The Iditarod is Back! The Ins & Outs of Alaska’s Favorite Dog Sled Race

Spring may be around the corner, but Alaska’s winter sports are still in full swing. After a successful Fur Rondy (congratulations again to winner Roxy Wright!) it’s time for the 2017 Iditarod to take center stage. This annual event is a favorite among our Alaska winter SUV rental clients, and for good reason! The Iditarod is a thrilling attestation to the love of winter sport in Alaska.

Never heard of the Iditarod? Or maybe you’re out of touch with the information and schedule for this year’s race? Either way, we’ve got the details you need. All you need to worry about is booking your Alaska winter SUV rental before it’s too late! In the meantime, read on to find out about the 2017 Iditarod.

What is the Iditarod?

There’s no point knowing the wheres and whens of the 2017 Iditarod if you don’t know what it is! The Iditarod is a great dog sled race that is held annually in Alaska. Mushers come from, not only all over Alaska, but often from all over the world for this great race. After all, it’s on its 45th year – it must be quite the spectacle!

Each year the race alternates between 3 different routes: the Northern Route; the Southern Route; the Fairbanks Route. All three routes begin in Anchorage and finish off in the safety and quiet of Nome. Each one is nearly 1000 miles long.

This year, 2017, the mushers will be traveling the Fairbanks Route. This route spans roughly 979 miles. Quite the distance! As you can see, the mushers who take part have the highest levels of intensity, passion, adrenaline, stamina, and determination of any mushers in the world.

When does the Iditarod begin and end?

The Iditarod 2017 race begins on Saturday, March 4 at 10am. You can see the start for yourself at 4th and D in downtown Anchorage. Make sure to arrive early in your Alaska winter SUV rental in order to find parking. There’s a restart that takes place in Fairbanks on Monday, March 6 at 11am. That means you’ve got plenty of time to relax and tour around before getting to Fairbanks to meet the mushers.

The Iditarod ends in Nome on Sunday, March 19. The awards banquet is held that day at 3pm. Mushers may be pouring into Nome in the 24 hours prior. Be ready to see tired mushers and their dogs as you drive your Alaska winter SUV rental into town!

Events in the meantime

The Iditarod is a marathon in every sense of the word. Events surrounding the race began on January 10 and stretch until the race ends, as well as meetings for those involved in organization.

The end of February sees the Jr. Iditarod Race and awards. This is where the young and up and coming mushers get practice for their future Iditarod, and gain recognition for their own hard training.

If you want to meet the pros, head on to the IditaRider Meet & Greet and Pizza Lunch on Thursday, March 2 at 12 noon at the Lakefront Anchorage Hotel. Here you may get the chance to ask questions and speak to the mushers.

A full list of the events surrounding the Iditarod can be found here.

Booking accommodations and your Alaska winter SUV rental

The Iditarod is an important, and therefore busy, time of the year for Alaska. If you plan on tracking the race at all you’ll want to book your accommodations now – if you haven’t already.

There are a variety of options, and it’s tough for us to say which is best for you. All our Alaska winter SUV rental clients are looking for something different. This late in the game, you may just want to find the one with availability. Here are the top accommodations around Nome as ranked by TripAdvisor reviewers.

Anchorage may be a little easier. It’s a larger city, and therefore has a wider variety of lodging options. Here are TripAdvisor’s top hotels in Anchorage with pictures and reviews to help you find the best one for you.

Only one thing left to do – book your Alaska winter SUV rental! Reserve from Avis today.

Plan Your Trip to the World Ice Art Championships

While many places slump in winter, Alaska booms and blossoms. It’s one of those times of year that we really shine as a unique force in these 50 states. One festival of which we are extremely proud is the Ice Art Championship held in Fairbanks, Alaska. You’ll certainly want to bring your Fairbanks car rentals to catch this spectacle.

The Ice Park

The Ice Art Championship takes place in the Ice Park of Fairbanks. This park is open throughout the season with sculptures for viewing. You can buy a season pass or simply a day pass if you’re interested in seeing these gorgeous pieces of art.

Day passes are $15 per adult, and $8 per youth. A full list of admission prices can be found here. Group tours are available for booking if you’re traveling in a party of 10 or more.

Events at the Park

The big competitions that you’ll want to take your Fairbanks car rentals to check out begin in February.

The Single Block Competition runs from February 27 until March 1. The Awards and Lighting Ceremony will take place on March 2 at 7:00 pm. Throughout that time, you will be able to wander the grounds to view the sculptures. The exhibits will be formally and officially judged on the evening of March 1 after 9:30 p.m.

The Multi Block Competition is next, running from March 4 to March 9. Judging takes place on the evening of the 9 after 10:00 p.m. Until that time, you can examine the sculptures for yourself. Why not have fun with it? Judge for yourself and bet in your group who you think should win. Though you may have a tough time! These sculptures are always breathtaking.

The Annual Kids Ice Park will also be open during these periods. It runs from February 20 until March 26. The Kid’s Park is open from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. every day.

Ice sculpting classes at the Park

Have you ever wondered how the ice sculptors create their masterpieces? Now you can learn. The Ice Park offers ice-sculpting classes. The classes provide an opportunity to learn the techniques involved in sculpting in a safe environment with the guidance of an expert. They will provide the equipment and the space. You’ll want to dress warmly, with hat, gloves, and warm coat. They’ll provide the hot drinks, and full day classes will provide lunch.

Classes offered are the introductory and beginners’ courses for $80 and $140, respectively. Once you’ve completed the beginners’ course, you are eligible to register for the “Amateur Open” or “Youth Classic” competitions that take place during the World Ice Art Championship season.

Full information on the classes can be found here.

Dog sled rides

The Ice Park is a never-ending stream of winter thrill. Once you’ve seen the sculptures, head on out for one of their dog sledding rides. Rides range from 1 to 2 miles. They take you over the dog-mushing trail beside the Ice Park. If you’ve never been dog-mushing then this is the perfect time to try! You aren’t trapped into a long ride and can get a taste of it – perfect for helping you decide if you want a longer trip at a dog-sledding company.

You’ll likely find yourself bringing your Fairbanks car rentals back for more than just a day here! There’s so much to do and see that a few hours is not enough.

Reserve your Fairbanks car rentals from Avis today to guarantee a vehicle for the Ice Art Championships 2017.

 

Alaska’s Iron Dog Race: The World’s Longest Snowmobile Race

Snowmobiling has always been one of Alaska’s most popular sports. We love it here, and the minute snow hits we get out on our snow machines to tear up the trails. That’s why we’re so excited for the Iron Dog Snowmobile race to arrive. You’ll want to take your Alaska winter car rentals out to see this one, that’s for sure.

Have you heard of the Iron Dog? If not, but you like snowmobiling, you’ll definitely want to read on. It may be worth a trip in your Alaska winter car rentals to catch a glimpse of the winners.

What is the Iron Dog Race?

The Iron Dog Race is the world’s longest snowmobiling race. It stretches across 2,031 miles of Alaskan terrain, making it both intensive and scenic. Rookies and pros alike race across the Alaskan white plains.

As the Iron Dog website outlines, the intent of the race is “to provide reliable, consistent, safe and honorable cross-country snowmobile racing and recreational riding” (2017). It’s about education on safe winter sport, while also recognizing and celebrating the endurance of humans and machines alike. This is particularly true of the Pro Race Class who will face difficult terrains in subzero temperatures, strained visibility, heavy snow and potentially ice, and a confrontation with their own endurance.

Cash prizes range for teams ranging from a whopping $15,000 to $102 for a total of $112,496 total contingency prizes for 2017.

Rookies play in the Recreational Class, which is not a race. The Recreational Class rides for 5 days for a total of 1,098 miles. Teams in the Recreational Class include two or more people, each of whom has their own snowmobile.

Pro teams are engaged in a race, after which the top 5 teams must attend the Sponsors’ Reception for prizes. All rookies (first time pro racers) must attend the Rookie Workshop. Teams must include two or more snowmobilers, each on their own machine to complete the 2,031-mile race.

For both the Recreational Class course and the Pro Race Class, checkpoints will be provided throughout for rest and refueling.

The basics

The race kicks off with its first pre-race event on February 14 at the Hotel Captain Cook in Anchorage for the Racer Drawing & Hall of Fame Banquet. Next is the Donlin Gold Safety Expo at Cabela’s in Anchorage on February 15. Two days later on February 17, take your Alaska winter car rentals on down to Anchorage’s Downtown center for the Flying Iron Freestyle Show. This is sure to knock your socks off! You won’t want to miss it.

The next day is race day. February 18 begins the official start of the Iron Dog, while there’s a race day kick-off Flying Iron Freestyle Show in Anchorage Downtown.

Halfway Ceremonies will take place in Nome on February 22. Finally, the race officially ends on February 25 in Fairbanks.

Taking your Alaska winter car rentals from Anchorage to Fairbanks

If you plan on attending any of the events for the Iron Dog Snowmobile Race, you’ll want to book your accommodations soon if you haven’t already. If you already have, great! If not, you may want to book your rooms for the few days leading up to the pre-race events in order to ensure a room, and also to allow yourself relaxation before the fun begins!

Keep in mind also that if you’re going from the opening ceremonies to the closing ceremonies in Fairbanks, you may want to give yourself a few days. The journey from Anchorage to Fairbanks in your Alaska winter car rentals is 360 miles, which is roughly 6 hours of driving.

However, you need to accommodate for adverse weather. If you plan on attending the Halfway Ceremonies in Nome, it may be wise to arrive a day or two early in case the weather takes a turn for a worse. The same rule applies for making it up to Anchorage. This has the added benefit of letting you rest between drives, and hopefully ensuring you a room.

Don’t miss out on your opportunity to have Alaska winter car rentals for the Iron Dog race this February. Reserve your vehicle from Avis today!

Celebrate Super Bowl Sunday in Alaska

On Sunday, February 5 millions of Americans will congregate to celebrate one of their favorite past times – the Super Bowl! Super Bowl Sunday is one of the best days of the year. It’s filled with food, friends, family, and of course, football. If you’re in Alaska for this Super Bowl Sunday, there are plenty of ways to get out and socialize in your Alaska car rentals or stay in and celebrate.

The Best Sports Bars in Anchorage

If you’re just visiting for business or otherwise, and don’t have a place to go outside your hotel, then you’ll be looking for a good sports bar to watch the Super Bowl. Anchorage is full of them. Please make sure to leave the Alaska car rentals at home and walk or take a cab for these celebrations!

One of the best sports bars in Anchorage is Crossroads Lounge. This place is exactly what you want from a pub! Food including hot dogs and chili (great for Super Bowl Sunday!) and a range of beers on tap you can settle in to watch the Super Bowl on one of their numerous TVs surrounding the bar. Bored at a commercial? Strike up a game of pool on one of their tables.

Chances are, Crossroads Lounge may be a little full. Why not try Steve’s Spenard Sports Pub? Steve’s is reasonably priced with affordable pub food to keep you nourished throughout the Super Bowl. You definitely won’t have trouble finding a good viewing spot in this pub – TVs surround the main seating area so you won’t miss the winning touch down.

Finally, we’d recommend Bootleggers, particularly if you’re traveling with someone who may not be as interested in the Super Bowl as you. On top of having TVs for sports, there is a dartboard, shuffle board, and pinball machine to keep other patrons occupied. The bar shares a menu with the restaurant Flattop, and therefore offers delicious pub and late night food. They also offer craft beer, canned and bottled beer, wine, and a range of tasty cocktails so you have plenty to choose from.

Super Bowl Party Recipes

Are you hosting the Super Bowl party this year? Driving around in your Alaska car rentals, trying to buy groceries but not sure what you want to make? No one wants to go through huge amounts of work on Super Bowl Sunday. You want to be able to settle in, watch the game, and enjoy. Here are a few ideas that will help you make great food without going through the hassle.

Have you been out hunting in your Alaska car rentals this year and looking for a way to use up some of that store of meat? What about slow cooker venison chili! This delicious dish is perfect for Super Bowl Sunday and is easy as pie to make. Hint: Buy some jumbo dogs and American cheese for chili cheese dogs! For an example recipe of slow cooker venison chili go here.

Who doesn’t love nachos and some chicken on game day? What about a combination of the two of them! The Buffalo Chicken Nacho Bowl is easy to whip up. On top of that, your guests will love you! Buffalo sauce, chicken, black beans, jalapeno peppers, two types of cheese – what’s not to love?

Speaking of chicken, wings are a must have at Super Bowl Sunday. Why not make your own? Chicken wings are quite easy to make and once you’ve got the hang of it, you can produce a variety of flavors to suit the whole house. Food and Wine reveals how to make 37 different types of wings quickly, easily, and with a satisfactory dish at the end.

You’re almost there. All you need now is some good Alaskan craft beer to wash the meal down. Take your Alaska car rentals out before the big game to grab some brews from Arkose Brewery, Alaskan Brewing Co., Anchorage Brewing Co., Baranof Island Brewing Co., Denali Brewing Co., Haines Brewing Co., Midnight Sun Brewing Company, Odd Man Rush Brewing, or Hoodoo Brewing Co. for a classic Alaskan experience.

Reserve your Alaska car rentals from Avis today to make sure you’re celebrating Super Bowl Sunday in style!