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Fairbanks in January

Kailua, Hawaii
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Fairbanks in January

Hawaii young man seeks college ed. in Fairbanks this Jan 2012. Mom worried. Any personal tips would be appreciated.

Healy, Alaska
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for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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1. Re: Fairbanks in January

Need someone to fill his room while he is in Fairbanks? I am sure we could get you a few offers! :)

Okay - more seriously, what are your concerns? Fairbanks is a college town but in a good way. Much more of a small town feel. It has a great reputation as far as a university goes. Are you worried about the weather? Let us know a bit more if you can and we'll try to help. :)

Kailua, Hawaii
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2. Re: Fairbanks in January

I am definitely concerned about the weather in Fairbanks, in January. Where does one begin to outfit a person for safety and comfort? Do planes land regularly during the winter, or are there many cancellations? Is air travel the only way in and out during the winter?

Healy, Alaska
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for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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3. Re: Fairbanks in January

Nancy - as long as he doesn't have to worry about maintaining a vehicle, he will be just fine. There are plenty of places to buy outdoor gear in Fairbanks (Big Ray's, Beaver Sports, Prospectors) or prior to his arrival online.

Here are some of the companies I use:

Sierra Trading Post, LL Bean, Land's End, Eddie Bauer, Campmor, etc. Dressing in layers is important . . . and remember ours is a dry cold - seldom do we get wet cold. For example - a popular boot in AK are these Norwegian felt boots called Lobbens - lightweight and warm, but not water proof. I prefer wearing good fleece - I have a few fleece jackets of varying thicknesses, as well as fleece socks, mittens, hats, etc. I also have one heavy duty parka that is good to about -40. I walk every day in the winter - my cut off is around -35.

Nothing much stops up here during the winter - including planes, buses, etc. In fact, most of us traveling to other places only worry about where are connecting flights go - because that is generally where the hang up is - not in Alaska. Alaska airlines has some direct flights to Honolulu as well, so that should make things a bit easier for you.

I would also contact the university - I am sure there is some helpful staff that would help you in this big adventure for your son. :)

Bristol, Connecticut
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for Alaska
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4. Re: Fairbanks in January

Planes, trains and cars all are ways out of Fairbanks in the winter. Not sure about cancellations but i have flown to Fairbanks in the winter and never hadca flight cancelled Warm boots, hat, gloves, and a jacket are a good start for clothing everything else can be purchased after he arrives. When it is really cold some type of face covering is also a good idea.

Ketchikan
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for Ketchikan
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5. Re: Fairbanks in January

Working in education, I know a zillion kids who have gone to college in Fairbanks and love it. The Fairbanks college community is very nurturing and there are some amazing professors there. Most of the kids wear jeans, sweatshirts and parkas like any northern college. Put some money in good, warm boots and wool socks and call it good. It's weird, but the 20 below temps just don't feel that cold when you are out and about doing normal activities. I travel to Fairbanks every winter for a meeting and I wear normal business clothing with silk long johns underneath and am very comfortable with my lined boots and down parka for protection. Mind you, I'm not hiking or outdoors for more than an hour or so at a time....but doing regular walking, shopping, dining out, etc. with no problems. And folks are right....jets do just fine there...better than where I live where the rain, fog and wind cancel flights or delay landings. I've actually never seen it snowing in Fairbanks...obviously tons of it comes down, but it's always hardpacked and runway ready when I visit.

Fairbanks, Alaska
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6. Re: Fairbanks in January

Nancy I have had one son graduate UAF and one who is in his 3rd year so I think your son is attending a fine school. I hope he likes hockey the school has an excellent hockey team.

The campus does have a free shuttle service but nothing is too far away up there. He will however be having classes no matter what the temperature as is the norm here. However a rain in November last year shut the town down the roads were pure ice. I got like 4 paid days off!

“AK are these Norwegian felt boots called Lobbens - lightweight and warm,” Good boots I used to have a pair but I prefer something with a little more toughness I am a Sorel guy myself have had the same pair since like 1993. You might want to get him a baklava if his is going to be out walking about. That way he can pull it down over his face he just has to make sure he rules it up prior to entering a bank. But really once he gets here and adjusts to the weather he probably as a young man just wear a jacket between classes since he will not want to admit to being cold.

Don’t worry your son will be fine up here we are good people. We have new students and military personnel from all over the world coming up here and surviving. You do know there is always the danger that he will fall in love with Alaska and stay?

Kailua, Hawaii
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7. Re: Fairbanks in January

Dear coalminer, Your help has given me some peace of mind . And I appreciate the valuable and practical info. My son, bless his heart, is a 20 year old know it all--doesn't need to know anything. "i'll be just fine."

Is there a Walmart or Costco that he can shop for college dorm room supplies? I will be in touch with the college, but I sure appreciate this forum. I am a first time user.

As for his room, hmmm, how many of there are you...

Healy, Alaska
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for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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8. Re: Fairbanks in January

Let's see - Fairbanks has a Sam's club, a Walmart, Fred Meyers (which has everything - groceries, sporting goods, etc), Safeway, Sears, Barnes & Noble, etc. I am sure I am forgetting something - and like Hawaii -if you can't get it locally, you can have it shipped. You can google just about anything to see what is available in Fairbanks. :)

Seattle
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for Grand Canyon National Park
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9. Re: Fairbanks in January

Nancy, I was a student at U of A Fairbanks for a year, many years ago. One of my best friends ( and biology lab partner) was from Hawaii. I believe they had a reciprocal tuition waiver--- maybe they still do? Anyway, my friend was totally happy in Fairbanks. He left Hawaii, bought the right clothes for winter in Alaska, and never looked back. ( you probably don' want to hear that part).

I myself moved up there from California at the age of 23, having never seen snow or temperatures below 40 ( above zero not below) for that matter. I adapted right away and loved it there. Having the right clothing and boots is the key. You are getting great advice here on that.

And do not worry about the flights in and out. They are very reliable, even when it is very cold.

Wheatland, Wyoming
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10. Re: Fairbanks in January

Fairbanks International virtually never shuts down. It does receive traffic diverted from other airports that have been closed do to weather. The last flight cancellations here were due to Seattle being closed and volcanic ash.