What's it like in Winter and Summer in Alaska?
Interior Alaska is a land of extremes. I love extremes and that's why I live here. Most Lower 48ers think it is winter all the time here. Canadians know better. (I love Canadians.)
So to give you an idea of the difference between our intense winter, and our sometimes intense summer (it was awesome last year with lots and lots of 90°days, and even more 80° days) I thought I'd do a Summer/Winter comparison list to whittle it down to the important differences.
The Alaskan year has four "seasons" but they aren't the ones you'd think. We have Winter, Break Up, Summer, Freeze Up. You might consider that we have a Fall right before Freeze Up...sometimes it is a few weeks long, sometimes only a week. It starts getting cooler in August and our first snowfall is generally in September, and that's generally the one that melts. But sometimes not. Climate change is showing its ugly head up here big time. Anyway, let me get out of this digression!
So here are the ways Summer and Winter differ:
DrivingSummer: Moose, Winter: Moose
Summer: Scary, slow RVs and buses, Winter: Scary newbies who don't know how to drive here
Summer: Suicide squirrels, Winter: Invisible Birds (I'm not making this up!)
Summer: Get in the car and go! Winter: Plug in car, scrape windshield, push snow off, warm up car for 20 minutes, still can't see, go warm up hands, go scrape some more
Summer: round tires, Winter: square tires
Summer: dry, wackdoodle bumpy roads, Winter: Ice, black ice, snow, and idiots in Pickups that try to defy the laws of physics.
What to wear
Summer: Regular summer clothes, industrial strength DEET
What to eat
Summer: As many fresh, local vegtables and fruits as you can get,
Winter: Lots of carbs. Frozen veg. You only get really old veg/fruit from the grocery store that goes bad almost before you get it home.
Summer: groceries go home in the bag in the car
Winter: You have an thermos chest to put sensitive groceries in so they won't freeze on the way home
Summer: Fresh Salmon, moose, halibut, blueberries, cranberries
Winter: Frozen Salmon, moose, halibut, blueberries, cranberries
What to do
Summer: Fish, swat mosquitoes
Winter: Ice fish, be happy there are no mosquitoes
Summer: Barbeque, run away from hornets
Winter: Barbeque wearing bunny boots
Summer: Go to the hot springs and laugh at tourists, save them from petting the moose
Winter: Go to the hot springs and make crazy frozen hair-dos
Summer: Hiking, wearing bells and singing loudly
Winter: Standing around wearing everything and looking at the Northern Lights
Summer: Running/jogging/walking with your own personal cloud of mosquitoes going along for the ride
Winter: Wearing a headlamp and checking for moose tracks and peeking around every dark bunch of trees just in case, being ready to run like hell
Winter: Skijoring, Skiing, snow skating, going out on the snow machine
Summer: Trying not to get eaten by bears
Winter: No bears
As far as I'm concerned, that's all that matters.