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In this February Alaska Travel News Bulletin you will find:
Social Media Spotlight
 
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1. 2014 Alaska facilities update
 
Southcentral
  • Alyeska Resort opened the 2013-14 season with an upgrade to Chair 6, replacing a four-person seating lift with a new high-speed detachable quad that accommodates a higher capacity of skiers with shorter lift times while relieving congestion on the upper mountain. (www.alyeskaresort.com)
  • Copper Whale Inn in Anchorage has added a one-bedroom suite, increasing its inventory from 14 to 15 units. The suite, which has a maximum occupancy of four, is a queen bedroom with a queen sleeper sofa in the living area and fully equipped kitchen. (www.copperwhale.com)
  • Construction on the Adventure Center at the Government Peak Recreation Area in Hatcher Pass was completed in January and will remain open year-round. The 4,000-square-foot facility will serve as a warming area for skiers and provide meeting facilities for local groups and visitors alike. (www.matsugov.us/projects/hatcherpass)
  • The Millennium Alaskan Hotel just completed an extensive remodel of its 7,000-square-foot conference center. The updated Joe Redington Senior Ballroom features new carpet tiles, Alaska animal photography from artist Jimmy Tohill and an exhibit of the history of Iditarod musher Joe Redington. The hotel façade and guest rooms will also be renovated by the end of 2014. (www.millenniumhotels.com/usa/millenniumanchorage)
  • The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is taking advantage of the raw beauty on its campus that overlooks Turnagain Arm with the construction of the new Point and Estuary Boardwalk, which will showcase tidal exchanges, fish runs, beluga whales and various weather events. (www.alaskawildlife.org)
  • A new aluminum dock at the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies in Homer has been completed and will be used seasonally at the Peterson Bay Field Station beginning with the first program this April. (www.akcoastalstudies.org)
Inside Passage
  • In February, the Alaska State Museum in Juneau will begin construction of a new 118,000-square-foot facility that will house a gift store, cafeteria, auditorium, reading room, museum galleries, research room, historical library and state archives. The museum plans to reopen spring 2016. (http://museums.alaska.gov/lam/slam.html)
  • The Douglas Island Pink and Chum Macaulay Hatchery in Juneau underwent a $4 million dollar expansion, allowing visitors to stroll along a skywalk that overlooks king and coho fry growing in four large concrete tanks, a salt-water aquarium and interactive displays as well as an observation deck built to make guests feel like they are standing over the water. (www.dipac.net)
  • The Goldbelt Hotel in Juneau recently completed a full renovation of their sleeping rooms and has added a new boardroom, fitness center and historic Alaska Native artwork. Plans to renovate the entrance way and outside of the building are underway and will be completed by the end of 2014. (www.goldbelthotel.com)
2. Alaska Railroad launches midweek winter trains

For the first time ever, the Alaska Railroad is offering midweek Aurora Winter Train specials between Fairbanks and Anchorage. With northbound trains departing Anchorage on Tuesday, March 11 and 18, and southbound trains departing Fairbanks on Wednesday, March 12 and 19, these trains come at a time when Alaska’s two largest communities are celebrating the winter season, providing both residents and visitors the opportunity to ride the budget-friendly rails. Travelers to Fairbanks can book adventures such as aurora borealis viewing tours, visiting Chena Hot Springs Resort, gazing at the intricate ice carvings at the BP World Ice Art Championships, experiencing the 2014 Arctic Winter Games and much more. March is also a great time to visit Anchorage for shopping, dining and even a weekend trip to Girdwood’s renowned snowsport property Alyeska Resort. The new train schedule will run during the University of Alaska Anchorage, University of Alaska Fairbanks and Anchorage School District spring breaks, making travel even more accessible for students and visiting families. For $215 roundtrip, trips taken in March with a return by May 10 allow guests to travel with more flexibility between the two cities in the winter. The Alaska Railroad offers a discounted student rate of $178 and children at $108.
 
Media Contact:
Contact: Liz Baker, Thompson & Co. PR
Email: liz@thompsonpr.com
Phone: (907) 561-4488
Facebook: Alaska Railroad
Twitter: @akrr
URL: www.alaskarailroad.com
Photo: Courtesy of the Alaska Railroad
3. Denali National Park and Preserve offers prime location for winter activities

National Park Service Alaska will plow the Denali National Park & Preserve park road up to mile 12 in mid-February, about a month earlier than usual. This is the first year the park has opened the road this early and will keep the road plowed, opening up recreational opportunities for skiers and snowshoers, as well as viewpoints of Mount McKinley at mile 12, the site of the new Mountain Vista Rest Area. The entrance fee is $10 per person and grants access for seven days in the park. Riley Creek campground, the largest campground in the national park, is also open year round for the hardier traveler, and lodging can be found in nearby Healy or Cantwell. Another great opportunity for visitors to get a taste of Denali in the winter is Winterfest, running Feb. 21-23. The festival celebrates the communities in the Denali Borough and features events for all ages including a snow sculpting contest, park ranger-led snowshoe excursions and a chance to meet the sled dogs of Denali.
 
Media Contact:
Contact: Kris Fister, Denali National Park & Preserve
Email: kris_fister@nps.gov
Phone: (907) 683-9583
Facebook: Denali National Park & Preserve
Twitter: @DenaliNPS
URL: www.nps.gov/DENA
Photo: Denali National Park and Preserve
4. Experience “The Last Great Race”

The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, also known as “The Last Great Race,” is a spectacle for residents and visitors alike. Every year, mushers and sled dogs are met with excitement as they compete in one of the most grueling races in Alaska’s history. There are several ways to experience the Iditarod in Alaska including stops along the trail and flightseeing from above. Regal Air is offering travelers four different itinerary opportunities to experience the historic race including a flightseeing excursion to the official start of the race in Willow; a trip to the checkpoint at Rainy Pass; the chance to visit the Alaska Native village of Nikolai on the Kuskokwin River; and even a trip to the finish line in Nome. The tours vary in price and length, but all offer a firsthand Iditarod experience. (www.regal-air.com) Chase the Race tour with Rust’s Flying Service is an unforgettable day trip departing from Anchorage, where travelers will have aerial views of the Iditarod trail on their way to the Rainy Pass checkpoint and can enjoy a home-style meal at the Rainy Pass Lodge. (www.flyrusts.com). Enjoy the ultimate winter Iditarod adventure with Salmon Berry Tours. This nine-day tour includes visiting Anchorage, Girdwood, Talkeetna and the official Iditarod start in Willow as well as traveling by plane along the Iditarod trail to the Rainy Pass checkpoint. (www.salmonberrytours.com) For more information on the Iditarod, visit www.Iditarod.com.
 
Media Contact:
Contact: Jennifer Thompson, Thompson & Co. PR
Email: jennifer@thompsonpr.com
 Phone: (907) 561-4488
Facebook: Alaska Travel News

Twitter: @alaskatravlnews

URL: TravelAlaska.com
Photo: State of Alaska/Brian Adams
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