We are in the midst of winter now.
Already we have endured record snowfalls, frigid temperatures near minus 40 and, for some, the reality that our friends may have “winter plans” that we don’t quite understand.
For many long-time Yukoners this is all old hat and just part of the regular slog of living in the North.
But for those new to the North, Cheechakos if you will, here are some guidelines for getting through a Yukon Winter.
Don’t worry about fashion.
Sure you can be fashionable but don’t try to compete with the big city folks living in southern locals.
Get yourself a toque.
Ask any veteran Yukoner and they will tell you that the toque not only keeps your noggin warm but also serves as a beacon when navigating the streets on those frigid, late nights as you slip and slide through ice fog, sleet and relentless snowfall.
The toque is also how many Yukoners identify one another, because when it’s minus 40 we are all going to be bundled. Yes, I’m talking to you big city folks in your short dress and leggings or your skinny jeans and wafer-thin coat.
We live in the Yukon. What’s the hurry?
Do you really need to speed when the snow on both sides of the street is higher than your vehicle?
Is cutting that person off necessary? After all, it’s not July and making them spill hot coffee on the crouch isn’t very nice is it?
The wheels will spin and subsequently theirs will slide.
Turn on your lights.
Sure you can see them, but can they see you?
Give that crazy person on the bike some room.
While you are in the cozy confines of your car, they, for some bizarre reason, find solace in going to and fro on their bicycles.
Respect that and respect them.
Don’t complain about the darkness; at least not out loud.
We are all living here and have made that choice.
It being dark is nothing new.
Learn to love hunkering down and putting on a few pounds.
Rent some movies, invite friends over for dinner and get your cozy on.
Don’t make your main winter mission finding a partner.
Sure, companionship is wonderful and it is the best way to keep warm through the cold months, but the numbers are limited here and there are some veteran sourdoughs who know how the “winter plan” game works to a tee.
You are only going to get in a deeper funk if you put all your chips on hooking up!
Get out and embrace this amazingly artistic community.
You’d be hard pressed to go one night without having some kind of show to go to, be it poetry reading, concert, play or art opening.
Join a sport.
From cross country skiing to pond hockey the North offers some of the best sports facilities in the world, many of which are all natural.
Get a good long distance phone plan.
On those minus 40 nights when you couldn’t find a good movie to rent and the winter funk is trying to set in, pick up the phone and call an old friend.
Not only will you catch up, but you can brag to them about how you went skating on Lake Laberge with some friends who had invited you to a winter potluck at a cabin the woods.
Let them know you were the rave of the party because of your styling toque and the fact you didn’t lament about being single.
They’ll no doubt be impressed and may even book a trip to visit you and find out firsthand what this Northern living is all about.
Godspeed, my fellow Yukoner.