Free Wrangell-St. Elias winter ski/photography trip

December 23rd, 2011 by Carl D
Snowshoeing in winter in the boreal forest of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.
Snowshoeing in winter in the boreal forest of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

A Holiday Season Special – Spring Equinox Celebration


Please note: – 10:00pm Jan 17th; entries are now closed. The drawing takes place the morning of the 18th – see below for details!!!

OK, this one is so simple it’s ridiculous.

In the best of the holiday spirit, here’s what I’m doing. I’m offering a free trip to Wrangell – St. Elias National Park. This offer is open to any who who think they’d enjoy a trip like this. The more people that enter, the more people will win.

If fewer than 250 people enter, I’ll give away a trip for free to 2 people. If I get more than 250 people enter, I’ll give away 4 free spots on the trip.

Wrangell – St. Elias National Park. 6 nights in a backcountry cabin; days spent snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and/or hiking, enjoying some winter landscape photography, possible northern lights photography and the quietest, peaceful-est cabin you never been to. Here’s what you need to know.

The Trip

We leave Anchorage, drive 5 hours to Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. 5 nights in the cabin, March 18-23, and return to Anchorage on March 24. During the day, we can either snowshoe, cross country ski, or, depending on weather and snow conditions, hike.

We’ll have the van nearby so we can easily saunter down to the van, drive 10 miles down the road, snowshoe all day, drive back to the cabin and enjoy the comfort of a wood stove, hot food and a quiet like no other. Next day, we can do the same in the other direction.

The exploratory opportunities are literally endless here. Winter landscape photography opportunities abound. This is a massive landscape; Mt Sanford rises over 16 000′ right out the window. It’s also an intimate boreal forest, for some great shooting opportunities. There’s a decent chance of seeing moose in the area, and possibly caribou. The northern lights are a strong possibility; displays are typically strongest and most active right around the Equinox, so this timing is optimal for great northern lights viewing/photography. There are never any guarantees with the aurora, of course.

Price: Normally $1400.00 per person, this year 2, or possibly 4 people get to come out for free.

Dates: March 18-23, 2012

My holiday gift and thank you to everyone who’s supported what I do.

Requirements to enter

This isn’t really a contest, per se; 2 or 4 people will be picked at random. That’s pretty much all there is to it. Whether it’s a couple & 2 singles, or a group of 4, etc, doesn’t matter.

Please, no shysters. I’m offering this trip in the spirit of the holidays, and would like it to be treated as such.

And just a head’s up. I’ll be in the backcountry over the New Year, from Dec 27-January 10th and unavailable. So if you have any questions, send them along and I’ll respond as soon as I get back in from my trip to Denali.

To be eligible, simply fill in the following form.


Basic Trip Info:

This trip is not strenuous at all, and very customizable to fit your level, whether you’re a hardy experienced outdoors person, or more of a beginner. But, it’s not for everybody.

  1. You’ll need to be in decent shape, capable of comfortably hiking a few miles or so.
  2. The skiing isn’t technical at all, it’s not a heli-ski adventure. Nordic cross country skiing is all. We can either xc ski on trails or off-trails, but at least a little skiing ability will make your trip more enjoyable.
  3. Snowshoeing, if you’ve never done it before, is straightforward. If you can hike OK, you’ll have no problem.
  4. It can be cold. You’re welcome to spend all day inside the cabin by the fire, but if you really dislike the cold, this might not be for you.
  5. We’re not backpacking, sleeping in tents.
  6. You’ll need a sleeping bag, and clothing.
  7. You can rent ski and snowshoe gear if you don’t have it.
  8. If I receive 0-250 entrants, I’ll select 2 people for a free trip. More than 250 entrants, and I’ll pick 2 more.
  9. No alcohol is provided.
  10. You must be 18 to enter; but under 18 year olds are welcome if accompanied by an adult


1. I want to bring my family. Can I enter?

  • I’d love to say yes. But each drawing is restricted to a single or one couple;  you can’t enter for more than 2 people. It’d simply get unmanageable to draw correctly.

2. Are the dates flexible?

  • Unfortunately, no. The dates are set.

3. What happens if the first entrance drawn is a couple?

  • Easy. Those are the 2 people who come along.

4. What happens if the 1st entrant drawn is a single?

  • Easy.  If I receive, for example, 145 entrants, and then draw an entry for a single, I’ll then select another entry. If it’s a couple, then it’ll be 3 people free on the trip. If I get more than 250 entries, and select a single, then a couple, I’ll only select from the remaining single entries for the 4th person. That’s the only way I can see this working out yet staying fair and manageable.

5. When will the entry be drawn?

  • January 18. At 10am, Alaska time (we’re 4hrs behind EST). That’s 2 months before the trip departure date.

6. What happens if I win and then can’t come along?

  • Unfortunately, I can’t guarantee your schedule. But, if you’re drawn, and then can’t make the trip, let me know ASAP. I’m an upright guy, and I’ll do what I can to accommodate you.

7. What if I don’t have the right gear?

  • You’ll need decent outdoor clothing. Ski gear and snowshoes you can rent if you don’t already have them.

8. Can I enter for someone else?

  • Absolutely. But you must let me know that when you enter, not afterward. If you want to enter this, for example, as a holiday gift for someone else, you must enter their name in the appropriate section on the submission form.

9. If I win and change my mind can I give the trip to someone else?

  • Don’t be crazy. No. If you want to enter for someone else, that’s fine, but you must let me know that when you enter. This is what they call “non-transferrable”.

10. Can I enter more than once?

  • Now you’re pushing it. No. One entry per person/household. You can’t have you kids and your friends and your dog enter for you if you’ve already entered.

11. How will the winner/s be drawn?

  • Excellent question. I had no idea initially. From looking around, this seems the fairest way. I’ll enter everyone’s info into the List Randomizer. Then I’ll use the Random # Generator to pick the first winner, and do it again as needed. This protects your info, and is the fairest I can figure.

12. How long do I have to claim if I win?

  • 1 week. If you know you’ll be out of reach for more than one week after January 18, let me know before the drawing.

13. Where will the announcement be made?

  • Right here on the blog, of course. And I’ll also post the info to the facebook, G+, Twitter feeds as well. I’ll email the folks who are drawn, and follow up with a call if I don’t hear back.

 14. Can we make the trip shorter?

  • If you’re selected, and you and your partner don’t want to stay for 6 nights, and either cut it short, or plan for it to be shorter, that’s fine. If there are 3 or 4 people on the trip, it will be highly unlikely to change the schedule.

15. I have a few more questions; Can I contact you for more information?

  • Sure; But, as I said above “I’ll be in the backcountry over the New Year, from Dec 27-January 10th. So if you have any questions, send them along and I’ll respond as soon as I get back in from my trip to Denali.”. Email me or call (770) 952 4549.

16. What’s the catch?

  • There is none. This is NOT a requirement, but if you appreciate this offer, you’re invited to follow
  1. Expeditions Alaska’ Facebook page,
  2.  Google Plus page
  3. Follow on Twitter
  4. Linked In.


If you’re not on any of those social media sites, you’re welcome, but not obligated, to subscribe to the email newsletter.

Below are a few photos showing the cabin, the forest, the landscape and so forth. These are all from this trip in past years. You can post any questions, comments, etc, below and I’ll get back with you asap.

Have a great holiday season, and here’s to a really great New Year. Thanks so much.



PS: Remember to bring your camera!

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17 Responses to “Free Wrangell-St. Elias winter ski/photography trip”

  1. Your images inspire me and remind me how beautiful the world is and how much there is left to see!

    Thank you for sharing.

    I hope I win the free trip to Alaska! My bags are packed! : )

  2. Dave Tribiano

    Hey Carl, Merry Christmas and have a wonderful New Year. Thank you very much for offering this wonderful opportunity. I will be anxiously awaiting January 18. I really hope that I win. It could give me 2 trips to Alaska this year. I cannot get Alaska out of my system. The more I think about our trip to Skolai with you the more I appreciate it. You taught me a lot and made the trip great and unforgettable. I believe I will be better prepared for a trip this year. The cabin pictures make me wish I was there right now. I look at Alaska weather everyday and you had a real cold spell a few weeks ago. I love snow and the cold. Enjoy Denali. I am jealous. So Carl did Justin convince you? Are you working hard for Gingrich? Be well. Your friend, Dave

  3. Stephen Knight

    Hi Carl,
    Mmm…. Tempting, but I just can’t do it! Very kind offer, though. Hope you’re rugged up and fending off that northern winter okay. Here’s a little annecdote you’ll laugh at: We were back in Bathurst for a Chrissy ‘hello’ to the folks and ran into Graeme Taylor – who tells us that he’s still (!) gigging with the Mad Arabs. In a way, it kinda made me feel young! Merry Chriatmas to ya!
    Stephen and Jenni

  4. Cindy Mead

    Carl, I submitted an entry, but I should have you retract it. I don’t think I’m really up for a strenous hike in the snow (unless you have a snowmobile that can tow me and my walker on a sled). My hubby would sure love it though, maybe I should leave it in for him. He deserves a vacation after being a nursemaid to me for so long. Merry Christmas buddy!

  5. Hi,
    I would would like to thank you for this offer. I went to Alaska when I was young, but now I would like to really see it. Your images are wonderful and make me wish I was there. I am starting my life over after losing my mother two years ago. We did everything together and now it is just me. I was sick for a long time and now I am getting better. So this trip would be the start of a new life.

    Happy New Year to you and yours


    Monteque Pope-Le Beau

  6. As a regular unpaid photography contributor to a startup outdoor adventure magazine, this would be an AMAZING opportunity!

    We’ve been looking for places to go and this has always been high on the list, but we can never seem to afford it. I would love to be able to come out and experience Alaska the way its supposed to be experienced!

    Ill be eagerly looking for the results!

    Happy new year from warm Arizona

  7. Hi Carl,

    thank you so much for this offer i wish i could win this free trip because i need to go somewhere new and to learn professional skills in photography

    greetings from Egypt ,

  8. Elizabeth Molden

    Hi, carl this sounds like so much fun! I really would love this oppertunity cant wait for the drawing, the seconds, minutes, hours, days until then.
    Its a very nice and giving offer i would be soo thankful. Humble would i be to if its me!!! ….Elizabeth

  9. Dave Tribiano

    Congrats to the winners. You will have the best time with Carl. What an adventure. Is there anyone out there who would be interested in asking Carl if he would be interested in offering a similar trip that we would pay for. I have not given up on doing a trip like what Carl has offered. It is worth rounding up the money for something like this. So, if you have any interest, get in touch with Carl and we can see what we can do. It would be a trip of a lifetime.

  10. Hi, I just wanted to say congratulations to the winners of this trip. i’ve been intently watching my emails with all my fingers crossed that i was lucky enough to have been in your shoes. (maybe next time).
    Have a great trip!!

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