Winter is a time when Alaska sparkles and shines when much of the land is covered by a blanket of soft snow. The aurora in Alaska can be viewed both in early spring and autumn, but winter offers longer darker nights increasing the chances of viewing the colourful bands of light dancing in the dark night sky. In Alaska, Fairbanks is the undisputed capital for northern lights viewing with over 200 spectacles per year.
By mid-Autumn, the Fairbanks lights are dazzling, particularly in the surrounding hill country, away from the city lights. By night, the sky lights up offering a unique spectacle. By day winter experiences like snowmobiling, dog mushing, skiing and unique festivals (such as the Yukon Quest) represent the outdoor pioneering spirit of the Alaskans.
From Fairbanks, a number of day trips can be enjoyed. The burbling Chena Hot Springs are a premier soaking spot both in the summer and winter. Discovered by gold miners in 1905, the geothermal area produces a steady stream of piping hot water; an ideal place from where to admire the aurora. Flightseeing day trips are also popular and Fairbanks is the gateway for trips further into Alaska's Interior and the Arctic.
During the winter, avid skiers and snowboarders make a pilgrimage to the Chugach Mountain Range which offers some of the best heli and cat skiing in the world. The ski resort of Alyeska located just under an hour from Anchorage makes heli skiing really accessible as visitors depart directly from the resort centre. It also has some fantastic terrain of its own and offers a high chance of skiing under the northern lights.