Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Alaska: Facial Hair Harbor

To live in the Arctic is to be at constant war with the cold. And men in this town take every advantage, including growing the biggest, bushiest beards this side of the Arctic Circle. Handlebar mustaches curled jauntily at the edges. Walrus whiskers that dip to the chin. Frizzy full beards that would make Grizzly Adams bristle with envy. Sideburns the size and shape of pork chops. The Beards of Barrow are sights to behold: wild, woolly attractions that inspire outsiders to point and snap photos. “Beards are a real Alaska thing. You’ll find more beards here than anywhere,” said Bruce Rittgers, 55, who grew a long white beard about a year ago and is frequently mistaken for Santa Claus. Because Barrow is among the coldest places in the country, Rittgers advises newcomers: “Get a big wad of wool on your face, see what it can do for you.” More from the Chicago Tribune.

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