Celebrating Norma’s birthday on the Nordale Flats tour

As care coordinator for volunteers of the Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks race events, Norma Haubenstock plays a huge role in making sure things run smoothly. So for her birthday on Sunday, the SCUM feted her during our tour of the Nordale Flats.

Norma cresting a hill–Video by Dan Johnson

The 20 km course had been carefully marked by Pat Lovely and John Estle, who had started at 0800 on two snowmachines to ready the course for the 1000 start by the slower skiers led by Don Pendergrast. The 1100 wave of skiers were led by John and finished right behind the last the 1000 skiers.

Here’s a map of our popsicle course, where the major climb parallels Heart Rate Hill at Birch Hill Recreation Area:

Map of course by John Estle

Leaving from John and Norma’s driveway, we walked down Wilderness Drive to the start of the trail:

Marching–photo by Bill Husby

When we left it was roughly 6 deg F at Birch Hill and -5 deg in the valley, so we started skiing to warm chilly fingers:

10 am start group —photo by Joanna Fox
Troupe–photo by Dan Johnson

By the time we reached a small pond (where you can see the North Star classical trail at Birch Hill), we stopped to sing happy birthday to Norma:

10 am start group–photos by Amanda Byrd
SCUM salute for Norma

With any group, certain individuals play key roles. For us, there was Don Pendergrast, our fearless leader, who made sure none of us got left behind:

In the foreground, Don Pendergrast, leader —photo by Joanna Fox

The cabooses, Susan and Bernardo, who switched off being the red lantern.

Red lanterns–photo by Dan Johnson

And of course, Bill Husby, the chief instigator of falls and crashes:

Bill, the Eddie Haskell of the SCUM–photo by Dan Johnson

As you’ll note, Bill had a face mask handy as he was not always social distancing when he was luring SCUM into potential crash sites with his phone rolling in video mode.

Some SCUM are definitely not right leaning– video by Bill Husby

By the time we had finished the loop and needed to ascend Heart Rate Hill again, additional kick wax was needed:

Rewaxing–photo by Amanda Byrd

The temperature and trail conditions were perfect for a several hour tour of woods very close to Birch Hill Recreation Area. Huge thanks go to Pat Lovely and John Estle for course marking (and take down) and John and Norma for hosting the group of very happy skiers.

Starting the New Year with Birch Bakken TT

With temperature a balmy +8 deg F in the Birch Hill stadium and a somewhat chilly -11 deg F at Fort Wainwright, the remedial SCUM decided to start off the New Year right with a predawn Birch Bakken (BB) Time Trial (TT).

Dreamed up by deputy groomer, Bill Husby, the Birch Bakken goes from the Fort Wainwright Ski Chalet to the top of the Tower Loop. This 4 km ascent incorporates all or part of the Cliffside, Sunnyside, Outhouse, Blue Slot, and South Tower ski trails. My Polar heart rate monitor indicated a 215 m climb during the BB.

Bill’s data for the Birch Bakken from 4/9/2018

Accessing the BB start was fast as without any recent snow, the grooming has made the downhill tracks death-defyingly fast for remedial SCUM. So we took every opportunity to enjoy the view that the Sunnyside Trail provides.

Photo by Dan Johnson

One nameless SCUM and parttime KUAC producer, decided to howl at Denali (and the moon) to scare off any rabid marmots or lynx with tularemia. His fellow SCUM provided encouragement.

Video by Joanna Fox; click on image to start music.

Needless to say, the SCUM were all business on the climb, and some finished the Birch Bakken before the sun was up. However, not all of us were that speedy, but everyone finished the climb.

Photo by Joanna Fox

Unlike Selfie Queen, Joanna, who didn’t sweat getting up the Birch Bakken with her new skin skis, Dan worked a lot harder with his newly glide waxed and grip taped skis.

Photo by Dan Johnson

All of us agreed today’s BB TT was a perfect way to start off 2021.