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America's Arctic and Fairbanks' Winter Carnival

Program Number: 7340RJ
Start and End Dates:
3/13/2014 - 3/24/2014; 3/5/2015 - 3/16/2015; 3/12/2015 - 3/23/2015;
Duration: 11 nights
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
Price starting at: $2,469.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Festivals, Misc.; Winter Sports; Natural History Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 32; 11 Breakfasts, 10 Lunches, 11 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Discover America’s starkly beautiful Arctic and enjoy the famous Fairbanks Winter Carnival’s championship sled-dog races and larger-than-life ice sculptures. As the spring equinox nears, temperatures are moderate and the northern lights may be seen. Venture to Coldfoot to grasp the enormity and beauty of the pristine Arctic by seeing it with your own eyes.




Highlights

• Attend the Fairbanks Winter Carnival, a tradition since 1934, and view the spectacular ice sculptures entered in the World Ice Art Championship.
• Journey north above the Arctic Circle, cross the legendary Yukon River and continue into the magnificent Brooks Range where you can ride on a dog sled and take a snowshoe hike.
• Learn the science behind the fantastic displays of the aurora borealis.



Activity Particulars

Walking up to a half-mile a day on flat, potentially icy paths. Driving in vans up to 10 hours with breaks every 60-90 minutes. Expert-led snowshoeing excursion in Coldfoot.



Itinerary Summary

Arrival Fairbanks, 4 nights; van to Coldfoot, 5 nights; van to Fairbanks, 2 nights; departure.



Coordinated by Denakkanaaga.




Coldfoot

Coldfoot is a place to find warm hospitality north of the Arctic Circle. At this spot near the midpoint of the Dalton Highway, Iditarod champion Dick Mackey established a truck stop where he sold hamburgers out of a converted school bus. Coldfoot welcomes a stream of visitors who pass through as they explore Alaska’s remote Brooks mountain range.



Fairbanks

The indigenous Athabaskan tribe had fished in the local area for centuries before it was settled in 1903 as a trading post for riverboats and gold prospectors. Fairbanks today is an important player in interior Alaska’s oil fields and pipelines.



Accommodations
Fairbanks: Centrally located hotel. Coldfoot: Rustic motel upgraded from a pipeline construction camp.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Neal Brown

Neal Brown came to Fairbanks in 1963 as an undergraduate studying the aurora borealis at the world-famous Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He remained at the Geophysical Institute as a research/scientist for 47 years before retiring. He was director of the University of Alaska Poker Flat Research Range from 1971-89, launching rockets into space to enhance the study of the aurora. Neal was director of the State of Alaska Space Grant Program from 2002-08.
 
Meals and Lodgings
   Springhill Suites
  Fairbanks, AK 3 nights
   Slate Creek Inn
  Coldfoot, AK 2 nights
   Slate Creek Inn or Springhill Suites
  Coldfoot, AK 1 night
   Slate Creek Inn
  Coldfoot, AK 2 nights
   Springhill Suites
  Fairbanks, AK 3 nights
 Springhill Suites
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: In Fairbanks we are staying in one of the nicest hotels in town. The hotel is located downtown overlooking the banks of the Chena River, a superb location. Some of the dog sled races and many of the other winter carnival events take place right outside the hotel door. Shops, museums and historical sites are all within easy walking distance.
  Contact info: 575 First Avenue
Fairbanks, AK 99709 USA
phone: 907-451-6552
web: marriott.com/property/propertypage/FAISH
  Room amenities: All rooms are suites. Queen beds or better. Sofa, armchair, desk, mini-fridge, coffee maker, hair dryer, ironing board, television with cable, desk, and free high-speed internet access are available. Our contract does not call for daily maid service.
  Facility amenities: 24 hour coffee/hot water available. Small pool and whirlpool hot tub. Workout room. Snack machines. Restaurant on premises, but only open after 5 p.m.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: About $70 plus 8% city bed tax You must call the hotel yourself and arrange for early arrivals or stayovers. Be sure to mention you are with the Road Scholar Program. There is a special phone number for us to use for reservations. You will get information on this after you enroll.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: About $70 plus 8% city bed tax You must call the hotel yourself and arrange for early arrivals or stayovers. Be sure to mention you are with the Road Scholar Program. There is a special phone number for us to use for reservations. You will get information on this after you enroll.
  Check out time: 11:00 AM

 Slate Creek Inn
Type: Hotel
  Description: Located in a beautiful setting in the Brooks Range, the northernmost mountain range in the United States. The only hotel/restaurant between the Yukon River and the Arctic Ocean.
  Contact info: PO Box 9041
Coldfoot, AK 99701 USA
phone: 907-678-5201
web: coldfootcamp.com/index.htm
  Room amenities: Very small room, expect to live out of your suitcase. No telephones in room, pay phone at desk. (So no wake-up calls-bring your alarm clock). No TVs. Small bathroom in room with shower and commode. Small closet, hooks on the walls for hanging clothes.
  Facility amenities: Restaurant, bar in one facility. Motel type rooms across the gravel pad. There is a small lounge in the housing facility with a couch and chairs. Cable television (but not many channels). Book exchange and board games available.
  Smoking allowed: No


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Check in after 3 PM. You will be staying at Springhill Suites that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends after breakfast. Checkout at 11 a.m. You will be staying at Springhill Suites the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Participants will have to sign a release from Denakkanaaga to participate in this program.
  Parking availability:
Parking is free in hotel lot. Permit REQUIRED. Get free permit from reception desk.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Fairbanks, AK
  Nearest city or town:  Nenana (50 miles south)
  Nearest highway: Parks, Steese, Elliot, Alaska Highway
  Nearest airport:  Fairbanks International
  From End of Program
  Location: Fairbanks, AK
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Fairbanks

 

From Train Station

 
 

Service:

 

Hotel Shuttle

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Provided free by the Springhill
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

15-20 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

2 miles

   

Call the Springhill at 907-451-6552. Tell them you are with the Road Scholar program and request a ride.

 

Fairbanks

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Hotel Shuttle

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Provided free by the Springhill
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

15-20 minutes. Sometimes a little longer depending upon the time of day 

 

Distance:

 

4 miles

   

Call the Springhill at 907-451-6552. Tell them you are with the Road Scholar program and request a ride.

 
Driving Directions
  Airport Leave airport on Airport Road. Drive east about 4 miles on Airport Road. Turn left unto Cushman Street. Drive about 12 blocks south on Cushman. The hotel is on the left at the corner of 1st Avenue and Cushman Street.
Elevation Note: Only summiting the Brooks Range. Atigun Pass is at 4643 feet. We do not spend a lot of time there.

Equipment Requirements: There will be snow and ice on the ground. You will need to have warm, well-fitting boots with good traction to fully participate in this program. Warm clothing is also very important.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Welcoming dinner and orientation
(Thursday, March 13)
   
 Afternoon: Check into hotel after 3 p.m. Earlier check in may be possible at this time of year. Call hotel the first day of the program to find out if rooms are available for early check in. Meet in the hotel lobby at 6:00pm for dinner, followed by orientation at the hotel.
 Dinner: Dinner in restaurant.
 Evening: Welcome to the program by Road Scholar staff. IMPORTANT NOTE: WE HOPE YOU HAVE A CHANCE TO SEE THE AURORA BOREALIS IN PERSON. BUT THE AURORA IS A NATURAL PHENOMENON AND SIGHTINGS CANNOT BE GUARANTEED. FIRST, THE AURORA HAS TO BE HAPPENING THAT NIGHT. SECOND, THE SKY HAS TO BE CLEAR ENOUGH, WITH NO HEAVY CLOUD LAYER, TO BE ABLE TO SEE THE LIGHTS OF THE AURORA. GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGES ARE GIVING THE ALASKAN INTERIOR CLOUDIER WINTER DAYS AND NIGHTS THAN WE ARE USED TO.
   
Accommodations: Springhill Suites
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Class on the Aurora/Orientation to the Arctic/Field trips to the Museum of the North and to the Ice Art Park
(Friday, March 14)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in hotel breakfast room.
 Morning: NOTE: This itinerary has been crafted a year ahead of time, using the best information currently available. Everything on this schedule will be covered but the sequences may change by next year. We start with a class on the science behind the Aurora Borealis, the wondrous Northern Lights. Learn the scientific facts that explain what they are and why they come out to shine in our dark night skies. Hear about the historic fables spun to explain them in various cultures and the early theories people worked out to try to explain them. The Aurora has had a hold on the imagination of people since ancient times. And it continues today-even when we’re pretty sure we’ve figured out the scientific reality that creates them. Orientation for the trip to the Arctic. Overview of the program in Coldfoot. Your chance to ask questions before we take off for the far north.
 Lunch: Lunch
 Afternoon: Field trip to the University of Alaska Museum of the North. The museum is a world renowned circumpolar research center with extensive collections and information gathered from current and past scientific expeditions in Alaska, America's only arctic state. The museum offers exhibits on Native culture, post-contact history, geology, fauna, flora, the gold rush, the pipeline, the Aurora, plus rotating art and photo exhibits, all housed in a beautiful and striking architectural gem. Special emphasis on Arctic and Sub-Arctic ecology and environment and the people who inhabit this northern edge of our world.
 Dinner: Dinner
 Evening: The Fairbanks Winter Carnival events include the internationally famous World Ice Art Championship. This competition draws artists from all over the world, come to create exquisite, larger than life size ice sculptures that can be viewed in natural light during the day and also at night, when colored lights are played upon them. It is a truly fantastic experience to walk through the woods at night, among such beautifully wrought, colorfully displayed, and poignantly ephemeral works of art. Check out their web site at http://www.icealaska.com
   
Accommodations: Springhill Suites
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Limited North American Sled Dog Race/The 2014 Arctic Winter Games begin
(Saturday, March 15)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at Coldfoot
 Morning: Head to Musher's Hall for the Limited North American Championship Sled Dog Race attracting international teams of dogs and mushers. The sprint races take place over 3 days. "Limited" refers to the number of dogs allowed in a team. Separate races are run for 8-dog, 6-dog, and 4-dog teams. There are also skijoring races, with the racer on skis harnessed behind one, two, or three dogs, all pulling for the finish line together.
 Lunch: Lunch at the Musher's Hall
 Afternoon: Class on the history of Fairbanks. Fairbanks, along with many other Interior Alaskan towns, started life as a gold rush boom town in the early 1900's. Once the court system was moved here from Eagle on the Canadian border and the university and the northern terminus of the railroad were built, Fairbanks stabilized economically (somewhat) and did not wither and die as most of the other boom towns did. Explore the history of this tenacious town in the heart of the last frontier.
 Dinner: Dinner included.
 Evening: The Games Are ON! Fairbanks won the bid to host the 2014 Arctic Winter Games and they start tonight. The Arctic Winter Games is second only to the Winter Olympics in the number of athletes, coaches, cultural performers and staff who compete in presenting winter sports, with about 2000 people taking part in presenting the Games. A unique aspect of the Arctic Winter Games is that it is also a cultural celebration of the people of the Circumpolar North. Indigenous cultures who have inhabited the Arctic since people first crossed the Bering Land Bridge to arrive in the “New World” attend the Arctic Games in their traditional costumes to perform their songs and dances, and compete in both modern and traditional athletic contests. There are typical Olympic sports such as hockey, basketball, gymnastics, etc, along with traditional Native games. The Native games come from a tradition of practicing to build the strength and endurance necessary for successfully living directly off the land in a very harsh environment. Enjoy the opening night ceremony and help kick off the 2014 Winter Arctic Games.
   
Accommodations: Springhill Suites
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Travel to Coldfoot, Alaska
(Sunday, March 16)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in hotel breakfast room.
 Morning: Leave for Coldfoot, Alaska, 250 miles north of Fairbanks and 60 miles north of the Arctic Circle. We travel slowly and take a number of breaks to use outhouses and stretch our legs. It takes us approximately 9-10 hours to get from Fairbanks to Coldfoot.
 Lunch: Picnic lunch on the road.
 Afternoon: Continue driving.
 Dinner: Dinner in Coldfoot.
 Evening: NOTE: Coldfoot exists because there was a need for a restaurant/hotel in the 500 mile pipeline road stretch between Fairbanks and Prudhoe Bay. The lecturers for this portion of the program are all locals who have jobs that must be worked around to create time to talk with us. We therefore have to be prepared to be very flexible with the scheduling in Coldfoot. It is not unusual for the schedule to change daily as some people show up in Coldfoot unexpectedly, and some people, like the national park ranger, may be suddenly called away to do some work in another area. We will try our best to have the content we propose here, but we cannot guarantee it. In Coldfoot, we have always had a variety of lecturers. We like to give everyone who has some expertise a chance to speak with our participants. We actually now have more lecturers than we can fit into one program. So while we may not have exactly what we list here, we will have a very locally oriented program offering diversified information and interests. The vast bulk of our Coldfoot surprises have been pleasant ones. Coldfoot is a premier place for watching the aurora. We will have sign up sheets every evening for people who want to be woken up to see the northern lights if they are present and the night is clear.
   
Accommodations: Slate Creek Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: History of Coldfoot/ride on a dog sled
(Monday, March 17)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at Coldfoot.
 Morning: Class on the history of Coldfoot, when it was a gold rush town, then a pipeline construction camp and then the truck stop it is today. Then take a walk to the original town site of Coldfoot. There are no remains, since the buildings were "cannibalized" when the gold rush boom moved to Wiseman and Nolan. But various activity areas will be pointed out and discussed. Continue walk to site of the Coldfoot pipeline construction camp. The only thing left of the camp is the airfield which is still in use and which has a small air carrier office and airplanes on site. The "barracks" for the pipeline workers were moved to the present day Coldfoot truck stop. They have been modified and spruced up some and these are the facilities we will be living in while we are up there.
 Lunch: Lunch at Coldfoot.
 Afternoon: During our stay in Coldfoot, you will have a chance to ride on a dog sled. A local musher will ride with you as his dogs pull their sled along a trail. We will split into three groups for some of our field trips and will rotate afternoon activities among the three groups.
 Dinner: Dinner at Coldfoot
   
Accommodations: Slate Creek Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Arctic Safari - Brooks Range and Atigun Pass
(Tuesday, March 18)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at Coldfoot.
 Morning: All day Arctic Safari with experienced guides into the heart of the Brooks Range, the northernmost mountain range in Alaska. Summit Atigun Pass, the only pass through the range that allows access to the North Slope for the Dalton Highway and the Alaska oil pipeline. This is a rare opportunity to drive through and enjoy the majesty of the Arctic mountain terrain when it's wearing its beautiful, awe-inspiring, brilliantly white winter "clothes".
 Lunch: Picnic lunch on the road
 Afternoon: Continue Arctic Safari, return to Coldfoot.
 Dinner: Dinner at Coldfoot.
 Evening:
   
Accommodations: Slate Creek Inn or Springhill Suites
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: The Ecology of the Brooks Range/field trip to the historic town of Wiseman
(Wednesday, March 19)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in Coldfoot.
 Morning: Presentation by a Gates of the Arctic National Park Range on the ecology of the Brooks Ranger.
 Lunch: Lunch in coldfoot.
 Afternoon: Trip to the historic town of Wiseman, 15 miles away from Coldfoot. Wiseman started life as a gold rush town when thousands of people stampeded into the Koyukuk River drainage searching for gold. It currently has a population of about 12 people. Visit with some of the people of Wiseman and learn about their subsistence life style, hunting, trapping and building your own home.
 Dinner: Dinner included.
   
Accommodations: Slate Creek Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Snow shoe hike
(Thursday, March 20)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast
 Morning: Various topics possible, depending upon who is in "town" and who has the time to talk with us.
 Lunch: Lunch at Coldfoot
 Afternoon: Guided snow shoe hike on a path through the woods.
 Dinner: Dinner
 Evening: Movie night. A film on Alaskan topics.
   
Accommodations: Slate Creek Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Return to Fairbanks
(Friday, March 21)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in Coldfoot.
 Morning: Depart for all day drive back to Fairbanks.
 Lunch: Picnic lunch on the road.
 Afternoon: Continue trip to Fairbanks.
 Dinner: Since our arrival time is variable, we will plan on a pizza and salad dinner in the hotel breakfast area about 45 minutes after we arrive in town.
   
Accommodations: Springhill Suites
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10:
(Saturday, March 22)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast
 Morning: Field trip to the Morris Thompson Cultural Center, a small museum devoted to the life and culture of the Athabascan people, the natives of the vast Alaskan Interior. The Alaska Public Lands Information Center is located in the facility and offers films and presentations on Alaska's public lands. Class: "Life in Fairbanks", discussion of economy, demographics, wages, costs, schools, health care, police and fire protection, and the logistics of daily living in a place with a temperature range from 99 above to 68 below.
 Lunch: Lunch
 Afternoon: Field trip to the Arctic Winter Games. There will be simultaneous practices and competitions going on every day of the Games. The events are happening all over Fairbanks, at a number of different venues, We will provide schedules for everyone and we assume that people will have different interests and will chose to watch specific sports. Daily passes and transportation will be provided.
 Dinner: Dinner
 Evening: Evening at the Arctic Winter Games
   
Accommodations: Springhill Suites
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Arctic Winter Games
(Sunday, March 23)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast
 Morning: Class on the six major Native Nations of Alaska and how their cultures were shaped by their environment.
 Lunch: Lunch
 Afternoon: fill in
 Dinner: Graduation Dinner and Fond Farewells
   
Accommodations: Springhill Suites
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12:
(Monday, March 24)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast. Program ends after breakfast
   
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Fairbanks, AK Fairbanks Visitors and Convention Bureau
Phone: 800-327-5774 For additional information, visit www.explorefairbanks.com
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


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