Some people make a beeline for warmer climates in winter. Others embrace the cold and opt to spend their vacations amid a snowy wonderland. If you’re in the latter category, and are looking for a unique experience, then a stay at Borealis Basecamp might just be your kind of chill.

You’ll need to head to the far north, as Borealis Basecamp is located about fifty miles from the city of Fairbanks, on 100 acres of boreal forest within the Alaskan wilderness. Though off-the-grid, the place is hardly primitive. Here you’ll spend the nights in a heated, modern geodesic igloo. 

The igloos (ten total) have clear, curved windows that stretch sixteen feet across each domed roof for maximum visibility. European-style interiors are spacious with twelve-foot ceilings, comfy beds and luxurious linens, a sitting area and breakfast bar. And yes, each comes equipped with a private bath, offering a shower and vanity sink, accompanied by the typical amenities.

Imagine snuggling in your cozy abode, while gazing upon a starry Arctic sky. And if you’re in luck, the aurora borealis will put on a dazzling show to remember. You’re guaranteed to be captivated by the colorful waves of dancing lights, as they cast an eerie and magical glow during this transformational bucket list experience.

Alaska is one of the best places to see this natural phenomenon in North America. Scientifically, the lights are the result of solar particles colliding with gases in Earth’s atmosphere. But there are also various legends associated with the aurora borealis. Some cultural groups alleged that the lights represented the spirits of their people or were the souls of animals dancing in the sky. Others thought they were reflections from torches or campfires. And in medieval times, they indicated that war or famine was on the horizon. 

Still today, the Chinese and Japanese cultures believe that a baby conceived under the northern lights will be blessed with good luck. 

When you’re not relaxing in your intimate retreat, you’ll want to spend time outdoors exploring the backcountry. For example, you can greet and feed the resident reindeer Jim and Dwight. Or take an exhilarating, guided snowmachine ride along the Trans Alaskan Pipeline to Wickersham Dome, a picture-perfect lookout point in the White Mountains. 

You can also meet Alaskan racing sled dogs and set out on a thrilling dog sled tour. Mushing is the state sport and during your experience, you’ll learn about life along the trail from Dave Turner, a real racing dog musher. 

Another way to view the scenery is on a Heli-flightseeing excursion. You’ll fly over the rugged landscape for an awe-inspiring panorama, then land at a remote outpost before returning to basecamp. 

For those who want to stay warm while venturing in nature, hop in the heated cab of a snow coach for a champagne sunset tour along the “fire break.” The fire break was constructed seven years ago to keep fires from crossing sides of the forest. It now offers an ideal open space to espy animal tracks or maybe even some of the animals themselves.

As the igloos are not equipped with cooking facilities, you’ll have the opportunity to dine in Alaskan style at the onsite restaurant Latitude 65. It might be the first time you experience eating a meal in a custom, craftsman-built yurt. Lunch, for example, features a variety of hearty soups, salads and handcrafted sandwiches as well as stir-fry noodle dishes. At dinner, there’s everything from pan seared sablefish and chipotle honey glazed salmon to Wagyu top sirloin and gourmet elk burgers. 

Latitude 65 serves as “home base” for guests and stays open 24-7. Curl up with a good book in this tranquil space, play board games or connect with other visitors and share stories of your day’s adventures. 

Borealis Basecamp offers several types of fall and winter packages, and is open from August to April. 

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