itís cold out itís always a good idea to dress warm. No doubt your
mother told you that, but itís true anyway. Dress warm, or youíll
your sorry ass off in the winter. However, thereís a method to
warm that you must know about.
Stay Alive on a Winter
Do What Youíre
Told, or Die
in the Cold!
Compendium of Advice
Gleaned from Sourdoughs
Enough to Live Above
the 60th Parallel
FOOD & DRINK:
When itís cold, really cold, like way below zero, itís important
to drink lots of liquids. Weíre talking good old water
Because, in Alaska and the Yukon, when itís cold, itís a dry cold.
your car, what moisture there is will condense and freeze on the
In short, believe it or not, youíll begin to dry out.
lots of water or juice and youíll feel better (and remember coffee
diuretic!). If you wear contact lenses, make sure you
your regular eye wear; contacts donít work all that well in the
in the winter. If you should happen to find yourself in a
you've had lots of exertion or your rally car has ďpassed onĒ,
important to remember to take on as much water as possible. You
feel thirsty, but in the dry air of the frozen north, you're
as fast as you would in Hawaii. Strange, maybe, but true.
plenty of food and water. Junk food is great for rallying; we call
FoodĒ. Fats in the morning, carbohydrates the night before.
of A Army C-rations are great for staying alive in a pinch.
you ainít in a pinch, eat as you normally would. Just donít skip
Carry more than you think you ought to, or youíll find yourself in
middle of the Yukon Territory coming to Serious Negotiations over
the last Bit-Oí-Honey.
Dress in layers. In other
should dress in layers from the inside out. Three layers is a
to follow. The first layer should be of something like your
known to some as a ďunion suit,Ē in case you are lost already.
layer should be some nice loose-fitting pants and shirt, and
should be a good pair of ski pants and parka. Actually, very
Note: Official Alaska Rally Team union suits must come
equipped with flaps,
two button only. These flaps are forówell, if you donít know,
you are too
young to run this rally. Read your general instructions, or
Head gear is very important,
do NOT mean hash pipes and beads. Say, for example, that
off the road in a big way, and it becomes necessary for you to
in the wind and cold for an extended period of time. . . like
30 seconds, maybe. Anyway, if you should happen to be outside
for any time
at all, remember to have on a good hat to put on your head.
that. OK, anyway, itís a little known fact that you will lose
out the top of your head faster than anyplace else. Donít
worry about why,
and all that, just remember to put on your hat! Another
choice, a good
full-face ski mask, ainít a bad idea.
Hands must be kept warm. You
up your hands quicker than anything if youíre not paying
always keep your gloves handy. If you have to change a tire,
or open the
hood or something, always put your gloves on first! If itís
outside, and you grab onto a metal object (rally car, for
are good that youíll stick to the damn thing, just the way you
you licked that flagpole at age ten. Youíll look pretty stupid
down the road during a regularity, holding onto the door
your hand is stuck to) because you forgot to put on your damn
Isuzu gets a picture of it ! Mittens are much warmer
but if youíve got to work on the rally car, then you need
gloves. If youíre
just out there trying to stay warm, mittens are the
both on the rally.
Feet must be taken care of.
feet warm and dry. If you should happen to get your feet wet,
off, change your socks and shoes, boots, or whatever. Donít
wait for your
feet to go numb. Take care of your feet as soon as possible.
Itís not necessary
to wear two or three pairs of socks. A single good pair of ski
do just fine, as long as your foot gear fits properly and you
keep it dry.
Some last words on clothing:
what you have fits loosely. Tight duds may look good in the
but youíll freeze your buns off in real winter weather. This
ainít no fashion
show! What happens is that loose-fitting clothing allows a
layer of warm,
insulating air between the layers of clothing, thus keeping
Clever, no? Anyway, thatís the way it works. Trust us. Also,
that what youíve got is clean and in a good state of repair.
are warmer than dirty things. Finally, inspect all your
garments for tears
and rips. Fix or replace. Simple enough.
And more generalities: Stuff
with feathers is warmer than other stuff. Stuff made of wool
than most other stuff. Polar fleece and its generic
equivalents are very
good, but most such synthetics have a reputation for odor
if that's a concern try the new Capeline. Finally, remember
fibers like wool are much more fire retardent than synthetics.
By this time you will have already set up your car as you see
people favor block heaters, headbolt heaters, battery blankets,
which work well--if you have a place to plug them in. Get
tester also since many vehicles with such a gadget
tripping 110 circuits, making bad AM neighbors. Another plan is
your battery into the hotel with you at night. Thin oil
is a must;
like 5-W-30. It's also available in synthetics which seem
skinny at about a million below. Naturally we favor Red Line.
any mention of antifreeze would seem a little
that pure antifreeze turns into a gelid glop at very cold
ask Gene Henderson! A fifty-fifty mixture should
cameras are known to freeze up in extremely low temperatures. If
requires batteries, carry spares in your inside
blowing snow, amber fog lights work well. Fog lights
diddly in any other situations, including fog. Remember pencils
- a pen will quickly freeze up and be useless while you're
down times at ice races.
over hydrophilic compounds versus studs goes on and on and on.
Alaska Rally Team is unanimous in recommending studs. Ask Susie
the brand-new red 944 she wiped out on glare ice with
all because John was so smart.
The biggest winter rule is skinnier
better. Try "minus 1" or "minus 2" combinations, or
tire sizes narrower than standard while keeping standard rolling
& load capacity (replace 215/65R16 with 205/70R16,
tire with LT235/85R16, etc). Note: In recent years
has improved. Years ago we changed AWD ice race classes
/ SUV to just "studded" / "nonstudded", and results are
Here's one Tire
Rack test, plus a 2012 comparison
IN AN EMERGENCY:
Don't panic. No, really: DON'T PANIC! IT'LL BE ALL RIGHT!
US WHEN THE GLACIERS MELT! Remember, you're on the main road.
on the only road! With little exception, you can feel reassured
will be along quite soon. Of course, this somebody is likely to
rallyist, so we have a bit of the blind leading the blind here.
And finally, HAVE A
TIME. Why else would anybody go through all this
The first rule is to stay with
This is because everything is farther away than you think it
is. And it's
colder than you think. And your brain doesn't work when it's
course if your brain worked in the first place you wouldn't be
swearing at Jerry Hines).
The second rule is think first.
know the immediate reaction to hitting a snowbank is to throw
doors and run around the car in your shirtsleves, but now both
the inside of your car are cold and full of snow, and there is
some other nut about to find the same bad corner. Even if it
takes a checklist,
try the following: don warm jacket/ hat/gloves, grab flare(s),
(closing door), place flare, and survey the situation.
stuck give it your best try the first time and if it looks
just making things worse hook up a tow strap and get back in
the car to
radio for help. It's a also a good idea during the transits to
with other rally cars; besides, the miles just seem to fly by
you're jawing away on the radio.
Another cardinal rule of
is never pass by a stopped car without stopping to ask
if you can
help. Chances are somebody has merely stopped to take pictures
frigid fingers through several layers of clothing in order to
pesky little thingie that's shriveled up to nothing. (And if
you want to
know why women really hate us, watch one of them wrestling her
even more layers while nestling in a snowbank behind the
when there ain't no bushes. Oh, yeah. Woe to the fool who lets
slightest hint of a smirk crawl across his features.)
Over the years, travellers
across the Alaska
have equipped themselves in varying fashion. Gone are
the days when you
needed four spare tires stacked on top of the station
wagon, but things
can still go wrong when you are in the middle of
nowhere, or just half
a mile off center. Past rallyists have found the
following items comforting,
and of course some are essential.
much cash as you feel
comfortable carrying (travelersí checks are OK)
least $100 Canadian
unless you plan to convert some dough once you get
across the border, assuming
you can find a bank and itís open and it isnít a
Canadian bank holiday
and you arenít running so far behind you donít have
time to stop.
Visa is virtually universal money (except in Tuk..).
It once had the advantage
that some remote gas stations donít quite get around
to processing card
slips for months, but now you're just as likely to
find approval refused
in some lonely place because of "an unusual charge
Visa & AX you're going, and bring more than one
card just in case!
Also note only chip cards now work at Canadian
gas pumps, so either
get one or line up inside.
license (a current
notarized letter of permission if it ainít
(required in Canada)
and familiar to the operator
pens of various
markers in various
clock and the
ability to set it
for the superstitious
more than you think
you need (books on tape are also great, and make good
more than you think
you need, ditto CD's
in the back
pillow & blankie
seat reading light
least one knife and
billion paper towels
are handy in cold weather.
should be chosen
keeping in mind that the scent of barbecue potato
chips makes civilized
people throw up, especially in confined
the harder white
cheeses keep well.
or soda crackers
work better than
One can live
for weeks on Planterís
peanuts and Pepsi.
liquid is essential,
the Yukon in winter is just a very cold desert.
Fouse (Alaska Rally Team member & Alcan guru),
and comments by Jerry Hines. Updated 2015