A Recap on a Busy Month at Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge
Have a vision of Alaska in March in your mind? Imagining sleepy and grumpy people, dark nights, gloomy skies and empty streets? Well, you’re dead wrong. Especially in Talkeetna, a small Alaska town that comes alive each March.
Instead, picture festivals, adventures, natural wonders and incredibly vibrant living. The air is crisp and clear, with Denali a constant beacon glowing in shades from lavender to rose in the low sun, and the Northern Lights illuminating the night sky.
Summer in Talkeetna is bustling, with tourists and mountaineers from around the world pouring into the small village in the Susitna River Valley. Winter is claimed by Alaskans, for Alaskans.
Fernando Salvador, Vice President and General Manager of Alaska Collection by Pursuit, has been in Talkeetna for 17 years and he always overwinters. He says he loves the serenity of winter. “Life centers on being outside,” he says. “It’s peaceful and calm here in winter.”
Most of the 800 year-round residents love to spend time outdoors during winter. Popular activities include cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, dog-sledding, riding snowmachines and watching the Northern Lights.
The Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge
was open to the public this March for the first time. Fernando says it was a big hit. “Winter tourism in Talkeetna is still in its infancy, but the potential is huge.”
Here are eight reasons March in Talkeetna was so amazing:
- Denali more clearly: Locals know the big mountain just looks better in winter. Fernando says you can generally see Denali 70 percent of the time in winter because the air is so clear – in summer that number drops to 30 percent. “We have the best view to showcase it right here at the Lodge.”
- Iditarod staging: Besides going on dog-sled rides for fun and personal adventure, the Talkeetna area serves as a great base camp for catching the Last Great Race. The restart is generally located in nearby Willow (although this year it was moved to Fairbanks) and the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge is a great basecamp. “We’re a great launching-off point,” he says.
- Fat-Tire biking: It’s a winter sport that’s growing quickly in popularity across the North. The annual Trio Bike Race has turned into a festival for lovers of mountain bikes with studded-tires each March in Talkeetna.
- Snowmachine touring: Fernando says it’s been a great winter and conditions look promising for more snowmobiling through the spring.
- Nordic paradise: The snow’s been great on the world-class groomed ski trails at nearby Fish Lake and the X Lake trails network. The Nordic season culminated in the annual Oosik U-16 Cross Country ski race. More than 700 skiers from across the state headed into Talkeetna on March 18. “It’s a big party for the town,” according to Fernando.
- Aurora Borealis: Guests at the Lodge can request a Northern Lights wake-up call. If someone reports a sighting, staff call through the list and guests can come out to the back viewing desk. Salvador says sometimes it’d be at 3 am. Some guests would ignore the ring, roll over and go back to sleep. But lots of people grabbed their big coats and camera and came out. “The Aurora can be fleeting, so you’ve got to get out there,” he says. View a shot of our deck from our friend Aurora Dora.
- Gathering with friends: Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge ran a slimmed-down staff during March. That meant employees and guests were able to make closer personal connections. There was time to sit with friends new and old around the fireplace, at the Lodge just like at home.
- Vibrant culture: The Denali Arts Center keeps the cultural scene busy with live music and film screenings.
Fernando says this March proved to be a busy and exciting time to welcome guests to Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge. His team is now busy preparing for summer.
“We were dipping our toes in the water, and it looks like next winter will bring more opportunities for serene winter get-aways to Talkeetna and the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge