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For a newbie who has never been to Alaska, could someone give me some idea of what outdoor gear to bring? Snow pants/boots, gloves/mittens, down coat, rain coat, windbreaker?

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Bring stuff that you can layer up in, a hoodie or a nice fleece jacket, and then a rain coat. you can always remove the layers if you get to warm.

Do you work in just like exercise sneakers or something? I haven't really thought about shoes much...

Some people do; depends on whats comfortable for you.  you will be doing a lot of walking, And you will be on your feet 8 hours.  Comfort is the key.  No one likes sore, tired, achy feet. 

I know we are not allowed to wear sandals or open toed shoes, but would it be okay to wear Keen sandals? They are closed toe and have a back, but they are more of a river shoe than a pair of sneakers. 

No on the Keen sandals at work.  They'd be great for your time off, but not while on shift.  Comfortable shoes are definitely important.  Invest in a good pair.  It will be worth it.

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