So am I officially a “sourdough” now that I’ve spent a full winter in the Yukon? Or maybe I have to do all four seasons? Just spring left to go!
Winter was really easy. Sure it is long, but who needs the mess of fall or spring. We just get winter and summer up here!
The coldest I saw this winter was -34°C here in Dawson City, which is so warm! We were expecting -40’s and -50’s but the El Nino kept it mild here. Uncle Jeff in Huntsville, Ontario had a colder night than we had!
Going into our first winter here, I was worried about 3 things:
- dryness and nosebleeds
- my very frostbite susceptible face
When I lived in Thunder Bay, the dry winter air was so rough on my nose I had terrible nose bleeds. I haven’t had an issue here at all! Our house stayed at 30-34% humidity all winter, which sounds dry to me, but I drink plenty of water and haven’t had any trouble.
I was also worried about my face. I’ve frostbitten the skin around my eyes and upper cheeks a bunch of times and my skin is now really sensitive there to the wind and cold. It wasn’t too much of an issue. I just covered up my face in the cold.
The darkness scared me off coming north years ago. I love the sun. I thrive in the sun. How could I do without it all winter? This wasn’t much of a concern either, mostly because the length of daylight drastically changes every day. Before Christmas we were down to just a few hours of light a day, and we went two months without direct sunlight on town, but it’s just March now and it is light until 9:30pm at night already! I tried out a SAD (seasonable affective disorder) light during the darkest months in the mornings, and felt like it gave me a good shot of energy, but hard to tell if it is necessary. I’m sure it didn’t hurt though.
How to do winter in the Yukon
- It will take 10-15 minutes to leave the house, so add that to whatever time you need to get where you are going. You need time to add a second pair of socks, long johns, tuck your pants into your boots, zip up your coat, get your toque and mittens on, and if it is really cold, add your face mask.
- That’s it! Up here the snow is light and dry, easy to shovel (can usually sweep it away), it is rarely windy, it’s usually too cold and dry for frost to form on your vehicle’s windows, and it is never slushy. It is all the best kinds of winter!
Our house has been really easy to heat. I’m guessing the insulation is good and thick! We’ve spent less than $100/month on oil, which is a relief, since we’re spending significantly more than that on electricity to minimally heat our much larger house still for sale in Nova Scotia.
Here are some iPhone photos I took today when I walked to the mailbox, the Downtown for lunch and a couple hours of work borrowing their wifi, and then a walk back home on the dyke along the frozen Yukon River.
It was -12°C this morning, but by mid-afternoon it was +3! I walked without my coat on! Not even a toque or mittens!
Slowly life is returning to town. The bakery is reopen and the pizza shop. People are drifting back to town for summer work, mostly because it is nearly impossible to find a place to live here so they are trying to beat the rush. Many people will end up living in tents and shacks just like it has always been here since the days of the Gold Rush.