Alaska is a quirky place, and its remote location means that it has its own rules and more than a few strange obsessions. While many of them have their root in a facet of life on the last frontier, you may be surprised at some of the things Alaskans are weirdly obsessed with. Here are a few:
No Alaskan can resist a trip to Costco — we get a twinkle in our eyes whenever the subject comes up. From the samples to the bulk shopping options, Costco is a regional obsession that only people who need to shop for 3 months’ supplies at a time can truly understand.
2. Pimping our rides.
Alaskans get a thrill out of operating a sweet ride, whether it’s a boat they’ve fixed up or big ol’ truck. Many of us have a motorized fleet that requires significant upkeep, so we spend a ridiculous amount of time doing things like outfitting SUVs with bigger tires, polishing snow machines, and resuscitating vehicles that were “such a steal, we couldn’t pass them up!”
3. Taking fishing selfies.
You might not peg Alaskans as selfie-types, but social media has opened up new avenues for us to brag about our fishing prowess. No one can accuse us of telling fish stories when we’ve got the pics to prove it — though we’re not above angling our catch a little closer to the camera to make it look a bit more sizeable.
Salmon is at the center of life in Alaska, and our obsession with it goes far beyond fishing. Besides finding it in our kitchens (smoked, canned, and freezer-packed), we also print salmon on clothing, name music festivals after it, and wage political battles over it.
5. Preserving food.
If it can be hunted or harvested, Alaskans can and will find a way to preserve it. From late summer to fall, we convert our kitchen into small-scale processing plants where we preserve everything from berry jam to this year’s fishing and hunting exploits. The results of weeks’ worth of canning and vacuum packing will be divided among our deep freezers and root cellars to be enjoyed through the winter.
6. Wearing fishing gear 24/7.
Only Alaskans find a way to treat fishing ball caps and Grundens like everyday attire — and then there’s the Xtratuf, the most ubiquitous piece of Alaskan-wear. Every self-respecting Alaskan owns a pair of these, and we don them for every occasion from concerts to wedding photo shoots.
7. Bluegrass music.
While it’s not exactly clear why so much Alaskan-grown music has a bluegrass bent, we have an inexplicable affinity for the genre. Any Alaskan music festival is guaranteed to have a few bands plucking out bluegrass tunes.
8. Trolling Texas.
We get just a wee bit offended at the notion that everything’s bigger in Texas, and while we might not talk about it unless provoked, we find other ways to get our point across. There’s a small industry in Alaska devoted to cranking out t-shirts and other paraphernalia designed to remind Texas who exactly is boss with slogans like “Alaska’s little sister… isn’t she cute?”
9. Drive-thru coffee stands.
From the lattes to the locally-baked goods, we consider life without coffee stands unthinkable, and tack on time for drive-thru java to our morning commute.
10. Living off the grid.
For Alaskans, spending a few years living out of a cabin or camper without plumbing, cable, or running water is practically a rite of passage. Time spent off the grid will earn you some street cred and equip you for conversations about outhouse décor and the best solar hook-ups.
11. Property rights.
If there’s anything Alaskans love more than having tons lots of acreage, it may be marking that acreage with private property signs. We’re all about our space and our right to defend it, and we support private property rights just as staunchly as our Second Amendment ones.
12. The PFD.
One of the best perks of being Alaskan is the PFD, that sweet, sweet yearly oil money to which we are entitled. Our obsessions range from talking about it — how much it’s risen or fallen from last year, those idiots who are doing jail time because they fraudulently applied for it — to being fiercely protective of it. The state doesn’t mess around when distributing checks, so we do everything in our power to dot every “i” and cross every “t” on our application, lest we put our benefit at risk.
13. Krispy Kreme.
Alaskans love Krispy Kreme in a way that can only stem from years of deprivation. We speculated for years about when these donuts would arrive north, and of all the fast food chains we’ve welcomed to Alaska, this was perhaps the most highly anticipated. You know it’s serious when the Mayor shows up to do the ribbon cutting.
14. Talking about Alaska.
If there’s one thing Alaskans are passionate about, it’s talking up the wonders of our home state. In some ways, people’s fascination with Alaska gives us free license to brag about the 907, and we’ll jump at the opportunity any day, any time.