Alaskans have a reputation for being pretty laid-back, and for the most part, we live up to it. We’re a low-maintenance, independent bunch, and not prone to sweating the small stuff. But there are a few surefire topics that will get even the chill Alaskans fired up. We simply can’t help ourselves – something about these subjects brings out our inner snobs.
There are few things Alaskans take more seriously than our fish. With our world-class halibut, cod, and wild Alaska salmon, we’re spoiled — and it shows. We usually don’t bother to eat fish when we leave the state, and we definitely won’t risk it without some investigation. Where and when was the fish caught? Is it sustainably sourced, or (god-forbid) farmed? It may seem excessive, but we need answers because we will refuse to eat anything subpar.
Ditto all other seafood
It’s not just fish. Our standards are also sky-high when it comes to crab, shrimp, oysters, clams, mussels…anything you can pull from the sea. Depending on where we’re at, it might be worth trying the local fare, but more often than not we’ll play it safe and stick to the beef.
Our outdoor gear
When it comes to fashion, Alaskans’ first consideration is the items function. Can you fish, hike, and stomp around outside in it? Will it protect from the cold? How many seasons will it last? We also tend to be pretty glib about most named clothing — unless we’re talking about outdoor wear. When it comes to boots, vests, shoes, socks, and jackets, you won’t spot us in anything besides our most tried and trusted brands.
Maybe it’s because we’re so far north, or because we need some incentive to get our day started when the sun doesn’t rise until 11am. Whatever the reason, Alaska has a robust coffee culture, and the state is aplenty with drive-through coffee stands and local roasters. Even the tiniest towns have 3rd wave coffee shops and home-brewed chai. Instant coffee may have been a luxury for homesteaders, but these days, we require something a cut above.
What constitutes “cold”
While we’ve witnessed tourists break out their jackets and start shivering when it hits 60 degrees, we have our own litmus test for what defines “cold.” Cold is defrosting your vehicle for 45 minutes before you leave the house, and having your wet hair freeze solid the second you step outside. By our standards, 60 is full-on shorts and sundress weather.
The size of our state
Alaskans are prone to get uptight when the size of our state comes up, but only because we’re used to being sold short. On conventional US maps, we’re frequently shrunk to a fraction of our size and relegated to the bottom corner, next to Hawaii. So if you balk at whether Alaska is “really that big,” we’re quick to remind you that Alaska is half the size of the contiguous US and, yes, over twice the size of Texas.
The proper word for a snowmachine
We’ve heard that the rest of the world refers to snowmachines as “snowmobiles”…but you will never, ever, get us to call them that. In fact, once you land in the state, we expect you to banish that word from your vocabulary. Few things get us riled up quicker than tourists making fun of our local vernacular, or trying to convince us to ditch it. This is an argument you’re not going to win.