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snowtreeWell, it’s almost officially winter here in Anchorage, although to the untrained eye, it would seem as if winter is already in full swing. Temperatures have been steadily wavering between just above freezing to just above zero, and there has been snow on the ground for well past a month. Over the weekend, we were treated to 35 degrees and freezing rain, followed by 25 degrees the next day, which basically turned the entire city into a sheet of ice.

Driving, and walking for that matter, is absolutely treacherous, but who needs to drive. Our bikes are fully winterized with flat pedals, fenders, blinky lights and the all important Nokian Freddy studded mountain bike tires. Each tire is embedded with 336 carbide studs which cut right through the ice and allow you to speed along over the slipperiest of terrain. danwinterbikeIt’s fun to whiz pas cars at intersections that are spinning their tires and going nowhere. Dan is out on his bike running errands around just about every day of the week, no matter what the temperature. Every errand is like an all terrain mountain bike ride, since you have to negotiate snow and ice piles, the occasional unplowed sidewalk and of course, traffic.

Amy still bundles up and walks to work every day, and enjoys making fresh powder tracks along the downtown park strip when it snows. Running after work is made more difficult by the ice and hard snow along the sidewalks and bike (now ski) trails, but she puts on her shoe spikes and makes an adventure out of it. The two of us run together about once a week. She’s doing well in her job and has settled in well with the nice people at her office. She still works weekends at The Sport Shop, but will cut back after Christmas.

Dan is progressing well with his flight lessons. He’s up to 7 hours now, and looking ahead to his first solo, which could happen sometime in the next few weeks. He studies his flight manuals and Federal Air Regulations guide and practices on the simulator at home. He’s also made some really good contacts with some local ad agencies, and has shot photos a few times, although with the sun so low, and lots of cloudy days right now, the low level of ambient light makes action photography somewhat difficult. On of his photos was recently published in the current issue of Alaska Magazine.

One new activity that we’ve discovered is skate skiing. We’ve rented and borrowed skate skis a couple of times and have tried this fun new sport along the bike trails, and out at Kincaid Park, which is without a doubt one of the finest nordic ski areas in the country. Over a hundred miles of ski trails wind through the forest and most of the trails are lighted. amyskate1Eric also took Dan out to Hillside ski area, another great nordic center in the Anchorage foothills. It’s still a little awkward, since neither of us grew up on skis like so many of the little kids you see out on the ski trails, but it’s definitely fun and will take some time to learn.

And of course, everyone wants to know how we’re handling the darkness. Today the sun will rise at 10:03AM and will set at 3:42PM, which makes the day 5 hrs, 38 min. It’s a little strange to get used to, but it’s more intriguing that anything else. Amy takes walks every day at lunchtime and Dan is out on his bike during the day alot, but it is definitely a little weird to see cars drive with their lights on all day. It’s like we’re in Canada or something. We basically have two more weeks of shortening days, and then they start getting longer again. We’ve heard that January is the toughest month, it’s after the holidays, it’s cold and it’s dark. We’ll see how that goes. We watch lots of Netflix, make homemade pizza and try to do other fun stuff to keep us busy. We’re looking forward to having a fun Alaska Christmas here together.

So, that’s the update for now. We hope you have wonderful holidays and wish you all the best.

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