View Full Version : Fairbanks?

06-05-2007, 07:34 AM
Anyone here living in Fairbanks? Would love to chat, thinking about moving...

06-08-2007, 01:37 PM
There are at least a couple of folks from Anchorage on these boards, but I don't know about Fairbanks. I went to college (http://www.uaf.edu) in Fairbanks (graduated in 1997), but don't currently live there.

06-08-2007, 02:29 PM
Nicole - while I don't live there and never have, I have traveled to Alaska a bit. I also work with a lot of people from Alaska, including Fairbanks. If you have any questions, please let me know and I can find out for you :)

06-08-2007, 02:42 PM
I live in Anchorage but travel to Fairbanks each week for work during the summer. I'd be happy to chat.

06-08-2007, 03:33 PM
sarah is the knower of all.......

06-08-2007, 03:42 PM
Ok, Well here are some of my concerns....
First of all, I am not a complete novice when it comes to Alaska. I have spend a cumulative of 24 months in Denali National Park over the last three years. I worked seasonally for one of the lodges there.
Unfortunately, never got much north of there. I have been to Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula countless times.
I love the park in the summer and even the shoulder seasons, but I am really nervous about living year round in Fairbanks. The big question is how cold does it really get? I know Anchorage is far more mild.
I love spending time in the outdoors skiing, backpacking, bicycling, hiking, etc... I can tolerate a variety of temperatures and weather, but...
My fear is that it is going to be so cold in the winter and so buggy, hot, smoky in the summer that I will never get outside.
When I live in Denali the smoke from wildfires was sometimes unbearable, we had to cancel hikes with our lodge guests. I know the smoke was coming from north of there, so I can only imagine.
I love, love, love the idea of being in Alaska full-time. I am scared the mosquitos, smoke, and 60 below temperatures might be too much. How many days of the year would I really be dealing with these conditions?

06-08-2007, 03:53 PM
Ok, I sent off an e-mail to my friend who grew up there. I'll let you know when I hear something :)

I'm not really qualified to answer and most of my friends in the office right now are from the SE part. I'm sure they might have contacts, I'll try to find out what I can.

From what I've seen (and I know there are many people, CWR included, know FAR better!), you should be ok with making your own entertainment. I've seen smaller type places with nothing to do so there is a lot of drinking depression. Maybe it'd be a good idea to go on vacation there in the dead of winter :D

One thing that I heard, also, was that it was easier to drive up there. Someone I know from there (since retired) remarked that Seattle/WA winters were so dark and it was difficult to see. While it was dark in Fairbanks, the snow and lights lit everything up so it wasn't bad at all.

OOOH, I just thought of someone who lives there. I will e-mail her next!

06-08-2007, 03:54 PM
It does get cold in Fairbanks. Here is the NWS Page (http://www.nws.noaa.gov/climate/index.php?wfo=pafg) that you can look at previous temps and records. If you click on monthly you can go back a year.

The biologist that I use to work with, use to bike year round to work. Then again, she was also born and raised here in Alaska. Its all what you get use to.

I've been told Fairbanks is easier to deal with, weather wise, because its not a maritime climate. Those are what will get you. Its cold up there, but not like where I use to live in Cold Bay, where the cold will cut right through you. Its more stable up there.

06-08-2007, 04:51 PM
for the information.
I have been trying to read everything I can get my hands on. I did look at the NWS site and it scared me!:eek:
I just don't want to be trapped inside for too much of the year.

06-08-2007, 09:47 PM
Folks who live in Fairbanks love it- even in winter when it is -60. They have the northern lights to watch most nights and Chena hotsprings to soak in (natural hotsprings nearby). It does get very cold but that doesn't stop folks from getting out and x-country skiing. The town has lots of good ski trails. Being an interior city, it is a dry cold not like the damp that CWR experienced in Cold Bay (an aptly named place right CWR??) The university of Alaska, Fairbanks is a thriving little place up on the hill and has a GREAT museum. Fires can be bad, but are not necessarily an all summer or even every summer event. What deters many is the fact that most living situations out of the town (even a few miles out) are "dry cabins"- no running water. But even that is o.k. It is a lifestyle. You soon learn to live with hauling your water and using an "outhouse".:D
What kind of work do you do? If you want to live year round in AK you may consider this to help determine where you live. There are lots of nice places. I know several groovy ladies who reside in Fairbanks and will ask them if there is any info I should pass along. If you worked in Denali (what lodge? I'm there several times/ week) then you know that the summers in Fairbanks can be quite warm- it was in the 80's the other day and I was HOT.
Hope this helps.

06-09-2007, 05:42 AM
Many people think of Fairbanks as this little rural town with nothing to do, like Northern Exposure or Men in Trees. My experience was the complete opposite. Yes, you're six hours drive from the nearest big city (Anchorage), but there are still shopping centers, restaurants, businesses, and working professionals. You don't have to live in a cabin, there are plenty of houses and neighborhoods.

As far as the cold, yes it does get cold and dark in the winter. But, if you dress for it (I always joked that I learned to recognize people by their outerwear because there were times when we were so bundled up that all you could see is someone's eyes), it's bearable. And, you get used to it.

Summers in Fairbanks were definitely my favorite time of year. Remember, desert climate, so warm and dry. I don't remember mosquitos being extremely bad in Fairbanks (more so when you get out of town). There were times when my friends and I would go out rollerblading at midnight in the summer because it was light enough to do so!

While I enjoyed my time in Fairbanks, I think it's one of those places that you either absolutely love or absolutely hate. It depends on what you're looking for and how you can adapt to the darkness in the winter. If you're easily depressed or suffer from any sort of Seasonal Affective Disorder, then it will only get worse. But, if you don't mind rainy, cloudy days, then the winter might be fine for you.

I hope that helps!

06-09-2007, 05:47 AM
I didn't look at the link to weather that someone else posted, but in my four years in Fairbanks, I only remember on time where it got down to -60 degrees and that was with windchill. You just do NOT go outside in that. Most winters, it would get to -20 and that's very bearable "walking around weather" with a huge down jacket, boots, gloves, hat, scarf over your face, etc. But, for large amounts of time outside, you'll want to invest in really cold weather gear.

06-09-2007, 10:34 AM
Sheesh is right,

while it can get very cold in Fairbanks it usually is not too bad. The super cold comes in "snaps" and lasts only a short time. And there are plenty of homes with running water- most of the folks I know up there live in dry cabins but that is for money saving. The love it or hate it is absolutely true too. I'm from coastal Alaska and find the interior to be too dry- especially in winter, the cold zaps the moisture right out. In fact Fairbanks is a fairly dry place in general- because it sits between two mountain ranges, the Brooks in the north and the Alaska range in the south, it only gets around 14 inches of precipitation per year - this includes snow fall.

But there is a 'hip' community of folks up there who love the place. It is the only university in Alaska in which you can get a PhD and there are a lot of folks studying very interesting things, such as the northern lights. It is also a military town to some degree- there is an army base and an air force base near by. Fairbanks is an interior hub for many of the smaller surrounding villages.

Cycling in the summer would be good. I commute by bike in Anchorage in the winter (which is much warmer than Fairbanks) and find that most days it is fine- however, I don't know that I would be cycling year round in Fairbanks.

On clear days you can see the Alaska range in the south - even Denali (Mt. McKinley to non-Alaskans). But FAI (the airport code for Fairbanks) is not in the mountains. It does have some rolling hills surrounding it but town proper is in a big river valley. A couple of rivers flow through town and in the winter they freeze over and become another road for people to drive their cars on.
Cars by the way are outfitted with block heaters (an easy retrofit) so that they can be plugged in during the cold weather so that you can start them.

Being on the valley floor in winter can mean that you experience the temperature inversion, where it is colder at the bottom and the warmer up the hillside, so if you move up, you may want to look for a place up on the hill. It is usually only a matter of a few degrees, but for someone like me that would be noticeable.

Again, hope this helps.

06-09-2007, 11:56 AM
Ok, here are the answers I got from my friend. She has lived many places (including Seattle) but is from the state of Alaska. She transferred to Fairbanks, by choice, a couple of years ago.

Hope this helps!


Anchorage weather is less fluctuating, but actually feels colder because it is so damp. The dampness gets into your bones there. In Fairbanks, we have a pretty big temperature range. It can be 20 above in the morning and drop to -20 at night. Usually, there is some time between to give you a chance to adjust.

Smoke is of course dependant upon where the fire is. Fairbanks tends to get hazy when there is a fire within about 200 miles. So far this year (knock on wood) it hasn't been smoky at all.

Mosquitos come out as soon as it's warm enough. This year they were pretty early, out in April. As long as you don't mind eu'de Cutters, you'll be fine. Each year varies as to when break up occurs. I've seen spring roll in in March and as late as June. Fall can be as early as Aug or as late as Oct.

It's really not as bad as people make it sound. Yes, it's cold, it snows, it's dark....but it can be beautiful when the snow blankets everything, there are ice carving sculptures, sledding, skiing, snowmachining. In the summer, it's light all day, you can have a BOUNTIFUL garden, hiking, swimming.

06-11-2007, 09:46 AM
Well, thanks for all the information ladies. It puts some of my fears to rest and makes others, well....worse!:D
It's good to know that there is a community of people who get out and are active. That is one thing I miss here in Washington is that sort of community. I had heard before that the community in Fairbanks is also pretty welcoming.
I'll let you know if it happens.

06-11-2007, 10:42 AM
Good luck with your decision :)

I noticed the same thing in Washington. I'm from Southern California and while that region has its own problems and I wasn't completely happy, I found people up here to be not so community-minded in some ways. Everyone I've known who came here from elsewhere said it is far more difficult to make friends here.

I'd still visit Fairbanks in winter just to get a feel for it. You never know, you could absolutely love it :D

07-22-2013, 10:19 AM
Did you move to Fairbanks? I live here (20+yrs). We have a wonderful cycling community. Google "Fairbanks Cycle Club" to find our group rides. You could ride everyday, winter as well.