12 Fun facts for fairbanks first-timers visitors guide newsminer.com gas dryer vs electric dryer hookups


Yes, especially with gold prices being what they are. The largest open-pit gold mine in Alaska, Fort Knox Gold Mine, is located 26 miles north of Fairbanks. The Fort Knox mine has produced several million ounces of gold since it opened in 1996. The Pogo Gold Mine, an underground gold mine located 85 miles southeast of Fairbanks, began operation in 2007.

No. The aurora borealis can be visible in Fairbanks for approximately 200 days a year, roughly from mid-September to April, though they don’t show up every night. The best viewing is usually December through March when it is clearest and coldest.

Due to the extreme cold temperatures in Fairbanks during the winter, most vehicles are equipped with several electric heating devices that facilitate starting during the coldest time. The standard setup consists of an engine block heater, an oil pan heater, and a battery blanket/pad that warms the battery. It usually takes an hour or two after a vehicle is plugged in to warm it enough to start. Most employers provide “plug-ins” for its employees.

The Chena River usually freezes sometime in mid- to late October and remains frozen until late April or early May. One part of the river, about a mile-long stretch from the Aurora Energy power plant on First Avenue to Pioneer Park, remains open year-round because of the warm water being discharged from the power plant.

In the Fairbanks Management Area, which basically covers Fairbanks’ urban environment — if you can call it that — there are about 500 moose as of 2009, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. That area encompasses everything from Ester to North Pole to Fox. The number of moose in Game Management Unit 20B, which encompasses most of the road system surrounding Fairbanks from Salcha to Chena Hot Springs to Chatanika to Manley to Nenana, is estimated at approximately 14,500.

Very carefully. Most people use studded snow tires or special winter tires for extra traction on the snow and ice. Studded tires can be used from Sept. 15 to May 1 in Fairbanks and other areas north of 60 degrees latitude and Sept. 30 to April 15 in areas south of 60 degrees.

Not really. The shortest day of the year is Dec. 21, the winter solstice, when there is 3 hours, 43 minutes, of official daylight. But there is usually about a half-hour of twilight on each side of sunrise and sunset that translates to about four or five hours of light during the darkest days, from about 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Granted, it’s not bright light, but we’ll take what we can get. Soon after Dec. 21, we start gaining six to seven minutes of daylight each day.

Look out the window at midnight and you tell us. Seriously, the longest day of the year is June 21, the summer solstice, when there is 21 hours, 49 minutes of official daylight. At that point, in the last half of June and first half of July, it pretty much is light all day long. Soon after June 21, we start losing six to seven minutes of daylight each day.

You close your eyes and count moose. Kidding aside, most people who have spent much time in Fairbanks during the summer either are used to the extended daylight or they get a good set of curtains to keep the light out at night. Beyond that, you can use a mask to cover your eyes or move to the Lower 48.

Many people in Fairbanks do not have wells because of the high iron and/or arsenic content and instead use holding tanks that are buried beneath the ground and plumbed into the house. Holding tanks for residential homes are usually 1,000 to 1,500 gallons. People with holding tanks have two options: Pay to get water delivered by one of several water delivery companies in town or haul their own water at a cheaper rate. Those tanks in the back of trucks are for hauling water.

You’d be amazed at how many people you see doing things outdoors in the winter in Fairbanks, even when it’s 20 or 30 degrees below zero. Cross-country skiing, skijoring, dog mushing, snowshoeing, snowmachining and ice fishing are all popular wintertime activities.

For the most part, sled dogs get a chance to catch their breath and shed their coats during the summer months. While most mushers typically stop running sled dogs at the end of April when the snow melts, some mushers do exercise their dogs during the summer months using ATVs instead of sleds. Competitive racers usually start training their dogs again in August when the weather cools. Mushers will use ATVs to train their dogs until there is enough snow to use a sled, usually sometime in mid- to late November.