Profile photo for Ofer Gelmond
115 messages

Ofer Gelmond

I first visited Alaska back in 1997, and what can I say - I fell in love, and kept coming back ever since. In 2004 I took this little love affair to the next level and moved to Anchorage. Over the next few years I went to school at the local university and researched the impact of mega-earthquakes on stickleback evolution in the Gulf of Alaska (stickleback is a small, ugly and super-interesting fish, and yes, it was as fun as it sounds). When I was done, I went back home to Tel Aviv. Unsurprisingly, my background wasn't a great fit and I couldn't find any work. I had no choice but to start a travel company specializing in Alaska travel services. Much to my surprise, it worked and I've been a travel professional ever since. These days, the stickleback in my company's logo is the only reminder of my scientific past. This way my mom can't say my masters degree was a complete waste of time.

What places and activities do you specialize in?

"I love to direct my clients away from the beaten track. This means that touristy towns and big-boat cruises are usually ignored and bypassed, while small authentic towns and locally owned operations are preferred. We often work with local operators that offer small group activities such as guided bear viewing, sea kayaking, glacier hiking or whale watching; we use a variety of locally owned air taxis to get our clients away from the road system and into the Alaskan wilderness; and we also love to work with some specialty operations such as small adventure cruises and remote wilderness lodges. We'll use this full arsenal to show you what Alaska really has to offer. "

How did you get involved in travel?

"When I lived in Anchorage I worked as a guide for a local adventure travel company. By then I already traveled extensively all over the state (Alaska is big, there's a lot to cover), but this was my first real step into the Alaska travel industry. About the same time I also started a blog, where I used to offer some free information about Alaska travel. Fortunately, right around the time I was looking for a job, I also started getting calls from various folks who found my website and asked for assistance with their Alaska trip preparations. At some point it dawned on me that there was enough demand out there, and that's when I started the business. I've been doing this ever since. "

Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.

"Denali National Park in Alaska is a trail-less environment, meaning you hike following animal tracks and not human-maintained trails. In one of my first hikes in the park I was trying to get to the ridgeline using an obscure, faint game trail, when I found myself standing in the middle of a Dall sheep herd. There was about 15 fully grown rams spread around the area, eating, resting and generally enjoying life. these are big, wild animals, and I admit it took me a while to relax; once I realized they don't mind my presence one bit, I took a seat on one of the rocks and enjoyed the scene for the next half hour or so. It was a true wilderness experience, and I still can't think of a better way to spend a sunny Alaskan afternoon."

Ofer is part of the following groups: the United States Travel Agents
Roadside attractions
Classic Alaska Self-Drive - 13 Days

There may not be that many roads in Alaska, but the ones that run through the south-central region are spectacular. Spend almost two weeks driving from North America's tallest peak to the icy fjords of the Alaskan coast, from the immense glaciers of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park to the bear habitats on the southwest coast. Go glacier hiking, sea kayaking, and jet boat cruising through these expansive natural landscapes.

Boating between the icebergs of Leconte Bay
Alaskan Fjords and Backroads - 14 Days

Spend two weeks exploring both the deep fjords and fishing towns of southeast Alaska along with the natural parks and scenic drives of the south-central region. Go bear viewing, glacier hiking, sea kayaking and more, as you see some of the highest peaks in North America along with wildlife, glaciers, and stretches of true wilderness.

Heli flight in the Chugach mountains
Alaska Chugach Traverse - 8 days

The adventurous route will take you around the jagged peaks of the Chugach Mountains and across the pristine waters of Prince William Sound, into some of Alaska's most scenic and less touristy areas. It bypasses the Denali area, thus allowing for shorter drives and ample time for activities ranging from hiking to dog sledding.