Reminder: Why I still love Alaska

When I was 18 and just getting ready to leave Alaska for college, I could NOT wait to get out of the secluded state and its famously cold weather. I was born and raised in Alaska and it was pretty much all I knew. Our family went on vacations relatively frequently, but I had still endured 18 brutal Alaskan winters that last about nine months each. I was so ready to leave and I could not ever imagine missing the place I had called home for so many years.

View of downtown Anchorage on a clear winter day, Cook Inlet in foreground and Chugach Mountains in background

Now that I’ve been in college for almost four years and have had a taste of the “lower 48” for more than just a vacation, I have a different perception of Alaska that has developed only recently since my visit for Christmas ended last week. I have lived in Reno for the past four years and I have been LOVING the hot summers here. I also like the relatively mild winters because we still get snow but it’s not too cold. This year has been different, however. It’s now January 3rd, and there hasn’t been a flake of snow in Reno, and there isn’t any snow on the forecast. This sucks; the winter weather in Reno has been really lame. There’s no snow, everything is dead and ugly outside, the skiing in Tahoe is terrible, there hasn’t been any snow days at school, no shoveling, no turning on the rear defroster, no snowball fights, nothing! All of this combined actually made me miss Alaska weather for the first time, and I actually couldn’t wait to go back for Christmas this year. I hadn’t seen snow since last spring, and I wanted a WHITE CHRISTMAS!

View from the top of Alyeska Ski Resort, a few miles out of Anchorage

On my arrival in Anchorage the week before Christmas, I was ecstatic to be landing on a snowy tarmac in a white wonderland! There was snow everywhere, just what I needed. I didn’t mind the cold temperatures, because the flurry of snow coming from the sky and the soft white layer that covered absolutely everything outside was more stunning than I remembered it ever being. And sure enough, I woke up Christmas morning to more falling snow, fulfilling my wish for an amazingly surreal white Christmas.

The snowy streets of Anchorage, normal winter day. Average annaul snowfall for Anchorage is 70.6 inches (National Climate Data Center)

Although I admittedly wouldn’t want to bear the winter Alaska weather for a full nine months, being in it for a week was awesome. I loved every minute of being outside, whether it was jaywalking the icy streets downtown to get to the next bar, brushing a pile of snow off the car from the night before, or just staring up at the night sky as the snow fell. So overall, I have a new found appreciation for Alaska. Next year, I will not only be excited to see friends and family for the holidays, but I’ll also be excited to enjoy a beautiful white Christmas, one thing that Alaska can always guarantee me.

Visit my little brother’s website for more amazing photos of Alaska here

Feel free to leave any comments or questions below!

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