Frank Soos Distance Race #2 Saturday starting at 11:00 a.m. AST

The groomers have been busy and the weather has cooperated. The biggest uncertainty regarding tomorrow’s 10 or 20 km freestyle event is whether the moose will be foraging along the classical tracks on the Sunnyside after the groomers set the racecourse. This might be a good reason to skate ski.

However, our easy ski today on the Black loops revealed something else on the ski trails that we haven’t seen in a while: amazing glide. Three of us crashed because our skis got away from us. Byron went down on the Corkscrew, I crashed on the Black Baron, and Joanna took a headfirst tumble on the Black Abyss. Byron was wearing teflon pants so he didn’t carry any evidence of his fall like Joanna and I did:

Photo by Bill Husby

Join us tomorrow, starting at 11:00 a.m. (unless you are Bad Bob Baker) for the Frank Soos Distance Race #2. Homemade gingersnap cookies (Frank’s favorite) at the finish.

Last ski of 2021

After a week of shoveling out from the two recent storms that dowsed the area with snow and rain, the SCUM were delighted to ski in firm PistenBully tracks today. However, the only photos taken were when they ventured off into the ungroomed snow.

Here the SCUM set “old school” tracks on the Old Tower:

Photo by Dan Johnson

And here’s what the White Bear trail beyond Sonot Junction looks like:

Mom, Joanna, and Norma decide against skiing WB--photo by Dan Johnson

Joanna and Norma were feeling adventuresome so took off and skied Moilanen Meadows following these set tracks:

Moilanen Meadow tracks–photo by Joanna Fox

In addition to finding two downed trees on the trail, they found a Winter Trails sign:

Joanna and Norma with Winter Trails sign–photo by Joanna Fox

Norma led them out of the Meadows and back to the Birch Hill stadium but the chilled SCUM had already headed home.

Norma enjoying Moilanen Meadows–photo by Joanna Fox

They’d return for their first ski of 2022 as part of the Ski Your Age in Kilometers event on Saturday.

SCUM ski Moose Mountain (winter solstice + 1 day)

Today Dan Johnson led the SCUM up Moose Mountain following the trails the Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks tour took on Saturday. Once again, Bad Bob Baker had newly groomed their course.

Trees and moon along the trail:

SCUM on Bad Bob’s Moose Mountain trail—photos by Bill Husby unless noted otherwise

SCUM before sunrise:

Tim Woster--photo by Dan Johnson
Bill Husby–photo by Dan Johnson
Eric Buetow--photo by Dan Johnson
Sunrise on Moose Mountain–photo by Dan Johnson

Sunrise poses from on top:

Eric Buetow
Bill Husby
Dan Johnson
Tim Woster
Moose Mountain SCUM–photo by Dan Johnson

Our leader, Dan raises the SCUM flag (his hat) above Mastodon Rock. He wished he’d had Frank’s poles to raise it higher:

The tour finished with a well-deserved toast, thanks to Eric and his highly fortified and aged eggnog.

SCUM reward for their morning ski

And the documentation of their workout:

Santa and SCUM skate FWW traverse

The amazing Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks groomers had packed and tracked all the major trails at Birch Hill recreation area on Saturday so we had infinite choices today. However, first Santa had to decorate a tree with edible ornaments:

Santa decorates his tree–all photos and videos by Joanna Fox
Brightly-lit Santa and Eric decorate the tree

As we were skiing in a winter storm warning, Santa came prepared. Brightly colored lights adorned his hat so that he didn’t need Rudolph or any reindeer for that matter. After skiing the Blue loop (where Dan momentarily lost his “Ho Ho” baseball cap), we skied Outhouse to midway and headed down the Sunnyside trail. At Powerline cutoff, we encountered a mother moose and calf above us:

Mama Moose above Mama Fox
B- SCUM arrive at Powerline cutoff

We chased Eric and Dan down the Sunnyside and Cliffside to the Fort Wainwright alpine hut. Then we headed up the Sonot Connector, where we found amazing glide even on the uphill sections.

We took a break in our climb when the seven SCUM found LOL ornament #7:

Seven SCUM at LOL ornament #7

However, this feat wasn’t encountered without mishap. Afterall, seven SCUM were involved. See video of how the incident played out:

One SCUM (Dr. Eric Buetow) down at LOL ornament #7
Pointing out our second of the LOL ornaments this week

When we got to the top of the Sonot Connector, we headed back toward the stadium with five of us doing Moilanen Meadows chasing Santa. When we got back to the Santa tree, we encountered the A SCUM.

All of us wish you a wonderful holiday season with family and friends. Plan to celebrate 2022 by skiing the 35th annual Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot:

SCUM celebrating the warm weather and new snow around the decorated tree

Lovely new snow brings out the merry SCUM

New snow and temperatures over 30 deg warmer than they’ve been brought out the merry SCUM on Friday led by a dapper Santa:

Dashing Santa was the only one who could see on the downhills with his goggles–photo by Joanna Fox

Here was the gang on the Tower loop:

New retiree, Mike Mathers with arms raised, joins the SCUM–photo by Joanna Fox

After Medevac, Dermot was planning on leading us down the Black Baron. However, upon seeing newly set tracks, Santa decided that we’d do the Relay and Tower loops again. The tracks were so fast that one of the younger SCUM was chomping on the tails of Mom, who fell and ended up making a snow angel that destroyed a section of tracks:

Unintentional snow angel with instigator’s ski under victim–photo by Dan Johnson

Everyone agreed that all the new snow made the trails seem magical. It looks like even more snow is headed our way. Hooray for the grooming team. Make sure you’ve made your trail donation.

Rat Ponds Tour at -31 deg F

Sunset on Rat Ponds tour–all photos by Bill Husby

If you dress properly, even -31 deg F, you can enjoy beautiful trails and scenic lakes without leaving Fairbanks. Being part of the Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks grooming crew, Bill Husby enjoys skiing on trails maintained by others. So, on Monday, Bill headed out on the Rat Ponds tour that had been groomed and marked by Stan Justice. These photos show what he found:

And here is Bill’s documentation of the tour:

Fortunately, for us wimpy skiers, a strong temperature inversion has now set up, so we can avoid the cold temperatures Bill endured by skiing high. However, this post shows, with some advanced planning, enjoyable skiing is possible regardless of the temperature.

Recovery SCUM ski after Frank Soos Distance Race #1

After “racing”1 the 15 km Frank Soos Distance Race #1 in slow, newly fallen snow on Saturday, some SCUM skiers were actually willing to follow directions.

Here’s what SCUM looked like on the Outhouse loop after skiing the Sunnyside trail to section line on Sunday:

Recovery ski for SCUM–photo by Dan Johnson

And here we are enjoying the view from the Sunnyside trail at Powerline cutoff:

Sunnyside Trail at Powerline cutoff–photo by Joanna Fox

Although most of us only managed to ski 5 km in an hour on Sunday morning, I was able to “claim” one of the LOL’s 12 ornaments of Christmas, specifically, #4:

Ladies of Leisure 4th ornament of Christmas–photo by Joanna Fox

The recent snows have definitely improved the trails (a huge shout out to the NSCF groomers, you guys rock) and this cold weather will allow the tracks to set up firmly. If you properly dermotize, you can claim more the LOL 12 ornaments of Christmas. I just need 11 more.


1“Racing” in SCUM parlance means skiing a course without taking rest stops. Our speed is definitely relative only to standing still. Thanks to all the patient race volunteers!

Frank Soos Distance Race #1 training at -23 to -30 deg F

The groomers had done their magic on most of the major trails (except the blacks) yesterday. Ken Coe had set beautiful tracks that cut down to leaves only in one very short section of Heartrate Hill. Otherwise, they were firm, filled with snow, and set best line. Unfortunately, the trace of new hoarfrost snow overnight slowed the skis, so we were able to tuck and ride Ken’s tracks on the downhills (helped with a little doublepoling).

Today’s goal was to ski the course for the Frank Soos Distance Race #1 to be held on Saturday, 11 December 2021 starting at 11:00 a.m.

You can register for the race and view a map of the course here:

It was clear and sunny today with a brisk -23 deg F in the stadium, and -30 at Beacon Cutoff and the bottom of the White Bear. We were well-Dermotized, but camera batteries even with handwarmers don’t last long so we took a group photo at the top of the Tower Loop:

Four skiers on skins and three on waxable skis at -23 deg F

Some skiers don’t have any natural insulation so they bailed before skiing the entire 15 km. Bill Husby skied 17 km, throwing in extra loops to help burn a few more kcals. I ended up skiing alone from Coronary Bypass cutoff until I found Bill in the stadium. I skied the Warm-up Loop while Bill finished at the groomer’s garage. Two of us finished our workout goal for the day. As we trudged up the slower sections of the course, I could see Frank Soos ahead of me with his long arms and legs moving easily.

The trails are in great shape. If you dress for the temperature, you will have a stunning workout in the orange light near winter solstice.

Bernardo on White Bear–photo by Joanna Fox
Subtle winter light--photo by Joanna Fox

Norma and Joanna, post ski:

Photo by Joanna Fox

SCUM begin training for 35th Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot

Although it was -10 deg F in the stadium at 10 a.m. AST, it was -22 deg F at the biathlon range 30 minutes later, and likely colder than that at the low point of the course for the Kinross Fort Knox Town Race from yesterday. As the B SCUM were finishing their ski of the 7.5 km course, we met up with Eric Troyer, an A SCUM who had been out skiing with the Nanooks before joining us. (At least that’s the story he gave us).

As we headed up the stadium hill on newly set tracks, we encountered the A SCUM (the faster, younger SCUM, who even travel to races), and the entire alphabetic SCUM headed up the new tracks on the Tower Loop.

When we got to the high point of the trails, we wanted a group photo, so we recruited an impromptu photographer. Kendall Kramer, who was skiing today in conditions just 110 deg colder than she had raced on Saturday, was gracious in offering to take our photo. A U.S. Ski Team Skier, Kendall is former FXC skier and West Valley skier/runner, and had just returned from the NCAA cross country running championships in Florida, where she finished 72nd of 250 of the best NCAA cross country runners in the nation. Although we thanked her for stopping to take our photograph, we didn’t congratulation her for her historic run yesterday. She was one of a trio of Nanooks at the NCAA national championships. Congratulations, Kendall!

Here is the collection of SCUM skiing today in brisk conditions:

SCUM on the top of the Tower Loop–photo by Kendall Kramer

And then being SCUM, Eric Troyer needed assistance to get back up:

Eric being assisted back onto his skis by David Prusak

However, while David assisted, the rest of the SCUM watched:

SCUM watch and debate on their excuses for not skiing in the Turkey Day Relays

Dave ultimately was successful and smiling, while Eric took away a little snow from the trails:

How many SCUM does it take to get up from the snow?

So, if you’re going to be town for Thanksgiving, sign up now for the Beaver Sports Turkey Day Relays. It’s a good way to burn off those extra calories that you’ll consume. Some of the SCUM will be participating so your team won’t be last.

Here the link to information about the T-Day Relays, a low-key “race” where costumes and fun are important.