Azure Jane Lunatic (azurelunatic) wrote,
Azure Jane Lunatic
azurelunatic

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Living in Fairbanks

As a 20-year resident of the Fairbanks area (1980 to 2000), I offer the following:

Pros:
Beautiful summers, lovely winters, good schools, few "snow days", good teachers, a very active small-town school district, an excellent library, swimming pools, sports, a world-renowned symphony orchestra where you can attend in bunny boots and Carharts, a good university with plenty of real research going on, wildlife, the aurora borealis, wild roses, birch trees, spruce trees, aspen trees, Summer Fine Arts Camp for kids, stuff for the space-crazed organized by UAF's Geophysical Institute, the Midnight Sun Run, the way sunset doesn't start until 10 in the summer, and dawn's 4 or so, and sunset/twilight/sunrise lasts all night, Hot Licks (mm, ice cream, comparable to Ben & Jerry's only local).

Cons:
Cost of living, temperature in the winter, amount of snow (up to three feet), lack of pop culture (this can also be a pro), occasional lack of plumbing in the cheaper-rent out-of-town residences, moose as public nuisance, red squirrels as public nuisance, wind chill (not so bad in the hills in Fairbanks proper, but down North Pole way, worse), darkness, major medical procedures (such as many operations) taking place in Seattle, bad public transportation, yellow jacket hornets, ice fog, thermal inversions causing air quality alerts for violation of carbon monoxide standards four times a year in the winter (never in summer), mosquitoes.

Summer weather:
80 is hot. 60 is average. Rainy season in July/August. Frost in September. Breakup in April/May. Roses at the end of May/start of June.

Winter weather:
20 is warm. 0 is typical. -10 is also typical. -20 is too cold for outside recess. -40 is where propane kept outside gets too cold to flow. -50 is either school out or attendance optional. -60, definitely no school. '89 was the last time I think it hit -60 when I was there. It's a dry cold. A large snowfall will give you 3 inches. Black ice with a slight dusting of snow on top is the most dangerous. Studded snow tires are supposed to come off May 01. Shovel, sand/kitty litter and chains must be in trunk of car during winter by law of common sense. A down jacket is a serious investment but worth it.

Wildlife:
Moose, red squirrels, the odd caribou, the odd bear, mosquitoes, dragonflies, damselflies, horseflies, yellowjacket wasps, baldfaced hornets, red-backed voles, shrews, foxes, sled dogs, and more.


Few domestic pests such as silverfish/cockroaches, as they cannot survive the outdoor weather. There are some in some places, but once they're not in somewhere, they stay not in there unless imported again.

Sadly, the basement of the UAF gym complex does have silverfish. Avoid the College Inn also for the clientele and wildlife.

Little to no gang activity (this may have changed?), and I'm not qualified to speak on race relations. It is very much a monoculture, though around the university things may be changing with grad students from all over coming in.

Oh, and did I mention the cross-country and downhill ski facilities?


Crossposted: azurelunatic, alaskans
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