The 5 Biggest Alaska Myths – Debunked!

Published: May 1, 2016

You don’t really believe these do you?? We’ve heard them all, myths about Alaska that while seemingly plausible, are actually NOT to be believed.

Here are our top 5 myths about Alaska – busted!

MYTH #1: Alaskans live in igloos

While many Alaskans proudly display a quirky sense of style with their distinct dwellings, the icy igloo is but “Arctic architecture lore”. Sure, at one time igloos were all the rage in Alaska … but that time was hundreds of years ago. And even then, they usually weren’t homes – they were most often used by travelers and hunters. The myth that igloos were and remain the popular home of choice for Alaskans has been perpetuated for decades by cartoons and movies. These dwellings made of blocks of ice and snow were scientific marvels though, standing strong against extreme elements and thankfully trapping the heat of igloo occupants. But let’s face it, igloos could never withstand the tests of time and demands of human comforts, much less survive Alaska’s summer sun!

MYTH #2: You can actually see Russia from here!

Can you see Russia from mainland Alaska? No way, comrade. At their nearest points, mainland Russia and Alaska are more than 50 miles apart and far from visible. But this is a bit of a trick myth. Technically, you can see Russia from Alaska. The Diomede Islands (Little Diomede in Alaska, Big Diomede in Russia) are set less than three miles apart in the breezy and sometimes brutal Bering Strait. On a really nice day, which is quite rare, a person standing on one island’s coast can see the other. There are rumors that you can see Russia from a couple of really, really remote Alaska islands (specifically St. Lawrence Island) but these aren’t tourist attractions and being able to see Russia isn’t exactly a selling point for most visitors to Alaska.

MYTH #3: You can catch a ride by dogsled and penguins abound

Among the many myths and mysteries surrounding Alaska’s animals, these two are really ridiculous: dogsleds are a main form of transportation and penguins live in Alaska. The majority of dogsleds and their teams of hardy hounds are used for pleasure or races such as the Iditarod and Yukon Quest, even in rural Alaska. The snowmachine (snowmobile) is a much more popular and modern mode of winter travel today. And, well, the only penguins living in the northern hemisphere are found in zoos.

MYTH #4: There are 10 men for every woman in Alaska, and while those odds are good, the goods are odd.

Alaska has America’s highest ratio of men to women, though it isn’t exactly as disparate as the old legend of 10-to-1. Today, it’s more like 1.1-to-1. But that doesn’t stop outsiders from continuing to perpetuate Alaska as a male-dominated state and using the popular old saying, “The odds are good, but the goods are odd.” Sure, Alaska has its share of wild and wacky loners and abnormal adventurers, but it also has a large population of perfectly well-adjusted, gainfully-employed and downright normal men.

MYTH #5: A baby conceived under the northern lights will lead a lucky life.

Alaska’s northern lights are actually quite magical – they quickly appear and disappear, brighten and fade, dance and entrance, and change into a multitude of colors. They aren’t, however, a boost to your baby’s blessings. Some cultures perpetuate the fertility folklore that babies conceived under the northern lights will have it made in life, including being good looking. While there is no scientific proof that busts this myth, thousands of Alaskans have been conceived under the northern lights and they have all levels of looks and luck. If you are able to experience northern lights during your Alaska visit, consider yourself very lucky … but just remember that if you get even luckier that night, your baby will not necessarily inherit your lucky streak!