From tracking wolves in Yellowstone National Park to fat biking in snowy Utah, these exhilarating winter activities reveal the USA as you've never seen it before...
Search for wildlife and chase the northern lights across Alaska’s Mat-Su (Matanuska-Susitna) Valley, north of Anchorage, on this escorted snowball adventure in Alaska’s breathtaking back country.
No snowmobiling experience is required. Just follow your guide as they lead you over frozen lakes, through frosted meadows, or along a stretch of the legendary Iditarod Sled Dog Race Trail. Custom itineraries can include ice fishing, wildlife photography, and viewing the northern lights, as well as a visit to the incredible Nelchina glacier.
Wolves were only reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park in 1995, but since returning they have thrived – and have had a positive impact on the eco-system too. The beaver population has increased, and with the elks encouraged to keep on the move, aspen and other vegetation get the chance to regenerate.
Winter is the best time to spot them. With the summer crowds gone, they venture more widely and their tracks are easier to follow in the snow. Consider taking a specialist wolf-spotting tour: under the expert eye of your guide, you will snowshoe deep into the Lamar Valley in search of wolves as they scavenge for food under a blanket of snow.
Introduce yourself to the exhilarating world of 'skijoring' in one of the most beautiful parts of New England. Skijoring is basically dog-powered Nordic skiing, and for dogs who love to run and humans who to ski, it’s the perfect wintertime recreation.
It’s dog-sledding pared down to its most essential form. All you need are Nordic skis and poles, a harness for you, a harness for your dog, and a skijoring line – which is simply a rope with a bungee attachment and a quick release.
New to skijoring? New England Dogsledding have a pack of well-trained skijoring dogs that will take you through a network of Nordic trails that criss-cross the White Mountain National Forest surrounding Mason Township in Maine. This is a sport where the dogs and you share the effort and the joy together.
Fat biking is the perfect way to explore Utah’s extraordinary backcountry in winter. The oversized, under-inflated tyres allow riders to comfortably handle softer, more unstable terrain like snow and get to parts of this breathtaking wilderness more easily.
The best place to try fat biking in the snow is the Powder Mountain Resort in northern Utah. You can hire bikes from the Hidden Lake Bike Shop and get advice from staff on the top trails to ride. It’s also home to America’s Fat Bike National Championships.
If skiing is your passion, then you’ll want to drop by the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum in Vail, Colorado. Re-opening for the 2017/18 season after refurbishment, the museum has galleries full of artefacts, documentaries and footage focusing on topics like the beginnings of Vail, the Winter Olympics and the famed 10th Mountain Division, ski troopers of World War II, who trained here.
The museum also features a snow sports Hall of Fame, a comprehensive archive on the history of snowboarding, and a fascinating look at the evolution of ski bindings.
Western Montana’s Glacier Country is ideal for ice skating au naturale, with plenty of frozen lakes, streams and rivers providing the most beautiful ‘skating rinks’ you are ever likely to see. The landscapes are monumental here, with the ice reflecting the big, blue skies of Montana above.
Ask locals for advice on the best places to skate. And check that the ice is thick enough to support your weight. Remember too, that the ice created by nature isn't going to be glassy smooth. Watch for cracks, holes, debris or coloured ice that may indicate dangerous conditions.
Flathead County, at the top of the state, also has several prime spots to try.
Snowshoeing is the perfect way to embrace the serenity of the mountains in Utah and experience pockets of deep, untouched snow far from the major ski runs. In Bryce Canyon National Park, you get to enjoy the surreal experience of snowshoeing through snow-dusted red rock.
Head to Ruby’s Inn to access 19 miles of groomed trails and stunning views. Indeed, it is the only winter sport you can enjoy in the park. Skiing, snowboarding and sledding are all banned.
The park offers a snowshoe program, designed for both beginner snowshoers and experts alike. Snowshoes and poles are provided for free, and expert Snowshoe Rangers guide you along a two-hour hike that showcases the stunning beauty of the park in winter.
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