Heat Is Neat, Frost Doesn’t Cost, But Ice Isn’t Nice

Posted by Eli

Weather in Fairbanks is a unique beast to deal with. The temperature ranges around mid-80s in the summer time to frigid winter colds of 40 below. Many people would question how to live in such conditions, but there are many methods for dealing with this madness. Most incoming students arrive in the fall semester. During this time, sunny days can reach 80 degrees Fahrenheit.  Remember those parkas you brought? Probably would be a good idea to make a trip to Value Village - local thrift shop in Fairbanks -  by either bus or by bumming a ride from a nice friend with a car. This is the time of the academic year to get outside every chance you can get and enjoy the weather!

However, this initial warm glow from the weather dies down around October. Here temperatures begin a gradual decline (or sometimes suddenly plummet) into winter.  There is still enough daylight that one may be confused about how the temperature can be a bit chilly. Still no need for a parka; a windbreaker or thick hoodie will give a nourishing hug of warmth on the scramble between buildings.

Once November hits there is most likely going to be a fresh layer of snow on the ground.  Now, for those of you that are not used to snow, there is nothing terrible about snow...unless of course you have to shovel whole driveways at which point snow is not your friend. The most unpleasant part of winter isn’t the frost rather the ice. Even as temperatures drop to the point of feeling that your eyes may freeze, it is easy to bundle up with layer after layer. No one will judge you for wearing long johns, jeans, snow pants, two hoodies, arctic jacket, and a face mask to class.

Ice is a difficult foe to conquer. Even the nimblest of walkers eventually fall prey to a slip on a glazed patch of dastardly ice. To conquer the ice, seek out a pair of ice cleats sponsored by the UAF Office of Environmental Health, Safety & Risk Management (EHSRM). These ice cleats are plastic shoe sole covers that add small metal spikes to the bottom of your shoes. Once wearing the ice cleats, slick patches of ice are child’s play.  No more will you sore your body, and your pride, by falling in public places with an excess of observers. As a bonus they are easy to apply and remove!

Finally, in March, warm temperatures begin to thaw the Fairbanks and the UAF campus.  Dreaded ice begins to melt, daylight increases, and temperatures rise. Breezes no longer feel like bone rippling chills but rather a refreshment of warmth.  Everything only gets better towards the end of the semester when the green grass returns and you are left with finals completed and a warm tingle of accomplishment in your heart.     

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