Only 7 inches of snow had been recorded in the Anchorage area by the end of December 1995, making it one of the driest winters of the century, but there was ice . . .
Anchorage's Westchester Lagoon on Saturday afternoons often resembles a scene from "Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates." The city clears the ice for skaters and sets up warming fires in oil drums. Some children, like those in the lower left of the photo above, get rides on park benches.
But skaters who sought solitude could find it, too. A skater had Goose Lake near the University of Alaska to herself as the sun set around 3:30 in the afternoon.
December days are short in Anchorage. Sunrise was at 10:15 a.m. and sunset at 3:50 on Dec. 30.
Skaters also took to the ice on Potter Marsh in south Anchorage. In warmer seasons, the marsh fills with migrating birds.
Ice transforms a branch dipping into a stream that runs through the University of Alaska Anchorage campus.
By the end of December, most streams were frozen over. The Anchorage Daily News on the last day of 1995 carried a news story about wolf packs attacking dogs in the Anchorage area. Moose, their more usual prey, were unhampered by deep snow. January 1996 brought a spell of unusually cold days.
The winter of 1998-99 was a more normal one and, once again, deep snow was a problem for moose, which had difficulty moving around and finding food.
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