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In this February Alaska Travel News Bulletin you will find:
Social Media Spotlight
 
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Follow us at @travelalaska as we share 365 reasons to visit Alaska in 2015.
 
1. 2015 facility updates
 
Southeast
  • Sealaska Heritage Institute will be opening the new Walter Soboleff building in May. The premiere cultural facility, located in downtown Juneau, will offer educational programs, exhibits, archives and ethnographic collections. (www.sealaskaheritagecenter.com)
  • The Goldbelt Hotel is home to a new restaurant, Coho’s Bar and Grill, featuring a new menu that highlights Alaska seafood, in-house cut steaks and made-to-order burgers. (http://goldbelthotel.com)
  • Construction has begun on one of two Panamax cruise ship docks in Juneau. With the first scheduled for completion in May, the floating cruise ship docks are designed for the cruise ship industry’s largest vessels and will float about 200 feet offshore from where the current docks are located. The second of the two docks will be constructed for completion in 2016. (http://bit.ly/1DkMLfr)
  • Aspen Suites Hotel is opening in Haines this spring. The 50-room hotel will include a meeting room, laundry facility and business center. (http://haines.ak.us)
  • Construction of a new pier at Icy Strait Point in Hoonah is set to begin this summer. The new 400-foot floating pier will improve accessibility for cruise ships and their passengers at Icy Strait Point and is designed for year-round operation, maximizing its use by the coastal community. (www.icystraitpoint.com)  
Southcentral
  • Alaska Garden Gate B&B and Cottages in Palmer is expanding with a 4,000-square-foot addition that will add five guest rooms, a separate two-bedroom apartment, breakfast hall, commercial kitchen and meeting space that will be available for small group rentals and retreats. (www.gardengatebnb.com)
  • The Government Peak Chalet in Hatcher Pass was recently awarded a $200,000 grant that will be used to upgrade the chalet’s commercial kitchen. The grant will also fund lighting for the six-kilometer ski trails at the facility. The area is used year-round for skiers and snowshoers in the winter and hikers and mountain bikers in the summer. (www.facebook.com/hatcher.recreationarea)  
2. Northern Alaska Tour Company launches three new tours
 
Northern Alaska Tour Company is launching two new winter tours and a new summer tour in 2015. Travelers in the winter months can take advantage of a new Fairbanks-based northern lights driving tour to the small town of Joy. Visitors will enjoy the uninterrupted night sky, perfect for aurora viewing, with a knowledgeable guide that can provide information about the surrounding arctic area. The second winter tour launched by NATC is a full-day guided adventure to Denali National Park and Preserve. Guests will depart from Fairbanks on a driving tour to the national park and, upon arrival, will embark on a snowshoe hike in the boreal forest with majestic views of Mount McKinley before the return drive to Fairbanks. For travelers to Alaska in the summer months, Northern Alaska Tour Company is offering its popular Arctic Circle flying tour with a new departure from Healy. This will allow guests visiting Denali National Park & Preserve the chance to experience the Arctic Circle even if Fairbanks is not on their itinerary. The 5.5-hour excursion departs from the Healy airport and takes passengers to the Arctic Circle with stunning views of the Trans Alaska Pipeline, Brooks Range, Dalton Highway and a visit to the community of Wiseman before the return flight back.

Media Contact:
Contact: Kathy Hedges, Northern Alaska Tour Company

E-mail: adventure@northernalaska.com
Phone: (907) 474-8600



URL: www.northernalaska.com
 
Photo credit: Northern Alaska Tour Company
3. Tordillo North at Winterlake Lodge brings skiers an experience like never before
 
For the first time this spring, skiers and snowboarders will have helicopter access to the northern edge of the Tordrillo Mountains from Winterlake Lodge in Southcentral Alaska. Tordrillo North at Winterlake Lodge, Alaska’s newest helicopter ski and snowboard adventures is a partnership between Alaska heli-ski experts Chris Owens and Jim “Sarge” Conway and Winterlake Lodge’s owners Kirsten and Carl Dixon. Operating in more than one million skiable acres of terrain, Tordrillo North at Winterlake Lodge’s specialized trips are available in February, March and April and accommodate groups of just eight to 12 guests per week. All-inclusive packages include 15 hours of helicopter time, accommodations, award-winning cuisine and more. Tordrillo North at Winterlake Lodge utilizes five-passenger Eurocopter A-Star helicopters chosen for high-altitude performance and safety. Adhering to the highest standards in skier safety, the boutique operation also outfits each guest with a BCA avalanche pack, a BCA avalanche transceiver, rescue gear and harness, and requires guest attendance at a safety briefing and training session. Located 198 trail miles northwest of Anchorage, Winterlake Lodge is an upscale, backcountry lodge with only five guest cabins that sit far from the Alaska road system. When skiing is done each day, guests can take advantage of the hot tub and sauna, yoga classes and massage treatments at the lodge. Packages also include alternative activities such as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and dog mushing.
 
Media Contact:
Contact: Meghan Aftosmis, Thompson & Co. PR
Email: meghan@thompsonpr.com
Phone: (212) 564-4324
Facebook: Within the Wild Adventure Lodges
Twitter: @withinthewild
Instagram: @withinthewild
URL: withinthewild.com
 
Photo credit: Courtesy of Tordrillo North at Winterlake Lodge
4.Iron Dog snowmobile race to begin in Anchorage for the first time
 
The world’s longest snowmobile race, the Iron Dog, will begin in Anchorage for the first time. The race, which previously started in Big Lake just north of Wasilla, has competitors travel more than 2,000 miles from Anchorage to the halfway point of Nome before finishing in Fairbanks. The first Iron Dog began in 1984 in Big Lake and followed the northern route of the Historic Iditarod Trail to Nome. The event has morphed over the years to become one of, if not the most, challenging snowmobile races as two-person teams travel over some of the most remote and arduous areas in Alaska. The festivities begin on Feb. 18 with a safety expo that gives the public the first of many opportunities to meet the racers and view their racing gear. Visitors can also look forward to high-flying fun with Flying Iron, an aerial freestyle snowmobile show on Feb. 20 and 21 in downtown Anchorage that will feature X Games medalists. Last but not least, the professional class race will start from downtown Anchorage on the morning of Saturday, Feb. 21 with 37 pro-class teams participating. (http://www.irondog.org)
 
Media Contact:
Contact: Jack Bonney, Visit Anchorage
Email: jbonney@anchorage.net
Phone: (907) 257-2361
Facebook: Visit Anchorage
Twitter: @VisitAnchorage
Instagram: Visit Anchorage
URL: http://www.anchorage.net
 
Photo credit: Visit Anchorage
Our mailing address is:
State of Alaska
550 W. 7th Ave.
Suite 1770
Anchorage, AK 99501

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