“RING OF FIRE EXPEDITIONS” presents:
AURORA VIEWING IN ALASKA
March 8-12, 2013
- If the sky is clear and conditions are right, you too could capture a dramatic photo like this.
An aurora is one of the more spectacular, unpredictable and brief atmospheric experiences that can normally be experienced just with the naked eye. There is no hazard to watching aurora as there is potentially with viewing a solar eclipse. On this tour you have the chance to see unusual daylight atmospheric phenomena in addition to the chance of spotting auroras at night. We have reserved four night viewing sessions for you during this tour.
BASIC TOUR ITINERARY
Some modifications may occur due to routing and schedule changes in the region prior to the time of the tour. Prices are those in effect as of the date above and may change due to currency fluctuations, fuel surcharges caused by escalating oil prices or increases mandated by ground operators. RING OF FIRE EXPEDITIONS does its best to keep prices in line as far in advance as possible. Trip cancellation insurance is highly recommended.
March 8 (Friday) FAIRBANKS
Situated at the heart of the Tanana River Valley, Fairbanks is a city that combines modern amenities with a quintessentially Alaskan frontier spirit. Commonly known as the “Gateway to the Arctic,” the second-largest city in Alaska has a colorful history dating back to the late 1800s and the discovery of gold in the area. Located close to the center of the state, Fairbanks has the widest temperature range of any city on Earth, with temperatures dropping below -65F (-55C) in the winters, and rising over 100F (38C) in the summers. After your arrival you will transfer to the hotel on your own (courtesy shuttle available from the airport to the hotel). Aurora viewing attempt#1 will occur tonight.
In order to be on the bus you will need to time your arrival into Fairbanks such that you must be at the hotel prior to 10pm when the bus is scheduled to depart. Observation will take place at Mt. Skiland located 32km (20 miles) northeast of Fairbanks.
Overnight Fairbanks: Springhill Suites or similar.
- Ground tour north from Fairbanks in the personalized comfort of our tour vans.
- Learn the story of Alaska’s Arctic both while traveling in the van and at the various stops along the way.
- View the remarkable Trans Alaska Pipeline.
- Travel the rugged Dalton Highway made famous by the construction of the Trans Alaska Pipeline.
- Witness firsthand the remarkable wilderness scenery blanketed in snow.
- Traverse the mighty Yukon River.
- Cross the Arctic Circle in ceremonious fashion and receive an official Arctic Circle Adventure Certificate.
- On the return journey make stops to scan the northern sky for the aurora.
Important note – with decreasing daylight the majority of your tour will be in the dark to look for the northern lights. There are more than 14 hours of darkness tonite.
Departs 11:00 am; returns between 2:00 and 3:00 am.Overnight Fairbanks: Springhill Suites or similar (B, L, D)
Aurora as seen along the roadway. Even in bright moonlight, depending upon the intensity of the aurora, you can take a shot like this!
Today you will transfer to the Chena Hot Springs Resort. Now over 100 years old, the Chena Hot Springs Resort is a popular place for visitors and Alaska residents alike. The springs that have made the resort famous were discovered by brothers Robert and Thomas Swan, gold miners who learned that a U.S. Geological Survey crew had seen steam rising from a valley along the upper Chena River in 1904, concluding that the steam had to be from hot springs. The resort, with the hot springs as its centerpiece, is now a favorite retreat for Alaska visitors. Today you will have a free day at Chena Hot Springs, with a myriad of choice activities to keep you busy (see description and prices of optional cost tours below). Go for a sled dog ride, a horsedrawn sleigh ride, or snow coach tour, try a day at dog mushing school, or explore the Aurora Ice Museum. Let us not forget the hot springs where you will also have unlimited access to during your stay. Note: It is highly recommended that guests book optional activities in advance, as these activities can fill up. But it will be possible for guests to sign up on a space available basis on their day of arrival, if they haven’t pre-booked anything.
This evening you will depart the Chena Activity Center 333m (1100 ft.) and venture 30 minutes up the hillside via Snow Coach to the top of a hill 788m (2600 ft.) After arriving on top, keep warm inside the heated 9m (30 ft.) yurt and enjoy a hot beverage of your choice as you look for the aurora.
Room view at Moose Lodge, Chena
One of the hiking trails at Chena
Chena Hot Springs
Dogs and snowmobiles–staples of Alaska transportation
Early this afternoon you will travel back to Fairbanks where a private tour of the city has been arranged. Your city tour will take you to Golden Heart Park at the center of the city. The park is the site of the 18-foot bronze monument titled “Unknown First Family.” The park and the statue were dedicated in July 1986 as a tribute to the history and heritage of Fairbanks. There will also be a stop to view the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, a feat of civil engineering that still carries crude oil from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez. You will also visit the University of Alaska’s Museum of the North, located on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus. The museum sports cultural and natural history exhibits from across the state: galleries showcase the state’s largest gold display, the history of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, and the scientific phenomenon of the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights. This evening you will travel 30 – 45 minutes from your hotel to a prime aurora viewing destination away from the city lights.
“Diamond Dust” or tiny ice crystals in the winter air over Fairbanks cause many curious optical phenomena in the sky. They sometimes cause a multicolored halo around the sun or moon. Within the solar halo ring, on either side of the sun, one often sees two bright spots called “sun dogs” or “mock suns”. At night one frequently sees pillars of light extending vertically upward from street lights or other bright sources. These forests of glowing vertical shafts can be easily mistaken for displays of the rayed aurora.
At Mt. Aurora/SkiLand, the 360-degree full-sky view offers spectacular viewing of the aurora borealis with dark, clear skies from mid-August to mid-April. The University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute operates the Poker Flat Rocket Range about six miles north. Scientists from around the globe congregate here in the winter to study the northern lights.
We recommend that you dress warmly for this tour, so you may view the Northern Lights from outdoors. If you become cold, you can warm up in a comfortable cabin with north-facing windows that allow for optimal viewing even from indoors.
Your Alaskan adventure comes to an end today as you say goodbye to The Last Frontier. A transfer will be provided to the Fairbanks International Airport for you to check-in for your departing flight. We hope you have enjoyed your stay in The Great Land, and we wish you safe travels home! (B)
OPTIONAL TOURS only available FROM CHENA HOT SPRINGS RESORT
Note: Tours listed below cannot be booked by Travel Leaders. They must be booked directly with the hotel. This can be done anytime prior to arrival assuming space is available. Prices shown below are those in effect as of April 26, 2012.
AURORA ICE MUSEUM TOURS
Chena Hot Springs Resort is home to the world’s largest year-round ice museum in the world, the Aurora Ice Museum! It was completed in January 2005 and stays a cool 20 degrees Fahrenheit inside year round. Keeping the museum icy cold in the heat of summer comes from the patented absorption chiller, the first of its kind in the world used for this purpose! Daily tours are offered at 11am, 1pm, 3pm, 5pm 7pm & *9pm. (*9pm tour subject to availability.) Please purchase tour tickets at the Activity Center Desk at least 15 minutes prior to start of tour. Adult (ages 13+) $15
“Appletini” Beverage served in ice glass – Ages 21+ $15 – must be purchased in addition to ice museum tour
CHENA DOG MUSHING SCHOOL
Have you always wanted to drive a team of dogs around a beautiful winter trail and feel the rush of adrenaline with a speed you never imagined? Well, here’s your chance to embrace the sport first hand by driving your own team of dogs! After an hour training session learning about Alaskan dog mushing, you will get behind the sled of your own team and travel around the resorts two mile dog sled trail. After completing your training as an Alaskan Dog Musher you will receive an official Chena Hot Springs Dog Musher Certificate. Sled Dog Mushing School – $225 per person – Approximately 2 hours – Ages 14+ Note: No experience necessary, just bring your sense of adventure!
DOG SLED RIDES
The Chena Sled Dog Kennel offers guests an exciting Alaskan adventure. During the snowy winter months, guests get a truly authentic taste of dog mushing. Our friendly, experienced guides take you gliding along our serene two mile trail, in one of our locally hand built traditional freight sleds. After the ride, you’ll have a chance to pet one of the amazing dogs who led you around the trail and warm up in our visitor’s center. Dog Sled Ride: $60 Adult ages 18+ / $30 Youth ages 6-17 years
DOG KENNEL TOUR
The Chena Sled Dog Kennel tour is your chance to chat with an experienced musher. Your guide will teach you about the sport, sharing knowledge and answering any questions you may have. You will be introduced to some amazing Alaskan Huskies, learn about this fascinating breed, and tour a working mushing kennel of over 50 dogs. The educational visitor center is a great place to warm up in the cool winter months, or to get a break from the sun during the sunny summer months. You will walk away from this tour with an abundance of dog mushing knowledge. Kennel Tour: Adults $20 Youth ages 6-17
Arctic Circle / Beaver Village $440 per person (Approx. 4 hours)
Fly north over the Arctic wilderness across the Arctic Circle. Land on the native village of Beaver which welcomes you to share the Alaskan Experience. (45 minute guided ground tour at the village). All flights require a FOUR passenger minimum. Glacier Tour to Mount Deborah $390 per person (Approx. 2 1/2 hours) Fly south past the Granite Tours and gold rich Salcha River. Cross the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and Big Delta River to the North side of the Alaska Range. All flights require a FOUR passenger minimum. No Youth rates available.
SKI, SNOWSHOE, AND ICE SKATE RENTAL
Get a work out by renting cross-country skis, snowshoes or ice skates at the Activity Center and cruise around the resort’s 440 beautiful acres and scenic trails. The ice skating pond is located next to the Swimming Pool House. Various sizes available. All day rental $25 per Adult. $12.50 Youth (ages 6-17) with paying adult 24 hour Winter Gear Rental $25 all three pieces (Parka, insulated snow pants & bunny boots) or $10 each piece
SNOW MACHINE TOURS
Take a day time or evening Guided Snow Machine Tour around areas of the resort only accessed by snowmachine. Experienced Tour Guides show you the resort from trails and areas of the resort you haven’t seen before. No experience necessary. Rates are based on per person. Adult ages 18+ $50 – Youth (ages 14-17) $25 – 30 minute Guided Tour Adult ages 18+ $80 – Youth (ages 14-17) $40 – 1 hour Guided Tour Note: Must be at least 14 years of age or over to ride. Two person minimum required to operate either tour.
Important note: We can arrange air to/from Fairbanks if you like. Contact Travel Leaders/Future Travel for this.
Cash price $1449. (credit card price USD$1507.) LAND only per person beginning in and ending in Fairbanks, Alaska USA, double occupancy. Add USD cash price $427.($444.credit card price) for single supplement (if available). SORRY, NO CHILDREN UNDER 12.
BASIC TOUR PRICE INCLUDES:
- 4 nights’ accommodation including baggage handling
- All appropriate taxes and fees included
- Private transportation with an English speaking driver in a 15 passenger van
- Arctic Circle Aurora Drive, 14-15 Hours
- Fairbanks City Tour
- University Of Alaska Fairbanks, Museum of the North, admission
- SkiLand Aurora Viewing, 4-5 Hours (2 separate nights)
- Chena Snow Coach Aurora Viewing, 4-5 Hours
- 4 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
BASIC TOUR PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE:
- meals not stated, drinks, visas,and travel insurance
- room use outside of normal check-in/check-out times
- travel insurance (highly recommended)
- airfare to/from Fairbanks
- optional cost tours
- beverages unlesss specified
- tips and gratuities to guide/driver
- personal expenses and anything else not included in the ‘tour includes’ features list
PAYMENT SCHEDULE (per person)
- BEFORE August 1, 2012……………………….USD$525. DEPOSIT credit card price (cash price USD$500).
- October 1, 2012…………………………….BALANCE DUE.
CANCELLATION FEES (per person)
- BEFORE August 1, 2012……………………….USD$250. EXCEPT IF YOU FIND A REPLACEMENT FOR YOURSELF. THEN, NO PENALTY.
- October 1, 2012 AND AFTER………………..100% OF THE TOTAL TOUR COST
Travel Leaders/Future Travel recommends that each client purchase adequate trip cancellation insurance, medical, baggage, accident and other personal effects insurance. Trip cancellation insurance must be purchased at time of initial deposit. Clients should be aware that we cannot guarantee the weather for this astronomical event or any other. Contact Travel Leaders/Future Travel for details.
Please complete and submit the registration form below.
Please review and print our Terms & Conditions prior to starting your registration.
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Tour Terms & Conditions
Please read the following tour terms and conditions prior to reserving your trip:
RESERVATIONS AND PAYMENTS
Your reservation may be confirmed ONLY with SIGNED application form AND DEPOSIT. Tour space is limited and group flight reservations are accepted subject to availability at the time both RESERVATION FORM and PAYMENT(s) are received by FUTURE TRAVEL. For information call: (281) 480-1988 or (800) 929-9004. In order for us to keep your tour costs down we cannot return phone calls outside of the Houston area. If you cannot get through, please call back.
Payment schedule is as outlined on the tour registration form.
CANCELLATION AND REFUND
The operators of hotels, airlines, and our ground logistics suppliers have strict policies which we have to follow. Cancellations must be received in writing by Future Travel. Because our tours are mostly to remote areas and are of an unusual nature, neither hotels, airlines, or ground suppliers will refund money to us for unused or canceled space. Our prices are based on group minimums and any cancellation could otherwise cause a rate increase for others.
Cancellation penalties are as outlined on the tour registration form.
Land and air prices are subject to change without notice due to unforeseen increases in the rates for hotel and meals, government taxes, currency fluctuations, and ground services. Prices are based on two persons sharing one room. There is additional cost for a single room (single supplement) or an extra person in the room if either of these features are available.
There will be a change fee of $75.00 per person charged for any change in travel arrangements made after ticketing and at least 30 days prior to departure. No changes will be allowed within 14 days of the departure date. These fees are subject to change.
If you are traveling by yourself but wish to share a room with someone else, we will attempt to match men with male roommates and women with female roommates, along with smoking/non-smoking preferences. If we cannot find a roommate for whatever reason we will advise you and have to charge you the single supplement fee. You may wish to look for a roommate from your local astronomical society.
ACCOMMODATIONS, MEALS AND SIGHTSEEING
Accommodations, meals and sightseeing will be provided as specified in the itinerary. Substitutions, if any, shall be of similar quality as outlined in the itinerary. Sightseeing will be provided by our tour host and is subject to change due to weather conditions, accessibility, border crossing limitations, and hours of operation. Sightseeing will be by motorcoach or best available transportation.
In order to provide maximum convenience for all tour participants, we normally accept children if they are the age of 12 and older, although some tours are for adults only and are specified as such. Children must be accompanied and supervised by parents or guardians and are expected to display proper decorum while the group is together, especially at the observation site and on tour buses.
Tour participants must attest that the are in good general health and capable of performing normal activities on this trip. They must further attest that: they are capable of caring for themselves during the expedition and will not impede the progress of the trip or enjoyment of other tour members; they must understand that this expedition may take them far from the nearest viable medical facility and that all expedition members must be self-sufficient. With that understanding they must certify that they have not been recently treated for, nor are aware of, any physical, mental or other condition or disability that would create a hazard to themselves or other members of the trip.
Tour prices are quoted based on coach (economy) fares and are subject to change without notice. If air fares are increased, any such increase will be collected from tour members. We will attempt to use the lowest available airfare at time of ticketing.
SMOKING IS PROHIBITED ON OUR TOUR BUSES, OBSERVATION SITE AND IN BRIEFING/LECTURE ROOMS.
United States citizens are required to have a valid PASSPORT (valid at least 6 months beyond the end of the tour). Citizens of other countries must make their nationalities known immediately to Future Travel and are responsible for obtaining proper documentation to enter the U.S. and any other countries where tour options are involved.
Trip cancellation, baggage, health and accident insurance is strongly recommended and on some trips, mandatory. Insurance will be made available and may be purchased through Future Travel (if the law allows). In other cases tour members living outside the USA may have to obtain insurance in their home country. It is recommended that tour participants do not bring expensive jewelry or like possessions with them. Telescopes and observation equipment should be securely packed; insurance on expensive items is highly recommended. Future Travel or any of its representatives or contractors are not liable for loss/damage of any personal effects.
Consult the TSA web site for restrictions on what is currently allowed to be carried onto aircraft. Also, due to constantly changing airline limitations, we advise all participants to verify baggage allowances directly with the airlines. The following guidelines may vary from trip to trip. Consult the individual tour inclusion to be sure these are in force. In general, from the USA you are allowed to check two standard sized suitcases per person, each weighing not more than 70 lbs and combined length, width, height of each adding up to less than 106 inches. But for flights in most other countries, only one checked bag weighing up to 44 lbs is permitted. Carry-on luggage must fit in the overhead compartment or under the seat. Excess baggage can be checked at the tour participant’s own expense. Lost or damaged luggage while in transit is the sole responsibility of the carrier or traveler and subject to international and/or domestic governing regulations. All baggage of tour participant(s) is accepted on tour at participant(s) own risk. IF YOU ARE BRINGING A TELESCOPE OR ANY UNUSUAL EQUIPMENT, YOU MUST PROVIDE A LIST OF SUCH ITEMS TO FUTURE TRAVEL SO THAT WE CAN DETERMINE THEY ARE ALLOWABLE. WE WILL PROVIDE INSTRUCTIONS RELATED TO CUSTOMS FORMALITIES.
When transfers are included in the tour package between hotels and airports, transportation of participants and their baggage is provided only when participants travel with the rest of the group . If your schedule is different from this, private transfers are available at extra cost and must be requested in writing. Carry-on bags must be carried by tour participants and porterage is included AFTER passing through customs area upon arrival. Porterage is included for two (2) pieces of baggage only at hotels and airport unless otherwise stated in the individual itinerary inclusions. In some situations hotel porterage may not be possible. Be sure to consult the tour information to be sure.
TIPS AND TAXES
Tours include taxes for hotel accommodations and airfare. Departure taxes within foreign countries are NOT included since they vary widely. Each airport departure may require a separate departure tax which will have to be collected from each tour participant prior to boarding. Tips are NOT included for guides, tour personnel or drivers who render special services or who have done an outstanding job. This is left to each person’s discretion.
CHANGES IN THE TOUR
Sometimes the airline or ground operator will be forced to change a portion of the tour dependent on equipment, weather or other factors beyond control of Future Travel. Alterations in the tour may also be necessary for other reasons. If this does occur, any additional expenses will have to be paid by tour participants and Future Travel will advise if/as soon as such expenses are anticipated.
Future Travel or its representatives cannot guarantee the observation of the advertised astronomical event(s). We make every effort to examine weather prospects prior to selecting the observation site including satellite photo studies.
WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED IN OUR TOUR
Cost of passports or visas, airport departure taxes outside the USA, excess baggage, meals and beverages not specified in the itinerary, baggage handling in the USA, tips, room service, liquor, phone calls, voluntary changes in flight(s), laundry, insurance costs, and items or services of a personal nature not specified in the tour itinerary.
CONSUMER DISCLOSURE NOTICE / DISCLAIMER
RESPONSIBILITY AND LIABILITY
Future Travel, Inc. and the Johnson Space Center Astronomical Society act only in the capacity of agent for the suppliers of the travel services named in the Itinerary or otherwise providing services or goods in connection with the Itinerary (the Suppliers), such as airlines, hotels and other lodging providers, cruise lines, camp operators, sight seeing trip operators, bus lines, car rental companies, driving services, restaurants, and providers of entertainment. We assume no responsibility for any personal injury, property damage, or other loss, accident, delay, inconvenience, or irregularity which may be occasioned either by reason (1) any act or omission of any of the Suppliers (2) any matter beyond our exclusive control including but not limited to a delay or cancellation of a flight that causes you to miss any portion of the Itinerary. We have no special knowledge regarding the financial condition of the Suppliers, unsafe conditions, health hazards, weather hazards, or climate extremes at locations to which you may travel.
For information concerning possible dangers at destinations, we recommend contacting the Travel Warnings Section of the U.S. State Department at (202) 647-5225 or www.travel.state.gov, and click on Travel Warnings.
For medical information, we recommend contacting the Centers for Disease Control at (877) FYI-TRIP or www.cdc.gov/travel. You assume full and complete responsibility for checking and verifying all passport and visa requirements of the destinations and for complying with all laws of the country in the Itinerary.
You are also responsible for respecting the authority and following the directions of the guide during the trip. We may exclude you from participating in all or any part of the trip if, in our sole discretion, your condition or behavior renders you unfit for the trip or unfit for continuation once the trip has begun. Unfitness may include, without limitation, any behavior that, regardless of its cause, is inappropriate or offensive or interferes with the delivery of our services, or may constitute a hazard or embarrassment. In such case, our liability shall be strictly limited to a refund of the recoverable cost of any unused portion of the trip. Should you decide not to participate in certain parts of the trip, no refunds will be made for those unused parts of the trip. You agree to indemnify and hold us harmless from and against any costs, damages, losses, or liabilities arising out of your actions or omissions.
The right is reserved to withdraw any tour announced by Future Travel or make substitutions and/or alterations as may be found desirable for the convenience of the parties and the proper carrying out of the tour. The tour price is per person and quoted in U.S. dollars. All rates are subject to change without prior notice due to unforeseen economic circumstances (including but not limited to airfare increases) or currency fluctuations. Any increase in cost as a result of change in either will be borne by tour participant.
Any dispute related to the trip shall be governed by Texas law without regard to conflict of laws principles. The federal or state courts in Harris County, Texas shall be the exclusive forum for any lawsuit related to the trip, and you consent to the personal jurisdiction by said courts. You agree to present any claims against us within 30 days after the trip ends and to file within one year of the incident, and you acknowledge that this expressly limits the applicable statute of limitations to one year. You agree to grant us (and third parties with whom we may engage in joint marketing) a worldwide, royalty-free, fully paid up license to use your photographic, video, or digital likeness solely for our promotional and/or commercial purposes. Facsimile transmission of any signed document shall be deemed delivery of an original. At our request, you shall promptly provide an original document as well. If there are any conflicts between these terms and conditions, the Reservation Form, and the Itinerary, these terms and conditions shall apply.