If you’re from the “outside”, a term Alaskan’s use for any place outside Alaska (get it…?), then you might have the idea, like the rest of the world, that Alaska completely shuts down every winter; that everything comes to a screeching halt with the fall of the first snowflake (no, that’s Seattle).
However, that idea couldn’t be farther from the truth. While the world thinks Alaska is hibernating with the grizzlies, we’re actually running with the dogs and swimming with the whales. All the while wearing our Xtratuf boots, lovingly referred to as the “Alaska sneaker” (I’m wearing mine as I type this).
With a nearly overwhelming plethora of winter activities to choose from in our gorgeous snow-enshrouded state, I’ve put together a list of the top four activities that will offer any Seward visitor a broad range of excitement and lasting magical memories.
#1: The Old Fashioned Christmas Festival
This twinkly gathering of lights happens in downtown Seward, mere steps from the Sauerdough Lodging, and is complete with a holiday tree lighting, art vendors, and lots of holiday cheer. Be sure to stop into the SeaLife Center while you’re strolling around downtown.
When: December 4-7 each year
Where: Downtown Seward, Fourth Ave
#2: The Luminary Ski
Held every New Year’s Eve, the Luminary Ski is a family-friendly event complete with hot cocoa, cider, and a campfire. Luminaries are placed along the ski trails at mile 12 of the Seward Highway so you can walk or cross-country ski your way through a snowy forest aglow with candles. Yeah, that sounds pretty romantic, doesn’t it?
When: New Year’s Eve
Where: Mile 12, Seward Highway
#3: The Polar Bear Jump
So you want to know something wild about the polar bear jump? We all know that this type of event happens all around the world, but did you know that the Seward Polar Bear Jump has had National and International television coverage and has been broadcast live on the radio in California, Texas, Hawaii, and Sydney, Australia?
So what gives? Why is the plunge in Seward so famous? No one knows. But it’s probably because it’s a bunch of isolated Alaskan’s jumping into the frigid winter waters of Resurrection Bay in January. Probably wearing Xtratufs.
But don’t worry – you don’t have to jump. Anyone is welcome to enjoy the festivities from shore. This event serves as a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society so at least all that hypothermia is happening for a good cause.
When: Third Friday of every January
Where: Seward harbor
#4: Pet the pups at Turning Heads Kennel
Open year-round, Turning Heads Kennel offers, you’ve guessed it, dog sled tours (tip: call it mushing if you want to sound like a local). There’s several winter tours to choose from, including multi-day excursions. At the end of your trip, after being covered in sloppy dog kisses, you can sign up to adopt a retired sled dog (as in pay for its care, not as in put it in your luggage and take it home with you).
Where: Herman Leirer Road (also referred to as Exit Glacier Road)
Of course, there is always the option of staying in with the people you love and laughing and talking while you sip hot cocoa with a fuzzy blanket wrapped around your shoulders. Beautiful memories are made in so many different ways. Cherish them all.
Happy Holidays from all of us at Sauerdough Lodge and the Sea Bean Cafe.
Blog by Liberty Elias Miller. Visit her website here: https://www.libertyeliasmiller.com/