Get well quick, Poles!

Although the sun came out today, the SCUM were less animated without Bill Husby leading us on trails less traveled:

Bill leading Norma up the Fort Wainwright alpine hill in February using the route before the Sonot Connector was built

Without you, Don and Dermot wimp skated up the Comp Loop twice after we finished the Flat Black and Tommy Knocker Extension trails. Dan and I were able to V1 and not get our heartrate above level 2 while chasing Mike on classical skis. Still suffering the residual fatigue from his epic 50 km Sonot Kkaazoot, Dermot demonstrated wimp woodeling:

Dermot wimp woodeling up the Comp Loop

We hope that your surgery went well today. We miss you and hope that we’ll be chasing you soon.

Wednesday SCUM skiers (minus Byron who skipped the Comp loop) sending blue skies to Bill Husby–photo by Mike Mathers

Sincere thanks to the nearly 90 volunteers for the 36th Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot

It takes an entire ski community from the Fairbanks North Star Borough to organize and staff the Sonot Kkaazoot. Even after the Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks hosted the Junior National Championships a week earlier, we were fortunate to have enthusiastic volunteers to step up and help with the Sonot Kkaazoot. Because the volunteers worked in shifts to cover the entire race time, you might not have seen all of them on the courses, but their impact was there. Some of our timers skied the White Mountains 100 after helping us with the Sonot Kkaazoot. Many of our volunteers skied the 10, 30, or 50 km Sonot Kkaazoot. Take a look at our permanent Volunteers page. We are grateful for their contribution to the Sonot Kkaazoot’s success.

Please let me know ( if we’ve overlooked anyone.

Ski Ride or Glide this Saturday

Spring has arrived! Celebrate the Ride or Glide this Saturday.

Help local skiers participate in Junior Nationals next year (and future years) when it won’t be held in Fairbanks. The Ride or Glide relays this Saturday support scholarships for local skiers who have qualified for Junior Nationals. You witnessed the excitement in the skiers faces as they skied up the Groomers Ramp and crossed the finish line at Birch Hill.

Help more Team Alaska skiers to have that opportunity next year.

Our FXC Masters Power Lunch class skied the Ride or Glide course today at the same time of day that the race will take place. Make sure you have structure on your skis! Otherwise, your cold bases will “suck” and you’ll struggle for glide. Unless we actually get some new snow, there’s a lot of tree debris (and dog dew) on the trails so wax your skis for “dirty snow.”

However, it’s warm and marvelous out on the trails. Have fun at Ride or Glide.

Unclaimed woodels can be picked up at Birch Hill

Thanks to the generous offer of Mike Schmoker, creator and keeper of the Sonot Kkaazoot woodels, if you won a woodel in any of the three Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot events but did not attend the awards ceremony (or request an attending friend to pick up your award), you can still pick it up in the old warming hut at Birch Hill. You must let me know what event, what age category, and what place you earned. I will then email you when your woodel will be available for pick up.

Contact me at:

Data supporting “woodel walk” for the over 70 year skier

Jerome Jackson’s 30-km Sonot effort

Jerome Jackson, second place among M09 men in the 30 km Sonot Kkaazoot (an age group that had only one original equipment knee out of the four skiing), was among the three back-of-the-pack skiers at the top of the South Tower loop along with Dermot Cole and yours truly. He like Dermot was using the “woodel walk” technique. However, unlike Dermot, Jerome woodel walked for 20 km and then decided to skate. The huge spike in heart rate, shown above, resulted from this decision.

In addition to be 70 years old, this is Jerome’s first Sonot Kkaazoot with his bionic knee. Jerome acquired his first total knee replacement this past summer. The rehabilitation is long and arduous after a total joint replacement, but many more years of less painful skiing are possible. More specific skate ski training may be necessary to get one’s heart rate down as low as woodel walking, though. Jerome may be the first documented prove of the value of woodel walking.

Lessons in finishing the Sonot Kkaazoot when you’re just SCUM

Dermot Cole was unable to understand John Estle’s description on the difficulty of the 50 km Sonot Kkaazoot course that we posted earlier:


However, before the Sonot Kkaazoot, Dermot decided that walking uphills would keep his heartrate lower. Thus, he decided to “woodel walk” the hills starting with South Tower. Three SCUM (Dermot and two over 70-year-old skiers) crested the hill already settled into the very back of the pack.

The “woodel walk”, Dermot’s key to finishing the new World Class 50 km Sonot Kkaazoot —video by Bill Husby

In addition to teaching us how to do the woodel walk, Dermot provided the caption for bottom half of this photo of the SCUM, post Sonot:

SCUM agree to a group photo–photo by Joanna Fox
“Oh, shit!”–the persuasion needed to force Dave Prusak to be part of the group photo–photo by Joanna Fox

We think that there might be demand for an OLLI course by Dermot on “Woodel Walking the 50 km World Class Sonot Kkaazoot course”. Let us know what you think.

SCUM earn loads of woodels on new Sonot Kkaazoot courses

Joanna Fox, Alan Delamere, Dan Johnson, Dermot Cole, Carl Hemming, Bill Husby, Mike Schmoker, and Dave Prusak with their 36th Denali Bank Sonot Kkaazoot woodels–photo by Max Kaufman

Every SCUM who finished their chosen 36th Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot event won a woodel for their efforts. Jerome Jackson, Ray Halderman, Greg Kahoe, and Don Pendergrast also earned woodels last night. In addition, Mike Schmoker (assisted by Bernardo Hernandez) is responsible for hand crafting the Sonot Kkaazoot woodels. Bill Husby was grooming until 1 a.m. on race day and still skied a remarkable 30 km Sonot Kkaazoot. Don Pendergrast helped distribute bibs on race day and Dan Johnson assisted with timing (after his 10 km ski). Mike, Dave, and Don also were also volunteers all three days of the Junior National Championships.

Congratulations to these hardy skiers, some of whom were the oldest in their respective races.

The key to Bill’s success (in addition to training)–photo by Joanna Fox
Dan’s thoughtful approach–photo by Joanna Fox
Joanna enjoying post-ski beverages–photo by Bill Husby

SCUM results:

50 km: Mike Schmoker, M08M, 4:37:24.2; Dermot Cole, M08M, 6:13.44.4

30 km: David Prusak, M08M, 2:40:13.0; Bill Husby, M09M, 2:46:45.6; Gregory Kahoe, M07M, 2:53:57.9; Ray Halderman, M10M, 3:00:23.2; Joanna Fox, M06F, 3:08:36.9; Jerome Jackson, M09M, 3:35:11.1

10 km: Dan Johnson, M08M, 52:26.6; Don Pendergrast, M10M, 59:18.9; Carl Hemming, M09M, 1:09:56.8; Alan Delamere, M12M, 1:19:35.5.

SCUM redeemed, Schmoker and Cole finish 50 km event

After being totally skunked last year, this year the SCUM were redeemed by Mike Schmoker who finished in 4:37.24.2 (too quick for any SCUM photographer) and Dermot Cole finished in 6:13.44. Mike Schmoker heads up the creation of Sonot Kkaazoot woodels, and he’ll be receiving a second place one. Mike and Dermot were the 2nd and 3rd place finishers among M08 Men. Mike was 70 years old on race day and Dermot was 69.

Dermot Cole after finishing his 50 km Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot–photo by Dan Johnson

Dermot extends a special thank you to the Lathrop/West Valley feed station on the White Bear as they left a cup of hydration fluids for Dermot on the trail after Ken Coe, course sweep, had released them. The young man’s kindness was greatly appreciated.