Alaska Invites Public to Have Fun at Denali Winterfest 2014

Tuesday, February 11 2014 07:17   Winter Fun
Denali National Park and Preserve and the Denali Borough communities invite all who love winter to come celebrate Alaska's longest season at Winterfest 2014, taking place Feb. 21 to 23, 2014.

This long-running community-wide event features an array of activities, with something for all ages, interests, and abilities. The schedule is posted at

snowcarvingFestivities kick off on Feb. 21 at 6 p.m. with a potluck dinner at the McKinley Park Community Center. After dinner, outdoor adventurer Luc Mehl will speak about the creative routes that he and friends utilized to do human-powered traverses over the three tallest mountains in North America: Denali, Logan, and Orizaba.

The Community Center is located off Mile 230 Parks Highway on the "Old Parks Highway" spur road. Afterwards, there will be music for foot tapping and dancing at the 229 Parks Restaurant, located approximately one-half mile south on the Parks Highway.

The National Park Service is offering a wide variety of activities on Feb. 22 at or near the Murie Science and Learning Center (MSLC) on the Denali Park Road.

The day's offerings include an ice carving demonstration by master carver Larry Moen, short ranger talks, sled dog rides, a snowshoe walk and guided ski tours, indoor and outdoor children's activities, snow sculpting contest, and a presentation on photographing the northern lights by local author and photographer Tom Walker.

Hot drinks and light lunch refreshments are provided by park concessioner Doyon/ARAMARK Joint Venture. The Alaska Geographic bookstore at the MSLC has a selection of park-related publications available for sale.

This year the Denali Park Road will be open to the public as far as the Mountain Vista Rest Area (Mile 12) during Winterfest, weather permitting.

The National Park Service will offer two activities in the area Saturday afternoon - a guided ski tour (snow conditions permitting) and an open house of the historic Savage River Cabin, which is used by rangers during winter patrols . The rest area has vault toilets and picnic shelters, and is an ideal location for viewing Mt. McKinley (weather permitting), and heading out on a snowshoe walk, ski tour, or dog sled trip.

Saturday events continue in Healy, with a community chili dinner beginning at 5 p.m., accompanied by a cakewalk and dessert silent auction at 6 p.m. After dinner the community will hold "Winter Olympics" games for children and adults. These activities are taking place at the Tri-Valley Community Center at Mile 0.5 on the Healy Spur Road (Mile 248.8 Parks Highway).

On Feb. 23, the Tri-Valley Community Library (Mile 249 Parks Highway) will host a showing of the night sky indie film "The City Dark" at 6:30 p.m., followed by creative outdoor lighting ideas from the National Park Service night sky team.

Meals, lodging and other services are available year-round in the communities of Healy and Cantwell. The Bear Loop of the park's Riley Creek Campground is open for free camping. A vault toilet is provided for winter campers and water can be obtained at the Murie Science and Learning Center.

Winterfest is made possible with the assistance of Alaska Geographic, Denali Borough, Denali Borough School District, Denali Education Center, Doyon/ARAMARK Joint Venture, Holland America/Princess, National Park Service, and the Tri-Valley Community Library. Winterfest information is available on the web at or by calling Denali National Park at (907) 683-9532 from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. daily.


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