11 Irish summer festivals and events not to be missed under any circumstances

A summer trip to Ireland isn’t complete without taking part in one of the many music, art and culture festivals because Ireland’s festivals bring fun, laughter, good times and great memories.

1.Among the key dates to watch this summer is the Galway International Arts Festival https://www.giaf.ie (11-24 July), which has been described as “the biggest, most exciting and most imaginative explosion of artistic activities “of the island of Ireland. This year it features artists from Africa, America, Asia, Australia, Europe and, of course, Ireland and Galway, in a major program of theater, music, comedy, visual art, dance and literary events.
There will be concerts by extraordinary artists from the likes of Pixies, The Flaming Lips and The Stunning, with theatrical highlights including a production of Sam Shepard’s True West, from the Chicago-based Steppenwolf Company. Among many other events is “Lifeline”, an ambitious project from the days of Galway European Capital of Culture, which will see 150 locals perform on a rope above the River Corrib.

2. For a taste of “salty” air, head to the magical Foyle Maritime Festival https://www.foylemaritime.com in Derry-Londonderry (20-24 July), where the famous Walled City of Northern Ireland will welcome sailors who will take part in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. Various activities are scheduled, such as street theater, fireworks, water sports and gastronomic delights in abundance. Surrounded by the fascinating history of the city walls and a fleet of 70-foot ocean liners, this is a festival not to be missed.

Foyle Maritime Festival

3. Played on the beautiful Causeway Coastal Route and surrounding areas in Northern Ireland, SuperCup NI https://www.supercupni.com (24-29 July) is a world-renowned international youth football tournament. Featuring teams from Mexico, Bermuda and the English Premier League, including Man Utd, it offers a unique opportunity for fans to identify some of football’s most promising talents and future stars.

4. Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann (Music Festival of Ireland) https://fleadhcheoil.ie is the largest traditional Irish music festival on the planet. This year it takes place in Mullingar, County Westmeath, in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands (from 31 July to 7 August). Featuring a week of Irish music, song and dance, not to mention evening entertainment and family fun, the festival is the highlight of summer for music buffs and culture vultures.

5. Located in lively Belfast, August Féile https://feilebelfast.com (4-14 August) is part of Féile an Phobail, the largest community festival on the island. A celebration of diversity, passion and creativity, drawing people from all over the world to West Belfast. It is advisable to attend the carnival parade on Saturday 6 August and to concerts, comedies, speeches, tours, theater, debates and, above all, the great community party.

6. Or you can decide to spend enchanting summer evenings of music, comedy, film and theater in the beautiful seaside town of Bangor, in Northern Ireland, which has just gained UK city status. The Open House Festival https://openhousefestival.com (11-29 August) will take place in the stunning Bangor Castle Walled Garden and will feature artists such as Beth Orton, Paul Brady, Eddi Reader and the Hothouse Flowers, with screenings of classic films including including Thelma and Louise and Chicago.

Open house festival

7. An integral part of an Irish summer is one of the largest show jumping events in the world, the Dublin International Horse Show https://www.dublinhorseshow.com (17 – 21 August). A celebration of Ireland’s affinity for the horse and all things equine, it lights up August and welcomes competitors and visitors from all over the world. Over 1,000 magnificent horses and ponies are involved in this magical spectacle, but it is also renowned for style, shopping and socializing.

8. Running since 1959, the Rose of Tralee International Festival https://www.roseoftralee.ie (19-23 August) is another Irish festival not to be missed. See the streets of Tralee turn into a party of parades, music, circus, funfair, markets and traditional Irish entertainment. The five days of events culminate in two evenings, in which roses of Irish origin from all over the world come and have a special place dedicated to them to pay homage to the Irish diaspora.

9. The Antrim Coast Half Marathon https://antrimcoasthalfmarathon.com (28 August) awaits the bravest. It takes place against the backdrop of the Causeway Coastal Route, voted “one of the top five greatest journeys on Earth” by Lonely Planet. The World Athletics certified course is flat and fast, promising one of the fastest half marathons in the world.

10. For movie buffs, the Galway Film Fleadh https://www.galwayfilmfleadh.com (5 – 10 July) is the perfect place to explore exciting new feats in the world of cinema, and, for an exciting 15 days on the Wild Atlantic Way, don’t miss the Eearagail Arts Festival https://eaf.ie (9 – 24 July) in County Donegal.

11. For street art lovers, the Viking city of Waterford offers Spraoi Waterford https://spraoi.com (29 – 31 July), with its four days of non-stop fun in the heart of Ireland’s Ancient East.

With all these events, fun on the Island of Ireland is guaranteed throughout the summer. And given that when it comes to festivals, Ireland is truly unique, it would be a real shame not to organize yourself to see at least one!

Salzburg, UNESCO protected beauties and festivals

Salzburg enchants for its beauty thanks to many elements that distinguish it and make it unique. The unique position between the river and the mountains, the colors, the squares, the baroque palaces, the music and the colors.

The five squares of the old city are the heart of the UNESCO heritage which, this year, will celebrate its first 25 years of official recognition. Residenzplatz, Domplatz, Mozartplatz, Kapitelplatz and Alter Markt are the unmissable and iconic squares to be seen absolutely in Salzburg which together with the Hohensalzburg fortress form the UNESCO heritage of the Austrian city. On April 22, 2022, an Open day will be organized in Salzburg to showcase the beauties of the city on the occasion of the UNESCO World Heritage Day (April 18).
The Franciscan monastery located between the cathedral and the festival districts reflects Salzburg’s eventful history from the Iuvavum (it was the name of the city in Roman times) to the present day.

aged fortress square with leafless tree
Photo by Alexander Kozlov on Pexels.com

A stroll through the alleys of Salzburg

The historic city center of Salzburg, a World Heritage Site, comprises a total of around 1,000 objects and an area of 236 hectares (central zone I). It is impossible to visit the city without encountering buildings, statues and symbols in stone, marble or wood that do not testify to the importance and development of Salzburg. Churches, chapels, monasteries and cemeteries vary with gardens and castles and add to the world famous ensemble.
The magic of Salzburg also emerges during a walk through the alleys and passages of the old town. Each of these 13 passages, which connect the Getreidegasse with the parallel streets, has its own charm, appreciated by both locals and visitors.

Music City Salzburg – W. A. Mozart, Salzburg Festival and Adventsingen

The prince-archbishops of Salzburg were great patrons of the fine arts and thus laid the foundations for Salzburg as a city of music and festivals. Over the centuries, Salzburg’s court music has been able to compete with the best in Europe. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s father Leopold came to Salzburg for professional reasons. His son was considered a child prodigy (1756-1791) and is the most famous son of the city.
The Mozarteum Foundation was founded in 1880, 40 years after the Salzburg Festival. With the Camerata Salzburg, the Philharmonie Salzburg and the Mozarteum Orchestra, the city boasts first-rate orchestras and around 4,500 musical and cultural events take place in Salzburg every year. A particularly impressive musical event takes place every Sunday at 11:45 am: a historical custom is commemorated during the Turmblasen (music from the trumpet tower) at the Hohensalzburg Fortress. In the past, tower trumpeters were used to warn of dangers or to accompany important occasions

Salzburg Festival: Three well-known music festivals per year

  • The Salzburg Easter Festival was founded by the conductor Herbert von Karajan and has integrated the Salzburg festival program since 1967. The centerpiece of the Salzburg Easter Festival from 9 to 18 April 2022 will be Richard Wagner’s “Lohengrin”. American tenor Eric Cutler will sing the title role, Christian Thielemann will conduct the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden. This large international orchestra will receive the Herbert von Karajan Prize at the Festival. Richard Strauss’s Alpensinfonie will be performed, the work that the composer dedicated “in gratitude to the Dresden Royal Orchestra” in 1915.
  • The Salzburg Whitsun Festival was started in 1973 by Herbert von Karajan as the Whitsun Concerts – since 2012 the Italian singer Cecilia Bartoli has been in charge of the • artistic director. The program of the Salzburg Whitsun Festival from 3 to 6 June 2022 revolves around the Spanish city of Seville. Gioachino Rossini’s opera Il Barbiere di Siviglia will see Cecilia Bartoli in the role of Rosina, the role she once made her professional debut in. The concert program is also dedicated to the essence of Andalusian culture. www.salzburgerfestspiele.at
  • The Salzburg Festival in summer is the world’s leading festival for classical music and the performing arts. From 18 July to 31 August 2022, the Salzburg Festival will present 174 performances over 45 days across 17 venues. Highlights of the opera include Mozart’s The Magic Flute and Verdi’s Aida. In addition to Jedermann, the theatrical program includes Schnitzler’s Reigen. In addition to the Spirituelle Overture entitled Sacrificium, the concerts will feature first-rate orchestras and soloists. www.salzburgerfestspiele.at

Other information:


Tourismus Salisburgo, Auerspergstraße 6, 5020 Salisburgo, Austria,
Tel.: +43/662/889 87 – 0,
Fax: +43/662/889 87 – 32,
www.salzburg.info,
#visitsalzburg

Salisburgo, le bellezze protette dall’UNESCO e i festival

Salisburgo incanta per la sua bellezza grazie a tanti elementi che la contraddistinguono e la rendono unica. La posizione unica tra il fiume e le montagne, i colori,le piazze, i palazzi barocchi, la musica e i colori.

Le cinque piazze della città vecchia sono il cuore del patrimonio dell’UNESCO che, quest’anno, compirà i sui primi 25 anni dal riconoscimento ufficiale. Residenzplatz, Domplatz, Mozartplatz, Kapitelplatz e Alter Markt sono le piazze imperdibili e iconiche da vedere assolutamente a Salisburgo che insieme alla fortezza di Hohensalzburg formano il patrimonio UNESCO della città austriaca.
Il 22 aprile 2022 a Salisburgo sarà organizzato un Open day per mostrare le bellezze della città in occasione della giornata internazionale del patrimonio mondiale dell’UNESCO ( 18 aprile).
Il monastero francescano sito tra il Duomo e il quartieri dei festival riflette la storia movimentata di Salisburgo dalla Iuvavum (era il nome della città in epoca romana) ai giorni nostri.

aged fortress square with leafless tree
Photo by Alexander Kozlov on Pexels.com

Una passeggiata per i vicoli di Salisburgo

Il centro storico della città di Salisburgo, Patrimonio dell’Umanità, comprende un totale di circa 1.000 oggetti e una superficie di 236 ettari (zona centrale I). Impossibile visitare la città senza imbattersi in edifici, statue e simboli in pietra, marmo o legno che non testimoniano l’importanza e lo sviluppo di Salisburgo. Chiese, cappelle, monasteri e cimiteri variano con giardini e castelli e si aggiungono all’ensemble famoso in tutto il mondo. La magia di Salisburgo emerge anche durante una passeggiata tra i vicoli e i passaggi del centro storico. Ognuno di questi 13 passaggi, che collegano la Getreidegasse con le strade parallele, ha il suo fascino, apprezzato sia dalla gente del posto che dai visitatori.

Music City Salisburgo – W. A. ​​Mozart, Festival di Salisburgo e Adventsingen

I principi-arcivescovi di Salisburgo furono grandi mecenati delle belle arti e gettarono così le basi per Salisburgo come città della musica e dei festival.
Nel corso dei secoli, la musica di corte di Salisburgo ha saputo competere con i migliori d’Europa. Il padre di Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Leopold, venne a Salisburgo per motivi professionali.
Suo figlio era considerato un bambino prodigio (1756 – 1791) ed è il figlio più famoso della città. Nel 1880 fu fondata la Fondazione Mozarteum, 40 anni dopo il Festival di Salisburgo. Con la Camerata Salzburg, la Philharmonie Salzburg e l’Orchestra Mozarteum, la città vanta orchestre di prim’ordine e ogni anno a Salisburgo si svolgono circa 4.500 eventi musicali e culturali. Ogni domenica alle 11:45 si svolge un evento musicale particolarmente suggestivo: un’usanza storica viene commemorata durante il Turmblasen (musica dalla torre della tromba) presso la Fortezza di Hohensalzburg. In passato, i trombettieri da torre venivano usati per avvertire di pericoli o per accompagnare occasioni importanti.

Festival di Salisburgo: tre rinomati festival musicali all’anno

  • Il Festival di Pasqua di Salisburgo è stato fondato dal direttore d’orchestra Herbert von Karajan e dal 1967 integra il programma del festival di Salisburgo. Il fulcro del Festival di Pasqua di Salisburgo dal 9 al 18 aprile 2022 sarà il “Lohengrin” di Richard Wagner. Il tenore americano Eric Cutler canterà il ruolo del protagonista, Christian Thielemann dirigerà la Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden. Questa grande orchestra internazionale riceverà al Festival il Premio Herbert von Karajan. Verrà eseguita l’Alpensinfonie di Richard Strauss, l’opera che il compositore dedicò “in segno di gratitudine all’orchestra reale di Dresda” nel 1915.
  • Il Festival di Pentecoste di Salisburgo è stato avviato nel 1973 da Herbert von Karajan come i Concerti di Pentecoste – dal 2012 la cantante italiana Cecilia Bartoli è stata responsabile • del direttore artistico. Il programma del Festival di Pentecoste di Salisburgo dal 3 al 6 giugno 2022 ruota attorno alla città spagnola di Siviglia. L’opera Il Barbiere di Siviglia di Gioachino Rossini vedrà Cecilia Bartoli nel ruolo di Rosina, il ruolo in cui una volta ha debuttato come professionista. Il programma del concerto è anche dedicato all’essenza della cultura andalusa. www.salzburgerfestspiele.at
  • Il Festival di Salisburgo in estate è il festival più importante del mondo per la musica classica e le arti dello spettacolo. Dal 18 luglio al 31 agosto 2022, il Festival di Salisburgo presenterà 174 spettacoli in 45 giorni in 17 sedi. I punti salienti dell’opera includono Il flauto magico di Mozart e l’Aida di Verdi. Oltre a Jedermann, il programma teatrale include Reigen di Schnitzler. Oltre all’Ouverture Spirituelle dal titolo Sacrificium, i concerti saranno caratterizzati da orchestre e solisti di prim’ordine. www.salzburgerfestspiele.at

Altre informazioni:


Tourismus Salisburgo, Auerspergstraße 6, 5020 Salisburgo, Austria,
Tel.: +43/662/889 87 – 0,
Fax: +43/662/889 87 – 32,
www.salzburg.info,
#visitsalzburg

All you need to know about the Shetland Fire Festival

If you go to the Shetland Islands between January and March and hear about Up Helly Aa, don’t worry, it is nothing but the biggest Viking fire festival you have ever witnessed in your life!
The Up Helly Aa is a fire festival that is based in Lerwick and other Shetland villages, however, if you want to see the most majestic, avoiding having to move once you arrive in the island capital, it is worth staying in the city and the show does not will miss ricurely.

The Up Helly Aa is a 24 hour party that requires a very long preparation of months and months. Thousands of people parade through the city and the same are busy for the whole previous year to prepare the costumes of the Giuzer, in particular that of Giuzer Jarl (the Viking leader).

The origins

At one time, in the period between Christmas and New Year, young people dragged barrels of tar by pulling them with sleds through the streets of the city. The state of drunkenness was also very high and this tradition created not a few problems of public disorder in Shetland. After the abolition of the tar barrels, the authorizations were obtained for the torchlight procession and the first celebration of the Up Helly Aa took place in 1881. In 1889 the first galley was burned and over the years the party grew in intensity and interest.

On the evening of the party, the groups, also known as squads, walk through the city lighting up the streets with long lines of fire. At 7.30 pm a rocket is launched over the town hall, the torches are lit and the procession can leave together with the band playing in the streets of Lerwick. The Guizer Jarl is the only one who wears traditional Viking clothing, while everyone else can have beautiful clothes or even rags of all kinds. The galley destined to burn is commanded by the Viking chief who will start the dances once he arrives at the parties.

Lerwick, Shetland Isles, Scotland, UK. 29th January 2019. Up Helly Aa viking fire festival procession which is unique to Shetland and held on the last Tuesday in January each year.
How to participate in the Fire Festival

In recent years the Lerwick Fire Festival has been live streamed. If you want to follow it, you can go to the Facebook Fan Page and watch the show wherever you are.
In case you prefer to attend the Up Helly Aa in person, know that the seats, at least in the town hall square, are quite limited and the only thing to do is to check the status of ticket sales towards the end of the year.
You can ckeck availability on Shetland Times or call the iCentre of Lerwick (+44 (0)1595 3434) and get you put on the waiting list.

Fire Festivals confirmed / canceled for 2022

The planning of the Up Helly Aa of Shetland foresees a very long period and, for this reason, even if the beginning of next year may seem far away, those who are working to create events of this kind must guarantee the safety of all: inhabitants of the island and tourists. The particular historical moment therefore forces the organizers of the Up Helly Aa to have to cancel some events, but also to be able to program others with absolute safety. Here’s where, for now, upcoming fire festivals should take place or be canceled.
If you plan to travel to Shetland between January and March 2022, check the official website not to risk missing some event!

Fire festivals expected to take place in 2022
Fire festivals still to be confirmed for 2022 (last update September 2021)
Fire Festivals postponed to 2023

Source: Shetland.org

Alaska: il paradiso delle attività invernali

Tramonto sulla Iditarod, fiume Yukon, Galena,
AlaskaPhoto: State of Alaska/Chris McLennan

L’Alaska non è solo un luogo incontaminato ricco di bellezze naturali, ma anche un posto ideale per praticare gli sport invernali a qualunque livello. L’inverno qui può offrire molto di più di quanto vi possiate immaginare.

Gli abitanti dell’Alaska non solo hanno fatto pace con l’inverno ma hanno cominciato a celebrarlo, organizzando festival, corse con cani da slitta e molto altro.
Perchè l’inverno in Alaska dura molto più dell’estate e abituarsi ad una “versione bianca” di questa terra estrema è la cosa migliore da fare se si vive qui.


Aurora boreale

Aurora boreale vicino a Galena, Alaska
Photo: State of Alaska/Chris McLennan

L’aurora boreale in genere si manifesta un centinaio di chilometri sopra la superficie terrestre e può avere colori diversi: il più comune è il giallo brillante ma si possono vedere anche motivi blu, viola e rossi.

Quando vederla

L’aurora boreale si vede meglio durante l’inverno ma può capitare di avvistare qualche northern lights già ad agosto. L’aurora è molto attiva durante gli equinozi autunnali e primaverili, cioè settembre/ Ottobre e marzo/aprile con maggiore probabilità che si veda a tarda notte.
Tenete presente che molti hotel in Alaska offrono una specie di sveglia/allerta dedicata ai northern lights per avvisare quando le luci sono spente ( e poter vedere meglio quelle fuori).

Le condizioni migliori

Le condizioni ideali per poter osservare l’aurora boreale sono cielo sereno possibilmente senza luna.
Non dimenticate mai che le temperature scendono quasi sempre sotto lo zero, perciò se uscite ad ammirare, fotografare o ad assistere allo spettacolo dei northern lights, è necessario coprirsi bene per restare al caldo.

Come aumentare le possibilità di vedere l’aurora

L’attività dell’aurora boreale aumenta con quella delle macchie solari. Il picco più recente, noto come massimo solare, si è verificato nel 2013.
L’University of Alaska di Fairbanks ha creato una sorta di previsione delle aurore con le quali potete verificare l’arrivo di eventuali northern light in zona.
Se sono affidabili non sappiamo dirvelo.
Ma potete verificare da soli e farci sapere.

Dove vederla

Nonostante sia possibile vedere i Northern lights in diverse zone degli Stati Uniti, esistono condizioni ottimali che rendono alcune aree dell’Alaska migliori rispetto ad altre.
Il primo fattore quasi necessario per ammirare l’ aurora boreale è la vicinanza col Polo Nord. Più si va verso Nord, maggiori sono le probabilità di ammirare questo spettacolo colorato.
Esistono poi alcune zone dell’Alaska con frequenti sistemi di bassa pressione e, di conseguenza, di forte copertura nuvolosa notturna che rende difficile l’avvistamento dell’aurora.
Le città inoltre producono luci artificiali nell’ambiente che possono interferire con quelle dei Northern Lights. Per questo motivo è consigliato spostarsi in periferiferia per ammirare più chiaramente le luci e i colori dell’aurora.


Cani da slitta

Le corse con i cani da slitta sono lo sport nazionale in Alaska. Le gente viene qui da tutto il mondo per assistere alle gare più famose:
La Iditarod è probabilmente la gara più famosa dell’Alaska e tra le più note al mondo. Si corre da Anchorage a Nome.
La Yukonquest è l’altra corsa a lunga percorrenza dell’Alaska.
Tra le corse a media distanza ci sono invece la Kuskowim 300, la Copper Basin 300 e la Tustumena 200, oltre a diverse gare da sprint che si svolgono in concomitanza con i festival invernali.
In estate invece molti canili offrono tour lungo percorsi battuti per consentire ai visitatori di conoscere in prima persona i cani da slitta e sperimentare l’emozione dello sled dog.

Il Dog mushing si divide in tre grandi categorie:

Sprint mushing: i cani da slitta sono addestrati a correre il più velocemente possibile da meno di 3 Km fino a 20 Km circa. In questa specialità vengono usate slitte leggere e, a differenza delle lunghe percorrenze, non è necessario portare attrezzatura da campeggio o altro materiale per restare molto tempo in giro.

Lunga distanza: in questo caso i cani si allenano per percorrere lunghissime distanze. E c’è da dire che questi super-atleti mostrano una grande resistenza!
I musher organizzano le gare in modo da far correre i loro cani concedendo lo stesso tempo di riposo in tempi uguali a quelli passati in gara.
La strategia di corsa deve essere ben programmata nelle competizioni più importanti.
La media categoria di solito può essere lunga fino a 300 miglia ( 482 km ca), mentre gare come l’Iditarod possono arrivare a 1000 miglia ( 1609 Km ca) e richiedere fino a 12 giorni di gara per i primi equipaggi.

Mushing ricreativo: se da un lato c’è chi pratica questo sport per la gloria e per il successo, dall’altro c’è anche chi ama farlo per il puro divertimento o per passare il tempo. In Alaska esistono piccoli canili che hanno da 2 ai 20 cani che sfruttano sentieri locali mantenuti unicamente per il mushing.
La comunità di Two Rivers, appena fuori Fairbanks, ha la più alta concentrazione di squadre di cani nel mondo e altri hot spots di mushing che includono Willow, a nord di Wasilla, e la penisola di Kenai.

Un’altra popolare attività ricreativa per gli amanti dei cani in Alaska è lo skijoring, che prevede lo sci trainato da uno o due cani. Ci sono molte gare di skijoring durante l’inverno e i musher di cani ricreativi spesso partecipano a entrambi gli sport.

Sport invernali

Skijoring, sci di fondo trainato dal cane, Fairbanks
© State of Alaska/Brian Adams

In Alaska gli sport invernali sono uno stile di vita. Tutti gli amanti degli sport invernali a qualsiasi livello, possono trovare qui il giusto ambiente.


Sci /snowboard

Il comprensorio sciistico Eaglecrest di Juneau e l’Alyeska Resort di Girdwood sono le principali destinazioni ricreative per lo sci basate su resort e snowboard.
La gente del posto trova molte opportunità per sciare sugli impianti di risalita di Anchorage nell’area sciistica di Hilltop e Alpenglow nell’Arctic Valley e a Fairbanks al Monte Aurora/Skiland e Moose Mountain. Quelli che preferiscono il backcountry scelgono il Thompson Pass vicino a Valdez, il Palmer’s Hatcher Pass e il Turnagain Pass della penisola di Kenai.

Sci di fondo

Lo sci di fondo è accessibile in molte comunità dell’Alaska, che si tratti di sentieri battuti o di zone di montagna senza piste.
Il Tony Knowles Coastal Trail di Anchorage può esser un buon punto da cui partire perchè ha piste battute e ben mantenute, così come il Russian Jack Springs Park e l’Hillside Trail System di Anchorage.
I fondisti di Fairbanks possono godersi la Birch Hill Recreation Area e il
University of Alaska Fairbanks Trail System.
Non dimentichiamo la Eaglegrest ski area e l’Hatcher Pass ad esempio, tutte aree dove è possibile noleggiare l’attrezzature per il fondo, qualora non siate riusciti a portarla con voi.

Eliski

In Alaska, non è necessario essere uno sciatore esperto o uno snowboarder per fare eliski. Lo sport consiste nello sciare fuori pista, sia esso sci o snowboard. Si accede a piste incontaminate con l’elicottero piuttosto che con lo skilift.
La stagione va dal tardo inverno fino a primavera, da febbraio fino ad aprile che sono i periodi con le migliori condizioni di neve. Le ore diurne sono le migliori perchè assicurano una maggiore sicurezza per il volo dell’elicottero.
Le aree più popolari in Alaska per praticare l’eliski sono le Comunità di Prince William Sound di Valdez e Cordova, Girdwood nell’Alaska Centro meridionale e le Comunità di Inside Passage di Hines e Juneau.

Motoslitta

In Alaska spesso il mezzo ideale per esplorare la natura selvaggia più remota è proprio la motoslitta. Qui numerosi Tour operator offrono trekking sia guitati sia no per aiutare ad esplorare i turisti a bordo di uno dei mezzi più comuni da queste parti.
Alcuni luoghi ottimi per viaggiare in motoslitta sono Fairbanks, il Parco nazionale e la riserva di Denali, Talkeetna, Valdez, Haines, il Mat- Su Valley, Girdwood e la penisola di Kenai.
Una curiosità: se sentite parlare in giro di “macchine da neve” ( snowmachine ), non fatevi prendere dal panico!
E’ solo un modo volgare di chiamare le motoslitte da queste parti…


Festival invernali

Spettatore vestito per il freddo, Open North American Championship, Fairbanks.
© State of Alaska/Brian Adams

I festival invernali dell’Alaska sono divertenti, stravaganti e sorprendenti.
Il Fur Rendezvouz Festival di Anchorage è solo l’inizio delle attività che partono da fine febbraio e vanno avanti fino alla cerimonia di partenza della Iditarod che si svolge nel centro cittadino.
Softball con le racchette da neve, una gara di sculture di neve, il tradizionale Inupiaq, un insieme di dialetti e lingue inuit parlato dal popolo inupiaq dell’Alaska, poi lancio della coperta e molti altri eventi interessanti che si svolgono in queste giornate ad Anchorage.
I più impavidi possono scegliere di tuffarsi nelle gelide acque del Polar Bear Jump che si svolge ogni anno a Seward. Se siete a Fairbanks non potete assolutamente perdere il World Ice Art Championship, dove troverete sculture di ghiaccio per alcune settimane scolpite da artisti provenienti da tutto il mondo.
Se arrivate all’inizio del festival potreste avere la fortuna di veder creare le sculture!
Per tutti gli altri eventi visitate: TravelAlaska.com


Siti e numeri utili per il vostro viaggio

Stato dell’Alaska
www.travelalaska.com/media
Telefono: (800) 327-9372

Alaska Dog Mushers Association
www.sleddog.org
Phone: (907) 457-MUSH

Explore Fairbanks
www.explorefairbanks.com
Phone: (800) 327-5774

Visit Anchorage
www.anchorage.net
Phone: (907) 276-4118

Fonte e foto : travelAlaska.com

Alaska: the paradise of winter activities

Sunset on the Iditarod, Yukon River, Galena,
AlaskaPhoto: State of Alaska/Chris McLennan

Alaska is not only an unspoiled place full of natural beauty, but also an ideal place to practice winter sports, whatever your level. Winter here can offer much more than you can image.

Alaskans have not only made peace with winter but have begun to celebrate it, organizing festivals, dog sled races and much more.
Because winter in Alaska lasts much longer than summer and getting used to a “white version” of this extreme land is the best thing to do if you live here.


Aurora borealis

Aurora borealis near Galena, Alaska
Photo: State of Alaska/Chris McLennan

The Northern Lights typically occur a hundred kilometers above the earth’s surface and can have different colors: the most common is bright yellow but blue, purple and red patterns can also be seen.

When to see it

The Northern Lights are best seen during the winter but it can happen to spot some northern lights as early as August. The aurora is very active during the autumn and spring equinoxes, i.e. September / October and March / April with greater probability of seeing late at night. Keep in mind that many hotels in Alaska offer some kind of alarm clock dedicated to the northern lights to warn you when the lights are off (and to be able to see those outside better).

The best conditions

Ideal conditions for observing the Northern Lights require a clear and possibly moonless sky. Never forget that temperatures almost always drop below freezing, so if you go out to admire, photograph or watch the northern lights show, you need to cover up to stay warm.

How to increase the chances of seeing the aurora

The activity of the Northern Lights increases with that of sunspots. The most recent peak, known as the solar maximum, occurred in 2013.
The University of Alaska at Fairbanks has created a kind of auroras forecast with which you can check the arrival of any northern lights in the area.
If they are reliable we cannot tell you.
But you can check for yourself and let us know.

Where to see it

While it is possible to see Northern lights in several parts of the United States, there are optimal conditions that make some areas of Alaska better than others. The first factor that is almost necessary to admire the Northern Lights is the proximity to the North Pole. The further north you go, the more likely you are to admire this colorful spectacle. There are also some areas of Alaska with frequent low pressure systems and, consequently, of strong nocturnal cloud cover which makes it difficult to sight the aurora. Cities also produce artificial lights in the environment that can interfere with those of the Northern Lights. For this reason it is recommended to move to the suburbs to admire the lights and colors of the aurora more clearly.


Sledge dogs

Sled dog racing is the national sport in Alaska. People come here from all over the world to watch the most famous races:
The Iditarod is probably the most famous race in Alaska and one of the best known in the world. It runs from Anchorage to Nome.
The Yukonquest is Alaska’s other long-distance ride.
Among the medium-distance races there are the Kuskowim 300, the Copper Basin 300 and the Tustumena 200, as well as several sprint races that take place in conjunction with the winter festivals.
In summer, however, many kennels offer tours along beaten paths to allow visitors to get to know sled dogs firsthand and experience the thrill of sled dogs.

The Dog mushing is divided into three main categories:

Sprint mushing: sled dogs are trained to run as fast as possible from less than 3 km up to about 20 km. In this specialty, light sleds are used and, unlike long distances, it is not necessary to bring camping gear or other material to spend a lot of time around.

Long distance:in this case the dogs train to cover very long distances. And it must be said that these super-athletes show great endurance! The mushers organize the races in order to let their dogs run by allowing the same rest time in the same time as those spent in the race.
The running strategy must be well planned in the most important competitions. The middle class can usually be up to 300 miles (482km approx), while races like the Iditarod can go up to 1000 miles (1609km approx) and take up to 12 days of racing.

Recreational Mushing: if on the one hand there are those who practice this sport for glory and success, on the other there are also those who love to do it for pure fun or to pass the time. In Alaska, there are small kennels that have 2 to 20 dogs that take advantage of local trails maintained solely for mushing.
The Two Rivers community just outside Fairbanks has the highest concentration of dog teams in the world and other mushing hot spots that include Willow, north of Wasilla, and the Kenai Peninsula.

Another popular recreational activity for dog lovers in Alaska is skijoring, which involves skiing pulled by one or two dogs. There are many skijoring competitions during the winter, and recreational dog mushers often participate in both sports.

Winter sports

Skijoring, cross-country skiing pulled by dog, Fairbanks
© State of Alaska/Brian Adams

In Alaska, winter sports are a way of life. All winter sports lovers at any level can find the right environment here.


Skiing / snowboarding

Juneau’s Eaglecrest Ski Area and Girdwood’s Alyeska Resort are top resort and snowboard-based skiing recreational destinations. Locals find plenty of opportunities to ski on the Anchorage ski lifts in the Hilltop and Alpenglow ski area in the Arctic Valley and in Fairbanks at Mount Aurora / Skiland and Moose Mountain. Those who prefer the backcountry choose Thompson Pass near Valdez, Palmer’s Hatcher Pass, and Kenai Peninsula’s Turnagain Pass.

Cross country skiing

Cross-country skiing is accessible in many Alaskan communities, be it the beaten track or the mountain areas with no trails. Anchorage’s Tony Knowles Coastal Trail can be a good place to start as it has well-maintained and groomed trails, as well as Anchorage’s Russian Jack Springs Park and Hillside Trail System. Fairbanks cross-country skiers can enjoy Birch Hill Recreation Area and the University of Alaska Fairbanks Trail System. Let’s not forget the Eaglegrest ski area and the Hatcher Pass for example, all areas where you can rent cross-country equipment, if you are unable to bring it with you.

Eliski

In Alaska, you don’t need to be an expert skier or snowboarder to heli-ski. Sport consists of off-piste skiing, be it skiing or snowboarding. You can access pristine slopes by helicopter rather than by ski lift. The season runs from late winter to spring, from February to April which are the periods with the best snow conditions. Daytime hours are the best because they ensure greater safety for the helicopter flight. The most popular areas in Alaska to practice heli-skiing are the Prince William Sound Communities of Valdez and Cordova, Girdwood in South Central Alaska, and the Inside Passage Communities of Hines and Juneau.

Snowmobiling

In Alaska, snowmobiling is often the ideal way to explore the most remote wilderness. Here numerous tour operators offer both guided and non-guided treks to help tourists explore on board one of the most common means of transport in these parts.
Some great places to snowmobiling are Fairbanks, Denali National Park and Preserve, Talkeetna, Valdez, Haines, the Mat-Su Valley, Girdwood and the Kenai Peninsula.
A curiosity: if you hear about “snow machines” , don’t panic!
It’s just a vulgar way of calling snowmobiles around here ..


Winter festivals

Spectator dressed for the cold, dog mushing, Open North American Championship, Fairbanks.
© State of Alaska/Brian Adams

Alaska winter festivals are fun, whimsical, and surprising.
The Fur Rendezvouz Festival di Anchorage it is only the beginning of the activities that start at the end of February and go on until the departure ceremony of the Iditarod which takes place in the city center.
Softball with snowshoes, a snow sculpture competition, the traditional Inupiaq, a set of Inuit dialects and languages spoken by the Inupiaq people of Alaska, then throwing the blanket and many other interesting events that take place in these days in Anchorage
The most fearless can choose to dive into the icy waters of the Polar Bear Jump which takes place every year in Seward. If you are in Fairbanks you absolutely cannot miss the World Ice Art Championship, where you will find ice sculptures for a few weeks sculpted by artists from all over the world. If you arrive at the beginning of the festival you may be lucky enough to see the sculptures being created!
For all other events visit: TravelAlaska.com


Useful sites and numbers for your trip

State of Alaska
www.travelalaska.com/media
Telefono: (800) 327-9372

Alaska Dog Mushers Association
www.sleddog.org
Phone: (907) 457-MUSH

Explore Fairbanks
www.explorefairbanks.com
Phone: (800) 327-5774

Visit Anchorage
www.anchorage.net
Phone: (907) 276-4118

Source and photos : travelAlaska.com