Joining Alaska’s “40 Below Club”

At nearly -40º F, Fairbanks, Alaska, knows how to chill. There are colder places on the planet and colder places in Alaska, but Fairbanks is where you have a standing invitation to join the 40 Below Club. All you have to do is stand in front of the University of Alaska Fairbanks sign which reads the current temperature. The sign must read at least -40º and you have to pose in front of it — preferably with men baring their chests and women sporting a swimsuit. Most people pull up to the sign, jump out and take a picture, and then scramble back into their idling, warm vehicles. The people of Alaska are not bothered by frigid temperatures. They still go to school and work in the city of 31,000. Cars and buses lurch through the ice fog as people keep to their schedules. Pedestrians are fewer, but not uncommon. While such temperatures present a real danger in terms of frostbite and hypothermia, residents say if you winterize your car, dress appropriately, mind your fingers and toes, and don’t let the tip of your nose change color, you can go about your day as normal. In fact, according to most residents of Fairbanks, the temperature would need to get down to the -50º to -60º range before they would get too excited.