Winter is the best time of year to get an authentic feel for Alaskan culture because the season is chock-full of events that celebrate the spirit of Alaska.

Alaska’s official state sport – dog mushing – is featured in the largest of these winter events. Dozens of sprint and mid-distance races take place all winter, but in late February through early March, two big races test mushers against the winter wilderness – the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race and the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race (which will be a smaller, Alaska-only race in 2021).

Alaska is also known for its quirky festivals and celebrations, and winter is peak season. With plenty of time on our hands to let our creativity bloom, winter events range from unusual to downright odd: The Cordova Iceworm Festival, featuring the Miss Iceworm competition; Anchorage’s Fur Rendezvous, complete with snowshoe softball and ice bowling; Tripod Days in Nenana, where gamblers can make a wager on when the Nenana River ice will break up in the spring; and the Denali Winterfest with dog sled and ski races in Denali National Park.

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