I ate some popcorn and bit my lip awhile back as you were suggesting that unless you live at the same latitude as you, that others may not know what they were speaking of.
For the past year, I heard boo-hoo about "finski" being somehow being upset and taking his ball and going home. But yet time and time again, I see you denigrate others, calling what others do, less than what you do. On this thread alone, calling people who use sugar or fondant a "shildrens game" is not only insulting, but perhaps not relevant, seeing your not from Pennsylvania. I say whooopdidooooo! on whether your bees eat sugar 8 months of the year. Nobody in Pennsylvania has bee eat sugar that long.
It may not be "serious" beekeeping to you, but perhaps you should bite your lip a bit. I am freakin dead serious about my beekeeping, even if less than 100% of beekeeper here do not use sugar...as if that matters. Calling what others do as "Not serious" beekeeping is again, insulting.
You suggested that because others did not live as far north as you when the beekeeper from Alaska was seeking advice, making their advise was somewhat irrelevant. But would not your advise be just as irrelevant based on the same suggestion that your advice is for much further north climates?
Being FROM Pennsylvania I feed fondant. I can place a 50 lb block on a very light hive and they will feed off the fondant block for 3-4 months till the weather breaks. Fondant does not inject moisture into the hive as syrup does. I place on the inner cover hole, and they will eat up thorough, using the available moisture, while your not breaking the propolis seal or opening up the hive after the initial placing of the block.
May I suggest you go with Robo's advice or other beekeepers in YOUR area that can make suggestions based on previous experiences in the same environment as you. I am sure they are serious about beekeeping and it is not some "shildrens game".
Here is a picture of fondant on the inner cover. It is 25 pounds....