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Ski lodge...Denali....Canada..Northern Lights--Recs?

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  • Ski lodge...Denali....Canada..Northern Lights--Recs?

    My wife & I want to try for an XCski/northern lights viewing vacation in March. I remember on the old TT forum someone did a ski-in Denali lodge, and think I found it. Denali View Chalet.. Might be a tad rustic (walk-to outhouse?), and the extreme-cold/bad-weather cancellation policy because of the 9mi ski in is chancy after getting that far. Bit of googling nets only fancy "Princess" (suspect cruise line connection) lodges.

    Eager for any suggestions. Would be great to take a train i/o rent a car and drive 4 hours. XC skiing obviously requirement. The less light pollution the better. Northern Hemisphere also a requirement. Norway/Sweden gets a separate special trip.
    nee, Whiteout

  • #2
    Charley,
    That was me over on ttips and yes, Denali View was where we went. Highly recommended and run by good people. Rustic, but luxury for a bc "hut" IMO as they include meals, had a sauna & shower, etc. That said, 9 mi approach, outhouses, and an old simple hut is means it is not a hotel by any means and accommodations are basic (yet what I expected). I would think in March the weather could be pretty stable, but some AK residents may be able to speak better to that. We didn't see the northern lights from the hut, but apparently they are common that time of year. Views of Denali were spectacular.

    If you really want to see the northern lights, then I would go to Fairbanks for a few days (best if combined with a trip to Denali View or skiing in Anchorage). In early March I would bet Fairbanks is your best bet for amazing northern lights displays (we had an incredible display (so good that family who lives there went out at midnight in -10 to watch for a while) our last night there last March). If xc skiing is you thing, the groomed xc skiing around Fairbanks is really quite good (assuming it is above zero...). You could spend a night or two up at the Chena Hot Springs north of Fairbanks.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by VTnCO View Post
      I would think in March the weather could be pretty stable, but some AK residents may be able to speak better to that.
      Charley, no Alaska resident has been ve[ry good about guessing the weather. In the past March has always been a nice month for skiing for me. Lots of light and fresh storms rolling through to freshen things. If snow machines bother you, the Peters Hills area may not be the best idea. If you think of snow machines as groomers, than you will find out that there is a lot of country to see. Check out Tim Kelley's page.

      http://crust.outlookalaska.com/Skiing2013/ WARNING TO OTHER SKIERS: this site may suck up hours of your life!

      If you are looking for Northern Lights, and a fun trip the Chena Hot Springs suggestion is worth checking out. I'm sure some of the Fairbanks folks have more areas to offer. Den

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      • #4
        Thanks, and thanks. VT/CO, please check email. Joining the Lightshow tourists jetting to Fairbanks may be the way to go, doing our playing in Anchorage. I do love the sound of that ski-in chalet, tho. I went to the Kelley page and gather Peters Hills is where the Chalet is and, being flat and with the view it has, gets lots of snowmobiles. They are a frequency/density issue with me, so I don't expect a problem, given the vast scale of the area. Say we were to just stay in a Faribanks hotel, I don't suppose it would be too far to drive away from the lights of the city for viewing, would it? Chena looks great, if a tad pricey and I don't care too much about hot springs. BTW the whole XC skiing thing is not that we're serious skaters, it's just that my wife doesn't downhill and I wouldn't NOT ski.
        nee, Whiteout

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        • #5
          Charley you might look at Chena River State Recreation area and see about renting a cabin to ski into. There is also the White Mountain National Recreation with cabins and headquarters in Fairbanks too. the Tolovana Hot Springs cabin might be available as well.

          If you wanna stay in Fairbanks look for a place outside of town, like goldstream Valley or Murphy Dome Road, where you can walk outside in the dark and go for a walk and see the lights without city light pollution.

          I been going to the Denali View Chalet now every year for 12 years and started going back in the '80s. No doubt there are snow machines but I don't think its that bad. If you book it for around Arctic Man there will be nearly zero snow machines.

          here is a shot of the Sauna looking at Denali from our trip in last year.


          If you get around Anchorage and wanna go skiing, I'd be happy to take you out.
          Last edited by funhog; 23 January 2014, 04:44 PM.

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          • #6
            Well dagnabbit if we cheechakos haven't been bit by the coldbug. Were digging golddust out of the mattress and aiming further north still. Not as far as Deadhorse, but past Purgatory and Nopulse. Coldfoot maybe, but actually homing in on Bettles, hence the golddust. Brooks Range baby.

            Strong endorsement for DVC, funhog, so think it will be a dedicated trip next time...which I bet is inevitable. Hope is to spend several days in Anchorage before taking the train north. Would love to ski with you. I know my wife would love to meet the dogs. Will keep in touch.
            nee, Whiteout

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            • #7
              Any sourdoughs know of xc ski rentals in Fairbanks? Want to ski Birch Hill, & their website doesn't indicate rentals. Might want to fly them into Bettles, as the folks there were un-savvy on binding types so as to make me think their lodge gear isn't great. In Anchorage we'll use REI, but we bypass Anchorage flying home.

              Check your pm's, funhog.
              nee, Whiteout

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              • #8
                For rentals in Fairbanks, try Beaver Sports and Goldstream Sports, the only two that I can think of. Definitely bring your own gear if you go to Bettles, though I recall seeing a pile of old beater XC gear there, and maybe some of it could be newer I guess. The trick for aurora watching is to get yourself outdoors when it's dark, hoping for clear skies and big sunspot activity. Probably most Fairbanksans don't see much aurora once they get indoor plumbing, so an outhouse can be a bonus in that regard.

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