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Thread: Winter in Mat-Su valley

  1. #1
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    Question Winter in Mat-Su valley

    How are the winters in the Mat-Su valley area? I am contemplating heading that way next spring. Whats your average snow depth on the valley floor? Whats the humidity like in winter? Are winter days generally sunny or cloudy? I currently live a 9000 ft. in western CO and am used to a little winter, but would really like to know how it compares.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    The "valley floor"?
    Which valley since there are dozens in the region not just the Matanuska or the Susitna river valleys the region is named for.

    Snow depth varies by weather system and location. If you are in the wind path there might not be much snow. If you are up north by Talkeetna you may have several feet of snow. If the the weather is poor there might not be more than a few feet.

    Humidity is 45% or lower depending on the storms.

    Sunny in March and April, partly cloudy the rest of the time, or not. Weather changes every day so you get what you get.

    The more important question that you have not asked about is how do you get along mentally when it is dark most of the time from November to March. Most folks can handle the cold, but few can deal with the darkness all winter. Get up for work and its dark. Get to work and its dark. Daylight all day while inside at work. Get off from work and its dark. Get home and its dark. All after work activities involve a head lamp. Lots of people freak out and pack up to go "home" before summer comes.

    The second most important question is can you sleep in the daylight during "night time". Many folks can't handle that either and pack it up to go home after one sleepless summer up here.

    So the snow and the cold is not all that important, but it is all people ask about.

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    It's darker than CO beyond that nothing special (weather wise at least). Some years there is quite a bit of snow, others not so much. There is usually at least a couple 1-2 week stints of really warm temps where everything melts off. There is also usually some 2 week stints of -20 (or colder). In general it averages from 5-25 degrees from Nov-Mar.

    http://www.idcide.com/weather/ak/wasilla.htm

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    Member dkwarthog's Avatar
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    For the upper Susitna valley, anywhere between -50 F and 50 F. Sunny and -40 or drizzle and 45 above...Can stay -40 for weeks at a time, but recently hasnt been that cold typically. Snow on the ground by March typically 3-4 feet, but can be considerable more...AK Ray is right on about the light, both too much and not enough...

    I grew up in the UP of michigan and to me, the winters are very similar in the Susitna valley but they start 6 weeks earlier and last 6 weeks or more longer...

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    Member fullbush's Avatar
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    If you like to fly kites in refrigiwear you'll love it here!
    Snow? there isn't any snow it all blows away.
    Its not humid here its dry.
    If you have a good skin moisturizer/lip balm and enjoy high school basketball, the valley is where you wanna be.

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    I think compared to Colorado you'll notice it's a lot less Sunny, everytime I go back to CO, (grew up there, left in '78) I am Blown Away by how bright and consistent the sun is shining so even if it's cold the sun is Blastin' down on everything. After acclimating to various parts of AK eversince I am very used to not seeing Sun around much, it's worth it tho, but you'll notice

    The valley as I have experienced it is WINDY as all get out so Fullbush's thought that it all blows away (the snow) is fairly spot on, but that's the Valley floor I am thinking is Wasilla area. That part of the lower valley is a Doggone Wind Tunnel in comparison to upper valley areas. It's quite different up by Talkeetna if that is considered Matsu valley. Lots of deep, dry snow, avg somewhere from -10F to +20F(extremes of maybe 40F and -25F) which is real nice for a full winter experience. Still not sunny much tho, Lots of overcast, or it will actually be snowing. man I miss that snow floating down filling the sky, (living in Kodiak now where it snows horizontally then switches to freezing rain....)

    And yeah, the Big Deal is the length of days which you'll have to adjust to by getting outside as much as possible, The Cure for cabin fever in my opinion
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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    Thanks for the info. I figured the weather would be fairly similar. I don't guess there is any way to know how I will handle the darkness other than trying it for a winter. When does spring green up and warm up generally come to the general Wasilla and Palmer area?

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Longer days start in March which is the best snow machining time of the year. Spring can start at any random time between April and June. <grin> Usually May is when black bear hunting really gets in gear then June is the kickoff of the fishing season leading to April-Sep for hunting. The trick is really getting through Dec-Feb. The Holiday season helps make Dec go pretty good but Jan-Feb are dark and cold. I currently work overseas for a good chunk of the year and specifically kick that off right after the holidays if possible! A good way to enjoy the middle of winter is making it a point to get out on some bright moonlit nights and do some predator hunting. The woods are amazing bathed in moon glow with the dark trees backed by bright snow cover.

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    Member Dirtofak's Avatar
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    You can also ice fish. Some of the diehards spend several days in their shanties, others go for day trips. Great time to see the northern lights.

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    Member Wyatt's Avatar
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    If winter gets too much for you, Alaska has a daily non stop flight to Honolulu

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    I am from the east slope at about 9400ft and i do live in the Mat Su. When it blows it really blows. The snow last much longer than in CO, and it is not near as bright either. If you live in town the snow does not get very deep lol, but its about 24'' most of the time at my house in the winter. Dark is just dark and you will either deal with it or you won't and then after a year or so you will go somewhere else. The summer is great if you like the day light and working outside. You go to bed in the day light and get up in the day light, i get to save batteries during the summer for the head light. All in all i love it and don;t really plan on moving back to the house in CO. I will say as others have its not for everyone and there is a big cost to get here and find out you can't handle it and want to go back. Fly up during the winter for a week and do some running around then. The hotels are much cheaper then as well as a rent car. If you are not retired research for a job as well. good luck

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    Member greythorn3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fullbush View Post
    If you like to fly kites in refrigiwear you'll love it here!
    Snow? there isn't any snow it all blows away.
    Its not humid here its dry.
    If you have a good skin moisturizer/lip balm and enjoy high school basketball, the valley is where you wanna be.

    boy aint that the truth!
    Semper Fi!

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    Member dkwarthog's Avatar
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    Wind? What wind? The Mat su is a huge area, not all of it is windy!!!

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dkwarthog View Post
    Wind? What wind? The Mat su is a huge area, not all of it is windy!!!
    your absolutely correct... the wind only blows in HALF the Valley cause the other Half SUCKS!
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

    meet on face book here

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vince View Post
    your absolutely correct... the wind only blows in HALF the Valley cause the other Half SUCKS!

    Sounds like you've driven around in my neighborhood Vince!!! LOL

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    Quote Originally Posted by dkwarthog View Post
    Sounds like you've driven around in my neighborhood Vince!!! LOL
    1977-1989 sister burried in wasilla 1984; built farm Off Shcrock sold in 2002... built another place for parents off fern... folks sold all holdings in 2005... NA.... don't have much time there at all...
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

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    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    Talkeetna is tied for the least windy place in the U.S. that has an airport. Amazing what a difference 60 miles makes. We're off to a crappy start this year. Raining right now
    Bunny Boots and Bearcats: Utility Sled Mayhem

  18. #18
    Member AKsoldier's Avatar
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    Well, for those of you who suggest the wind ignores Wasilla, Four trees blown down on my property this year beg to differ. I still love it here though.

    The other 299,300,000 people can have it.

    Noone has a more intimate understanding of, or deeper appreciation for freedom, than a soldier who has fought for it in a country where it does not exist.

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