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DayZipping launches Android app, brings fresh trips to fresh places

day trip
It wasn't quite a year ago that an Atlanta-based startup dubbed DayZipping set out to change the way people interacted with new places. But having a growing pool of day trips -- journeys that can be completed within one to eight hours by foot, bike, car or train -- only does a user so much good on the big screen. At last week's Google I/O conference, the company launched their first foray into the mobile realm: the DayZipping Android app. All of the daytripping goodness found on the web, packaged into a free, intuitive mobile app. Simply load up the program on your Android phone or tablet, search for a location that you're heading to, and see a whole host of possible day trip options added by fellow travelers who have already done the hard work for you.

We're told that an iOS version should bring the same functionality to iPhone users in mid-to-late summer, but given the haste at which an Android build can be injected into the Market, the company's using Google's mobile OS as a proving ground. As for planned upgrades? They're looking to integrate the mobile app with your web account so that you can save trips for offline viewing and get customized suggestions on the go. In other words, you could have rated trips in Atlanta, and the app will generate suggestions in San Francisco even if it's your first visit to the area. Long-term, the outfit wants to provide in-app reviews, a direct way to receive a deal or purchase agreement (think local deals based on where you're tripping), and group messaging functions if the code can be hammered out. Hit the Market here to give it a go -- who knows what trips you may discover in your backyard?

Winter in Alaska: five amazing, unforgettable things to do in Fairbanks

In the spirit of journeying during periods less traveled, I've embarked to Alaska this winter. Follow the adventures here, and prepare to have your preconceived notions destroyed along the way.

A glimpse at what Fairbanks offers during the winter

We've already discussed a number of amazing activities to do whilst in Anchorage during the winter, but what about Alaska's second largest city? Fairbanks is about as northerly as it gets for a city in the United States, and those that brave the frigid winters here are most certainly a unique breed. But after taking my thin-skinned, Born In The South attitude up for a little Northern Exposure, I realized that the stereotypes are pretty misguided. For one, the days in Fairbanks during late February and early March are ideal in terms of light; the sun's peeking out from around 8am to 6pm, just like everywhere else in the Lower 48. Those "it's dark all day!" stories just don't apply for the majority of the winter.

Oh, and -33 degrees Fahrenheit? It's cold, don't get me wrong, but it's not deadly. The dry air up in these parts makes 33 below feel a lot less gripping than even five below on the East Coast. I wore basic ski gear most days, and while I definitely looked like a wuss-of-a-tourist, I was sufficiently warm. Granted, a heated Columbia Omni-Heat jacket and a stash of hand warmers don't hurt, but I could've survived even without 'em. Fairbanks is a lovely place to visit in the winter, and frankly, it's a place (and a season) that shouldn't be missed by adventurers. Read on for a handful of suggestions to keep you entertained while visiting.

Five outstandingly delicious places to eat in Alaska

In the spirit of journeying during periods less traveled, I've embarked to Alaska this winter. Follow the adventures here, and prepare to have your preconceived notions destroyed along the way.

alaska
Particularly in the winter, it's pretty crucial that you stay warm and well fed while in Alaska. We can't make any promises about the ease of the former, but we've got the latter completely under control. Believe it or not, The Last Frontier is a foodie's paradise, with a vast number of outstanding local eateries to choose from. During my stay in Anchorage, I was told that there were some 16,000 restaurant permits floating around the greater ANC area, which likely means that you've more food options than lodging choices. I was also interested to find that a great many of Alaska's best eateries are tucked into what we Lower 48ers would call "strip malls." I'll admit -- prior to visiting AK, I'd visited all 49 of the other states, and strip mall food was rarely a hit. Not so in Alaska. Read on to find out five totally delectable places to eat in the Anchorage and Fairbanks areas; who knows, your favorite hole-in-the-wall might be in there!

Winter in Alaska: Paws for Adventure dog mushing tour through Fairbanks (video)

In the spirit of journeying during periods less traveled, I've embarked to Alaska this winter. Follow the adventures here, and prepare to have your preconceived notions destroyed along the way.

Video footage from my one hour Paws for Adventure dog sled tour in Fairbanks, AK

The more time I spent in Alaska during the winter, the more I asked myself why this wasn't considered a tourist season. A week or so ago, Fairbanks was gifted with an atypical dumping of fresh powder, making the conditions more than perfect for a day of dog mushing. Following the races down at Fur Rondy, I headed up north to Fairbanks for a slightly different kind of dog race: one that began and ended at a homestead. Paws For Adventure is an Alaskan outfit that uses their stable of dogs strictly for casual runs -- nothing competitive whatsoever. These pups were downright adorable, and I was able to sit down (with owner Leslie Goodwin) in a sled behind ten beautiful dogs. They hauled us along like champs, and they were thrilled to be doing it. I couldn't help but make a few rounds praising them all afterwards, and even now, it's one of the highlights of my trip to The Last Frontier. If you're looking for a truly Alaskan adventure to partake in whilst in Fairbanks, look no further. Have a peek at the video above to get a gist of what to expect.


[Images provided by Dana Jo Photography]

My trip was sponsored by Alaska Travel Industry Association, but I was free to report as I saw fit. The opinions expressed in this article are 100% my own.

Winter in Alaska: Fur Rondy 2011 highlights, from snowshoe softball to dog weight pulling (video)

In the spirit of journeying during periods less traveled, I've embarked to Alaska this winter. Follow the adventures here, and prepare to have your preconceived notions destroyed along the way.

A glimpse at the variety of events that make up Alaska's Fur Rondy

Alaska's Fur Rendezvous Festival is a real treat. The 2011 version is the 76th annual running of the event, and particularly over the past four years, things have been looking up for those involved. This year's edition kicked off with a serious bang -- the weather in Anchorage was absolutely amazing, and locals and tourists alike flocked to downtown in order to witness (or participate in) thoroughly Alaskan events like the Frostbite Footrace, dog weight pull, ice and snow sculpture carving and multi-tribal dance gatherings. The event is one that's cherished by Alaskans all over the state. For one, it gives everyone a chance to come together and celebrate the awesomeness that is Winter in Alaska. Secondly, it gives Alaskans a reason to celebrate the impending arrival of Spring.

I had a chance to experience Fur Rondy as an outsider, but left feeling like someone who was welcomed with open arms. Peek the video above for a glimpse into the real magic behind this event, and read on for a bit of perspective that I gained from picking Ernie Hall's brain.

Bert the Conqueror joins the Outhouse Races in Alaska's Fur Rondy (video)

In the spirit of journeying during periods less traveled, I've embarked to Alaska this winter. Follow the adventures here, and prepare to have your preconceived notions destroyed along the way.

Bert the Conqueror joins the madness in the 2011 Fur Rondy Outhouse Races

I need only say the name to pique your interest. Outhouse Races. "Is this event what I think it is?" That's the question I asked about ten minutes prior to arriving at the starting line. "Oh, yeah -- it's exactly what you think it is." That's the quip I received in return. This is the world's largest Outhouse Race, and it's held annually at Alaska's own Fur Rondy Festival. This year marked the 76th anniversary of the event, and it just seems to get better and better. Not only did 2011 mark the addition of Yukigassen to the agenda, but it also brought in The Travel Channel's own Bert the Conqueror. Bert arrived in Anchorage in order to shoot an upcoming episode of his show, and in addition to participating in a Yukigassen match, he also put together a team of friendlies to race an outhouse with him.

We won't spoil the fun for you, but suffice it to say we caught him on tape recoding an introduction for the episode-to-be as well as making a lap around the bend. We all know Bert's quite the competitor, and he definitely put his best foot forward here in Alaska's snow. Be sure to DVR his show, too -- no telling when this episode will air, but hopefully it'll be sooner rather than later.

Psst... missed our interview with Bert at Fur Rondy? Catch up here!



My trip was sponsored by Alaska Travel Industry Association, but I was free to report as I saw fit. The opinions expressed in this article are 100% my own.

Winter in Alaska: Yukigassen brings team snowball fighting competition to Fur Rondy (video)

In the spirit of journeying during periods less traveled, I've embarked to Alaska this winter. Follow the adventures here, and prepare to have your preconceived notions destroyed along the way.

A vicious, vicious Yukigassen match at the 2011 Fur Rondy Festival

It's late February in Alaska, and that can only mean one thing: Fur Rendezvous. 2011 marks the 76th year that this extravaganza has taken over the streets of downtown Anchorage, and for two solid weekends, locals and tourists alike flock to the city to gawk and participate. This year, the Fur Rondy board decided to spice things up a bit by adding one more event to the roster: Yukigassen. Translated from Japanese, it means "snow battle," and that's exactly what it looks like when played out. At this year's festival, the first sanctioned Yukigassen tournament was held in America, giving the teams a chance to go on and compete at a higher level should they take the gold here in Anchorage.

It's a blast to watch, and I can only imagine how much fun it'd be to take part in. It's a little like paintball, but you'll need to substitute snowballs for paint-filled pellets to really grok it. Teams have a stockpile of snowballs behind their flag, which can only be transferred forward to other teammates by rolling them on the ground (i.e. no tossing allowed). The goal is simple: be on the team that captures the opponent's flag, or be on the team that has the last man / woman standing. It's like dodgeball, but for angst-ridden adults with a bone to pick and plenty of steam to blow off. Here's hoping this sport spreads from AK down into the lower 48, but for now, have a look at two teams battling it out in the video above and the gallery below.



My trip was sponsored by Alaska Travel Industry Association, but I was free to report as I saw fit. The opinions expressed in this article are 100% my own.

Taking Travel: interview with Bert the Conqueror at Alaska's Fur Rondy (video)

In the spirit of journeying during periods less traveled, I've embarked to Alaska this winter. Follow the adventures here, and prepare to have your preconceived notions destroyed along the way.

Talking travel and having a laugh with Bert the Conqueror

So it ain't so! During our time here at Alaska's 76th running of Fur Rondy, we happened upon a true travel legend: Bert Kreischer. You may know him better as the comedic genius and star of The Travel Channel's 'Bert the Conqueror,' and this weekend, he ventured up to Anchorage for his coldest, most extreme adventure yet. He participated in the Outhouse Races as well as a sophisticated snowball fight dubbed Yukigassen, and when I asked him if he'd become Alaskan enough to consider entering the Iditarod... well, you'll just have to watch and find out. We cover everything from what kind of food he's been eating here in The Last Frontier to his strategy (or lack thereof) for toppling his opponents when it comes time to fire off a round of snowballs.

My trip was sponsored by Alaska Travel Industry Association, but I was free to report as I saw fit. The opinions expressed in this article are 100% my own.

Winter in Alaska: snowmobiling with Glacier City, cheating death all the while (video)

In the spirit of journeying during periods less traveled, I've embarked to Alaska this winter. Follow the adventures here, and prepare to have your preconceived notions destroyed along the way.


A helmet cam view of snowmobiling in Girdwood, Alaska

When it comes to winter sports, you've got skiing, snowboarding, ice hockey -- you know, the usual. And then, there's snowmobiling. Or "snowmachining" as it's known in The Last Frontier. Whatever you call it, there's no question that it's a rush of epic proportions, and while you can most certainly do it in the lower 48, doing in the one that borders Canada and and Russia* provides an entirely different perspective. I've snowmobiled through Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming and in Olney, Montana, and while those were both unique and extraordinary experiences in and of themselves, ripping it up through the Chugach mountains is a can't-miss episode for daredevils. Read on to find out how Glacier City Snowmobile Tours got my adrenaline pumping, or press play on the video above to catch a helmet-cam view of the entire thing!

Winter in Alaska: fine dining, finer skiing at the Alyeska Resort & Hotel

In the spirit of journeying during periods less traveled, I've embarked to Alaska this winter. Follow the adventures here, and prepare to have your preconceived notions destroyed along the way.

Alyeska
You know you've considered it: "What if I went skiing this year... in Alaska? But then, the inevitable list of excuses rolls in: the flight's further, it's more expensive, none of my friends would come, I can't reasonably drive it should I want to, etc. Pish posh. Utah may lay claim to The Greatest Snow on Earth, but Utah hasn't met Alaska. Girdwood, Alaska -- just 45 minutes outside of Anchorage -- is home to Alyeska Ski Resort & Hotel, an increasingly luxurious stop for those who've grown tired of the challenges found in America's Mountain Time Zone. What's most staggering about Mount Alyeska isn't the near-4,000 foot top elevation, but the 250 foot base elevation. Going from 250 feet to nearly 4,000 is truly a sight to behold -- it's not everyday that you find a ski resort with its base at sea level, you know? Read on to find out a little more about winter gem, and why should most definitely bring an appetite while visiting.

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