Denali on canvas

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This painting is on display at the Fairbanks Community Museum.  Photo by Circle to Circle


Fairbanks Community & Mushing Museum

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There is a small local museum on the second floor of the Co-Op Plaza Building in the heart of downtown Fairbanks.  I believe that two museums combined forces, with the Community Museum embracing the once separate Dog Mushing Museum, which had fallen on hard times.

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The 1962 Bombardier Ski-Doo is a powerhouse of snow, stomping fun.  The four-cycle engine produces 7 whole horsepower, and offers a top speed of 15mph.  Is that quicker than a horse-drawn sleigh?  The little Ski-Doo last raced in the 2006 Tired-Iron Snowmachine Rally, which is an annual event here in Fairbanks.

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Dog mushing is a major part of Interior Alaska’s identity, although recreational mushers are becoming a rare breed.  Currently, around the same time frame in March as the Dog Derby of 1941, Fairbanks hosts the Open North American Championship dog sled races.  The Open North American brings in mushers from around the globe.

 

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The big race for Fairbanks is the Yukon Quest, which runs between Fairbanks, Alaska and Whitehorse, Yukon Territory.  The 1000 mile race was first run in 1984.  The start line alternates yearly between the two cities.

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This Yukon style toboggan, circa 1920, is representative of the style used in the Interior Alaska woods.  They traveled better than sleds with runners.  The woodwork was obviously done by hand, and the sides, and back are made of moose hide.  It was built, owned and operated by a famed local trapper.

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The museum is full of photographs from all stages of Fairbanks’ history.  From the gold rush days of its founding, to the Great Flood, and beyond.

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During the tourist season, the film “Attla” has been shown on a weekly basis at the museum.  George Attla was the iconic Alaskan dogsled racer.  He dominated sprint races, with a career that spanned from 1958 to 2011, doing it all on one good leg.  Mr Attla, originally from the village of Koyukuk, passed away in 2015.

On a separate, but related note:  The PBS show, “Independent Lens” will be broadcasting an episode on George Attla on December 16.  Check your local PBS station for showtimes.


Alaska’s November in review

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Data credit: NOAA; Graphic credit: @AlaskaWx

November was a warm month across the State of Alaska.  With the lack of sea ice, Utqiagvik was a staggering 16.1 degrees above normal for the month.  By comparison, Fairbanks was a modest 10.6 degrees above normal for November.

 

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Graph credit: ACCAP

Sea ice in the Chukchi Sea was at the lowest level ever recorded for November.  In fact, sea ice was at such a low level, that it was below the daily average levels for entire summers prior to 2001.

 

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November highlights: Data credit: NOAA; Graphic credit: @AlaskaWx

Some highlights for the month statewide:

The final week of the month hit the village of Bettles, with a record 3-day snowfall of 28.3″.  That same storm also set the 2-day record.

Anchorage, Cold Bay and Kodiak all saw their warmest November on record, while Utqiagvik experienced its second warmest.

On Thanksgiving morning the temperature in Fairbanks was 33F, which is only the seventh time in 116 years that Fairbanks saw above freezing temperatures on that day.

Nome had no snow on the ground during November, yet Chulitna received 78.5″!

Kotzebue continues its streak of above average temperatures for the 27th consecutive month.


Hockey in Fairbanks

Friday & Saturday were Hockey Nights in Fairbanks

Puck about to be dropped on Saturday. Anton Martinsson in net for the Nanooks.


The Battle for The Axe

And the Big Ten West Title

The longest running rivalry in college football.


#OptOutside 2019

Just think: No lines, no fighting over the last extra large, no pushing or shoving, or trying to find a parking spot.

Opt to go Outside and explore. Every trail leads to an adventure.

If you happen to be in or near Baraboo, Wisconsin, The Leopoldo Center is holding crane viewing events this weekend.


Happy Thanksgiving

Comic credit: Calvin & Hobbes by Bill Watterson

Best comment of the day: “Fairbanks, AK, is a lock to have a White Thanksgiving for the 116th consecutive year. “
Climatologist49

Snow Days

One of the advantages of being self-employed, is that most people do not want you working on their homes during a holiday week.

Which means I get some time to play in the snow. More is coming to the Interior. It should start up again Tuesday night, and snow right through Thanksgiving, and on into Friday morning.

Nice.

The high temperature in Fairbanks is expected to rise to 28F on Thanksgiving Day, with a low of 21F.

The average high temp for the day is +7F, with an average low of -10F. The warm weather is expected to last into the middle of next week.

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Utqiagvik Streak Ends

Graphic credit: NOAA

Utqiagvik (Barrow) Alaska had an incredible run of 152 days in a row with the daily average temperature above normal. The streak ended on November 25, when the temperature hit the daily average.


The Palace Theatre

Camera: Widelux; Film: Kodak 35mm, TMax100


Alaska Storm Surge

Color code depicts wind speed; Graphic credit: TropicalTidbits.com

A large storm is barreling into Western Alaska this week. Heavy rain and strong wind is expected. Gusts of 65-80 mph are possible.

Currently, the vast majority of Western Alaska is devoid of snow. The entire western coast has no sea ice. The ice would normally offer some protection from coastal erosion. The high winds will certainly set back any sea ice growth.

Gale force winds are expected to continue in the impacted areas through Wednesday.

That is one impressive system.