Summer has officially said goodbye, fall is present all around and winter is lurking in Southcentral Alaska. While the winter months may not equate to peak tourism numbers, the snow and cold still usher in a passionate group of travelers.

“The motivating factors for summer stay. People still want wildlife and national parks and parklands, and glaciers,” Jack Bonney with Visit Anchorage said. "But for us there's one thing that really rises to the top in the winter. It’s people who want to seek out and see the northern lights, the aurora."

Bonney said the aurora is the biggest driver for Alaska tourism in the winter. There are more businesses offering aurora tours and outdoor activities such as fat tire biking, so it’s easy for tourists to book and plan a full day.

While many associate the Interior with prime aurora viewing, Bonney said Southcentral is a great base to start the adventure.

“We have tours that go out to places like Glen Alps or Girdwood or the Eklutna Tailrace," he said. "There’s some really good viewing really close in," he said. “Then when the sun rises, you’ve still got plenty of things like the museum and cultural tourism. Of course it’s our arts season, so we’ve got a lot going on."

Bonney said the winter tourism season is classified as the end of September through early April.

“It's still a fairly small section of Alaska visitation. It’s something like 15% of all visitors are coming during these months,” he said. “Most of them are still coming in the summertime.”

For winter travel ideas and information on tourism in Anchorage, check out the Visit Anchorage website.

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