Downtown Anchorage

by Michael R Dougherty

One of the beautiful sights we enjoy during winter in Alaska is when big snowflakes float down from the sky, covering the Great Land with a fresh, clean white.

And who in Alaska hasn't watched a nighttime snow storm as snowflakes descend through the soft illumination of a streetlamp?

Fresh snow is wonderful for skiing, sledding and walking through snow-covered forests. But there is another side to a big, heavy snow storm.

The video above was shot during a snow storm in the 1970s by videographer and editor Michael R. Dougherty (that's me) and engineers Joe Gill and James Chafin for the KAKM channel 7 magazine show “Southcentral”.

Part of the video was shot from high above the Anchorage Alaska streets on a top floor of the Captain Cook hotel. We kept warm, dry and got some great footage without having to slog through the drifting white.

As you can see in the video, while huge snow storms are a beautiful Alaska scene, they also bring a host of problems. How many times have you helped push someone's car when they got stuck in the snow? And how about shoveling snow out of your driveway, or brushing snow off your car's windshield like the lady in the video?

And here's a new one. While I was shooting one scene of this video by the Anchorage Visitor's Log Cabin on Fourth Avenue, a big fluffy snowflake landed on the electric connection of my camera's zoom lens. Suddenly, my camera lens wouldn't stop zooming in and out. To clear the difficulty, I blew into the connection and wiped it dry with my shirt tail. Yes, the snow storm even affected my video camera.

As you watched the video, did you notice how Anchorage Alaskan's just keep on “keeping on” even during a big snowfall? People are walking about, catching the bus, and driving along Fourth Avenue just like it was any other day.

I don't recall how much snow fell on Anchorage that day, but I'm glad we captured at least part of it on video.

And I imagine that following the storm, local hillsides were filled with happy families and kids enjoying a fun time sledding. Cross country skiers happily dashed over the Anchorage trails, while downhill skiers flocked to surrounding hillsides.

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