Recharge, relax with some winter fun in Anchorage
There’s something about this part of the year that instills the urge to roam. It goes from a tiny rumble to a deafening roar. Feet get itchy. It’s time to get away from the ordinary.
But, before you book a ticket to some faraway expensive, time-consuming getaway, consider the unique joys of a “stay-cation” — a chance to enjoy and explore your own fantastic backyard. You don’t have to go far or spend lots to have fun or experience something totally new.
If your heart rate increases at the sound of a high-performance engine, Anchorage will get the adrenaline pulsing this month. For the first time ever, the Iron Dog snowmachine race will begin in Anchorage, and race organizers have planned a whole weekend of entertainment before the start. Flying Iron, a two-day exhibition of freestyle snowmachine tricks, takes to the skies along Third Avenue. With local talent and X Games standouts, the aerial demo on Feb. 20-21 should build excitement for the drop of the green flag. The Pro Class race starts along Fourth Avenue on Feb. 21 and fills the morning with even more high-octane spectacle.
Of course, Fourth Avenue also is the starting point for another endurance race, stretching across vast distances: that’s right, the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. The crowd normally centers on the start line at Fourth Avenue and D Street, but there are many great vantage points further down the trail too. Cordova Street and the Chester Creek Trail sections feel more like a neighborhood picnic. It’s a little quieter in these spots, but the well wishes to passing mushers are just as heartfelt. Iditarod starts right here on the first Saturday of March. There’s no sense in skipping town just as world-class events take off.
Anchorage Fur Rendezvous plays in the snow with the best of them, but offers up plenty for those ready to come in from the cold too. For art, check out the snow sculptures or come inside to view the photo contest or peruse the Charlotte Jensen Native Arts Market. Want to show off a crazy costume? Join the Running of the Reindeer on Fourth Avenue, or step in to the Miners & Trappers Ball. If you’re after competition, you can ante up in the poker tourney, or swing for the fences in snowshoe softball. And that’s just a taste of the fun. Check it out Feb. 27 through March 8.
Anchorage has trails that make outdoor aficionados jealous the world over. One of the best opportunities to see what they offer in winter happens in the next few weeks. The Tour of Anchorage is the perfect opportunity to get out and enjoy cross-country ski trails. While the field on March 8 will likely include some of the best racers, this is a chance for the rest of us to get out on the trails with friends and neighbors.
Staying close to home doesn’t mean daily drudgery is de rigueur. Take a vacation but skip the pain of packing. Take time off, reset and enjoy it. Just know the fun starts only a few steps away.