15 reasons we love winter in Alaska

1. Alaska is the prime location to view nature’s northern lights, properly known as the aurora borealis, at night.

2. The display of thick hoarfrost that collects on trees when the mercury plummets helps make up for having to deal with the frigid winter weather.

3. Nonprofit organization Ice Alaska presents the World Ice Art Championship in Fairbanks. Some of the most skilled ice sculptors from several countries travel to Alaska to create an awe-inspiring winter wonderland of ice.

4. The base and bowls at the top of Turnagain Pass form a playground for snowmobiles, while the opposite side of the mountains is a haven for backcountry skiers.

5. KOOL 97.3 constantly plays Christmas music from Black Friday until Christmas day. Listeners are able to enjoy the sounds of Christmas for a full month.

6. Alaska Airlines, for bringing family and friends home for the holiday season.

7. Kincaid Park is the mecca for sledding and has the most Nordic ski trails in the city. Service High School is also the place for some serious sledding hills and ski trails.

- Advertisement -

8. The festive decorating of lights and ice-skating in Anchorage’s Town Square Park.

9. Alyeska Resort is the place for snowboarding, downhill skiing and cross country skiing, with runs galore, both challenging and simple. There’s nothing like a little night skiing.

10. Westchester Lagoon: local pond-hockey fanatics unite. Easily Anchorage’s biggest outdoor rink, with a speed-skating loop, ice-skating rink and a separate hockey rink, Westchester has something for everyone to enjoy.

11. The Anchorage Fur Rondezvous began as a way for residents to cope with harsh winter conditions; now it’s just a lot of fun. The Fur Rondy Festival also kicks off the Iditarod. Where else do you see teams of dog sleds mushing through the downtown streets?

12. UAA Hockey: So what if we don’t have football? Who needs it when we have Josh Lunden and Kevin Clark racking up the points and slamming into our rivals? It may be a little colder for feet on the ice, but there’s definitely heat.

13. UAA Basketball: When our men’s and women’s teams are ranked so high nationally, it’s hard not to get excited. There are plenty of home games and they’re always warm (have you ever heard of a cold basketball game?). Head to the Wells Fargo Sports Complex for complete action.

14. UAA Health Center nurse Betty Bang will make you better if you’re feeling sick.

15. Anchorage clothing boutiques carry a stylish variety of colorful scarves and chunky knit sweaters.

Agree or disagree? Have a favorite spot you think we left out? Go to www.thenorthernlight.org and let us know about Anchorage’s best winter events and locations.