What everyone knows about Alaska
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 -40oC) every 500 days on statistical average? “No thank you.” is most visitors’ reaction, especially when they “survived” the 40 below room in Pioneer Park. Alaskans are happy about these cold snaps. “We need the 40 below in winter so they keep us alone.” is what they say.
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! You can’t even lock your house with bare hands! You freeze to the door knob. In the stores your are greetedI hope it is cold enough for you today. #Alaska #lifestyle Click To Tweet
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 to 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? Who in the full possession of their mind would be out there.
Furthermore, what people fear more than a $50 ticket 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 had 40 below yet this winter. But we do not have January yet either. 😉 January is the coldest month. It’s also the month with the most suicides,despite the light is coming back with 10 minutes a day. So you really see it’s getting better. However, temperature still drop.
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.
New Alaska street style outfit
This casual look shows how to wear shorts in winter: Pair them 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.
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Photos: G. Kramm
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