Coldfoot Truck Stop quietly celebrates the New Year

Posted: Friday, January 03, 2003

BARROW (AP) -- Staff at the Coldfoot Truck Stop on the Dalton Highway celebrated quietly on New Year's Eve.

That's to be expected this time of year at the truck stop 60 miles north of the Arctic Circle. In winter, it can get pretty low-key at Coldfoot, with just a few visitors, along with the occasional fox coming through, or wolf howling in the surrounding country.

The truck stop staff is expecting things to pick up with a number of Asian winter visitors, and they are sprucing up for hopefully a good number of summer visitors.

In addition to serving truckers who travel the road to deliver supplies and equipment to Prudhoe Bay, the truck stop has also become a stopover for organized tours and independent travelers who want to go through Atigun Pass in the Brooks Range, or all the way up the Dalton Highway to Deadhorse.

When interviewed by KBRW public radio in Barrow on New Year's Day, truck stop manager Linda Stanford said the staff celebrated the coming of the new year ''very quietly and quite cold actually.''

''We did have a few fireworks set off by several of our maintenance persons about 10 p.m. Other than that, it was pretty peaceful,'' she said.

Stanford said it was 27 degrees below zero on New Year's Day, having warmed up from 40 below.

On Christmas, the truck stop continued its tradition of offering a full buffet meal at no cost to some eight truckers, along with State DOT maintenance workers and a few other travelers on the Dalton Highway.

''Just kind of a quiet sit-around-the tree and eat and chat,'' Stanford said.

The truck stop expects more activity around the middle of January.

''We are going to have some tourists coming up to view the northern lights, and also doing some dog sled trips,'' she said.

A vanload of Japanese travel agents visited Coldfoot last September, and that has resulted in more winter tourism by the Japanese and other Asian visitors.

''Hopefully those folks will like it enough that they will spread the word and next year we'll get a few more winter visitors,'' Stanford said.

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