Enjoying the Birch Hill ski trails with 4 inches of new snow

When three of the groomers for the Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks spend their Saturday night grooming and tracking all the major trails at the Birch Hill Recreation Area, the SCUM felt compelled to ski these trails on Sunday morning.

Unfortunately, only four of us showed up at 10 a.m. Sunday morning as the snow that fell after midnight posed a preliminary scooping and shoveling workout on our driveways before arriving to 4 inches of newly fallen snow at Birch Hill.

Fearless powder skiers–photo by Joanna Fox

Only Bill Husby, our SCUM groomer, arrived suitably attired with flashy googles that proved essential while skiing through pelting snow that the wind and our awesome speed created.

Bill Husby with his flashy and effecttive goggles–photo by Joanna Fox

After checking out whether we could stay in the tracks on the downhill of the Blue Loop, we ventured out to the Sunnyside and Cliffside where were created rooster tails as we skied downhill.

Rooster tails down the Sunnyside–video by Joanna Fox; commentary by Bill Husby and Joanna
Powder skiing down the Cliffside–video by Joanna Fox, commentary by SCUM

Once we got to the bottom of Cliffside and skied onto the Fort Wainwright alpine ski facility, we found newly groomed corduroy heading straight up the Fort Wainwright alpine hill to the left of the tubing hill. We abandoned the idea of skiing up the Sonot Connector (under a half foot of unpacked snow). Instead we skied up the right side of the FWW alpine hill like we did during the first decade of the Sonot Kkaazoot. Unfortunately, the grooming didn’t extend over to the top of the Sonot Connector, so we had some deep new snow to traverse.

Bill Husby leads the way– photo by Joanna Fox
Why herringbone if you aren’t a duck? –photo by Joanna Fox

Once on the White Bear Trail, we needed to ski to Hilltop junction because it’s Norma Haubenstock’s favorite hill, and in doing so we passed a trail marker that Don had placed on a tree on in the 1970s as part of his first job in Interior Alaska.

Don points out his trail marker while Mom attempts to tuck on the trail—photo by Joanna Fox

Eventually, the slushing through the deep powder was tiring out everyone except the “Every Ready” Husby who taunted us around the rest of the White Bear and Moilanen Meadows:

Bill turning around to taunt the lagging skiers–photo by Joanna Fox

It was an absolutely lovely day on the trails and except for the tubing hilll where we saw kids enjoying the snow, we saw no one until we were nearly back to the Birch Hill stadium after our 2 hour ski.

With the Sonot Kkaazoot less than a month away, we were getting our long overdistance training done. How about you?

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