After your arrival on the early flight from Winnipeg, we will drop your bags at the hotel and head straight out to look for polar bears. We operate on a trail system that covers the 25 kilometres between the Town of Churchill and the Tundra vehicle tourism area.
On many days, we will have bear encounters to ourselves, setting up on the ground and letting the bears approach – using our guides’ expert knowledge of the area and of bear encounters. Polar Bear Alley has been operating for 15 years and the owner, Kelsey Eliasson, has a been a polar bear guide for twenty.
We will take you to the best spot for bears as soon as you arrive. We know the bears’ patterns and each year, we strive to get to know the individual bears in the area. This allows us to get you the closest and safest encounters possible… every day.
Churchill is absolutely the best place to photograph polar bears in the widest variety of backdrops. In 15 years, we have never been ‘skunked’ on a tour and visitors consistently rate their experience as ‘one of the best in the world’.
Day Two to Five
Every day, we head out on 4×4 vehicles to ‘go find a bear’. Once we do, we get out on the ground to truly experience the majesty of these creatures and the awe that they inspire. It will take your breath away. Being on the ground with polar bears is simply a defining moment in your life.
We start at sunrise and shoot until sunset. ‘Magic hour’ in Churchill lasts almost the entire day, it is the best light you will encounter – with nuances and changes that only make it more appealing as the day passes. An average day features 2-3 bear encounters plus other wildlife encountered along the way.
On weather days or during lunch, we will stop at the world famous Itsanitaq Museum, get your passport ‘polar bear’ stamp, visit a Churchill cabin complete with bear defences and explore some local historic sites. All guides are fully versed in Churchill history, flora and fauna.
In the evenings, northern lights viewing is always an option and Polar Bear Alley guides will direct you to the best and safest locations to shoot. A dedicated northern lights viewing tour is available as an add-on but most guest are exhausted from a full day of polar bears! The good news is that the aurora may come out early while we are dining in Churchill.
This is another full day of wildlife viewing and photography before the evening flight departs to Winnipeg. Most groups are ‘beared out’ by this point so we are targeting arctic fox or stalking a snowy owl. The last afternoon usually includes a stop to visit a ‘favourite’ bear – usually a family group that we’ve spent a lot of time with through the week – and say goodbye.
We gather for a final group dinner and share stories and images of the week… and plan our next adventures!