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Five Other Reasons Americans Should Consider a Trip to the Arctic Circle in Winter

Where: Norway
January 21, 2014 at 10:35 AM | by | Comments (0)

The Northern Lights are obviously a big draw for visitors to the arctic, but some of you might be wondering why anyone would want to spend their hard-earned money to endure subzero temperatures and track down something that is in no way guaranteed. We totally get that, but we think there's a bigger picture of braving the cold, whether it's to Norway, Sweden, Alaska, Canada, or Finland. Here are five reasons other than the Aurora Borealis to fly north in the winter:

Shorter Days and Epic Sunsets

Again, we know that first part sounds like a bad thing off the bat, but you won't hear anyone who has bore witness to the colors in the arctic sky complaining. Various shades of blue mix with pink, purple, red, orange, and even green to put on a show unlike anything seen at lower latitudes. It more than makes up for the extra hours of darkness, and seeing the sun rise at 10am and set at 2pm is a pretty novel experience that tells well over happy hour upon your return.

Snowmobiling

We've all heard of snowmobiling, but unless you grew up in the northern third of the States, the closest you've come are photos and videos. The forests of the arctic are incredibly beautiful, and while the snowmobiles can be loud, they are an ideal form of transportation into remote regions and, like jet skis, good for hot-dogging.

Dogsledding Culture

We're going to dig into this more tomorrow -- like eating whale, there is some controversy and a whole hell of a lot no one tells you about dog sledding -- but there's no ignoring the historical significance surrounding the relationship between arctic residents and wilderness dogs. Before the invention of snowmobiles, sleds of dogs were the only way to travel long distances in the arctic.

Whale Watching

Those who bundle up and embrace the chilly waters will be rewarded with plenty of opportunities to spot whales. We saw orcas (killer whales) and humpbacks in the same day in Northern Norway, and we'll show you some video evidence of that this week.

Ice Hotels

The world's first ice hotel was in Kiruna, Sweden (a room shown above) in 1990, and properties have been inviting guests to chill out ever since, employing the skills of artists to design and create the hotel each year (ice hotels are demolished and rebuilt each year with unique themes and layouts). Our sista HotelChatter dished on it last year and wondered if getting busy on ice was the new "sex on the beach." You can also find ice hotels in Finland, Romania and Canada.

[Photos: Will McGough/Basecamp Senja]

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