Plan that Trip North (Part 1)

January 21, 2016
northern lights above roof tops

circles of light

What should you know about traveling to Fairbanks in the winter months?

Believe it or not, March has become one of the busiest months in the year.  People from all around the world come to enjoy a wide variety of specialty winter activities:  our international ice carving competition, the northern lights, and several dog mushing competitions.

ice sculpture

Ice art competition

But you say how can I be warm then?  Not to worry.  While it seems that you might freeze in the winter months, most people come with a typical winter coat and prepare to dress with layers–long underwear, a warm long-sleeved shirt, a sweater or fleece layer and then the coat.  Similar guidelines follow for the lower body; long underwear, pants, and perhaps snow pants.  Warm boots are a good idea, particularly if you plan to stay outside and walk around the ice park, or wander outside and wait for the aurora to appear.

What about getting around?  We always recommend renting a car, because while Fairbanks is small, you will find you really won’t be able to walk around to visit the places you want to go or restaurants where you want to eat. Road conditions, generally speaking, are no worse than other places that get snow, and frankly, they may seem quite a bit better due to staying frozen or even showing bare pavement.  There is a public bus system that you may find helpful if you choose to not rent a vehicle.

What’s open then, you ask.  Lots!  You will want to visit the Morris Thompson Cultural Center, as well as the University of Alaska Fairbanks.  We have an amazing amount of talent in Fairbanks, which results in plenty of options for theatrical and music productions, and art displays.  Consider heading to one of the local coffee shops where you’ll find a wide array of local talent, happy to entertain you in just about any genre you could imagine.    Special events abound: dog sled races, concerts, downhill and cross country skiing.

What are you waiting for?  Time to get started on planning your visit–summer or winter!

 

 

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Bragging Rights

February 3, 2015
fog on the road

Haze of ice fog on the Johansen on the way to town

Alaskans in general seem to enjoy their bragging rights. Consider the fact that when Alaska is superimposed over the “lower ’48” one end of the Aleutian Islands to the southern eastern coast it spans the entire United States. We’ll bypass those slogans that circulated in pipeline days regarding Texans and Oklahoma and suffice it to say that Alaska is BIG.

We do things in a big way up here. This last year was a prime example. If we are going have rain, we are going to do it big, have rain the entire summer,  and beat out all previous records. It seems God smiled on us after that and gave us a record warm winter–at least until last week.

If we must brag, it could be about anything. Vegetables? We grow them big, and in just three short months of summer. If it’s a dog sled race, we don’t mess around–it’s a thousand miles, through vast stretches of wilderness and bone-chilling temperatures. Then there are the unique benefits of living here; I mean, how many other states send a yearly check in the mail to every man, woman and child in the state, just for being a resident?

Today we have completed more than a week with an average temperature of 30 below zero. Somehow, the challenge of keeping the home fires burning, the cars running, and just surviving make us appreciate our home a little bit more when we have a slight warming, and suddenly people are not bundled up with barely a face exposed to the cold, but running into the grocery store with just a fleece jacket and sweats because “it’s warm outside.” My, what a difference 20 degrees makes at this time of year!