Friday Five · Living in Alaska · Running · Winter

Friday Five: Five Snow-Free Winter Activities

Hi everyone!  Happy Friday!  Today’s Friday Five Linkup with Mar, Cynthia, and Courtney is all about fitness.  So I decided to focus on something I’m struggling with this winter here in Alaska: snow.  Or, to be more specific, the lack of snow!  First of all, let’s address a common stereotype I’ve heard a lot since moving here. Everyone just assumes that Anchorage is the coldest and snowiest place in the US.  But sadly it’s not!  You can check this awesome website to see if your city is currently on the top 25 list of snowy places this winter (I want to thank our snow storm back in November for helping us stay on that list!).  It’s almost always snowier and colder in certain places in the Lower 48 than in Anchorage (like in certain places in the midwest and the places where lake effect snow happens) but the past few years have been even more snow-free than usual.  I will say that our winters are longer and darker than anywhere in the Lower 48, and whenever it does snow there’s not enough sunlight to melt it for a while.  But considering the fact that it’s been above freezing and I can’t even tell you the last time we got snow (like an inch back in January?), I’m pretty bummed about the grass and ice that is everywhere.  Last weekend I had to drive an hour to get to a place where I could cross country ski, and it was up in a mountain pass!

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What’s a winter-loving girl to do in Alaska when it’s in the 40s and ice is everywhere?  Today I’m going to take a look at five winter activities that you can still do regardless of how much snow is on the ground!  Hopefully you can do some of these activities if you’re also dying for some snow:

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1. Ice skate:  This may seem like a no-brainer considering how much ice is all over the ground.  My husband and I are hoping to be able to get out to one of the outdoor rinks at the parks/elementary schools to practice before we head out on the lakes!

2. Run:  This must be done verrrrrry carefully on the ice though!  I got my shoes studded at the local running store, and the screws they attached really help me gain traction on the ice.  It’s still hard to stay upright on really slick ice, so I’d recommend actual studded shoes like Icebugs that can be used on both clear and icy trails.

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3.  Find the fake snow:  For the diehard cross country skiers among us, Kincaid Park makes fake snow for one trail in the park.  I haven’t tried it yet, but I have driven up into the mountains to find the only remaining real snow!  No matter which option you choose, be prepared for hills and fast, icy conditions!

4.  Go aurora hunting:  The days are slowly but surely getting longer, but it’s still dark enough at night to see the northern lights!  My favorite places to go are 45 minutes north around the Knik River bridge, but I saw the lights last weekend from Earthquake Park although it was hard with all the light pollution.  Pro tip:  I like to park somewhere where I can sit in my car to watch the lights.  It keeps me warm and comfortable, which is perfect considering that it sometimes takes an hour or more to see them!

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5.  Stay indoors:  This may sound like admitting defeat against the ice, but sometimes a cup of coffee and a good book is the best way to spend a winter afternoon!  I have a rule that I need to go outside at least 10 minutes each day, so at least I don’t spend all day getting sucked into Netflix.

Curious about what life is like in Alaska?  Feel free to check out my weird facts about Alaska Friday Five post from last year!  And I’ll have to write another one considering how many stereotypes there are about Anchorage and Alaska.  In the mean time, please send lots of positive snow vibes our way!

Do you have snow where you live?  How do you deal with a non-snowy winter?

30 thoughts on “Friday Five: Five Snow-Free Winter Activities

  1. Wow, I had no idea you lacked snow this winter. At least your days are getting longer so you can enjoy more light. Your cross country skiing photo makes it appear that you have tons of snow, even if it is an hour from home.

    1. I think that’s the problem! I sent that to my mom and she was like “See, you do have snow!” but it’s not down at sea level where I can enjoy it 😦 If you look closely you’ll see the grasses sticking up out of the snow on the side of the trail. I should have taken a picture at the bottom of the mountain because it already looks like spring down there! I am super happy about the increase in daylight though πŸ™‚

  2. Yeah, I probably did assume it was really cold and snowy there. I’m not sure I ever crave winter, but I do like ice skating and would love to see an aurora!

    1. Haha don’t worry, most people do πŸ™‚ I always feel a bit bad when people are complaining about negative temps where they live and it’s like 40 degrees here, but I really do wish it was cold enough for snow instead of the rain we’ve been getting!

  3. Non-snowy winters are my favorite. πŸ™‚ I never missed it when we lived in TX!

    Oddly, we didn’t make the list but NYC did and while sometimes they get more snow then us, usually it’s the other way around. Except this year. And I’m loving every minute!

    Lola gets me out every day unless it’s in the teens or wet.

    I’ve never seen the Northern Lights — must be so awesome!

      1. Well, they never fully remove snow when we get it, and then it turns to ice, so that sucks too!

        And then when we get a tough winter, I can’t see over the snow to make turns out of the neighborhood — not exaggerating! Some of those snowbanks can be taller than me.

    1. Haha! Yeah you should probably stay away from that πŸ™‚ I do think that certain places around you might be able to see it sometimes, so if you’re ever out in the middle of nowhere I’d look that up!

  4. I would love to visit Alaska one day. Those lights are breathtaking! I love ice skating but haven’t done it in an extremely long time! Hoping to finally get out there next weekend!

    1. You should! But you should come up during a snowy winter to see the northern lights, it looks so ugly right now with all the brown grass and mud everywhere. I’m terrible at ice skating but I really want to learn how to do it this year!

    1. That’s what my mom said! She lives in Reading, and she called me up all mad about how much more snow they have than we do. And I was so jealous! I bet it will melt quickly. The groundhog said spring is coming soon so hopefully he’s right!

    1. Awwww I want to come down and see your city with all the snow! It must be gorgeous. And that’s so cool that you had that dream! Maybe some freak solar storm will happen and the aurora will make it down to Utah someday? πŸ™‚

    1. It’s tons of fun! Not exactly peaceful though. My neighborhood is crazy loud and a bit dangerous and I’m hoping I can find a more peaceful place to live when we’re house hunting later this year! Last spring I witnessed a drug related shooting outside my apartment which is even more than I’ve ever seen in Philly so that’s something I want to avoid in my new place!

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