Winter is Coming! Tips for Staying Warm in the Interior

Winter temperatures can make for beautiful vistas and dangerous conditions. Photo: Zayn Roohi / Photo Editor

Winter temperatures can make for beautiful vistas and dangerous conditions. Photo: Zayn Roohi / Photo Editor

Spencer Tordoff / Web Editor

Life in Fairbanks means long, cold winter nights. While this is no surprise to sourdoughs and lifelong residents, it can often take its toll on newcomers to our town—incoming UAF freshmen among them. Winter temperatures average below 0 °F from November to March, and can spike as low as -50 °F, making hypothermia and frostbite substantial risks for those unfamiliar with the climate. However, with a bit of knowledge, preparation and a few items of clothing, one can survive (and thrive) in the sub-arctic chill.

Here are some general tips and guidelines to help newcomers make it through the winter.

  • Always Have a Hat and Gloves: Even if you’re planning a quick walk across campus or a short drive, make sure you keep a warm hat and gloves in your backpack or car—it’s better to have them and not need them, than need them and not have them.
  • Boots are Best: In the coldest part of winter, nothing beats a good pair of boots for keeping your feet warm. Wear a well-insulated pair of boots with thick woolen socks for best results. Keep your sneakers in your pack if you want to wear them indoors.
  • Don’t Overheat: Dress in layers, and take off a layer or two once you get inside. Overheating can cause you to sweat, and that moisture will make it much harder to keep warm.
  • Avoid Cotton: Though valued in warm climates for its light, heat-resistant qualities, those same attributes make cotton a poor choice for Alaska winters. Wool and synthetic fibers are a safer bet for holding in heat during the winter.

When it comes time to get geared up, budget-conscious students may wish to check the UAF FreeStore, located in the Lola Tilly Commons. The FreeStore often has winter gear available to be picked up and dropped off. It is open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Local thrift stores are also good places to find winter gear and equipment that won’t break the bank.

For more information on staying warm through the winter, visit the Department of Recreation, Adventure, and Wellness (DRAW) in the Student Recreation Center, or call them at (907) 474-5886.

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