What everyone knows
Ok, Alaska is a place everybody wants to visit to see the aurora, because of the stories about the gold rush, because of movies like “Into the Wild” or “North to Alaska”, because of Disney’s Uncle Scrooge’s having made his first million there, because of the glaciers, wildlife and wilderness, its harsh climate, you name it. But a week of 40 below (less than -40C) every 500 days on statistical average? “No thank you.” is most visitors’ reaction, especially when they “survived” the 40 below room in Pioneer Park.
At 40 below you freeze to metal
At 40 below, even the triple windows of a five star energy rated house show ice on the inside in their corners. Fueling your car at 40 below is a real problem. Every metal you touch immediately freezes to your hand. Ouch! Driving with bunny boots and gloves in mittens is close to an art. Well, if your car starts at all. When your car has to go into the shop during a 40 below cold spell, you have to be prepared to have a rental car for more than a week. At 40 below, many cars break down. Thus, car repair shop owners love 40 below.
Life at 40 below
At 40 below, Fairbanks almost looks like a ghost town after 7 pm. People stay at home in the warm, and avoid going anywhere. They prefer to munch on their storage food rather than go shopping or going out. If they have to go to the grocery store, they will idle their cars in the parking lot. Of course, doing so is not allowed, but the 40 below make the likelihood of being ticketed close to zero. Who can write with mittens on?.
Furthermore, what people fear most is that the car won’t start again after one hour of being in the store. Getting a cab on a 40 below day is rather difficult. The cab drivers stay at home as 40 below means extremely low business, if at all. And did I mention that batteries freeze? And even if they still work, who risks to have a cell phone frozen to their ear. LOL.
So far, so good. We have not have 40 below yet this winter. But we do not have January yet either. 😉
The following photo shows one of the fascinating sides of Alaska winter. The metamorphosis of snow crystals into ice plates or hoar. You can find a physical description of snow metamorphism at the link.
This casual look shows how to wear shorts in winter: with a wool cable-knit sweater, long T-shirt underneath (not visible), two pairs of tights, and playful, but solid lace-up booties with insole for extra insulation from the ground. As outerwear my long winter-white leather coat with quilted lining comes in handy. It covers the entire legs. I wrapped a Russian wool scarf around my head to keep my ears warm. It is also a nice protection from a cold cellphone ;). The scarf is a gift from my BFF. She bought the scarf when being on a business trip to Moscow.
Did you know these things? Would you like to experience 40 below? Have you been to Alaska? Would you love to come to see the aurora? Let me know. Send me an email. I am curious.
Get a free subscription to High Latitude Style to be among the VIPs who are the first to know when a new post is up.
Photos: G. Kramm (2014)
Copyright 2013-2016 Nicole Mölders | All rights reserved