Winter

How to Fall in Love with Winter

Hi everyone!  It’s been another downright cold week here in Anchorage.  As I mentioned last week, Alaska is slowly but surely getting our sunlight back and it’s been such a huge mental boost for everyone here.  We all want to go outside again now that it’s still light out after work, but there’s one thing that makes it tricky:  the cold weather.  Anchorage isn’t that cold compared to the rest of Alaska, but this weekend the “real feel” temps were in the negative teens.  I wanted to hibernate on my sofa with a good book, but Ridley was literally staring out the window and sighing so I knew I had to brave the cold weather and take him for a walk.  It was zero degrees and sunny, so we put on multiple layers of clothes and headed over to the University Lake Trail and the dog park, which is about 5 minutes from our house.

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That place was packed!  Dogs ran around in the piles of snow like they were having the time of their lives, and runners ran by without coats on.  Everyone looked happy to be out there, and I had to agree.  There’s nothing like hiking through a snowy forest while the sun sets, and by the time we got back to the car we were all much happier.  It got me thinking about how different Alaska is from Philly in the winter.  People here actually love the cold and the snow, and we don’t let anything stop us from going on with our normal lives – even when it’s so cold that your eyelashes freeze.  How do I, and most of the rest of Alaska, actually enjoy winter?

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The first step is simple:  decide to fall in love.  Stop repeating the same old phrases like “Why do I live in a place where it’s cold?” and “I can’t wait for summer!” and just simply let yourself enjoy winter.  Sure, it’s not fun sometimes.  But at least you don’t have to deal with bugs or humidity.  See?  There’s so much to love already!

Next, plan a fun outdoor winter activity.  I’ve always loved running and hiking in the winter, but this year I’ve added skiing and fat tire biking to my list of favorite winter activities.  When you have something fun planned you’ll start looking forward to it, and it will give you a reason to go outside other than just running to your car or to the mailbox.

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Here’s the most important step:  dress for the weather.  There are a million different websites and blog posts about how to dress for different temperatures, but I’ve learned in Alaska that those suggestions are really subjective and I usually adjust to the temperature in a few minutes.  When it got up into the 30s in Anchorage last month I was wearing a hoodie outside, but back when I lived in Philly the 30s called for a coat, hat, and gloves.  So don’t be afraid to try a few different combinations of gear to see what works for you.  In Anchorage, I almost always have on a hat and a Buff to cover my neck/face, as well as waterproof gloves. I have like 4 pairs of waterproof winter boots to choose from (made by Sorel, Icebug, and North Face) and wear thick wool socks. I also usually wear two pairs of fleece tights and it really keeps out the wind.  And to top it all off, I have a waterproof Columbia ski coat that I wear whenever I’m hiking/skiing/fat biking so that I don’t destroy my everyday coat.  What’s most important is that you’re comfortable AND prepared for a change in the weather, so wear as much moisture wicking and waterproof gear as you can.  In the Lower 48 I recommend buying cheap clothing and gear at TJ Maxx, Marshalls, or Burlington.

Once you’re dressed right and have a plan, get out there and enjoy yourself!  Act like a little kid in the snow, and before you know it you’ll forget that you’re supposed to hate winter.  And don’t forget the best part about winter:  drinking lots of hot cocoa to warm up once you get back home!  You’ll probably start planning your next winter adventure before you know it.

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Are you a fan of winter or are you already looking forward to the summer?  What’s the craziest winter adventure you’ve ever had?

17 thoughts on “How to Fall in Love with Winter

    1. For real! I think every bad winter experience I’ve had has been because I was not dressed for the weather. Or I used bad gear and then got wet from the snow and thought I was going to get frostbite. New gear = a better time!

  1. I do try not to wish away my life — but also not a fan of winter. Neither are the dogs. They don’t like the wet or the cold, so we don’t even walk as much — I would, but dragging 2 dogs around isn’t a whole lot of fun!

    I totally agree though — having the right gear is key!

    1. Aww poor dogs! My last dog was like that – she wouldn’t even go outside if it snowed. Ridley is obsessed with the snow and will play in it forever without getting tired so I guess that helps get me outside all the time 🙂

      1. Thankfully they will go outside. Sometimes. Otherwise our house would be intolerable!

        They do help get me out on days I’d probably want to hunker down inside on my own, so there’s that.

  2. Nice! I love your positive attitude. I’m more of a summer person but I appreciate the beauty of winter. On a trip to Colorado one February, it was so cold there was about an inch and a half of ice on the inside of my hotel windows!

    1. Oh wow that’s cold! If it wasn’t for the below zero temps I’d love winter more than any other season. It’s gorgeous but when it really hurts to breathe I’m not even able to go outside and enjoy it!

  3. I am definitely not a winter person. I do like wearing winter clothes though. Too bad I can never wear enough to keep me warm during the winter. Also, note that I am a TOTAL weenie when it comes to colder temperatures. I attribute it to living in Southern California my whole life. @_@

    1. Haha that’s probably true though! You get used to that temperature and anything warmer/colder doesn’t feel good. I bet if I came to southern California I’d get sick from the heat. That actually happened to me two years ago when I went to southern Utah in March and got way too hot hiking in Zion!

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