UNITED AIRLINES said it will discontinue all Alaska flights in September due to rising fuel costs and the weak U.S. economy. United flies to Anchorage from Chicago, Denver and San Francisco. Service to Anchorage from Chicago and San Francisco will end on Sept. 2, while service between Denver and Anchorage will end on Sept. 21. United has traditionally scaled back service to Alaska during the slower fall and winter months, but the airline said the current economic conditions forced it to drop Alaska entirely.
CHUGACH ADVENTURE GUIDES in Girdwood is merging with Sun Valley Heli-Ski Guides in Sun Valley, Idaho, to create Epic, an adventure travel company based in Jackson, Wyo. Chugach primarily offers skiing, rafting and fishing trips. The combined companies will have greater exposure in the U.S. ski market and offer customers expanded adventure sports activities such as international and domestic biking expeditions, African safaris and international fishing trips. Sun Valley said it is the oldest heli-skiing operator in the U.S. Through Epic, the combined companies will be able to offer more adventure travel activities in Alaska, company officials said.
HOLLAND AMERICA LINE said it will feature Alaska Native travel guides aboard a majority of its Glacier Bay-bound ships this year. The program is a result of a partnership between Holland America and the Alaska Native Heritage Center. The cruise company said the Alaska Native guides will share their knowledge and personal experience of local culture, history, art and flora and fauna. The guides will offer up to a half-dozen presentations over the course of a weeklong cruise. In addition to the Alaska Native guides, Tlingit cultural interpreters from Hoonah will board ships at Glacier Bay and Hubbard Glacier to lecture on the origins of the Huna people. Holland America will offer 114 Glacier Bay sailings in 2008. Visit www.hollandamerica.com or call (877) 724-5425.
AFTER A LONG, DARK WINTER, Alaskans like to celebrate the abundant summer sun, and visitors can join in the festivities. Fairbanks is known for its Midnight Sun Baseball Game, a tradition that has started at 10:30 p.m. during the summer solstice since 1906. The city also celebrates the beginning of summer with a 12-hour Midnight Sun Festival from noon to midnight and the Midnight Sun Run, a 10-kilometer race that starts at 10 p.m. (visit www.explorefairbanks.com). Anchorage also celebrates the solstice with music at Moose's Tooth & Bear Tooth Summer Solstice Concert on June 21 (visit www.anchorage.net). The Seldovia Summer Solstice Music Festival is a newer tradition that attracts Alaskan musicians as well as performers from Canada and the lower 48 (visit http://seldoviamusicfestival.org).
Alaska Editor: Jorge Sidron
Phone: (973) 898-0011
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