Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Fairbank AK -- Northern Lights ????
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 > Fairbank AK -- Northern Lights ????

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TenOC

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Posted: 10/20/20 03:37pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

This is not strictly an RV issue, but maybe my RV friends will be able to help me.

About 20 or 30 of my family members and I wish to see the northern lights. We were thinking about a trip to Fairbanks around Christmas next year (2021). Being in the wintertime, RVing is out of the question. We will fly from Nashville to Fairbanks.

Has any of you made such a trip and can make recommendation on a travel agent that can plan the trip for us.

Any and all input no matter how remote about the subject is welcome.


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Posted: 10/20/20 04:11pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Not "alot" to do in Fbanks in the middle of winter unless you really like the cold weather. And at that, any "activites" would likely be better searched out yourself or by a local agent? IE ice fishing, sno machining, doglsledding.

I'd just hit Expedia, book tickets, rental car and stay at the Chena Hot Springs. AMAZING in the winter!


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ppine

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Posted: 10/20/20 04:23pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have seen great Northern Lights around Fairbanks in September. It is already fall by then and it can snow any time. There is still plenty of daylight.

I flew to Anchorage and rented a pick up with a TC which is a rig that can go anywhere in Alaska.

Winter in the INterior is not only cold, often well below zero, but really dark with little daylight at all.

PA12DRVR

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Posted: 10/20/20 04:26pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Not sure if you need a travel agent...maybe a travel coordinator for 30 people, but I suspect any of the major airlines would be happy to help out.

For Northern Lights, one needs electromagnetic activity, clear skies, and absence of light pollution. I'm not sure of any source that can predict electromagnetic activity much more than a month or so in advance, but it may be out there. Fairbanks has lots of cold, clear, dark nights in the winter, but, anecdotally only, not sure if the Christmas timeframe is typically the best for clear skies and/or aurora activity.

There are several companies that offer aurora tours out of Fairbanks (google ...) as well as various resorts (i.e. Chena Hot Springs) that offer lodging and tour activities.

Aurora can also be regularly viewed in the Knik area (outside of Anchorage) and the Eureka area on the Glenn Highway. Might consider a couple of days in the Anchorage area to mitigate the risk of weather and/or electromagnetic cycles.

FWIW, I'm sure you know, but Fairbanks is cold in the winter. Was up there this January for a kids hockey tournament: Several public displays (i.e. bank signs, etc) showed close to -40 for a couple of days. Not the coldest I've seen, but cold enough that a broken down car or improper clothing will lead to bad results.


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dkilley

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Posted: 10/20/20 05:41pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

In past week we were in Jasper, Alberta, Canada at their annual night sky event...we were told that they can now predict the northern lights 3 days in advance..... I have not verified this, but feel the instructor certainly seemed to know what he was talking about so I have a tendency to believe him.

The trip you have planned is certainly on our bucket list.....Enjoy

DrewE

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Posted: 10/20/20 07:19pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I flew to Fairbanks around Christmastime a couple decades ago to visit a friend who was attending UAF there then (and still lives in the area, but that's irrelevant). There's no guarantee that you'll have northern lights, or that the sky will be cloudless, but it's a better chance than many other areas and times. During those weeks around the solstice, Fairbanks has about twenty hours of full-on night and four hours of twilight per day; and, as mentioned, it can be very very cold outside. Don't expect to see much of the scenery or enjoy the outdoors too much.

If you do go and decide to get a rental vehicle, make sure you plug it in when you park for very long...and remember to unplug it before driving off.





jthrv

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Posted: 10/21/20 04:41am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

December in Fairbanks is cold, cold enough to be scary, minus 9 is not fun, it is dangerous. Pictures of the northern lights are much brighter than when I have seen them, most of the time they were a dim green curtain and after a few minutes it was not much to see. For a group of people, an average temperature of above freezing at night would work out much better.

* This post was last edited 10/21/20 06:16am by jthrv *   View edit history

SideHillSoup

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Posted: 10/21/20 06:29am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Have you thought about looking for info on Tripadvisor?

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* This post was edited 10/21/20 09:32am by SideHillSoup *


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BB_TX

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Posted: 10/21/20 08:08am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Get it from people who should know.

https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-1-d&q=alaska+northern+lights+tour

pigman1

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Posted: 10/21/20 08:17am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We flew up in 2011 for the start of the Iditerod and to see the places we ordinarily go to in the summer (9 summer trips so far). I'd highly recommend the ice sculpture championships in Fairbanks. Go twice, once in daytime and once at night when they're illuminated with colored lights. Also, I agree that China Hot Springs is a great viewing area. THey take you up the mountain in snow cats to a heated Yurt, so the cold is not too bad, and will wake you up if the displays are flashing. You can also go outside swimming in -20 to -40 temps at the springs. If you rent cars in Anchorage they usually don't have block heaters installed so you need to swap them out at the Fairbanks Airport for ones with the heaters and cords... No big deal though. A good site to find out about the Aurora is https://www.gi.alaska.edu/monitors/aurora-forecast

Watch out for the moose on city streets. We plow them, and they think they own them. Denali is a good stop. Strange to see all those HUGE hotels outside the park and all empty. You can get into the park to the visitor center, but nothing else is open. We loved the Iditerod start. Two starts if you don't know. One, the ceremonial start in downtown Anchorage,(they truck in snow so the sleds can run on the city streets) then a huge party that night and the real start the next morning at one of the frozen lakes to the north. Where depends on the weather. We spent about 6 hours on a frozen lake but had a ball. Dress warm.


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