There’s no reason to hole up inside and avoid winter on your stay in Anchorage—get out and enjoy it! Even with shorter daylight hours, Anchorage residents make the most of the weather. Clear, cold sunny days can be great for dog-sledding, ice-skating, and snowmobiling when having a view of the majestic surroundings is awesome. On those cloudier days when the snow falls, a walk or cross-country ski in the quiet of the city parks can be soul-quenching.
With sunsets coming pretty early during part of the winter, you’ll have the chance to see a phenomenon called alpenglow. Because of the sun’s low angle and relatively slow sunsets, the afternoon light bathes the Chugach mountain range and the volcanoes like Mt. Redoubt across Cook Inlet in subtle hues of orange, then apricot, then peach and hot pink, followed by grand purples and indigo colors, splashed across the crags and peaks of the white mountaintops. It is a breathtaking reason to be still for a few moments and marvel at nature’s beauty. For those who are night owls, viewing the Northern Lights can be like seeing fantastic fireworks displays in whites, reds, pinks, and sometimes green colors. You can check the Aurora Forecast to see if the lights are expected to occur on the nights of your visit, or ask your B&B host if they would wake you if the aurora borealis are active.
Anchorage’s Parks and Rec Department maintains miles of ski trails, walking paths, and lakes for skating or ice-fishing. Right within city limits, Hilltop Ski Area has family-friendly slopes open to the public. Several companies offer snowmobiling trips near Anchorage, and Alyeska Ski Resort offers world-class downhill skiing an hour south of Anchorage. Deep powder heliskiing, climbing frozen waterfalls, and biking with studded snow tires are also available for the adventurous!
Annual events include the Iditarod and the Fur Rondy. The Fur Rondy is held the week preceding the Iditarod. It’s traditionally the time of year when trappers bring in their pelts to sell, but for most people, it’s a good excuse to throw a city-wide party! Carnivals with outdoor rides, contests, sporting events, dances and revelry generally ensue, with plenty of opportunities to see “real Alaskan” past-times and traditions. The Last Great Race on Earth, the Iditarod, departs from Anchorage on the first Saturday in March. The sleddog race is 1049 miles, and commemorates the race to take diptheria serum to Nome, where children where stricken by an epidemic in 1925. The Alaska Ski for Women is an annual fundraiser held on Super Bowl Sunday for those who prefer to be the athletes rather than to just watch. A fun thing to watch is the bush pilots landing their planes on skis at Lake Hood. The Anchorage Calendar of Events lists things going on during the dates of your stay or ask your Anchorage bed and breakfast host for ideas of what to see and do.