Got cabin fever? Outdoor Recreation has the cure
James Smith, a recreation assistant with the Outdoor Recreation Center tries out some cross country skis at the center Nov. 30. Cross country skis are just one of many pieces of equipment that can be rented at the Outdoor Recreation Center. Smith said that if you can walk, you can cross country ski. (Photo by Trish Muntean/Fort Wainwright PAO)

FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska -- (Dec. 2, 2011) Old man winter has returned to Fort Wainwright - subzero temperatures, snow and ice with limited amounts of sunlight each day. The good news? Outdoor Recreation offers lots of reasons to come out and play no matter what the season, and winter is no different.

From snowmachining to ice-fishing to cross-country skiing, Outdoor Recreation offers something for the beginner who is spending their first winter in Alaska and the sourdough that came to Fort Wainwright years ago and decided to make Fairbanks their permanent home.

"I think we make all of our programs easy and family friendly where anybody can participate" said Lara Patterson, director of the Outdoor Recreation Center. ""We don't cater to the experts because you would expect the experts to be able to go out and do it by themselves, so we are all about the training."

The staff offers cross-country skiing and snowmachine safety classes as part of their training programs.

"If you can walk, you can cross-country ski," said James Smith, a recreation specialist. The ORC even has skis and snowshoes that can be strapped onto children's winter boots so they can go out with their parents, allowing both skiing and snowshoeing to be a family activity.

The snowmachine safety class is required before renting one from Outdoor Recreation.

If you want company on your Alaskan adventure, try a trip organized by Outdoor Recreation. The staff has put together several reasonably priced trips which include transportation, safety equipment and know-how. Participants provide warm clothes, snacks and beverages.

For those who want to strike out on their own, but don't want to buy all that expensive gear, Outdoor Recreation rents out a variety of equipment.

The Women in the Wilderness series is being offered again this year. Once each month, from December to March, the center offers a women-only activity to get them outdoors, possibly trying something they have never done before or something they may not have felt comfortable doing in the company of men. Plans for this season include a trip to Chena Hot Springs and a day on the ice, not skating, but fishing. "What I love most about women in nature programs, I don't really think you can hit on the fact that it is an Outdoor Recreation activity," Patterson said. "I think with women it is more like a vehicle for socialization. Getting to meet new people. Getting to know people. Experiencing something new in a less threatening environment than if men were there."

For information on any Outdoor Recreation program or trip call the center at 361-2652 or check out the ORC website at

"You are only here for so long," said Smith. "You have to enjoy it while you have the chance. When you get those trips and someone tries skiing or something and they say that was the moment of a lifetime, I'll never forget that. Those are the things that make it for me."

Page last updated Fri December 9th, 2011 at 14:55