Just because it's the winter doesn't mean you have to spend your days indoors - there are lots of ways to enjoy the outdoors during the winter months! Here are five of our favorite ways:

1. Take a trip to Talkeetna. Winter is a great time to visit. You can even make it a weekend by taking the Alaska Railroad up on Saturday and south on Sunday. Stay in one of the charming B&Bs or cabins. Spend the day taking a pie making class at Talkeetna Roadhouse, or maybe a a brewery tour at Denali Brewing Company. Or, enjoy the many trails for cross-country skiing, then watch the northern lights dance over the Alaska Range at night.

2. Explore the backcountry on a snowmobile. Or, if you are an Alaskan, a "snowmachine." If you don't have one, you can rent one, or better yet, opt for a guided trip. Several companies offer guided trips in areas like Talkeetna, Knik Glacier, Eureka and even in remote areas like along the Iditarod Trail.

3. Nordic skiing at Government Peak Recreation Area. At the base of Hatcher Pass, the Government Peak Recreation Area has lighted ski trail loops that are frequently groomed. It's very accessible, and you can rent gear including fat tire bikes right at the chalet if you don't have your own.

4. Fat tire biking. This is a booming trend in outdoor recreation. It's exactly what it sounds like - a mountain bike with oversized tires, which are designed to ride above the snow rather than sink into it. You can rent them at Government Peak from Lifetime Adventures or from Backcountry Bike & Ski in Palmer. The Knik River Valley is a favorite location for fat tire bikers.

5. Ice fishing. Ice fishing is growing in popularity, and there are even tournaments held on Big Lake throughout the winter. With the Alaska Department of Fish and Game stocking many Valley lakes, the chance to catch a fish through the ice is high. There are also kids ice fishing derbies on Finger Lake in late winter, which offers a great introduction to the sport.

There are countless other ways to enjoy the outdoors during the winter - it just takes the motivation to get out and do it!