By Melinda Munson

It feels like forever, but January 2022 marks my second winter in Skagway. Many of my friends recently returned from sun-laden beaches in Hawaii, Mexico, and that crazy state that insists on clinging to the southeast coast, Florida.

And while my globe trotting comrades had to travel on a ferry with barf bags lining the walls, I’m still a little jealous. One day the wind blew so hard in Skagway, we had to shovel ourselves out the front door. Only problem – the shovel was ten feet outside. 

My family didn’t go anywhere this holiday season, except for the hardware store, one time, when we really needed nine volt batteries. 

It’s been a long, lonely, chilly winter, particularly the three weeks of school “vacation.” Now you’ll see me around town – no makeup, bleak and haggard looking, a crick in my neck, sipping something out of a coral Yeti thermos. It might be hot cocoa, it might be … but I digress. The point is, I’ve survived and you can too. Here are a few tips to help you get through until March. 

Wear ice cleats. The four minutes it takes to struggle into crampons could save a trip to the clinic, and we all know how some residents feel about that. Wearing the proper gear doesn’t make you old, it makes you smart.

Freeze milk. And butter. And eggs, and whatever else you buy from the store that gets you through the week. You can count on something being unavailable each shopping trip the same way you can count on Mayor Cremata wearing a snazzy suit to assembly meetings.

Lotion your appendages. O’Keeffe’s Working Hands and their Healthy Feet cream are excellent. Both can be purchased at the hardware store. (Neither O’Keeffe’s nor the hardware store paid me to print this, but Mike O’Daniel might currently be fixing my dishwasher.)

Teen night at the library. For anyone with teenagers – send them for your own sake. Every Friday, 6:30 p.m.

Know your limit. For me, that’s one alcoholic beverage, maybe two on a rare, wild night. I hear stories of residents drinking their way through the winter. And while I’d like to keep Melissa Lee rolling in tips, I only have one liver and my memory is already terrible.

Allow three to four weeks for delivery. My mom ordered curtains from Amazon and they came in two days. I ordered diapers and they arrived four weeks later. Once packages reach the Bermuda Triangle of Juneau, there’s no telling when they’ll be placed on Seaplanes, or if inclement weather will send them on the (hopefully well-balanced) ferry.

And last but definitely not least… 

Keep a snow shovel inside.