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A ride bareback moose racing on a track
Art by Tim Bower.

I’m looking at moving to an urban neighborhood in Alaska. Are there any you recommend?

Check out The Real Last Frontier Estates. That place lives up to its name. The residents have daily axe-throwing competitions in the morning and seal oil chugging contests at night. There’s a nearby track perfect for bareback moose racing and footraces where the contestants are chased by a pack of wolves. It’s pretty safe, except for the semi-annual 9.2 earthquake and the volcano that explodes on the ninth day each month. Don’t be disappointed that there’s no community pool, because there is a community river that never freezes and has a year-round salmon run.

Why do Alaskans think they’re so special?

It’s a common adage that individuals are shaped by the people surrounding them. The same is true for the environment surrounding them. When you live in the nation’s largest state, under the continent’s tallest mountain, alongside the world’s biggest bears, it’s easy to ascribe such superlatives to oneself. Which is why most Alaskans know they’re the smartest, toughest, best-looking people to walk the face of the earth. Personally, I’m the funniest humor columnist in the business and I work for the industry’s most magnificent magazine. The good news is because you’re reading this it means you’re pretty cool too.

What’s an Alaskan tradition most people take part in?

At least once a year and occasionally several times a year most Alaskans will make a pilgrimage to a place known simply as “the backcountry.” This wildland is a dangerous and unpredictable place full of man-eating denizens that come in all shapes and sizes. Some creatures are covered in hair and stand 10 feet tall; others buzz about on scaled wings and have spears for noses. It’s a sparse and dangerous place, but those who return alive find other ordeals, like a never-ending night, more manageable. Plus, it’s a good spot for some neat Instagram pics.

What can someone from Outside do in order to be treated like a local by Alaskans?

Be careful what you ask for. Sure, Alaskans are friendly, but being treated like a local comes with costs. Like getting drug along for a “fun” trip that turns into a barely survivable gauntlet of treacherous terrain, grueling mileage, and violent weather. People will assume you want to wake up at an ungodly hour to stand waist deep in frigid water and scavenge for something you can buy at the grocery store for $20. Hopefully you enjoy IPAs so potent and bitter they make your hair stand on end, because that’s all you’ll be allowed to drink.

Author

Alexander Deedy is the assistant editor and digital content manager for Alaska magazine.

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