Experience Dogsledding in Alaska

It’s no secret that dogsledding – or dog mushing as it’s also called – is a popular draw for Alaska tourists. This centuries old form of transportation is well known across the country, and isn’t found in too many states outside of Alaska. Many people would be willing to drive miles in their Alaska winter car rentals to find a guide. Fortunately, you don’t have to.

Because of the popularity and commonality of dogsledding there are outing options available in most of the large cities across the state. The dogsledding season varies depending on the tour company that you decide upon. Below we have listed several options for winter tours in the state.

Anchorage dogsledding tours

Anchorage is one of the most common tourist spots, so it’s likely you’ll end up here in your Alaska winter car rentals. Good thing too! There are two winter tour options where you can get a taste of glacier dog sledding.

The season at Salmon Berry Tours Dog Sledding rungs from around November 1 until March 3 each year. The tour will take you through Chugach State Park, where you’ll be able to enjoy a sled dog ride as well as snowshoeing through the trails. Salmon Berry Tours provides on-the-trail s’mores to keep you energized and happy.

Also available near Anchorage is Alpine Air Alaska Glacier Dogsledding. Their season runs year round, and is accessible only by helicopter traveling from Girdwood Forest. What makes this trip so desirable is that you’re offered the chance to lead the sled yourself. Step up to a place at the reigns, or if you’re tired from driving your Alaska winter car rentals, sit back and enjoy the ride.

Dogsledding options in Fairbanks

Cotter’s Sled Dog Kennel is another year-round option to test out this classic sport. This kennel is one of the more affordable tour options, particularly throughout the summer months. You certainly won’t need to break your budget to experience this crucial activity in Alaska’s culture and history.

Running Cotter’s Sled Dog Kennel is the 1987 Yukon Quest Champion, Bill Cotter. He has a wealth of knowledge that he is ready and willing to share. Any questions? Bill Cotter is definitely the one to answer them.

Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race

So Bill Cotter is a Yukon Quest Champion, but what exactly does that mean? Starting on February 6, 2016, you’ll soon find out. Each year, the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race spans 1,000 miles from Fairbanks, Alaska to Whitehorse, Yukon to test the skills and endurance of the world’s best mushers. This year, there are 23 competitors from across the globe, ranging from rookies to seasoned veterans.

The race takes just under two weeks to complete. While of course you’re not going to be following the mushers in your Alaska winter car rentals to see the entire thing play out, there are events you can go to in order to get a sense of the race. On February 3 from 6:30 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. you can meet the mushers at the Alpine Lodge in Fairbanks. Ask questions, offer encouragement, and learn more about this great sport.

On February 4, the Start and Draw Banquet opens its doors at the Westmark Gold Room in Fairbanks at 5 p.m. Dinner is served at 6 p.m. Two days later on February 6, head down to Chena River at Cushman St. Bridge in Fairbanks to see the Yukon Quest race start. The race begins at 11:00 a.m. sharp, so don’t be late!

If you want to follow this even straight through, you’ll need to take your Alaska winter car rentals down to Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada. There your children will be able to get a free mushing ride on February 14 from 1:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Shipyards Park. Four days later on February 19 from 6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. in Mount MacIntyre Recreation Centre, meet the mushers again to hear about their journey. Finally, the Finish & Awards Banquet starts at 5 p.m. on February 20 in the Yukon Convention Centre to round out the event.

No Alaska experience would be complete without testing out the ancient tradition of dogsledding, but you won’t be able to rely on mushing for transportation. For a way to get to and from your destination when you’re not on the sled, reserve your Alaska winter car rentals from Avis today.

Challenge Yourself: Try Ice Climbing in Alaska

Are you visiting Alaska looking for an adventure? Every year, travelers and tourists alike flock to Alaska to discover new challenging sports, and we can assure you they’re never disappointed. One of the sports that draws attention is ice climbing – and for good reason! This sport will show you new sides of yourself and of the state in ways that are impossible to gain elsewhere. Most importantly, you don’t need to be an expert to enjoy this sport. Whether your Alaska car rentals are full of family members or just you and a friend, ice climbing is accessible for most over the age of 12.

MICA Guides

MICA Guides is known for making ice climbing as accessible as possible to both youth and adults. Their professionals will teach you everything you need to know about this sport, and ensure your safety and fun along the way. They begin all of their students with the basic skills, and then adjust the climbing slopes to suit your advancing skills. By the end of the day, you’ll have challenged yourself and uncovered your limits.

If you’re headed to MICA, don’t worry about packing your Alaska car rentals with more than your luggage. All of your essential equipment, including climbing boots, crampons, helmets, and ice tools are counted in the cost of your ice climbing session. A session is 6 hours, throughout which you will progress from basic to higher levels of difficulty. All climbing sessions start with beginner bouldering.

MICA Guides is at the Matanuska Glacier. They offer a variety of glacial and outdoor activities alongside ice climbing, including ATV-ing and zip lining. They also offer lodgings at Alpenglow Luxury Camping, which will grant you a truly Alaskan experience. You’ll have the chance to stay in a boutique canvas tent and test out authentic traditional Alaskan food and drink before finishing off the evening in a dip in their handmade wood-burning hot tub. You’ll never again have an opportunity quite like the one provided by MICA and Alpenglow. So park the Alaska car rentals and unload your luggage for spectacular glacial views and unforgettable adventure.

Alaska Mountain Guides & Climbing School, Inc.

If you’re looking for a longer trip that travels to a variety of mountains around Haines, then the ice-climbing guide you’re looking for is the Alaska Mountain Guides & Climbing School, Inc. With trips stretching from 1 to 5 days, you’ll gain on-location ice-climbing experience.

In their program you will learn the skills of anchors, belaying, crampon and ice axe techniques, knots, protection systems, rappelling, and rope managements. Their goal at Alaska Mountain Guides is to ensure you know all the skills you need for ice climbing, and that you can use them on your own with confidence. They’re all about safety – not just while you’re under their guidance, but even after you’ve ventured off on your own in years to come.

The fees include your camping and climbing equipment, food throughout your trip, and ground transportation in Haines. You will begin in their center in Haines and travel up to the mountains that overlook 27 million acres around the Glacier Bay National Park. You certainly will never get a view such as this one anywhere else.

Alaska Mountain Guides provides other sporting services that you can enjoy while you’ve stopped your Alaska car rentals in Haines. Opportunities include sea kayaking, mountaineering and mountaineering expeditions, backpacking and canyoneering, whitewater, skiing and snowboarding, and hiking and trekking.

Alaska is a place of opportunities. Ice climbing can reveal the beauty of the glaciers to you beyond the scope of sightseeing. You’ll get a glimpse at the core of Alaskan culture, tradition, and natural glory. Don’t wait a minute longer. Reserve your Alaska car rentals from Avis to begin on an expedition to remember.

Camping with Alaska Winter Car Rentals

Are you looking for a new kind of challenge? Are you an experienced camper that needs a bit more a thrill than the typical, warm-season camping can offer? We are with you. At Avis, we’re adventurers and thrill-seekers, outdoorsy types looking for new ways to enjoy the great outdoors. If you’re taking out one of our Alaska winter car rentals, then you’re likely looking for an adventure or journey to get to know the state in all its glory.

But before loading up your Alaska winter car rentals and hit the snow for the adventure of a lifetime, there are some things you need to know. Winter camping can be tough for amateurs. If you’ve never done it before, then you’ll want to start slow and work your through tougher levels. Here are a few of our tips for winter camping.

Don’t overdo it

Don’t challenge yourself too much. Challenge is good, but within reason – you don’t want to push your limits into the realm of danger, and there certainly is real danger in Alaskan winters.

Test out winter camping with an easier locale before you go out further into the wild. Keep your cellphone on you, and your Alaska winter car rentals nearby so you can escape back to society if need be. Choose an area that you’re familiar with, even if it’s only slightly more familiar than other camping spots. There’s no room for pride in winter camping – be honest with yourself about what you can and cannot handle, or at what level your camping skills are rated.

Keep an eye on your packing

It’s always better to over pack when it comes to warm clothing, than under pack. Your survival depends upon your warmth and you won’t have your Alaska winter car rentals with you the whole time. Keep under layers, fleece and down, and thermo socks to ensure your warmth.

Your body isn’t the only thing you need to keep warm. Thermo layers and insulated sleeves are essential for ensuring fuel and water stays warm. You need the fuel for your stove, as hot meals are certainly not something you want to miss out on when traveling in such cold weather.

Don’t skimp on equipment

The equipment you bring camping will make the difference between a good trip, and a horrible experience. Your sleeping bag is one of your most important pieces of gear to ensure you stay warm at night. Do your research. Find a sleeping bag that is good for negative 20 degrees F temperatures and a solid tent with tarp that will prevent leaks. It’s important that you keep your sleeping bag zipped to the top throughout the night and wrapped around your head.

Always buy a sleeping bag that has a head piece that ties up so that you are completely protected from the cold. The only areas of your body that should be exposed to the cold are your mouth and nose, to allow for both breathing. This will also help to prevent moisture from your breath getting into your bag. We’d recommend either the Mountain Hardwear Ghost sleeping bag or the Western Mountaineering Lynx sleeping bag to keep you warm in the arctic temperatures.

Just as important is your sleeping pad. Get a good, strong sleeping pad to act as both comfort while you sleep and a barrier between you and the cold ground. If you are looking for a little extra protection, also bring along a hard cell foam pad to place underneath your sleeping pad for added insulation and leak protection.

When in doubt, cabins are available

If you doubt your abilities, or if you cannot get the appropriate equipment, we’d recommend starting with yurts or cabins. Two good choices for cabins are the Eagle River Nature Center or the Byers Lake Cabins.

Enjoy a real taste of the outdoors with Alaska winter car rentals from Avis.