So you’ve read, Things I Wish I Had Known Before Moving to Alaska, but you’re still not sure if you should take the plunge. Here are some more things one should know before moving to Alaska.
1. Icy/snow-covered roads all winter
Anchorage does not use salt, so the ice and snow does not melt on the roads. They do use gravel with small boulders, so expect a lot of cracks in your windshield by March. Many people buy studded tires to put on their vehicles during the winter and most other people buy a 4-wheel or all-wheel drive vehicle for safety.
2. Down-scale fashion
Black tie event = business casual in Alaska
Business casual = casual
Casual = anything and everything: pajamas, dirty Carhartts, whatever floats your boat
It is true. People are very relaxed in their style of fashion. I even heard someone say that the products at our Nordstrom are rejects from Seattle.
Popular footwear: Xtra-Tufs (pictured above), Bogs, Danskos, Keens, Chacos
Coats: The North Face, Patagonia, Mountain Hardwear
Other: Skhoop skirts, plaid, Carhartts
3. Alaskans are very proud of their state
Alaskans cannot understand why anyone would want to live anywhere else and get very offended when you talk negatively about their first love. They show their affection for their state by tattooing an outline of the state or the Big Dipper on their bodies, personalizing their license plate (which is also really popular), sporting sweatshirts with “Alaskan Grown,” and vehicle window decals with 907 (the area code). I agree Alaskans have very good reasons to love their state, but coming from outside of Alaska, I think there are equally great places in this country.
Jobs aren’t too hard to come by. The downturn of the economy a few years ago did not hit us that hard. If you want a job bad enough, you will be able to find one. However, the job market is targeted towards oil-related jobs and health-care workers.
5. Fur apparel
Fur really only makes its presence known one time of the year—at FurRondy. Fur Rondy (fur rendezvous) is a winter festival that has its roots in the trading of furs. People break out their finest furs during these two weeks of the year for the start of the Iditarod, running with the reindeer, and carnival rides.
6. Igloos, dog sleds, and whale blubber
Anchorage is just like any other medium-sized city in this country and therefore we do not live in igloos, ride dog sleds to work and school, or eat whale blubber. There are tall buildings, a downtown center, chain stores, taxi cars, and shopping malls. (Side note: Whale blubber is eaten by some people, especially the Native Alaskans.)
7. Garages are not for cars
It is more common for people to park their car on the street instead of in their garage. In garages you will find other recreational vehicles and equipment: campers, boats, 4-wheelers, camping gear, dad’s workshop, etc.
8. Winters are long and dark
There’s no other way to put it. Winter typically starts in early October and continues through the beginning of April—sometimes the middle of May if you are lucky like we were last year. The days are short 5 hours of daylight in Anchorage and less the further north you go. Even those 5 hours are dusky and the sun does not rise very high in the sky. These short days last from the middle of November through the middle of February.
9. Wildlife roams the city
Even though some say Anchorage is 5 minutes from Alaska, there are many moose that can be found in the city year-round. You may also spot bald eagles, bears, wolves, and beavers. Luckily most of the moose in the city are docile and used to people, but you still don’t want to take your chances.
10. Other random stats about Alaska
Feel free to comment below with additional things that make Alaska unique or ask a question regarding this mysterious state.