5 Winter Travel Adventures for Snow Lovers

Winter travel Chena Hot Springs

22 Dec 5 Winter Travel Adventures for Snow Lovers

Setting out to snowshoe in Yellowstone National Park. Photo: Natural Habitat Adventures/Eric Rock.

Setting out to snowshoe in Yellowstone National Park. Photo: Natural Habitat Adventures/Eric Rock.

Once the holidays are over and winter settles in for the long haul, you may find folks you know heading off on tropical vacations to escape the cold. But not you. You’re an adventure traveler who revels in crisp air and crystalline landscapes.  You’re content to leave the beachfront bungalow to others, along with the umbrella in their frou-frou cocktails. Your idea of a good time is an exhilarating day in the brisk outdoors, with cozy accommodations that invite kicking back with a hot toddy in front of a roaring fire. With that in mind, we’d like to suggest some winter travel options that are more your style. Here’s a sampler of frosty fun from the Adventure Collection.

Banff National Park

The grandeur of Banff National Park in winter. Photo: Wikipedia.

Canadian Rockies Snow Adventure Tour
6 days, 5 nights
Start and end in Banff, Alberta

Enjoy a diversity of active winter adventures in one of the most scenic regions of the world. Look for moose and snowshoe hare tracks as you snowshoe yourself through Marble Canyon in BC’s Kootenay National Park. Wearing ice cleats, explore Johnston Canyon with its dramatic frozen waterfalls. Cross-country ski along the frozen Bow River in Banff National Park. Dog-sled to the Continental Divide. When you’ve had enough physical exertion, restore body and spirit with a soak in natural hot springs. Accommodations are a highlight on this trip, too, with stays at secluded Emerald Lake Lodge in Yoho National Park, the baronial Banff Springs Hotel overlooking the Bow Valley, and the Post Hotel at Lake Louise.

Winter Travel Yellowstone wolves

Gray wolves in Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley. Photo: Henry Holdsworth.

Natural Habitat Adventures
Yellowstone Ultimate Wolf & Wildlife Safari
7 days, 6 nights
Start in Jackson and end in Bozeman

 This small-group nature adventure offers the best chance to spot wolves in the world’s best place to see them. You’ll search for these elegant, elusive predators on three different outings in the remote Lamar Valley of Yellowstone National Park, where they are seen most regularly. But wolves aren’t all you’ll look for as you explore the park during its most serene season. Elk and bison are easily visible against the snowy white backdrop. And keep an eye out for moose, river otters and trumpeter swans as you travel by private vintage snowcoach to Old Faithful, erupting against the winter sky in a gauzy veil of steam. Mammoth Hot Springs and the West Thumb Geyser Basin are equally impressive amid winter’s tableau. You’ll also revel in a sleigh ride across the National Elk Refuge in Jackson Hole in the shadow of the Grand Tetons, a supremely romantic encounter with the natural world.

Winter travel Chena Hot Springs

A moonlight snowcoach ride to a vista for northern lights viewing at Chena Hot Springs, Alaska. Photo: Chena Hot Springs Resort/McClean Image Studio

Off the Beaten Path
Alaska’s Winter Magic
6 days, 5 nights
Start in Fairbanks and end in Anchorage

While Alaska is in high demand among summer travelers, those who discover it under winter’s white mantle find a land of peace, solitude and wonder. This adventure begins just below the Arctic Circle at Chena Hot Springs, one of the best places in Alaska to look for the northern lights as you soak in the steaming waters. Also included is a snow coach ride to an open vista and heated yurt, for midnight aurora watching. By day, ski or snowshoe on the resort’s 440 acres of trails, or ice skate on the frozen pond. Traveling south to Girdwood, there’s a chance for more snowshoeing or downhill skiing at Mt. Alyeska. In Seward on the Kenai Peninsula, a family of Iditarod winners teaches you to mush your own team of huskies (or just ride along) to Exit Glacier. And if that weren’t enough, this thrill-filled trip includes a flightseeing excursion over the ice-cloaked Chugach Range and Prince William Sound.

Ski touring in the Grand Tetons

Backcountry skiing in the Tetons. Photo: NOLS/Brad Christensen

Backcountry Skiing
14 days
Start and end in Driggs, Idaho

If you’ve been drawn to the allure of wilderness ski touring, there’s no better way to learn than via this program offered by the National Outdoor Leadership School. Based at NOLS’ Teton Valley training center, you start out with four prep days, including two days to hone your skills at Grand Targhee resort on the west side of the Tetons. You’ll receive training in backcountry skiing and safety techniques, including avalanche risk assessment. Once your initial training is complete, spend 10 days in the roadless wilds of the Grand Tetons, snow camping as you ski with a pack and sled. You’ll cover approximately 20 miles total at altitudes between 8,000 and 12,000 feet. Guests who complete the program earn a Level 1 Recreational Avalanche Rescue Certification.

Cruising the Lemaire Channel, Antarctic Peninsula. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Cruising the Lemaire Channel, Antarctic Peninsula. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Journey to Antarctica: The White Continent
14 days aboard the National Geographic Orion or National Geographic Explorer
Start in Buenos Aires or Santiago and end in Ushuaia/return flight to Buenos Aires or Santiago

This classic polar expedition cruise crosses the Drake Passage to the Antarctic Peninsula, where you’ll spend six days cruising the channels and bays of this crenellated shoreline. Daily Zodiac excursions offer opportunities to observe prolific marine life at eye level and on shore. Watch for 40-ton humpback whales breaching, fierce leopard seals hauled out onto icebergs, and sleek orcas slicing through the frigid, crystal-clear water of the Southern Ocean. Step ashore to walk among thousands of gentoo, chinstrap and Adelie penguins—depending on the dates you travel, you may see parents nesting, fuzzy gray chicks, or molting youngsters maturing into adults. Along the way, enjoy informative lectures from naturalist experts and get helpful photography tips from the onboard National Geographic photographer.

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Wendy Redal
Wendy Redal is a passionate writer and traveler with a focus on nature, wildlife, food and the environment. Her adventures have taken her to 60 countries and all 50 states, including face to face with gorillas in the Congo, snorkeling with sea lions in the Galapagos, wine tasting in the Republic of Georgia, and trekking on horseback across Mongolia. A former tour director in Alaska, Canada, the western U.S. and New England, Wendy today enjoys crafting and guiding private group trips around the world, in addition to her marketing communications job in the adventure travel industry. She holds a PhD in media studies, an MA in journalism and a BA in history and previously worked with the Center for Environmental Journalism at the University of Colorado Boulder. Wendy’s travel writing has appeared in the Huffington Post, Budget Travel, Alaska magazine, World Wildlife, Gaiam Life and Good Nature Travel.
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