Preparation can turn winter fear into fun

Posted: Wednesday, October 13, 2004


  A cross-country skier pauses to enjoy the view during an outing in the Kenai Mountains near Turnagain Pass. Photo by M. Scott Moon

A cross-country skier pauses to enjoy the view during an outing in the Kenai Mountains near Turnagain Pass.

Photo by M. Scott Moon

It's been a great summer. So great, in fact, that most of us still refuse to accept the truth winter's a-coming.

Fact is, though, we've already been dusted with snow and slush. We've started scraping our windshields and making appointments at the tire shop to have our studded wheels mounted.

The reality is that it's time to prepare for the long, cold season ahead.

Break out the winter boots, coats, hats and scarves. Pair up those scattered gloves.

Prepare the family chariot with a winter car kit, such as jumper cables, chains, flashlight, tools and the like. Get the engine tuned up, check the brakes and change those tires before the first big storm.

Winterize your home. Check your doors and windows for air leaks. Caulk and insulate where necessary. Clean that wood or propane stove and its chimney. Put in a good stock of fuel.

Utility companies admit that power outages in the midst of foul weather are a fact of life. They're good at handling the emergencies, but there may be times when the juice is off. They recommend being prepared. Keep a supply of emergency food and water, a first-aid kit, extra blankets and winter clothes, a battery-powered radio. Contact Homer Electric Association for other tips about meeting the challenges of winter and cutting your heating costs.

Wear warm clothes when you venture outside. See that the children do, too. If they insist they don't "look cool," tell them frostbite leaves blemishes.

Consider buying a few board games to occupy the time when it's too dark and cold to go outside. Winter is an especially good period for that "quality family time" everyone talks about.

Now that we've broadly covered the responsibilities of the advent of winter, it's time to get excited about the recreational possibilities.

Tune up the snowmachine. Wax and edge those skis. Sharpen the skates and inspect the hockey pads. Winter isn't a bummer it's only this dad-blamed transition period that sticks in the craw. Once the snow is on the ground and we're "into it," winters become one of the most enjoyable periods in Alaskans' lives. Let's face it. Most of us live for it, which is OK, considering it dominates our calendar.

So go ahead. Plan that ski vacation or snowmachine trek plowing powder. If you haven't split your Visa card in half scraping your windshield, pull it out and book a weekend and hit the slopes at a local resort. The point is, with a little care, we can all be safe.

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