Alaska Tourism Preview for 2016

Alaska Tourism Preview for 2016

A look at Alaska tourism highlights in the upcoming year By: Chris Batin
<p>Fairbanks Distilling Company will open a new artisanal distillery in 2016. // © 2016 Tom Bol/Mat-Su CVB</p><p>Feature image (above): The town of...

Fairbanks Distilling Company will open a new artisanal distillery in 2016. // © 2016 Tom Bol/Mat-Su CVB

Feature image (above): The town of Talkeetna is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2016. // © 2016 iStock

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At the recent Alaska Media Roadshow, journalists had an opportunity to learn more about new tours, events and items of interest for 2016. Here are some of the highlights.

According to Explore Fairbanks, Interior Alaska has two new options for visitors. Ursa Major distills spirits in custom stills using locally grown barley, and offers an informational tour, as well as product sampling in its tasting room. Fairbanks Distilling Company will open an artisanal distillery in Fairbanks at the historic old City Hall in 2016 as well.

Also, the dates have been announced for the 2016 World Ice Art Championships to be held in Fairbanks from Feb. 29 through March 27.

The Mat-Su Convention and Visitors Bureau reported that Talkeetna Air Taxi has purchased a helicopter and will be offering helicopter-hiking packages in Denali National Park in 2016. Clients can customize tours for length, hiking ability and personal preference. Also, Majestic Heli Ski Alaska recently opened operations north of Palmer along the Glenn Highway. The company offers extended heli-skiing opportunities based out of Majestic Valley Lodge to remote Matanuska Valley destinations.

Discover Kodiak is promoting its local food culture in 2016. Chocolate Lover’s Fling is a May event perfect for chocolate and art lovers, while the Galley Gourmet dinner cruise/whale-watching excursion offers an evening of Kodiak coastal scenery, local seafood and island-grown produce. Also, the Kodiak Crab Festival features carnival rides, games and 20 local food stands.

Juneau Convention and Visitors Bureau shared news about the addition of a special winter running session as part of Alaska Mountain Ultrarunning Camp’s programs. Training is done over a variety of Alaska terrain including alpine ridges, forests and coastline.

The news from John Hall’s Alaska includes the company’s Three Bears of Alaska cruise-tour. The itinerary, which includes a seven-day cruise followed by 10 days on land, features viewing of Kodiak Island brown bears as well as a tour of Katmai’s volcanoes and glaciers. The Denali National Park segment of the trip offers grizzly bear viewing, and the final leg visits the Arctic Coast village of Kaktovik to view polar bears in their coastal, natural habitat.

Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge is celebrating the city of Talkeetna’s 100th anniversary by offering Live Music Sundays that feature local musicians and bands. Also, on Mondays and Wednesdays from June 1 through Aug. 31, the lodge will feature Alaska comedy by “Iditaprov” in the Caribou Room.

Alaska Heritage Tours is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service by offering their Alaska National Parks Tour as an eight-day, fully escorted land tour.

Un-Cruise Adventures announced two new itineraries. The 84-guest Safari Endeavour will sail 18 departures on the Exploring Muir’s Wilderness cruise, while the 22-guest Safari Quest will sail 11 departures on a new, weeklong Yachters’ Alaska Frontier cruise roundtrip out of Juneau.