Only one original SCUM left in Fairbanks

SCUM before the 35th Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot–photo by Eric Engman

When the SCUM gathered for the start of the 35th Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot several weeks ago, no one was out warming up for the 50 km version. Only two had signed up for the 50 course, and neither finished it.

For comparison, just 22 years earlier, a dozen SCUM finished the 50 km Sonot Kkaazoot including Carl Hemming, the only remaining primordial SCUM in Fairbanks. Thumper, as Carl is better known, has been training with the SCUM for all 25 ski seasons:

Poles and Thumper after Sonot Kkaazoot--photo by Joanna Fox

Carl skied the 30 km event this year. Early in his SCUM career, Thumper finished the 50 km Sonot Kkaazoot by skating the Chena River portion and classical skiing up the Fort Wainwright alpine hill and all the Birch Hill trails. Carl strategically changed ski gear at FWW, figuring that even considering the time it took to change ski boots, he would end up ahead.

Here’s a photo taken of the Y2K SCUM during a Sunday workout. How many can you recognize?

Y2K SCUM–photo taken with Susan’s 35mm film camera by mystery photographer

Only Poles, Thumper, and Susan are part of both photographs taken 22 years apart. However, both Poles and Mom no longer are skiing on the original equipment knees.

Some of the SCUM reappear only for Springtime skiing as yesterday Kent and Mike joined us for Sunnyside adventures:

Springtime SCUM–photo by Kent Karns

Springtime skiing is the best for skiing and socializing. Make sure you’ve donated to the Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks grooming fund so that we can continue skiing on our record snowpack:

https://nordicskicluboffairbanks.wildapricot.org/Donate/

Troyer displaces me as Sonot Kkaazoot caboose

Eric Troyer displaced me as Sonot Kkaazoot caboose this year, and now I think he’d be a perfect replacement for me as the Sonot Kkaazoot blogger. He’s a far superior storyteller and makes me seriously question why I am working on an MFA in creative writing.

Here’s the URL to Eric’s 35th Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot, alternative 50 km:

https://notquiteoverthehillcorrineanderic.blogspot.com/2022/03/when-is-30k-race-not-30k-race-when-you.html

Owen Hanley named to U.S. Masters Team

Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks skier, ski instructor, supporter, and volunteer, Owen Hanley has been named to the U.S. Masters team based on his performances at the 2022 Masters World Cup Races in Canmore.

https://xcskiworld.com/us-masters-team

See our previous post on his efforts in Canmore:

Congratulations, Owen!

End of an era for the SCUM

When the SCUM group started 25 years ago as an uncoachable group of men, mostly over 40 years old, the final exam was to ski the 50 km Sonot Kkaazoot. This year, 25 years older, slower, and perhaps, wiser, none of the SCUM finished the 50 km course yesterday.

The new 50 km Sonot Kkaazoot course had an additional 20 km of hilly Birch Hill trails instead of the flat Chena River. After a La Nina winter of unusually cold weather, abundant snowfall and record rainfall, those of us who remained in Fairbanks all winter, had spent more time shoveling and scooping snow than skate skiing.

Yet, the 35th Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot was held under glorious spring weather so all of us, 10- and 30-km Sonot Kkaazoot skiers and volunteers were sore and exhausted today before our post-Sonot workout.

Still dealing with Sonot Kkaazoot organization duties, I was late for today’s workout and hoped that the group would have left without me. Alas, they were still in the stadium discussing whether predator-prey ratios in the ocean are mathematically determined. Some SCUM don’t understand the meaning of retirement.

I headed off down the White Cub and White Bear toward the Sonot Connector that none of us skied on race day.

SCUM rest on the White Bear on the morning after the Sonot Kkaazoot–photo by Joanna Fox
Joanna falls on White Bear trying to demonstrate how a high school skier tried to slow her down during the Sonot —photo by Bill Husby

The Sonot Connector descent was exhilarating and the views from the FWW alpine hill were stunning.

Dermot, Bill, and Susan look out to the Alaska Range–photo by Joanna Fox

However, the real SCUM antics surfaced when they discovered a new avalanche patch on the Cliffside trail and in their delusional states from yesterday’s Sonot, thought they saw a body near the bottom of the avalanche requiring investigation.

All that remains of some poor SCUM in an avalanche on Cliffside trail–photo by Joanna Fox

First Joanna skied toward the avalanche and fell, so Carl attempted to rescue her. but decided against it.

Carl attempts to rescue Joanna–video by Bill Husby

Then Dermot tried to approach the avalanche on foot.

Dermot attempts to approach avalanche on foot–photo by Joanna Fox

and discovers the SCUM hat belonging to Susan that he propped up on his ski pole:

Susan’s SCUM hat--photo by Bill Husby

before discovering how tiring walking in deep snow can be:

Dermot rescues Susan’s hat–video by Joanna Fox

Sufficiently recovered, the SCUM skied up until they found a snowy patch that they thought might be suitable for snow angels. Robert demonstrates a face down snow angel:

Robert attempts snow angel in early morning crust–video by Joanna Fox

Amazingly, we eventually finished our military transit from White Bear to Sunnyside and back to the stadium in under 2 hours on the morning after the Sonot when trails were icy and fast. All bets are off on whether I would have been found with my hat in the Cliffside avalanche today if I had attempted section 3 of the 50 km Sonot Kkaazoot.

Thanks to everyone who volunteered for or participated in the 35th Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot. The trails were awesome and the spirit of everyone on them was fantastic. Enjoy spring skiing.

Sonot Timers Needed: Will be kept well fed and caffeinated

Bad Bob Baker has been recruiting volunteers for the 35th Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot and is using his daughter Gina, as a secret weapon. Gina Chythlook will serve as Sonot Timing Building “Hostess” (Bad Bob’s term), providing coffee, soup, and homemade goodies in the basement of the timing building. I can personally attest to the high quality of Gina’s goodies, as pre-pandemic she provided soups for the Sonot Kkaazoot awards banquet, and goodies for Bad Bob’s Moose Mountain tour at her parents’ house.

The greatest volunteer need is currently for Sonot Kkaazoot timers to work with Anna Sorensen, who will train her volunteers well. If you are planning to ski the Sonot Kkaazoot, you may want to volunteer to help Bob with stadium set-up or take down so that you can take advantage of Gina’s treats and hospitality.

Bakers and DiFolco skiing at Canmore World Masters


Bad Bob and Sharon Baker, and Donna DiFolco skied in World Masters in Canmore last week. What a glorious setting! Notice Bad Bob wore his 30th anniversary Sonot Kkaazoot hat while skiing the 30 km FS race: World Masters are a great event for sharpening your training for the Sonot Kkaazoot.

Bad Bob Baker racing his 30 km CL race at World Masters–photo by Sharon Baker
Sharon Baker skiing at World Masters–photo by Bob Baker
Donna DiFolco tucking for her fast downhills at World Masters–photo by Bob Baker
Happy DeVoe Sisters–photo by Bob Baker
Bad Bob Baker, Sonot Kkaazoot organizer–photo by Sharon Baker
Bad Bob in action–photo by Sharon Baker

Now that Bad Bob is back in Fairbanks, he’d like you to know that we still need volunteers to help assure a smoothly run 35th Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot.

Owen Hanley wins World Masters bronze medal today in Canmore

Owen Hanley in route to his bronze medal in M10 class for 10 km classical race–photo by Bob Baker

Under bluebird skies and on beautifully groomed trails, Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks skier, Owen Hanley, was third in his M10 class with a time of 37:51 in today’s World Masters 10 km classical race. Owen’s podium performance is even more amazing in that he’s on the old end of his age category.

For many years, Owen has been a key volunteer for the Sonot Kkaazoot Awards Banquet, where he headed up the kitchen staff. Go, Owen!

Update on 9 March 2022: Owen Hanley earned a silver metal today skiing in the Men’s M10 4 x 5 km relay. France won the gold and hometown Canada won the bronze. Will post more details if Bad Bob sends photos and story.

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

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.