Where is the best place in Canada to view the northern lights? Iqaluit, perhaps? Or on a windswept island somewhere in the High Arctic? Both are promising, but can either beat the experience of soaring through the spectacular celestial light show in a private jet? That’s what guests can expect on Aurora | 360, a Tourism Yukon travel experience that offers guests a bird’s eye view of the aurora borealis.
“This is a bucket-list type of trip,” says event organizer Kalin Pallett. “Within 20 minutes of takeoff, we can actually be in the auroral oval [the ring of aurora borealis around the geomagnetic North Pole], and we’re the only operation in the world that can offer that.”
Aurora | 360’s next exclusive 80-seat flight departs Whitehorse between Feb. 7 and Feb. 11, 2019 (the exact date is weather dependent), and is part of a five-day immersive travel experience aimed at providing guests the full Yukon experience, from wildlife to history to culture, says Pallett. Here’s a sample of what Aurora | 360 has in store this winter.
Dog sledding | 9 a.m.
Feel like a participant in Whitehorse’s international Yukon Quest sled dog race by trying your hand at commanding a team of dogs — with a guide from Northern Tales Travel Services — across the frozen landscape on the outskirts of the city.
Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre | 6 p.m.
Spend the evening in the last Ice Age as you learn about the land bridge that connected Yukon and Alaska with Asia 18,000 years ago, then sip cocktails and nibble on Yukon-inspired canapés while listening to a panel of northern lights experts.
Ice fishing | 9 a.m.
Head into the Yukon wilderness with guides from Klondike Travel in search of the perfect lake to sink your line. If you’re lucky, you’ll snag a few few lake trout and Arctic grayling.
Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre | 7 p.m.
Whitehorse is the traditional territory of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation. Discover the significance of the aurora borealis to the Kwanlin Dün at their cultural centre on the banks of the Chu Nínkwän (Yukon River), then feast on local fare while you watch a performance by the Dakhká Khwáan dancers.
Aurora 360 flight | 11 p.m.
This is what you’ve been waiting for: board a Boeing-737 jet with Canadian aurora photographer Neil Zeller and ascend 10,972 metres into the auroral oval. Sit back and watch as the lights dance and flicker all around you while sipping on a signature (and glow in the dark!) gin cocktail crafted by an onboard mixologist.
Takhini Hot Springs | 4 p.m.
After a long night, soak your muscles in natural pools of hot mineral water and watch the steam rise over the snow-dusted peaks of nearby mountains.
Yukon BBQ | 6 p.m.
Get the full Yukon wildlife experience by photographing 11 local species, such as woodland caribou and mountain goats, at the Yukon Wildlife Preserve, then feast on a BBQ dinner featuring dishes made from locally-farmed game meats, such as elk and bison.
Northern Lights Trading Post | 8 p.m.
Gaze at the aurora borealis from the ground at the Northern Lights Trading Post, a cozy wood-heated shelter built in the tradition of historic wall tents used by gold miners and trappers a century ago. After warming up inside, venture out for unobstructed and undisturbed (no light pollution) views of the northern lights.