Winter in the Mat-Su Valley
Alaska winters are spectacular in the Mat-Su Valley. Alpenglow sunsets over Denali, winter ice fishing, piles of powder primed for snowmobiling, snowboarding or snowshoeing and some of the earliest pre-season skiing in the country - it's no wonder why this is where Alaskans come to play in the winter. March is a great time to visit - longer days, warmer weather and community events to keep you busy all month long!
Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race
The world-famous Iditarod begins March 8, 2020 in Willow at 2 p.m. Don't miss the exciting start to the "Last Great Race." Mushers and their teams of huskies leave the starting chute in a fan-friendly atmosphere. They will cover more than 1,000 miles through the Alaska Range, through Interior Alaska and the Norton Sound Coast and ultimately finish in Nome. The grueling race attracts mushers from around the globe.
March in Talkeetna
The beautiful Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge is open March 5-23, 2020 to be the base camp for your winter adventure. Throughout the month, the hotel features cooking classes, live music, wine tastings and more. March in Talkeetna is busy with fun community events nearly every weekend. Don't miss the Trio Fatbike World Championships on March 7 or the Oosik Ski Classic on March 14. Pack your skis and enjoy great groomed trails, or try a pie making class at the Talkeetna Roadhouse. Winter is at its peak in Talkeetna!
Last Frontier Pond Hockey Tournament
The Last Frontier Pond Hockey Tournament is Alaska's largest outdoor hockey event. It takes place March 13-15, 2020 on Big Lake near Burkeshore Marina. More than 100 teams play all weekend, but it's not just about the hockey. Plan on spending the weekend as concerts, contests and other events take place all weekend.
Government Peak Recreation Area
Located at the base of Hatcher Pass, Government Peak Recreation Area is a Nordic skier's delight! With more than 6.5 kilometers of groomed and lit trails, the area is Alaska's premier cross-country skiing venue. There is a warming chalet where you can also rent fat tire bikes and snowshoes. Spend a day or spend a weekend hitting the trails.
Skeetawk Ski Area
Construction is under way at Skeetawk, located at Mile 10.6 Hatcher Pass Road. This new downhill ski area was scheduled to open in 2020 - check back often as the lift has been installed and the non-profit Hatcher Alpine XPerience is working to make this long-time dream become a reality. There is a chance the area opens late winter 2020, but if not, the fall of 2021 is definite.
Dog Mushing Adventures
Ever wanted to mush your own team of huskies? You can do that in the Mat-Su Valley! The area has many mushers who offer kennel tours. Come learn about what it takes to mush in the Iditarod, Alaska's rich history with the sport of dog mushing and meet the canine athletes up close and personal.
Real Alaskans know that fishing season doesn't stop just because it's winter time. Ice fishing is exceptional in the Mat-Su Valley, with lakes scattered throughout the region producing giant char, landlocked salmon, trout and more. Do it on your own or go with a guide who knows all the secrets to landing a lunker.
Northern Lights Viewing
The Mat-Su Valley is ideal for watching the northern lights. Just 35 miles from Anchorage, you escape the lights and traffic. Popular areas include the Knik River Valley, Hatcher Pass and the upper Susitna Valley. Dress warm, pack a thermos and get ready to be amazed by the dazzling display of the aurora borealis.
The Mat-Su Valley is a snowmobiler's dream - trails in every direction that lead to glaciers, the backcountry and spectacular views of Denali. Petersville is a virtual playground for snowmobilers in the upper Susitna Valley, Eureka is a favorite along the Glenn Highway, and the Knik River area is spectacular and leads to views of the glacier. If you don't have a "sled," don't worry - you can go with a guide who knows the best spots.
Whether you are on a pair of skis, a fat tire bike or snowshoes, there are many winter trails that are ideal for a day's worth of recreational activities in the Mat-Su Valley. See a list of popular trails for winter enthusiasts.
Musk Ox in Winter
The Musk Ox Farm in Palmer completed a $1.2 million renovation in fall 2019, and the new building is spectacular. Because of the renovated Colony barn and the increased amenities, the Musk Ox Farm is open for regularly scheduled daily tours during the winter for the first time ever. And don't miss one of the small, intimate concerts they are holding in the hay loft portion of the new facility.