Snow Falls In Near Tok

This week’s cooling trend brought snow to the Alaska Range.

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“I went cross country skiing; decided to break out the skis and go down the trail,” John Ruysniak, owner of the Log Cabin Wilderness Lodge on the Tok Cutoff, said.

He says more than 9 inches of snow was on the ground there Wednesday, enough to ski, build a snowman and block the road into the lodge.

“We had about 20 trees that had bowed down to the ground and so we had guests that wanted to leave, so we had to go down with a chainsaw ahead of them and clear out the trees before they could get out,” Ruysniak said.

Ruysniak says the trees are still fully leafed out, and the snow is one of the earliest he’s experienced in the Tok area.

“September snow is common, but September 3rd is real early,” Ruysniak said. “We’ve seen it on Labor Day before, but it’s been probably since around 2000 or maybe 1998 that we had a big dump like this — ’92 is another year.”

“It’s not very normal that my garden get snowed on before it gets its first frost. My neighbor has been in this area 38 years and she doesn’t remember ever going in August without a frost.”

Ruysniak says that’s allowed his garden to keep going, adding he was able harvest some lettuce from under the snow, which had started melting some yesterday. The rest could go this weekend, with rain forecast for the eastern Alaska Range.

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Dan Bross is a reporter at KUAC in Fairbanks.

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