|Regions: Whitehorse Region||Communities: Whitehorse|
|Themes: Natural Wonders||Categories: Dogsledding|
You haven’t experienced winter until you’ve tried a northern one
Yukon aurora viewing combines just the right amount of excitement, inspiration and comfort. With next to no light pollution, the Yukon’s dark star-filled skies provide the perfect backdrop for the aurora’s magical dance.
Part of the fun of visiting in winter is experiencing some distinctly northern activities. Travel through a frosty winter landscape in the back of a dogsled, or for more speed, try a snowmobile. Make the catch of the day on an ice fishing trip or strap on some snowshoes and wander through the boreal forest. And at the end of the day, retire to a cozy wilderness lodge or cabin and keep your eyes on the skies. Or stay in downtown Whitehorse with easy access to restaurants and entertainment, and head out each evening to a custom built aurora viewing facility.
Welcome to Whitehorse
Whether you're staying in a hotel, lodge or cabin, the next few days is all about snowy fun and chasing northern lights. Start with a stroll down Main Street or pick up some local tips in our lively cafés. This relaxed northern city has great shops, galleries and museums that are open all winter.
If you love the arts, you’ll be in your element here. The Yukon boasts twice the national average of artists per capita, which makes for a vibrant arts scene. First Nations culture and traditions are also featured prominently. Pick up a copy of “Art Adventures on Yukon Time” at the visitor centre for lists of Yukon artists and where to find their work.
Foodies will also be pleasantly surprised by the Yukon’s thriving culinary scene. Local chefs use ingredients grown or harvested from the wild in imaginative dishes that tempt the palate with interesting and unusual flavours.
Tonight, tick off a bucket list biggie as you watch the northern lights sway and shape-shift across the sky.
Get ready for some paw power today. It’s a blissful experience to travel through a magical winter landscape, where the only noise is the sound of sled runners over snow and the occasional dog yip. You should be warned though—it’s highly addictive. A dog mushing trip is an interactive experience. You’ll learn the basics of running a team and get to know your four-legged companions. Then you can put your newly acquired skills to the test. Or, if you prefer, just sit back and enjoy the ride. You’ll also have the chance to chat with dog mushers and learn all about this unique lifestyle.
In February don’t miss the action of the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race, where you’ll see the elite of the canine athletic world in action.
When darkness falls, it’s time to begin the aurora vigil. It doesn’t matter how many times you see the northern lights, it never gets old. Every show is different and all of them are sheer magic.
Now that you’ve added dogsledding to your skillset, rev things up with a snowmobiling trip. Winter’s answer to the ATV will take you across frozen lakes, up mountains and along forest trails. Join a guided half or full day tour.
Add to your northern skills by learning how to catch fish through a hole in the ice. Yukoners love to fish, and winter is no excuse to stop. An ice-fishing excursion will introduce you to this truly northern pastime.
Strap on some snowshoes and wander through the boreal forest. Snowshoeing is a peaceful, exhilarating way to explore the snowy scenery. You can rent a pair and enjoy the quiet solitude, or go with a guide who will happily show you the winter wonderland in our backyard.
After another sensational winter day, retire to a fireside, enjoy a meal and relax before tonight’s celestial show gets underway. Bring your camera and tripod because you’re sure to go home with some incredible photos of the northern lights.
Hot Springs, Wildlife and Festivals
After all the activity of the past couple of days, it’s time to relax in the thermal waters of Takhini Hot Springs. If you happen to be here in February, join the fun of the International Hair Freezing Contest. For best results, the temperature should be below -20 Celsius.
For some seriously cool wildlife photo opps, join a tour to the Yukon Wildlife Preserve. This huge reserve is home to 13 species of northern mammals in their natural environment.
In addition to lots of outdoor fun, winter also brings with it some of the Yukon’s favourite festivals. The Sourdough Rendezvous Festival is a week-long celebration of frontier spirit and heritage done with signature northern style. With events like chainsaw chucking and frozen turkey bowling, what’s not to love?
For the film buffs, the Available Light Film Festival showcases international and Canadian films at the largest film festival north of 60°. There’s sure to be something happening while you’re in town. Pick up a copy of "What’s Up Yukon" for entertainment listings.
Before you bid the Yukon adieu, there’s one more night to experience some northern lights magic.
Takhini Hot Springs