Chasing the Sun on Moose Mountain

Have you ever wondered how Sonot Kkaazoot creator and long-time organizer, Bad Bob Baker was able to set up the Sonot Kkaazoot course and then ski the race? Grooming and  skiing are part of his life on Moose Mountain. On Saturday, 23 December 2017, Bob shared his “home trail” with us when he organized a Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks Tour that began and ended at his house.

First, he headed off and groomed the 10 mile long, out-and-back trail to eight foot width, returning home as just a hint of predawn light was visible from his deck:

Still dark when Bob finished grooming

He put away his grooming equipment and then began directing vehicles around his parking area so that none of the 16 vehicles would be blocked by another. His years at H&S Warehouse were evident as Bob packed the cars with care, precision, and only inches of clearance between them.

Around 10 a.m., we headed out the trail and soon began the long climb:

And the uphill begins

where smiles were seen on skiers like Sharon Baker and Norma Haubenstock, who opted to stride up the trail:

Sharon & Norma striding up MM

while your blogger, who opted to skate, was struggling to make forward progress. A little snowball of a dog couldn’t figure out why I needed the entire width of the trail as she ran between me and her skier behind me.

Bad Bob, photographer for this post, passed us and skated up to the ridge before sunrise. Here is one of his photos of charred black spruce from the May 2011 forest fire in the foreground and the Alaska Range in the distance.

Sunrise on MM with Blk Spruce skeletal remains

Eventually,  the sun illuminated the windy summits and the valley below:

View of wind on Alaska Range

All photographs in this post were taken by Bad Bob Baker

It was a fantastic day with temperatures in the 20 deg F range while the Fairbanks airport stayed below zero. Descending from the ridge, the low-angled solstice sun glared in our faces, resulting in a few falls on the groomer-created moguls. However, the landings were soft, and soon we were back at the Baker’s house to refuel with Karla Taylor Welch’s chili, Gina Chythlook’s pie, and numerous other baked treats.

Happy Holidays from all the Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks volunteers who organize the Sonot Kkaazoot. Give yourself the gift of good health in 2018. Register for the Sonot Kkaazoot during early registration. Just click on the “Register” tab at the top of this post. Bad Bob and Sharon Baker are signed up. Why aren’t you?

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