Duchess Digest: Three Tips to a Spring Rendezvous!

By Jill Brown

arctic sunset alaskaWhen you’re in the middle of a long winter in Alaska, by February you can start to feel like you need some kind of exciting rendezvous to get you through to spring. That’s why in 1935, with a booming population of 3,000 very isolated residents, Anchorage started celebrating the Winter Sports Carnival. Since most resident were miners and trappers, and one of the largest industries of Alaska at that time was the fur trade, it since became known as the Fur Rendezvous.  With the exception of a brief hiatus during World War II, it’s been celebrated every year since in Anchorage.

Fur Rendezvous (or “rondy” as the locals call it) is a fun event that gets the population out and about during the end of the cold winter months when we’d otherwise be inside hibernating. Popular traditional events include ice sculpting contests, the downtown carnival and fireworks, running of the reindeer (think of Spain’s bulls, but with less intense reindeer) and the ceremonial start of the Iditarod (the dog sled race from Anchorage to Nome, made famous by the lead dog “Balto”).

It’s a great way to mingle and welcome the start of the spring season, and also a really fun time to visit Anchorage. But you don’t have to live in Alaska to want to arrange a rendezvous this time of the year. No matter where you are, everyone needs a little encouragement to make it past Groundhog Day and into spring.

Here are three tips you can take from Alaska to have your own, local Rondy!

  1. Get Out. This time of year, it’s easy to blame the “weather” as your reason for not venturing out. But spring is on the way and now is a great time to get up and get moving, outside! Go for a walk, do some spring skiing or try to get back into jogging or bike riding outdoors. Wherever you are, whatever the weather, get outside and move around to welcome the change in the seasons.
  2. Meet Up. The days may still be cold and dark, but they’re getting lighter and longer every moment. It’s natural to hibernate a little when the winter months set in. You were likely coming down from the high (and crowds) of the holidays. But now it’s time to stretch your social muscles. Call up old friends, arrange to throw a party and invite a new neighbor or check out local meet- up club opportunities. Get yourself back to mingling and give yourself the chance at meeting new friends, new career connections and maybe even a new someone special to start a spring fling with this year. You’re not going to meet anyone hanging out at home – so get out and meet up!
  3. Try Something New. Springtime is a time for change and new developments. At Alaska’s Fur Rondy, there are events that range from blanket tosses to “frostbite foot races” for the weeks of the festival. I always try to sign up to see or do something new. This year, I’m running with the reindeer for the first time (a future column on that is coming soon!); why not try something fun and new yourself? Trying new things pushes you out of your comfort zone and challenges you to shake up the status quo.

It’s said life starts to happen at the end of your comfort zone. Follow these three simple steps from Alaska and make plans for your own spring Rondy!

Jill BrownJill Brown is an Anchorage, Alaska based writer and blogger. She earned her Bachelors in Humanities and Sociology from USU and is the founder of “The Duchess Guide” a website dedicated to sharing the ups and downs of life in Alaska. For more on The Duchess Guide or Jill visit: http://theduchessguide.com/

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