Hot Water

Chena Hot Springs Resort, Fairbanks, Alaska

Jan 19, 2009
Outside Magazine
The Aurora Borealis in the sky above Fairbanks, Alaska

The Aurora Borealis rises above Fairbanks, Alaska    Photo: Ron Crabtree/Photographer's Choice/Getty

Winter Lodge Smackdown

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Alaskans don't seem to be fazed by January's 40-below lows. For the rest of us, there's Chena. An 80-room enclave some 60 miles northeast of Fairbanks, it's the perfect combination of rustic Alaskan charm and environmental can-do. Owners Bernie and Connie Karl have funneled the area's mineral-rich, 165-degree waters into a first-of-its-kind geothermal system, which heats the lodge. Meanwhile, a greenhouse churns out lettuce even during deep freezes. But come for the hot springs themselves, which are diverted into an indoor pool and an outdoor rock lake. The lake makes an excellent theater for viewing the dancing aurora borealis. Earn the bath time with a day at the resort's dog-mushing school, where you'll learn basic commands behind a team of huskies. Doubles from $180; shuttle from Fairbanks, $70;

Filed To: Snow Sports
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