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Commuting in cold weather

By rumbleinthearctic on 2014.02.26 In Adventures Lifestyle Nature Outdoor

Since I recently got my drivers license, and also just taught myself how to drive a manual I am not that keen on using my car driving to and from work. Well, also it’s only 2.2 miles to get to work so…

The past couple of days I have been skiing more frequently to and from work.

Morning commute

I have a ski race coming up pretty soon. Well, this is not your traditional ski race maybe. You can choose to do 25 or 45 miles. I chose 25 miles…(roughly 40km or so…). Since this is Alaska I guess the terms are a little different. Of course we have organized ski races here too, but this one in particular is in the middle of nowhere. Of course there is a road leading there. You will do a loop into the mountains, and then back again. And no, actually not into the mountains as in between, you will go up a ridge line, ski along the ridge for a while before you drop down again. Or as the trails description says: “Its a challenging race course with big ascents, fast downhills, blind turns, and outstanding views of the local hills and the Alaska Range as the trail climbs high above the valley floor“. You start by slowly going uphill, roughly from 700 feet to 2200 feet in 8 miles. Fatbiking is really hot in Alaska, and most racers will probably do that. I on the other hand will ski. I am not aiming for any specific time or so, you have 12 hrs to finish then you are out. My goal is to finish within these 12 hrs.

Well back to my commute. The past weeks we have had temperatures around, -36- -29, so pretty cold. I mainly use the white polar wax from Swix in the mornings.

Polar Wax

During the middle of the day you can sometimes get up to green and blue wax. The past weeks the days are also getting longer, and sun rises earlier and earlier.

Sunrise

Man I love when you can see the moon and the mountains together, I took a picture of that a couple of weeks ago.

Man in the moon

When I bike to work I have a couple of key items. Bike helmet of course to start with. Ski googles! very very important along with a good headlamp,

Ski Googles

my thick hestra mittens,

Hestra mittens

one baselayer and then my Norröna or Fjällräven pants, a fleece on the upper body and then my thick windshell/gore tex from Norröna. On my feet I wear my Mukluks of course, they are made out of moose hide, and have an insulating wool layer.

Steger Mukluks

They keep me warm down to at least -40.

Of course I might wear less as the temperature gets warmer. But that is usually what I wear, even down to -40. But my commute is really short though. The thick gore tex is definitely an overkill, but I still haven’t replace my wind shell anorak from Arcteryxx that got ripped this summer 🙁

Skiing is similar but not quite. I feel like you do move a little bit more, but on the other hand it can be really slow if the temperature is low. Skiing home or to work in the middle of the winter can be really dark.

Darkness2Darkness

Most of the time when you ski in the cold you also get lots of frost building up. It is important to protect you bare skin when you ski or expose your skin in such low temperatures. Everything and anything that contains water will be directly bad/dangerous for your skin. I usually put some bag balm on my face, which is a thick type of grease I guess you could say. Anyway it works as a protective layer on your skin. If you get cold feet easily when you are out in the cold, put some bag balm or something similar on and I bet it will help. Also a good advice is to frequently feel your face to make sure it is still warm, if you can’t feel it or if you feel that it’s cold, you better cover it up.

Frosty

I have astma, which can sometime be extra hard in areas like Fairbanks, because the airpollution gets so bad and also because of the dry and cold climate. The other month I bought this mask, that is changing the temperature of the air you breath in by almost 10 degrees C, which is a huge difference if you are doing sport activities in the cold. The company name is Airtrim and they are swedish..And the product works really well. You do get weird looks from people, but that is ok, becuase the relieve for my lungs is so huge!

Airtrim

Anyway, a short talk about my commute and doing activities in the cold I guess. Hope you guys will have a wonderful rest of the week.

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Ann

I am a:
Photographer
Nature Lover,
Student
Traveler
Hiker
Adventurer

I currently live in Fairbanks, Alaska, and have lived here since August 2009. In this blog I will share my photographs from my life here, and of course stories about life in general in Alaska. So if you are as enthusiastic about an active outdoor life and love nature and photography as much as I do, you will probably like it.

Here you can follow me and my adventures, enjoy.

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