How’s your breakup going? On the surface, this may seem like an inappropriately nosy, and even startling question. Surprisingly enough, it’s actually a commonplace conversation starter during the months of March, April and even May in the North. In the 49th state, we refer to springtime as breakup season. The ice is melting, and afternoons that were spent shoveling snow off the walkway just a few weeks ago are now spent sitting out on the front porch. Summer isn’t quite here, but we can feel it right around the corner. It might be a shoulder season, but there’s still plenty to do when you’re in Alaska for spring.
By mid-April, there are roughly 15 hours of daylight. This extra time under the sun means that if you can find a relatively dry trail, an evening hike is a great activity. It means waking up in the morning is that much easier, and it’s about time to dust off the blackout shades so you can get to sleep at a reasonable hour. The sun doesn’t even begin to set until around 9:30 p.m., and it’ll only get later and later until summer solstice in June. The extended daylight is also great for spring skiing. The slopes (both resort and backcountry) are generally still covered in snow, and with temperatures that can hit well into the 40s on a summer afternoon, you have the perfect combination for a flawless day of spring skiing.
Attire for this time of year can be tricky. Mornings are crisp and often frosty, with sunny afternoons giving way to T-shirt weather. No matter what, you’ll want a pair of rubber boots because if one thing is consistent, it’s the puddles. A light jacket is still a must, but dress in layers so you have something to shed when things heat up.
One of our favorite community activities this time of year is the Native Youth Olympics, taking place this year at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage, a short trip from our Westmark Anchorage Hotel. Admission is free to watch over 500 athletes compete in events like the kneel jump, Eskimo stick pull, two-foot high kick and more. There are also music and dance performances and a Pilot Bread recipe contest.
There’s a collective shift in mood at the end of a long winter, and the best thing about breakup season is the shared sense of excitement that summer is coming, daylight hours are growing and, before we know it, the nonstop fun and adventure of summer will be in full swing!