2009
Ski Under The Stars At Alyeska - Alaska's Premier Ski Resort
1. Alyeska Resort to open bigger than ever
Alyeska Resort opens to skiers and snowboarders in late November, and with the addition of brand new terrain, extended night skiing, special packages and Alaska’s first superpipe, the 2009-2010 season offers something for everyone. Located just 40 miles south of Anchorage, Alyeska Resort features 2,500 vertical feet of skiable terrain, and, after this summer’s trail work, boasts an additional five ski runs. The new Alyeska Pipeline Superpipe — used by advanced skiers and snowboarders for stunts — measures 300 feet long, 55 feet wide and with walls 18 feet tall. This winter, Alyeska will extend night skiing operations for an additional two weeks (through March 27) allowing spring breakers more hours to ski under the stars. Special packages at Alyeska highlighting the resort spa and other amenities are available online. Alyeska Resort sees an average annual snowfall of 750 inches and boasts the longest continuous double black diamond ski run in North America. For more information, visit www.alyeskaresort.com.
2. Talkeetna offers quirky alternatives to climbing Mount McKinley
Each year over 1,000 hopeful mountaineers travel to Talkeetna to attempt to scale North America’s great one: Mount McKinley. But Talkeetna is also renowned for its fun and quirky festivals that draw Alaskans and visitors alike to the small town located 113 miles north of Anchorage. Talkeetna Winterfest takes place each December and includes a full month of events, kicking off with the Bachelor Auction and Ball and the Wilderness Woman Contest. During the Wilderness Woman Contest, single Alaskan women demonstrate their proficiency at a variety of tasks necessary for life on the Last Frontier — all in good fun, of course. Competitions include firewood gathering, driving a snow machine, salmon catching, sandwich making and more. After the crowning of the Wilderness Woman, the bidding begins at the annual Bachelor Society Benefit Auction and Bachelor Ball. Talkeetna bachelors spruce up and entertain the crowd to raise money for local charities. The 2009 festivities kick off Dec. 5. For more information, visit www.alaskavisit.com. Travelers stopping by Talkeetna to take part in the hubbub can explore the surrounding wilderness on a snowshoe tour with Alaska Nature Guides. Visit www.alaskanatureguides.com to learn more.
3. Hammer enthusiasts create unlikely brotherhood
The world’s first museum devoted to the humble hammer, in Haines, Alaska, now has company in Linkmenys, Lithuania. Located in Alaska’s Inside Passage, the Haines museum has over 1,500 hammers on display that date from Roman times to the present. Open since 2001 and until recently the only museum of its kind, the quirky Haines Hammer Museum is a tribute to man’s first tool and provides a unique view of the past through the use of the hammer’s lineage. Founder Dave Pahl began communicating with Lithuanian hammer enthusiasts a few years ago. Finally, the unlikely allies met this summer in Haines, both glad to have company in their passion for hammers. The two forces have plans to publish a reference book together about the history of hammers. For more information, contact the Haines Hammer Museum at www.hammermuseum.org. To learn more about visiting Haines, visit www.haines.ak.us.
4. Pike’s Waterfront Lodge earns Green Star Award
Pike’s Waterfront Lodge in Fairbanks is clean and green. Last month, the hotel was presented a Green Star award for its commitment to running operations in an efficient and environmentally responsible way. Green Star is an Alaska-based non-profit organization that encourages businesses to practice waste reduction, energy conservation and pollution prevention. Since opening in 2000, Pike’s has been committed to lowering its carbon footprint by reducing reliance on diesel, using environmentally friendly substances, installing solar energy and reducing waste. The hotel has also teamed with the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Future Farmers of America to develop its own hydroponics program to grow food locally. In the reuse and recycle arena, Pike’s goes a step beyond simply asking guests to keep their towels more than a day – the hotel recycles oil, antifreeze and batteries in addition to normal plastics and paper. Located on the banks of the Chena River, Pike’s Waterfront Lodge offers rooms with a view and all the amenities for a comfortable, relaxed stay. For more information, visit www.pikeslodge.com.
5. Spotlight on 50th: Sitka’s Alaska Day festival
This October, the Inside Passage town of Sitka will pay special tribute to Alaska’s 50th anniversary during the Alaska Day festival, Oct. 9-18. The actual transfer ceremony occurred in Sitka on Oct. 18 when the United States purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867. The annual Alaska Day festival includes a reenactment of the transfer, a period costume ball, dances, dinners, contests and a parade. For information, visit www.alaskadayfestival.org.