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Agents who know Alaska are always on the lookout for some unusual travel tidbits that their clients will enjoy. Here are some of the latest options.
Tolovana Sled Dog ExcursionFew experiences can match the winter adventure offered by Paws for Adventure, beginning with its sled dog tours to the historic Tolovana Roadhouse in 2012. This is the right kind of tour for late-winter Alaska, with its warmer temperatures, increasing daylight and fascinating history. Tolovana was the first transfer point on the lifesaving serum run to Nome on which the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is based. The four-day adventure begins with a hands-on mushing lesson before clients climb aboard their own sleds and mush into the wilderness with their guides. Clients can expect to be trail mushing from 20 to 30 miles per day. Most nights are spent in a cozy “Arctic Oven” tent, with another passed at Tolovana Lodge. March and April are prime times for this tour, and if weather conditions permit, the northern lights activity is superb then as well. www.pawsforadventure.com
Kodiak Bear Viewing and LodgingBrown bear viewing is popular, especially when you can enjoy a variety of bear-viewing scenarios on a single trip. One of the newest is the Kodiak Brown Bear Center, located in the heart of the 1.9-million-acre Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge. The new destination presents bear-viewing opportunities from wide platforms along a lake, where bears fish and pursue spawning salmon. Six double-occupancy villas with private baths and wireless Internet access are available. I prefer July and August for the best bear-viewing opportunities. www.kodiakwildliferefuge.org
Celebrity SkiingChugach Powder Guides is well respected for its heli-skiing programs. They have lined up a wide range of professional athletes and industry experts to host guests throughout the 2012 heli-ski season in Girdwood. Skiing and snowboarding greats, such as Reggie and Zach Crist, Chris Davenport, Bryan Iguchi, Jess McMillan and Girdwood local Elyse Saugstad, will each lead one week of heli-skiing adventures with Chugach Powder Guides throughout the season. There is no additional cost or premium to ski with any of the hosts. Trips start from $5,600 per person, based on double occupancy. www.chugachpowderguides.com
Bridge Seafood Salmon BakeMany travelers who plan to tour downtown Anchorage might want to head north a few blocks where they will find Bridge Seafood — a family-style salmon bake open daily during the summer. Named for its location on a bridge spanning Ship Creek, this eatery overlooks the Port of Anchorage and the Alaska Railroad terminus. From the bridge, you can also watch military aircraft at nearby Elmendorf Air Force Base. The stream, although silty with glacier mud, is a popular location for salmon sport-anglers. Spending some time here provides a glimpse into everyday Anchorage life. www.bridgeseafood.com