My friend and fellow skier Dino Vournas, aka Photographer Extraordinaire, recently returned from a winter adventure in Alaska. He went skiing, snowmobiling, visited the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, and dined at fine restaurants. Here's an excerpt from his travel story and a few of his remarkable photos:

Alaska has some of the most spectacular scenery on our side of the solar system. ... A short drive south of Anchorage is the town of Girdwood and the home of Alaska’s premier ski area and resort, Alyeska. ... skiing is accessed by a 60-passenger aerial tram, climbing 2000 feet in elevation and depositing you in the middle of a mountain that receives frequent and sometimes record powder dumps.

Glacier City Snowmobile Tours will set you down on a snow machine, (“snowmobile” to us Lower 48’ers), and guide you on an adventure in the Alaska backcountry. Through Chugach mountain valleys and around gold mines and creeks you’ll ride, and if the conditions are good, they’ll take you to the face of a great glacier, where you can explore ice caves and view countless icebergs.

Would you like to fulfill your bush pilot fantasy? Try a flight-seeing tour with the pilots of Girdwood’s Alpine Air Alaska zooming close (but not too close!) above clear-blue glacial ice and rich blue waters. For a dependable wildlife fix for the trip, motor south out of Girdwood to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. The center cares for and rehabilitates injured animals. Among the denizens of the natural enclosures are bear, reindeer, moose, elk, coyotes, caribou, bison and even a porcupine, bald eagle and an owl.

Continue on to the picturesque town of Seward for beautiful Kenai Mountains views and a memorable Resurrection Bay boat tour, starting in early March, replete with orcas, sea lions and bald eagles.