In photos: Alaska's endless winter

Moose on the march
Winter sunshine
Pack mentality
Northern Lights
Unorthodox travelling
Taking refuge

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Despite the best efforts of Storm Emma and the beast from the east, it seems winter is finally receding from view in the UK.

But over in the wild north-west of the United States, the picture is altogether different.

In Alaska, the end of winter is still two months away. When Britain celebrates the Royal Wedding and the FA Cup final in mid-March, Alaskans will still be freezing under their duvets and firing up the paraffin oil heaters.

Given the way we moan about the weather in the UK, you might think such a ridiculously long winter might be a cause for consternation. But, for the people of the so-called Last Frontier, there are some advantages to living in this endless snowscape.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has published its own report on the Alaskan winter, asking locals how they feel about living in a real-life version of the Disney classic Frozen. One Alaskan, wildlife refuge manager Susan Georgette, said there were plenty of upsides, including a distinct lack of mosquitoes, the ability to travel everywhere over the ice and snow, and, of course, the wonderful Northern Lights.

Fellow refuge worker Kristin Reakoff said "many people imagine the cold and dark as something painful or desolate, but it’s the absolute opposite.

“There is something complete in Arctic winters, something whole and connected to how things are meant to be. To walk long and hard in snow, winter hush and low light—over frozen rivers, across narrow willow bars and through the heart of silent forests, moonlight pulling at the edges of your awareness—is to know the very essence of being human.”

It can get pretty austere in certain areas; the town of Fairbanks gets less than four hours of sunlight on the day of the winter solstice. In Barrow, Alaska's northernmost city, the sun basically goes on holiday for the whole of January.

But, when you look at some of the pictures that Alaskans manage to snap, you see why people rave about it.

Check out some of the incedible photos compiled by the USFWS by clicking above.