SCUM take on Ride or Glide Relays

SCUM do Ride or Glide–video and interviews by Bill Husby

In the Ride or Glide relays, two person teams either bike or ski a 9-km course. The biker must do the first leg. Mike Mathers was ahead of Corrine Leistikow on the first leg. However, Eric called Dan an old man as he passed him. It may have had something to do with the tights that Eric wore. Alternatively, Eric must not have gone off course (like he did in last year’s Sonot Kkaazoot) or his bike wheel didn’t fall off (like in last year’s Ride or Glide).

What to wear if you want to beat SCUM

Congratulations to all. I’d still be out on the course if I had attempted to ski it.

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.

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.

Bad Bob Baker interviewed by Arctic Vibe on Sonot Kkaazoot

The collaboration between the Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks and Fort Wainwright has increased the number and variety of groomed Nordic ski trails available to both civilians and military personnel in the Fairbanks North Star Borough. Through all 36 years of the Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot, Fort Wainwright has been a key sponsor because the race has involved trails on military land.

Recently, Bad Bob Baker, Sonot Kkaazoot race originator and current organizer was interviewed by U.S. Army Garrison Alaska Commander Col. Nate Surrey for Fort Wainwright’s monthly Arctic Vibe show. Here’s Bad Bob’s interview as part of the Arctic Vibe: Ready for Spring program.

Arctic Vibe program for March cued to section with interview with Bad Bob Baker, Sonot Kkaazoot race organizer

Fort Wainwright thinks that skiing the Sonot Kkaazoot is a great way to get ready for spring. We definitely agree.

Frank Soos Distance Race #2

Skiers and volunteers still in the finish area when the last skiers finished–photo by David Hayden.

Kent Karns, far left, kneeling, put on a bib and skied 10 km today for his second time on skis this season. Gern, in orange cap, helped Bill Husby set up the course, and then skied with his backcountry skis (the only reason that Dermot and I finished ahead of him–Gern was faster on the uphills, we had far more glide on the downhills and graduals). Tom Helmers, standing in back, far right, groomed fantastic tracks and trails. What a day!

From Frank’s essay “Why Is It That I Do This?”

I cannot stop myself from getting out and living through my body. There is always the recognition, cutting through the satisfaction of doing well or the disappointment of doing poorly, having pushed myself to my limit or beyond it, that after a little rest I will come to see I’ll do it again.

Why is it, then, that I do this? I still can’t say–pleasure comes in many forms, many of them irrational–but I am sure I can do nothing other than hope to continue, getting slower and slower until finally I blink out.

Winter solstice skiing

Dermotized SCUM faces on Friday at -8 degrees F–photo by Mike Mathers

The skies have finally cleared after 15.2 inches of snow at the airport this December (and considerably more at Birch Hill). With a 20 deg temperature inversion between the hills and valleys, the SCUM are prepared for a full range of temperature conditions as shown here on Friday when it was actually cold enough for our fleece SCUM hats. However, with two Pistenbullys grooming the trails, the skate platform and the tracks were relatively fast.

Saturday morning, the SCUM headed out to ski in Bad Bob Baker’s Moose Mountain tour. Here’s a glimpse of the skyline as Bad Bob finished grooming:

View from Bad Bob’s house–photo by Bob Baker

Starting from the home of Bad Bob and Sharon Baker at 10:10 a.m. (the SCUM van got lost and were late arriving), the goal was to ski to the top of Moose Mountain ridge to watch the sunrise over the mountains (Mt Hayes, we think). All of us managed to do that.

Here are the speedy SCUM:

Speedy SCUM await sunrise–photo by Joanna Fox

and the entire gang:

The SCUM plus Bad Bob Baker, Sonot Kkaazoot and Moose Mountain tour organizer–photo by Joanna Fox

and the main attraction:

Why we climbed 330 m before dawn–photo by Joanna Fox

Today it was -26 deg F in the valley, but a balmy -5 deg at Birch Hill as the SCUM finished their winter solstice weekend of training.

Here we are at the top of the Tower loop:

SCUM and Christmas tree on Tower Loop–photo by Joanna Fox

and at the Denali viewpoint on the Sunnyside:

SCUM with moon and comet in the skies over Denali

Happy Winter Solstice!

Update from the actual shortest day in Fairbanks:

SCUM on Wednesday, 21 December at biathlon range where it was -18 deg F–photos by Joanna Fox
Proof that it was-38 deg F at airport
Scary faces

“Sophomoric humor” on the day after Frank Soos Distance Race #1

SCUM await the Arctic Force on Cliffside–photos by Joanna Fox

On the day after the Frank Soos Distance Race #1, we decided to ski the military transect starting on the White Bear, going down the Sonot Connector and returning up the Cliffside and Sunnyside trails to the Outhouse and Relay Return. When we got to the bottom of Cliffside, we found we had company, a group of the Arctic Force at Fort Wainwright.

Who’s the skier without white pants? Why it’s Dermot Cole, who wrote a touching tribute to Frank Soos after yesterday’s event: (

Today while participating in our sophomoric humor, we came up with a new SCUM acronym to more accurately reflect our current composition. Susan’s Class of Uncoachable Misfits was the new definition. Here’s the SCUM in action on the Cliffside once we got ahead of the Army:

Snow angels by the 70 to 79 age class from yesterday’s Frank Soos Distance Race (and one 69-year-old)–video by Joanna Fox
Snow angel by the wannabe 70-year-old SCUM

We did eventually ski back to the Birch Hill stadium, regrouping when Santa executed a dramatic fall:

We’re looking for some younger recruits to join us. The Sonot Kkaazoot is a little more than 3 months away. Woodels will be awarded this year and the post-race banquet will be held like before the pandemic. Plan to join us. You’ll have to prove that you’re a misfit, though.

Joanna proving she’s a misfit–photo by Dan Johnson

By the way, we have located 4 of the LOL Christmas ornaments. We’ll do a blogpost when we get all 12.

Santa and ornament 4–photo by Dan Johnson