-- An FIT trip to Alaska can be complicated and time-consuming to
put together -- especially if an agents knowledge of Alaska is
Xtremely Alaska comes in.
the tour companys general manager, saw an opportunity to create an
unusual tour company. Xtremely Alaska offers six different tours,
ranging from a three-day trip to a 14-day expedition.
modify dates, add stops and change tours to fit whatever suits
their needs and interests.
Call it a
packaged FIT, a concept that McKee said she picked up after she
started offering hiking trips about five years ago.
call us and say, What else can we do out there? McKee
with one of several itineraries listed on the tour companys Web
site, www.xtremelyalaska.com. Its then up to the client to
buy the package as is or customize it.
They can subtract
rafting and add fishing, tack on an extra day of bear-watching,
spend more time in Denali or opt for a drive itinerary instead of a
fly itinerary. Xtremely Alaska advises clients about what is
possible and what isnt.
People come to
Alaska and dont realize how big it is, said McKee. One client
planned to visit Denali, then drive to Homer for a day of fishing.
Well, thats a 14-hour drive. Youre not going to make that, she
Xtremely Alaskas staff pays
attention to the details: What do clients most want to see and do
in Alaska, and in how many days? They also want to know the clients
age, weight and athletic ability. Then they send out a draft
The tour companys
staff will counsel people if the month they picked isnt the right
time to fish for salmon or see bears. The resulting package, McKee
said, is a customized, day-by-day itinerary.
Bed-and-breakfasts figure prominently in McKees tours. And
the company will give suggestions on where to eat -- and where not
Those are the
things we do as locals, McKee said. Everybody we work with is
Alaska-based. Theyre Alaskans that live here. And were focused on a
real Alaska experience.
one day of hiking around Anchorage, which is the cornerstone of
Xtremely Alaskas business.
McKee has six
in-house guides, including herself, who lead the hiking tours. She
is enthusiastic about leading hikes, and her vocabulary is
sprinkled with exclamations like awesome and no worries.
other arrangements. McKee said she was so picky about partners that
it took her more than six months to put together Xtremely Alaskas
latest package, Fish On, a 14-day fishing-focused foray.
are part of a group also have the ability to customize their
Clients on an
Xtremely Alaska tour may hike with a couple one day, fish by
themselves another day, go ice-climbing with a small group and then
meet up with the first couple for kayaking.
Xtremely Alaska prefers small groups. It never takes more than 12
hikers out at a time.
I want them to
have a connection, she said. Plus, McKee doesnt want hikers to
scare the wildlife.
Of course, it
takes a little bit of work to get peoples schedules to gel. McKee
said they try to match groups by skill level, although not
necessarily by age.
McKee told a
story about sending out two couples, one in their 60s, the other in
their 70s, on a hike with a couple in their 20s.
And those people
[the 70-somethings] kicked those kids butts, she said. I was
Agents can make
about 10% commission on packages, or they can mark up a net price.
To reserve an Xtremely Alaska tour, call (877) 914-2735 or e-mail
reporter Rebecca Tobin, send e-mail to [email protected].