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.

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

Tidying up a downed birch tree on the White Bear

For a number of years, the SCUM have volunteered to brush cut on the White Bear Trail. Although we didn’t have a group effort this summer, we do our part as the need arises. Such was the case today, when the post-Equinox snow brought down a small birch tree on the White Bear on the outside corner where the trail turns to the left:

Scene of the downed tree before the final clean up

Because of the berm on the right side of the trail, we decided to drag the tree with branches still encumbered with leaves to the other side of the trail. However, with the new snow, the unstable footing was impossible to see, and one of us, went down with the tree:

One member of the trail crew down while the other finds her phone to document the operation

However, we prevailed and the tree was moved well off the trail:

Making sure tree wouldn’t roll back onto trail

Thoroughly chilled, we finished our ski walk up to hilltop and back to the stadium via White Cub as the skies cleared for the first time all weekend.

Trail crew selfie after the tree was secured—All photos by Joanna Fox

Hopefully, Bill Husby will be proud that the SCUM honey badgers were still moving branches (with tree attached) off the trail EVEN while he’s sunning himself in eastern Washington.

Spring Skiing outlook is EXCELLENT

Hopefully, donations for the Birch Hill Trails Fund during the virtual Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot helped build a grooming cushion because temperature and snow forecasts make the outlook for spring skiing look excellent. Here’s the URL for trail fund donations if you would like to help us out:

First of all, temperatures haven’t broken the 40 deg F temperature barrier since October 11 and we’re likely to break the record for consecutive days below 40 deg F on Monday, 5 April 2021 if current National Weather Service forecasts hold.

The second factor necessary for Spring skiing is adequate snowpack. Monday’s snowfall was a record 3.8″ and brings our seasonal snowfall total to 73.3″, which is over a foot above normal.

Thus, both unseasonably cool temperatures and adequate snowpack are good indicators of a great spring skiing season.

Bad Bob speaks about Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot

I went up to Birch Hill this morning (Monday) and traveled around all the Sonot Kkaazoot courses and removed all the kilometer markers, banner, and any other course markings, officially putting a close to this year’s courses. While I cruised the courses on my Skandic SWT with my 6′ groomer, leaving behind nothing but corduroy, I ran into Tom Helmers with the PistenBully, freshly regrooming the entire Birch Hill trail system.  I also got to follow a young bull moose for quite a spell down near the biathlon range. My other task today, was to GPS next year’s courses, which will hopefully include Sunnyside in both the 30 and 50 k, and on the 2nd lap of the 50 will take in half the Sunnyside again, along with Cliffside to the bottom, then back up Sonot Connector to White Bear. My measurements came out within a small fraction of a kilometer of being spot on!   

Let’s all hope that we’re back to a mass start, socially mingling, feed stations, award banquet kind of SONOT… Thanks to all that got out there and enjoyed the skiing over the past 2 weeks.  DON’T forget to send in your stories and times or whatever, to by this Wednesday, March 31.  

Also, there are still 2021 SONOT  POSTERS available for a $50.00 trail donation.  Contact Bad Bob to arrange for one of these cool posters before they’re gone…..(907) 455-6689.  If I don’t answer, just leave a message…

Husby skate skis 30 km virtual Sonot

Bill Husby skate skied the 30 km virtual Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot in a time of 2:31:29.

Bill writes:

Started at the beginning of the Blue loop where I had left off yesterday with intentions of adding that portion to today’s efforts. When I got the finished I still had some gel blocks in my pocket and the trail conditions were great, so started the watch headed out to repeat yesterday’s first leg and improve on the time. 

19.37Km +9.54Km = 28.91 Km

1h 38m 46sec + 52m 43sec = 2h 31 29sec

Husby skates his virtual 10 km Sonot

Having classical skied all three Sonot Kkaazoot official distances, Bill Husby has started skating the virtual Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot courses. Today, Bill skate skied the 10 km virtual Sonot Kkaazoot in 51:41.

Bill writes: “As Tom H and Corrine L would say, “ Skating is not real skiing”. Oh well! Here’s today’s skate time around the 10K course. See you tomorrow.”

Husby skis classical 50 km Sonot Kkaazoot over 3 days

To make sure that he was going to ski his virtual 90 km of Sonot Kkaazoot courses over the widest possible trail conditions, Bill Husby skied his virtual 50 km classical Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot in three installments for a final official time of 4:37:08 (corrected at 2322 on 3/21/21). Total distance was 49.44 km.

Photo by Joanna Fox

On Thursday, Bill skied the start of the 30 km course: Relay, South Tower, RC bypss, Warm-up, and Black Loops

On Friday, he skied the bottom of ramp, Blue, Outhouse, Relay, Tower, Medivac

Today, Sunday, Bill skied hut to Blue, Outhouse, Relay, Tower, Medivac, WB, MM, Warmup twice.

Congratulations to Bill Husby, who becomes the first skier to classical ski all three virtual Sonot Kkaazoot courses. This week he skied the 10 km course twice, the 30 km course yesterday, and today he finished the 50 km. Bill skied the Sonot loops so many times that he mistakenly added the wrong 30 km loop to his earlier calculations for his virtual 50 km. However, his official corrected time and documentation are now shown above.

Now that he has classical skied the 90 km of virtual Sonot Kkaazoot courses, he should skate ski all three courses this week.

Husby scorches Virtual 30 km Sonot Kkaazoot classically

Taking advantage of the afternoon sunshine and warmth together with the newly set tracks on White Bear, Bill Husby moves into the lead on the 30 km classical version of the Denali State Bank Virtual Sonot Kkaazoot.

The powerline poser in black

Bill writes:

“Started down the White Bear Access with plans to complete my 3rd leg of a three day 30 Sonot. The White Bear/MM were perfect (thanks to Tom). As I was completing the Warm Up I decided to continue on and ski the entire 30K course. Today’s trail conditions were definitely faster than Thursday and Friday’s cold gritty snow. So, today’s 30K no rest, no water, no feed time was 2:41:38.

Oh yes, it was a perfect day for Skins with the adjustable bindings set at 0.

 See you tomorrow.”

Yes, the remedial SCUM will see Bill on Sunday as we complete our virtual Sonot Kkaazoot on the installment plan.

Travis Kulp skates 10 km Sonot

Travis Kulp, Fairbanks firefighter, Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks groomer, and skate skier finished his 10 km Virtual Sonot Kkaazoot this afternoon in 42:41.

Travis writes:

“You could feel the tracks get faster under the sun- 
Male/ 46y/o/ skate ski”

Thanks for the report and all your work keeping us safe and skiing on great trails.