Tour Fact Sheet
Location of Ft. McMurray
- Auroral Oval: “During strong solar activity, the Auroral Oval expands equator-ward (southward). Due to its location under the southern edge of the Auroral Oval, Ft. McMurray is placed in an ideal location to observe strong Auroral activity”: — Prof. Shigeyuki Minami, Dep. of Electrical Engineering, Osaka City University.
- Chance to see Aurora: based upon statistics accumulated over the past 14 years, our guests have a 90%-plus chance to see Aurora activity in Ft. McMurray over a 3 night viewing period.
- Clear skies: clear skies are required to see the Aurora. Based upon information compiled over a 50-year period by Environment Canada, Ft.McMurray has more clear nights in some months than any other Aurora destination in Canada.
- Temperatures: based upon date gathered by Environment Canada, Ft.McMurray’s average winter temperatures are higher than that of any other Canadian Aurora destination.
- Accessibility: Ft.McMurray can be accessed by either air (several flights per day) or by road from Edmonton (435 km/272 miles north of Edmonton). See more under Air & Road Service below.
- Length of season: the Aurora season in Ft.McMurray stretches uninterrupted from September to the middle of May. Fort McMurrray is the only Aurora destination that can conduct Spring Aurora Tours in eary part of May.
The Sawridge Inn is one of the finest hotels in Ft.McMurray and our guests enjoy warm hospitality here. It is a 3.5 star hotel with comfortable rooms, indoor pool, exercise room, 8-person Jacuzzi, 80-seat Hearthstone Grill Restaurant, large lounge, 7 banquet rooms and an accommodating staff. Each room includes a bathtub with shower, hair dryer, coffee-maker, queen bed/s, etc.
Air & Road Service
Two major airlines, Air Canada and Westjet, service Ft.McMurray with several daily flights. Flights arrivals are during the afternoon and early evening. This allows for our guests to participate in Aurora viewing on the night of arrival. Most of our tour groups fly into Edmonton Airport and bus to Ft.McMurray by luxury coach. This allows the guests to have a meal on board, and to be ready for a night of Aurora viewing when they arrive in Ft.McMurray (5.5 hrs driving time)
The viewing site is about 15 minutes by vehicle from the Sawridge Hotel. The private and undisturbed facility has a huge open area for viewing (360 degrees), a warm, comfortable building with flush toilets, hot and cold running water and snacks as well as hot drinks all night long
The owner of Alberta Sky Aurora Tours takes pride and satisfaction in spending time with the guests. As such she is present on most of the tours, including during the Aurora viewing and activity phases of the tours. This assists in creating a family atmosphere which Alberta Sky is known for.
Alberta Sky Aurora Tours has a photographer/astronomer on staff. His instruction assists our guests in Aurora photography and learning more about the Auroras and many objects in our galaxy via a telescope and sky tours. High quality under-the-Aurora personal photos are made available.
Viewing Site Activities
The viewing site activities are extras to enhance guest satisfaction at no additional charge. They include photography instruction and hands-on assistance, telescope viewing (8 inch Schmidt-Cassegrain), interpretive sky tours, mini-rocket launch to illustrate plasma recovery and research, deep sky slide show, midnight interpretive Boreal Forest Walk, Boreal Forest animal slide show, campfire activities, games with prizes, and others.
Our fun-filled tours offer a strong educational element:
- astronomy via informative talks, telescope searches, sky tours, rocket launch, deep sky objects slide show, etc.
- nature via our Boreal Forest Walk, slide show of Boreal Forest animals, as well as via our Wilderness Experience option tour;
- photography via instruction, hands-on assistance, slide show and under-the-Aurora personal photos
- engineering/science via our Oilsands option tour.
Our option tours reflect our Northern Canadian location and add greatly to the enjoyment of our guests with such activities as Wilderness Experience, Dream Catcher making, Downhill Skiing, Tubing, Oilsands tour & City shopping.
Ft. McMurray has one of the best non-mountain downhill skiing facility in Alberta. It has 6 ski runs with 2 triple chair lifts. All equipment for either skiing or snowboarding are available for rent. The ski facility includes a Tubing run that is very popular for all ages.