First Snow of The Season!

Posted by David

Hello Hello,

Today, September 18th was the first snowfall of the season! A little early in the year for it, but the snow falling on Birch and Aspen stands that have only just started to turn is rather mesmerizing.

And as much as I and many other students at UAF like the snow, the recent snowfall is a sign to get ready for the winter ahead.

First of all, I say it's only a sign because the first snow never sticks, and it will usually be another 2 to 3 weeks before we get snow actually staying on the ground. If you are new to UAF or considering coming to UAF for school, there are some simple things you can do to be prepared for the winter.

1. Get a jacket! Seems pretty obvious, but you would be surprised how many people try running to class in a thin hoodie in 30 below. Jackets with synthetic insulation will keep you warm in wet conditions while jackets with down insulation will not keep you warm when wet. Wool will keep you warm, even when wet.

2. Winterize everything. Winterize your car and winterize your bike. The roads here get slick in the winter and sometimes we will get freeze rain, which makes roads even more slippery. Be smart and put snow tires on your car and bike before weather conditions get crazy. Winterization kits for cars come with an engine block heater, a battery pad heater, and oil pan heater and a 3-pronged plug. The Fairbanks North Star Borough recommends residents plug their cars in when conditions are below 20 F. If you do not plug in your car in the winter, it will likely not start. Most parking spaces will have outlets where you can plug in your car.

3. Have a good hangout place. In December, there is about 3 hours of direct sunlight per day, and the best way to beat the winter blues is to socialize with friends in a warm, well-lit environment. The Wood Center on campus is a popular hangout, and in addition to having a food court, they also have a bowling alley, an arcade, pool tables, free coffee at the student government office and a lounge.

4. Exercise Exercise Exercise! It is proven that exercise stimulates the brain, increases your metabolism and is also really beneficial to physical and mental well-being. Also if you're a current student and you're reading this, then good news, you've already paid to use the Student Recreation Center (SRC) when you paid off your account balance, so go use it! One of the common side affects of winter in Fairbanks is feeling sluggish, and exercise is the best way to stimulate metabolic rate and reduce sluggishness.

5. Have fun in the snow! The stuff is going to be here for 7 months, we might as well have fun with it! Sledding, skiing, igloos, 10 foot tall snowmen, there's all sorts of fun things to do in the snow. I personally am from California and even after 4 years of living in Fairbanks, I remain captivated by the snowfall.

6. Most important of all: Socialize. Arctic communities from Lapland to North America have traditional been very close, with very strong community values and even stronger community involvement from individuals. This is largely because Arctic communities tend to be in very remote areas, and historically have had to work together to survive harsh conditions. Luckily, survival is no longer a battle, but it is important that we maintain a strong sense of community. Socializing, whether it be talking with some new people you meet in the residence halls or joining an on-campus organization, is probably the best thing for the winter blues, or if you're just feeling bored.

Anyway, I hope this has been helpful, and if you're not a student already, I hope to see you at UAF in the near future!

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