Next Stop: Alaska

Fur Rondy, Dog Mushing, Running of the Reindeer, Snowball Sport (yukigassen), Double Musky, Alyeska Resort, Captain Cook, Alaska Ariel Views, Woodrow @ Humpy’s



00:00-00:04 JON: Hi I’m Jon Olson, welcome to Next Stop from Iditarod nation!
00:05-00:15 Next Stop Alaska intro rolls
00:16-00:35 JON: We’re in downtown Anchorage Alaska, at the starting point of the Mardi Gras of dog sled racing, the 39th annual Iditarod. The teams are making their way out of Anchorage on their way to Nome, but we’re going to stick around and participate in Fur Rondy events. We’ll also bring you the local music of Woodrow, and we’ll take you outside of Anchorage to a world class ski resort. All this and more on Next Stop, the fun starts now!
00:36-00:37 Next Stop logo
00:43-01:23 JON: Dog sled racing, or dog sled mushing is truly a culture for those involved in the sport. Kent here, is not only involved in the sport, but you are a true road warrior. You drove all the way up here from Michigan?
KENT: Correct.
JON: How long did that take you?
KENT: Six days of icy roads, snow, you name it, it’s on the road.
JON: Describe the whole culture behind dog sled racing and tell us about the different types of dog sled racing.
KENT: There is many types of racing but generally what we are familiar with is the sprint racing where the dogs run a faster pace, shorter distance, and then the iditarod which is more famous, longer distance racing, shorter speed.
01:24-01:39 JON: Walk us through what you do to harness the dogs up, get ready for the race.
KENT: The dogs, we take them on a dog collar, put the harnesses on them and then we will connect them to the gang line, and once they are connected say ‘Alright’ and we’re gone.
01:56-02:17 JON: Well the dogs and the mushers are on their way from Anchorage to Nome, and our Fur Rondy festivities day just is getting started with some vintage snow machines. Next, I get to dive in with the locals for a snowball fight, then I’m going to run with the reindeer. We’ll end our day at a very colorful miners and trappers ball, going to be a great day loaded with lots of activities, we’re going to have a lot of fun. After all, this is Mardi Gras for Anchorage!
02:23-02:51 JON: I’m with Chris and Craig and we’re going to learn about vintage snow machines. My first question guys, how old does it have to be to be considered vintage?
CHRIS: It has to be older than 84, no springer front ends.
JON: So what’s this, you guys all get together and bring out the old vintage snow machines, so how did this come about?
CHRIS: Well vintage snowmobiling has really taken a turn and coming back alive again. Craig here has done a great job of getting it organized here in Alaska again, and putting on races and stuff, and digging all this stuff out of the barn and putting it together and going out and having a great time with it, it’s become a great spectator sport.
02:56-03:29 JON: Pretty cool seeing you out there having fun today, this is kinda fun, how long you been riding this bad boy?
ANTHONY: I think 2 years.
JON: This is like NASCAR car or something. How many sponsors do you have man?
ANTHONY: More than 11, I can’t count them all.
JON: So you race? This is what you do for your job?
JON: Does that mean you make money doing this thing too?
JON: What advise would you give kids who want to get involved in riding snowmobiles, or snow machines?
ANTHONY: Ask your parents, get money.
JON: And then if you are really good like this guy, get sponsors and make your own money and get your own machines, right?
03:35-03:56 JON: So this is pretty much vintage snow machine heaven right here, these three captured my eye, and this one is yours
JON: tell us about this one.
KEITH: Its a 1968 Bolens Theable Rouge made by FMC corporation.
JON: We’re having a blast, we’re off to a snowball fight right now with the locals.
KEITH: Giddyup.
JON: Thanks man.
KEITH: I’ll do my snow thing right here.
JON: Perfect, I’ll see you later
KEITH: Alright.
04:01-04:24 JON: I grew up in snow country and of course we had snowball fights all the time, but they are taking it to a new level here at the Fur Rondy today. We’re going to be participating in yukigassen, which is some pretty serious stuff, I see helmets over there, Carrie, what is yukigassen?
CARRIE: Yukigassen is japanese for snow battle, and it’s a sport that started about 20 years ago. It’s a combination of dodgeball, paintball with snowballs, and a lot of fun.
04:37-04:41 JON: Oh god, that was quick.
04:53-04:58 MARC: You play capture the flag as a kid, and snow ball fights as a kid, and this is a perfect combination of both.
05:05-05:19 JON: We don’t have a costume for tonight’s ball, but I did pick up some moose antlers for the running of the reindeer, maybe they will think I am one of them and they won’t trample me? It’s total pandemonium down here, we have some amazing costumes, far exceeded what we expected and the race is about to start.
05:47-06:04 JON: Well that was a lot of fun, the closest I’ve ever gotten to a reindeer, in downtown Anchorage, what a cool event. Coming up? The Miners and Trappers ball. We’re at the Miners and Trappers Ball kicking it off with the beard contest, later we have a costume contest and there are some mighty colorful people in the room tonight.
06:11-06:39 JON: This is a very important festival to the state to Alaska, and of course Anchorage, tell us why.
SUSAN: In the beginning it was a time for the miners and trappers to come back to town and kind of replenish their supplies and trade their goods, and just get together and celebrate the beginning of the end of winter.
JON: Tell us what you happened last night to bring all this snow in.
SUSAN: Well we closed down the streets, there are miles of snow fencing that go up and truckloads of snow that come in, and what other city bring snow into the streets?
06:41-06:42 Next Stop logo
06:43-06:47 JON: Coming up on Next Stop, this, enough said. Stick around.
06:51-08:20 Alaska has some of the most stunning scenery in the world and the best way to see it is by air. That’s what we are about to do with Alpine Air.
ANDREW: So this is our valley that we live in, GirdwoodValley, we kind of have mountains all the way around us. Most of the peaks that you see up to the north here are about 6, 7 thousand feet.
JON: Look at these fresh tacks over here, these guys…
ANDREW: Heli skiing
JON: Heli skiing, sweet. So Andrew I was born and raised in South Dakota, the great plains state, and this looks a lot like the landscape in the great plains of South Dakota.
ANDREW: Not so much.
JON: Not so much, this is incredible, where are we right now?
ANDREW: We are on a frozen lake in front of Colony Glacier, so this is an active glacier that is coming down out of the mountains, you know you are looking at probably about 150 feet of ice but it probably goes under the water another 200 feet.
JON: It looks so surreal, it does not look real. And especially this formation, as it drops down it looks like jewelry, this looks like jewelry.
ANDREW: It’s very, very dense ice and umm, the great time about this time of the year is that if you get here in the summer time it is very blue in appearance as well, but this time of year, to me it just seems so much bluer.
08:28-08:40 JON: Oh my gosh, that is incredible.
ANDREW: The first time I flew over this place I thought man, this could be another planet.
JON: It looks like another planet!
09:01-09:02 Next Stop logo
09:03-09:14 JON: In May of 1778 Captain Cook supposedly entered the Cook Inlet only to find that the inlet did not connect to Prince William Sound. He was forced to turn around, and the area today is known as Turn Again Arm.
09:20-09:21 Next Stop logo
09:22-11:18 JON: When you come to Anchorage, If you want the true Alaskan experience,I highly recommend you stay at the Captain Cook, Chris, thanks for having us man.
CHRIS: Not a problem.’
JON: You guys have gone through some changes here recently.
CHRIS: Yeah, actually we did a total renovations of the bedrooms, so we did new beds, new bedding, new duvets, new artwork, lamps and all flat screen televisions throughout the hotel.
JON: So lets talk about the location of the Cook, its right in downtown Anchorage, you’ve got the view of the mountains, its just spectacular.
CHRIS: Yeah, we are very blessed, we are right in the heart of downtown Anchorage, right between 4th and 5th avenue, 6 miles away from the airport so I always joke that we are kind of an airport property with a downtown location. It’s a 5 minute drive so its not too bad.
JON: Your athletic club is awesome. And its actually for locals too, right?
CHRIS: It is, so the athletic club is, its a separate mens and womens, with coed facilities. We went through quite a bit of renovations, we did new cardio equipment with their own personalized televisions, and we also went with new weights.
JON: Nice. And your restaurants, you’ve got a few different restaurant choices, this one is pretty nice.
CHRIS: This is fine dining, The Crows Nest is one of the only 4 diamond award winning restaurants in Alaska, so its a very unique place where you get 360 degree views of the entire city.
JON: So what do  you think the biggest secret is about Alaska in general, but Anchorage too?
CHRIS: I would say the biggest secret is that for the world, most people think that Alaska is in the summer is cold, its beautiful here, our temperature is 65 to 70 degrees.
JON: In the wintertime it might be a little cold outside, but look how crystal clear it is, its just beautiful.
CHRIS: Yeah, these are rare days, they say in the summer everybody comes up to see Denali and Mt McKinley, in the summer 80% of the visitors don’t get to see it  because of weather but in the winter time you have the northern lights, you have Denali is open like this.March is one of the most sunny months we have in Alaska and Anchorage.
11:25-11:26 Next Stop logo
11:28-12:50 JON: When I facebooked that next Stop was coming to Alaska, several people contacted me and said you’ve got to check out the Double Musky Inn, in Girdwood. Well here we are, lets go see why. You guys were named one of the top 10 restaurants in America by the food network?
JON: That’s pretty killer.
JUSTIN: Yep, we were honored with that back in 2000 by Jill Cordes of the ‘Best Of’ show on the food network
JON: So your food must be pretty darn special.
JUSTIN: Its all about the food.
JON: Its all about the steaks here from what I understand.
JUSTIN: Yes, we’re a cajun infused steakhouse with fresh alaskan seafood. Duke’s throwing on our signature dish, the french pepper steak.
JON: Where do you guys get your beef?
JUSTIN: We get Iowa corn fed, the best beef in America.
JON: Nice.
JUSTIN: We get the best beef in the state brought to us, but that is what we are all about, high quality ingredients, timeless classics.
JON: Well lets go back 25 years, because this is in your family, You were raised above this building, on the second floor?
JUSTIN: I grew up upstairs and learned everything there is to know about the restaurant biz, and they turned it into what is today the Double Musky.
JON: Our friends at Alpine Air said ‘You’ve got to check out their wine cellar’
JUSTIN: Oh yeah. Yep, we’ve got the wine cellar to back up the food.
JON: I’d love to see it, let’s check it out.
12:54-13:18 JON: Well this is impressive.
JUSTIN: Yes, this is the Double Musky wine cellar. I personally hand select all of them, I taste every wine and I choose them, and I put them away as well.
JON: We have a variety of things you are going to put out for us tonight, what do you suggest we have with our steaks?
JUSTIN: Definitely an Austalian shiraz, and one of my all time favorites, Two Hands.
13:32-13:33 next Stop logo
13:34-13:38 JON: When Next Stop returns, my buddy Brian and I tackle big mountain skiing at the Alyeska ski resort.
13:41-14:03 JON: Alaska is by far the biggest state in the country, almost 570,000 square miles. It’s got the most coastline of any state in America and it is about 2 point 3 times the state of Texas. Anchorage is the biggest city in the state, which means there is a lot to see and do here. On your next trip to Alaska, when visiting Anchorage check out the visitor information center, they will help you plan your trip. It’s located in downtown Anchorage at 4th and F, and its the log cabin-you cant miss it!
14:04-14:05 next Stop logo
14:07-14:14 JON: Today we’re hitting the road to Girdwood, Alaska, less than an hour away from Anchorage and home of Alaska’s only year round full service resort, the Alyeska Resort.
14:25-15:54 JON: Just a short drive from Anchorage, here at the Alyeska Resort in Girdwood and about 10 years ago I was here, but a lot has changed, right Sandy?
SANDY: It has, we have a new owner, he loves to ski, he loves food and wine, and this place has really come alive in the last 5 years.
JON: You don’t feel like you are even in the 50 states here, this has a really kind of Asian, you know, European feel to it.
SANDY: You know, the original owners who built the hotel, The Tram, were actually from Japan and there is so much influence still, but right now what we have done with this place which has gone through a huge remodel, is bring Alaska indoors. We brought the organic side, the nature, wilderness, we brought colors, Alaskan art, its actually a really fantastic public space.
JON: It doesn’t get any more full service than this, how many restaurants do you guys have?
SANDY: We run eight restaurants, everything from a casual coffee shop all the way to 4 diamond, Seven Glaciers.
JON: Now I was reading you had a sushi bar.
SANDY: Its called Sakura and Sushi bar, It has everything from wagyu beef to hand rolled sushi.
JON: Now I remember the pool area being just so special, I never forgot it, what is it about the pool area down there that is so unique?
SANDY: The pool space itself is gorgeous, which I think helps greatly. But its a salt water pool, so you are dealing with less chemicals, less chlorine, its wonderful. In the hot tub, its the views.
JON: So when I think of full service resorts I think of spas, I’m a total spa guy. In fact, earlier today I checked out your spa and had one of the most unique treatments I’ve ever had, check this out.
15:55-16:39 JILL: The treatment that we are doing on Jon today is the thai bolus treatment, it is a treatment that incorporates lavender and sea salts. It’s very relaxing, and we follow the lines or the meridians within the body for total relaxation. When you are working with the meridians within the body it is very relaxing but then it also can be theraputic as well.
SANDY: So how was that spa appointment?
JON: It was incredible. I could barely get off the table. Jill said that when she first had it, within 6 minutes she was asleep and couldn’t get off the table, I had a hard time getting off the table, but I did and here I am, and I’ve got my mutton legs on me now and I’m ready to tackle the slopes.
SANDY: Well that’s great, I’ve got our Mountain Services Manager and he’s going to take you up the tram, you’ll have a great time up there.
16:40-17:25 Brian: Isn’t Glacier Valley awesome? I mean, its made up of multiple drainages from Glacier Creek, Winter Creek, California Creek and Crow Creek, spectacular glacier vistas,  mountains going up 5,000 feet everywhere.
JON: This is not a bad backdrop for your job for everyday
BRIAN: It is an awesome backdrop to wake up to.
JON: Lets talk about the mountain, because it looks pretty darn vertical as we are heading straight up right now.
BRIAN: Alyeska has a wealth of terrain for people to experience. We have one of the longest continuous double black diamond runs in North America, but we also have got a great selection of intermediate and even entry level terrain.
17:43-18:17 JON: Brian had to get back to work but I’m not through with this mountain yet, I’m going to go check out Seven Glaciers restaurant. One of my favorite things about a day after the ski hill is Apres Skiing, or after skiing. This stands out after skiing!
JASON: Oh yeah, you gotta have the king crab in Alaska, so we have the king crab legs poached in a little butter, a little citrus butter sear and a little meyer lemon to go with that.
JON: Cheers.
JASON: Cheers.
JON: I dig that restaurant, and I love this mountain, it is extreme and world class, as is the resort. Next stop? See you back in Anchorage!
18:21-18:22 Next Stop logo
18:24-18:29 JON: Coming up, voted best singer in Anchorage Jared Woods and his band Woodrow, at Humpys.
18:30-18:31 Next Stop logo
18:33-18:38 JON: Live music is alive and well at Humpy’s Great Alaskan Alehouse in downtown Anchorage. On tap, Woodrow.
19:06-19:31 JON: Voted best singer in Anchorage, Jared Woods is our musical guest on this episode of Next Stop, and Woodrow. Let’s talk about your band Woodrow, first of all what is the name all about, what’s Woodrow?
JARED: Well the name started out actually as a nickname that a couple of buddies gave me, and then when I was trying to find a name for this band I heard that Woodrow was one of the names that they thought of naming Anchorage before they voted on a name.
JON: Really?
JARED: Yeah, so I thought aw, that kind of works.
19:52- JARED: The bands been playing together now for about 9 years, and we play here at Humpys on a regular basis every Thursday night right now.
JON: What a cool club. Humpys is such an awesome place.
JARED: Fantastic, yeah.
JON: This is like the Cheers of Anchorage, isn’t it?
JARED: Yeah, yeah, and I can point out Norm and Cliff if you want me to.
JON: But the food, so many beers on tap, and great live music.
JARED: Absolutely, yeah.
JON: Your music has been mentioned in the same venue as John Lennon, what’s it like to have your name mentioned with Jon Lennon?
JARED: It’s great. I’m not sure who said that, but thank you to them.
JON: I read it somewhere
BOTH: Laughter
20:38 JON: Nancy travelled all the way from Juneau just to see Woodrow at Humpys tonight.
NANCY: They are good friends of Alaskan Brewing and we are so thrilled to find out they were going to be here tonight, so its an extra pleasant surprise to have them.
JON: So you didn’t travel all the way just to see Woodrow, your also here for the start of the Iditarod.
NANCY: No, the Iditarod. I have to admit I am an Iditarod junkie, and so this gives me a good reason to participate, you know there is nothing that captures the Alaskan Spirit like the Iditarod
and beer goes well with it!
21:21-21:22 Next Stop logo
21:25-21:52 JON: Thanks for tuning in to Next Stop from the gorgeous 49th state of Alaska. Wintertime is a great time to come here with all the activities around the Iditarod and Fur Rondy, and if you are looking for a world class ski resort, the Alyeska ski resort is perfect for you and your family. Thanks also to our new friends here in Alaska, we had a great time making this show and you were all a big part of it. Thanks also to our title sponsors Alaska Airlines and the Alaska Airlines visa signature card for your partnership. See you next time on Next Stop. Where will we take you next? Make good memories everybody.
21:53-21:54 next Stop logo