Tour of Birch Hill

March is marathon month for Alaskan nordic skiers with the Tour of Anchorage taking place today, the Kachemak Marathon in Homer on March 8, followed by the Oosik in Talkeetna on March 15, and normally, the Sonot Kkaazoot the weekend after the Oosik. Because of the Arctic Winter Games being held in Fairbanks during the traditional Sonot Kkaazoot week, we’ve got an extra week to prepare for the Sonot Kkaazoot, which this year will be held on March 29.

So the SCUM who were not on the travel team to the Tour of Anchorage this Sunday, embarked on their own Grand Tour–of Birch Hill. The trails had all been groomed within the past few days, and temperatures were 17 deg F when we started at 11 a.m and rose to about 26 deg F. This made for no excuses when it came to the completing the Grand Tour of Birch Hill. With no official clock running, there were rests for self-service feeds, fatigue, or general SCUM principles as we see here:

SCUM resting


and here:



Groups of two or more skiers formed led by M9 skiers, here Bob Moloney:

M9 Bob Moloney leads grand tour

and here, Owen Hanley, who skied at World Masters in Austria last month:

Owen Hanley leads Jerome Jackson

When I finished, some of the SCUM were already home enjoying a beer for their efforts. However, a significant number of SCUM were still resting in the warm-up hut with coffee and sticky buns as their rewards for skiing the Grand Tour. Conditions were great as even the red lantern (yours truly) finished in just over 3 hours. Thanks to our awesome groomers, no excuses were needed. Having skied the Grand Tour, we felt a little more prepared for the 2014 Sonot Kkaazoot.

Don’t forget, you can register online until 26 March at:


or at Beaver Sports, Goldstream Sports, or Raven Cross Country until 21 March 2014.

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