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America's Arctic: Fairbanks' Winter Carnival and the 2014 Arctic Winter Games

Program Number: 21374RJ
Start and End Dates:
3/14/2014 - 3/28/2014;
Duration: 14 nights
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
Price starting at: $3,195.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Festivals, Misc. Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 40; 13 Breakfasts, 13 Lunches, 14 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Experience a festival atmosphere unlike any other in the nation at the Fairbanks Winter Carnival and the Arctic Winter Games. Your full immersion in these celebrations of the Far North include opening and closing ceremonies, as well as gala presentations highlighting the diverse Native cultures of Alaska. Observe the Aurora Borealis while learning the science behind them and visit museums and wildlife research stations for a complete understanding of the natural and human history of the region. After the festivities in Fairbanks, journey 60 miles north of the Arctic Circle for a one-of-a-kind encounter with the Arctic wilderness and its hardy inhabitants.




Highlights

• Wonder at the spectacular sculptures at the World Championship Ice Art Competition, showcasing the work of premier ice artists from all over the world
• Cross your fingers — you have a good chance of observing the world-famous Northern Lights in Fairbanks and Coldfoot.
• Be your own Arctic athlete in Coldfoot, where you enjoy a dog-sled ride with a musher and take a short snowshoe hike through the woods.



Activity Particulars

Moderate walking on flat, snowy, icy terrain in below-freezing temperatures. Elevation up to 4,643 feet. Climb four steps to access rooms in one hotel.



Itinerary Summary

Arrival Fairbanks, 9 nights; coach to Coldfoot, 3 nights; coach to Fairbanks, 2 nights; departure.



Coordinated by Denakkanaaga.




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: Full-service hotel downtown. Coldfoot: The only hotel between the Yukon River and Arctic Ocean.
Meals and Lodgings
   Springhill Suites
  Fairbanks, AK 9 nights
   Slate Creek Inn
  Coldfoot, AK 3 nights
   Springhill Suites
  Fairbanks, AK 2 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 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 5 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 to the program.
(Friday, March 14)
   
 Afternoon: Check into hotel after 3 p.m. Earlier check in may be possible. 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.
   
Accommodations: Springhill Suites
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Opening ceremony for the 2014 Arctic Winter Games, Field trip to the UA Museum of the North, Class on the Aurora Borealis
(Saturday, March 15)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in hotel breakfast room.
 Morning: NOTE: This itinerary has been crafted a year ahead of time, using the best information currently available. As of this writing, the final schedule for the 2014 Arctic Winter Games has not yet been finalized. Everything on this schedule will be covered but the sequences will therefore most likely change as that information becomes available. 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.
 Lunch: Lunch
 Afternoon: Field trip to the University of Alaska Museum of the North. The museum building is an architectural gem housing an outstanding educational facility with extensive collections of artifacts and exhibits focusing on all areas of Alaska. Learn about Alaskan fauna, flora, geology, Native culture, post-contact history, the gold rush, the Aurora and many other facets of life in America's farthest north state. There are also special rotating art and photo exhibits. The museum has always been the main repository for material collected by scientists during their research projects all over Alaska. There are collections from the rain forests of Alaska's Southeast Panhandle and South Central Region on the Northern Pacific Ocean; from the Aleutian Chain that stretches so far towards Asia that it actually crosses the 180th Meridian, resulting in the most western part of Alaska being in the Eastern Hemisphere; from the vast boreal forests of the Interior with its great winding rivers that run east from the Canadian border hundreds of miles west to the shores of the Bering Sea; and from the flat tundra ecosystem of the shores of the Arctic Ocean.
 Dinner: Dinner
 Evening: Field trip to the opening ceremonies of the 2014 Arctic Winter Games
   
Accommodations: Springhill Suites
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: The 2014 Arctic Winter Games/Fairbanks History and living here today
(Sunday, March 16)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in hotel breakfast room
 Morning: Alaska By The Numbers. Statistics! Population, jobs, cost of housing, economic engines, the impact of the military and the University of Alaska, just who’s here, why they’re here, where they’re working and where they’re living. The Limited North American Championships is a premiere limited sled dog sprint race, attracting international teams of dogs and mushers. The 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
 Afternoon: Field trip to the Arctic Winter Games
 Dinner: Dinner in restaurant
 Evening: Every Spring, Fairbanks hosts the internationally famous World Ice Art Championship. This competition draws artists from all over the world, come to create exquisite ice art 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 4: Large Animal Research Station
(Monday, March 17)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in hotel breakfast room.
 Morning: Field trip to Large Animal Research Station on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus. Researchers and/or guides will lecture on musk oxen, caribou and reindeer that live at the station. In the same way that seeing giraffes and zebras in the wild indicates you are in Africa, the musk ox is an iconic emblem of the Arctic-you could see bears, wolves and whales in their natural habitats in many other places in the world, but if you want to see musk-oxen in their natural habitat, you must travel to the Arctic. (or to fudge it a bit for our program--the Sub Arctic...)
 Lunch: Lunch
 Afternoon: Orientation to the Arctic. Information on our upcoming trip to Coldfoot and what we should take up there with us. Second class on the Aurora Borealis.
 Dinner: Dinner included.
 Evening: A special part of the Winter Games are the two cultural galas presentations that will be held on different days. The indigenous people of the Arctic Nations showcase their cultures, often wearing traditional clothing while dancing, singing or presenting their ancient myths. Modern day technology may also be used to enhance the effects of the performance. We will be attending both galas and again, the actual times of the various Games and events will be announced as the start date gets closer.
   
Accommodations: Springhill Suites
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Arctic Winter Games
(Tuesday, March 18)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast
 Morning: Class on the Six Major Native Nations of Alaska, discussing the different cultures and the different ecosystems that created those cultures.
 Lunch: Lunch
 Afternoon: Field trip to the Ice Art Park to see the sculptures in natural daylight. Field trip to the Arctic Winter Games
 Dinner: Dinner
 Evening: Winter Games cultural gala
   
Accommodations: Springhill Suites
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Field Trip to the Morris Thompson Cultural Center/talk on the logistics of living in Interior Alaska
(Wednesday, March 19)
   
 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 Indigenous people 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.
 Lunch: Lunch with Denakkanaaga staff
 Afternoon: "Daily Life in Fairbanks", How to get by in Fairbanks. Topics include living without running water and with outhouses, police and fire protection, schools--like when is it too cold for outdoor recess, getting paid with oil money just for being an Alaskan resident and other logistics of daily living in a place with a temperature range from 99 above to 68 below.
 Dinner: Dinner
 Evening: Field trip to the Arctic Winter Games
   
Accommodations: Springhill Suites
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Field trip to the Yukon Quest Race headquarters--learn about Alaska's other thousand mile dog sled race
(Thursday, March 20)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast
 Morning: Field trip to the Yukon Quest Headquarters. The Yukon Quest is a thousand mile dog sled race that is run in February between Fairbanks and White Horse, the capital city of the Yukon Territory. One year the race starts in Fairbanks and goes to Whitehorse, the next year it starts in White Horse and ends in Fairbanks. The Yukon Quest is held in February in the Interior when temperatures can be brutally cold. Visit the headquarters to hear about the race from the people who put it on and participate in it. On most of our visits, one of the four legged racers is also present for us to see and learn about.
 Lunch: Lunch
 Afternoon: "Literature of Alaska: Reflections of Life in a Frozen Mirror." Discover how stories shape people's concept of the far north. Hear which genre set the template for the first writings on Alaska. Learn about the early pattern of people coming up to Alaska from "Outside" and writing about us to explain us to the rest of the world. Study the development of work from local writers who do live here, both indigenous people and the later immigrants. Read the voices of Alaskans as we talk about our world.
 Dinner: Dinner included.
 Evening: Field trip to the Arctic Winter Games
   
Accommodations: Springhill Suites
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Presentation on trapping in Alaska
(Friday, March 21)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast
 Morning: Trapping in Alaska. Trapping has been a part of subsistence living in Alaska since ancient times and many people still run trap lines today. Trapping continues to provide food for the table and fur to use for winter clothing. It is also a way to make money when many jobs are "closed" for the winter. Some people who trap but don't live off the land consider trapping primarily a sport, just like hunting and fishing. It provides a handy “excuse” to be out in the wilderness at a beautiful time of year. But for others it is an important part of their yearly economic cycle and a way to continue to participate in a cultural heritage, no matter where they came from or what their ethnic background is. Come learn about modern day trapping from trappers. A trapper will bring his/her equipment and some of their furs and talk to us about the prey, the market and the reasons people take up trapping. There will be pelts exhibited at the lecture so people can feel the fur and learn about the different qualities in touch, warmth, size and value of various fur-bearing animals.
 Lunch: Lunch included.
 Afternoon: Free afternoon
 Dinner: Dinner
 Evening: Field trip to the Ice Art Park. Field trip to the Arctic Winter Games.
   
Accommodations: Springhill Suites
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Attend the closing ceremonies of the 2014 Arctic Winter Games
(Saturday, March 22)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast
 Morning: Step out the back door of the hotel and watch the preparations for the Open North American sled dog race and the Fairbanks Winter Carnival.
 Lunch: Get money from the coordinator for lunch on your own at the Fairbanks Winter Carnival.
 Afternoon: The Fairbanks Winter Carnival is on this weekend, taking place right outside the back door of the hotel. Fur sales, food booths and the downtown start of the Open North American Championship Sled Dog Race are all part of the Carnival. The Open North American Sled Dog Championship is a premiere sled dog sprint race, attracting top international teams of dogs and mushers from all over the world. The race is run over three days. Twenty miles are run on each of the first two days and thirty miles on the last. The team with the best cumulative time over the three day, seventy mile course is the winner. First run in 1946, the 2014 race will be the 68th running, making this the oldest continuously run sled dog race in the world. Join with the people of Fairbanks as we celebrate Spring Equinox and the return of the sun to us. Field trip to the Games.
 Dinner: Dinner included.
 Evening: Field trip to the closing ceremonies of the 2014 Arctic Winter Games
   
Accommodations: Springhill Suites
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: 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.
(Sunday, March 23)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in Coldfoot.
 Morning: All day drive up the Dalton Highway to Coldfoot. The Dalton Highway was built to enable construction of the Alaska Pipeline. Drive north across the only bridge in Alaska that spans the legendary Yukon River, cross the Arctic Circle and spend the next few days in the heart of the Brooks Range, one of the northernmost mountain ranges in North America. The tour guides who drive us up there are a font of information on the terrain, the pipeline, the ecology and history of the areas we drive through. Come travel through some of the most unspoiled land left in North America.
 Lunch: Picnic lunch on the road.
 Afternoon: Continue trip to Coldfoot
 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. We will try our best to have the content we propose here, but we cannot guarantee it. Some days our planned schedule may change because of weather. 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. Also, 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 11: Dog Sled Rides and historic gold rush towns
(Monday, March 24)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast
 Morning: Take a ride on a dog sled. A local musher will ride with you in the "basket" as his dogs pull their sled along a trail.
 Lunch: Picnic lunch on the road
 Afternoon: Field trip to the historic town of Wiseman, 15 miles from Coldfoot. Wiseman was a former gold rush town. It currently has a population of about 10 people. Visit with some of the people of Wiseman and hear about how they live off the land.
 Dinner: Dinner in Coldfoot
   
Accommodations: Slate Creek Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Arctic Safari into the heart of the Brooks Range
(Tuesday, March 25)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast
 Morning: Drive on an "Arctic Safari" with experienced guides into the heart of the Brooks Range, the northernmost mountain range in Alaska. Summit Atigun Pass, where the Dalton Highway was cut through the range in order to allow access to the North Slope for the Alaska oil pipeline. This is a rare opportunity to enjoy the majesty of Arctic mountain terrain when it's wearing its beautiful, awe-inspiring, brilliantly white winter "clothing".
 Lunch: Picnic lunch on the road
 Afternoon: Continue the safari and return to Coldfoot
 Dinner: Dinner at Coldfoot
   
Accommodations: Slate Creek Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: All day drive back to Fairbanks
(Wednesday, March 26)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in Coldfoot
 Morning: Drive back to Fairbanks
 Lunch: Picnic lunch on the road
 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 14: Presentation: "Daily Life Of An Oil Spill Worker"
(Thursday, March 27)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast
 Morning: Presentation by a person who worked as a medic on the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill. This talk focuses on the people who worked cleaning up the spill, their hours, their equipment and their health problems and concerns.
 Lunch: Lunch
 Afternoon: Free time. Pack, or return to the Morris Thompson Center, or take another tour of downtown Fairbanks or just rest up for your trip home.
 Dinner: Graduation dinner and fond farewells
   
Accommodations: Springhill Suites
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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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