Planning Your Trip to Fairbanks
Check the Weather -- For trips based in Fairbanks like snowshoeing and dogsledding adventures, our neighbor has an official weather station: https://swingleydev.com/weather/dw1454/ For trips based at our homestead on the Tanana River, the forecast for Nenana, AK is your best bet.
Aurora Forecast-- Check the forecast with the university's Geophysical Institute: http://www.gi.alaska.edu/auroraforecast. Here is a good guide to aurora viewing: http://auroraforecast.gi.alaska.edu/travelers-guide.php
Prepare Your Camera- Taking good pictures in cold weather involves some unique challenges. Be prepared with this great article by Dave Shaw: https://digital-photography-school.com/how-to-take-care-of-your-camera-in-cold-weather/
Pack Your Bags- Our aim is to provide all of the serious warm weather clothing that you wouldn’t need at home. We are happy to lend you gear if we have it so please ask! There are also a number of companies who will rent you warm clothing.
Arrange transportation- Fairbanks is a tough place to get around without a car. If you are comfortable driving in ice and snow, we reccomend that you rent a vehicle. It is nearly always slippery here so make sure to get 4-wheel or all-wheel drive, rental car tires are notoriously bad. Past guests have raved about renting from this place in Anchorage: https://www.alaska4x4rentals.com/. If you don’t want to drive our friends at Pioneer Cab Company are happy to drive you around. Check them out at: https://aurorapioneertours.com/
Plan Other Winter Activities--
Our friend and fellow wilderness guide Dave Shaw offers wonderful aurora tours and photography lessons. We can do combined tours with him so you can get photos of you on a dogsled under the aurora (ideally). Check him out at http://www.explore.david-w-shaw.com/
We recommend our friend and mentor Anita Fowler's business, Sirius Sled Dogs for the best aurora tours, and cuddling the cutest puppies around- http://siriussleddogs.net/index.html.
Need a ride anywhere? Robert and Derek at Pioneer Taxi service offer great service and great rates. They do aurora viewing and go to Chena Hotsprings and they're always early. Call 456-4000.
Want to take an educational walk in the woods? Our friends Evan and Shannon are top-notch nature guides. Check them out at: www.leafoutak.com
Our friend Mary Shields offers a great tour of her kennel and talk about her mushing career (she was the first woman to complete the iditarod) and her cabin is the coziest spot around- http://www.maryshields.com
Go ice skating at Tanana Lakes Recreation Area (free, call 907 459 1070 for details) of the outdoor rink at the Big Dipper ice arena where you can rent skates for just $3 :)
The University of Alaska Museum of the North is world-class and worth going to, especially on an extra cold day. https://www.uaf.edu/museum/
We love Lemongrass Thai Food for really good Thai food made with local ingredients- http://www.lemongrassalaska.com/
We also recommend Bobby's Greek food downtown, they've got a heated copper bar perfect for cold nights
For a true musher experience, head to Ivory Jacks Bar in the heart of Goldstream Valley http://www.ivoryjacksrestaurant.com/
For a relaxing place to sit and enjoy the best tea and treats in town, check out Sipping Streams.
Looking for food and entertainment? The Blue Loon is the local spot for good food and movies too!
Places to Stay:
Coming on a trip with us and looking to learn some essentials or just get in the mood for an adventure in the North? Here are some books that we like:
A Snow Walker’s Companion- Garret and Alexandra Conover
Paradise Below Zero- Calvin Rustrom
Bushcraft- Mors Kochanski
Sled Dog Tails- Mary Shields
Dog Driver-Miki and Julie Collins
The Snow Child- Eowyn Ivey
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of tours do you offer?
We offer custom dog sledding, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing trips to groups of 1-4 people. Tours last from 2 hours to 10 days in length. We offer most of our tours within 2 hours of Fairbanks, Alaska at our homestead on the Tanana River, our home outside of Fairbanks, or on public land.
How many people are on your tours?
We run all private tours, so it will be just your group. Our preferred group size is 2 people but we can sometimes accommodate up to 4 people. Single travelers are accepted but we occasionally (with your permission) will pair you with another single traveler for day tours.
When is the best time to come?
We run tours as soon as we have enough snow (usually mid-November) until it is too hot for the dogs (usually around April 1). Our busiest season is the second half of December and the first half of March. December is the darkest month, with each month gaining more light. January is the quietest time for tourism in Fairbanks so it is a good time to come if you want to avoid crowds. February and March are generally the best time for expedition trips. It is warmer and there is more daylight.
What is included in the cost of a tour?
All of our tours come include specialized winter clothing (big parkas, snowpants, large overmitts, boots, neck gators, hand and toe warmers, hats etc). We ask that you wear your warmest clothing and we will add to that if necessary, but you should not need to buy a new wardrobe to come on a trip with us. Overnight and all-day trips come with home-cooked food (with your input as to food allergies, preferred diet). All of our trips come fully-guided by one of the owners, this means that we will be with you most all of the time, making sure your experience is safe, educational and enjoyable.
Will I see the northern lights?
We hope so. On our homestead stays and expedition trips we take you far from the city lights and the chances of seeing the northern lights (aurora borealis) are generally good, but it will depend on weather. If it is cloudy, you usually cannot see the northern lights. We recommend the following to maximize your chances of seeing the lights:
Stay for as many nights as possible, more nights = more chances.
Check out general aurora forecasts- in general the best months to see the aurora are October and March. http://auroraforecast.gi.alaska.edu/
Stay up late- the lights are generally most active between 10pm-2am.
A full moon makes it harder (but certainly not impossible) to see the lights.