Getting resolved to get out there: Active resolutions for Alaskans

Alli Harvey
Marc Lester

Each New Year's resolution you read here is one you can try on for size before you buy it. Like a cute coat at Skinny Raven -- factory new, fancy and a bit foreign -- you're not sure if you can afford it or if you'd even really like it once you leave the shop. However, in the mood lighting of the boutique or within the paragraphs of an article, you can imagine yourself in it -- even if only for five minutes.

There are several types of New Year's resolutions that are particularly appealing to us, the hardy outdoorsy population of Anchorage. Here are some to try on.

Leaving. Forever.

OK, maybe not forever, but we've all heard the advice that the trick to loving winter in Alaska is to leave. The question is, are you the type to fork over your holiday bonus on a Rosetta Stone and spend months teaching yourself Spanish so that at the end of all the hard work you can treat yourself to a vacation in Sudamérica this time next year? That's the resolution of someone who is really into personal development, or to put it another way, someone who has a difficult time relaxing.

Perhaps booking a miles flight to somewhere with a sprawling beach and endless supply of beverages is more your scene? There is no shame in that. Zero shame... well, a little tiny bit of shame, but it's fine. It's worth it.

The easiest version of the Leaving Forever resolution is to just find somewhere local and warm to escape to. Bed doesn't count. The delightful sauna at the Hotel Captain Cook does ($15 to drop in, 939 W. 5th Avenue).

Build a better date

There are many anonymous interior spaces in our fine city that provide an easy context for a date. These places are comforting because they are the same anywhere you go in the country: Century Cinemas. Starbucks. Olive Garden. There is nothing threatening about a place we've already visited countless times. There will certainly be no surprises.

There is also usually very little that is romantic or memorable about sitting next to someone in a dark, anonymous theater stuffing popcorn in your mouth, silently.

Luckily, Anchorage is full of unique -- even strange -- experiences to consider for your next date.

Why not head up to the Glen Alps parking lot on a Sunday morning with some drive-through coffee and scones? You could spot the aurora and a sunrise.

Or how about renting skis and shuffling around on the Coastal Trail for an hour or two? The greatest part about this scenario is that when you're good and cold, you can escape to one of the aforementioned anonymous interiors if that's what will make you relaxed and happy. Endless salad and breadsticks for everyone!

Race yourself

Finally, if you must, you can be like 99.5 percent of the rest of us. Go ahead. Make the vague resolution to lose weight in '14.

The problem is that if you're like most Americans, you won't. Sure, you'll rock the incredible and undefeatable tracksuit for days one and two of the new year, jogging on the treadmill and feeling like a champ (a really wheezy and jiggly-in-places-you-don't-remember champ, but a champ just the same). But by Day 3, you'll be tired, injured, bored, or just incredibly grouchy because you've been living on Lärabars.

Want a better resolution? Sign up for a race.

The Tour of Anchorage ski race is coming up. There is always the Mayor's Midnight Sun race series. There are a million 5-K runs, as well as bike races and even triathlons.

You don't need to race anyone but yourself, and it's a measurable goal that will get you outside and training. To top it off, want to know what one of the greatest feelings ever is? It's the feeling that the entire city of Anchorage has turned out on race day to cheer you on and offer you water and cookies as you hurtle by.

Another one of the greatest feelings ever is when the race is over and you've won. Not in the sense of placing first -- this writer, for the record, wouldn't know that feeling unless something went horribly wrong in the race or she was somehow the only contestant. The feeling of winning is simply of completing -- after your first race, especially, the power of that feeling can't be overstated.

Whatever you decide to resolve in 2014, you might as well buy the coat if you like it. If it doesn't fit your life once you're outside the shop -- if you don't like the resolution -- you can always exchange it for something better.

-- Alli Harvey lives, works and plays in Anchorage. What's on your list for the cold months ahead? Email the Anchorage Daily News at and we might publish you in our Outdoors section. Subject line: Winter to-do list.


By Alli Harvey
Daily News correspondent