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.

Blues skies and Ester Dome PRs after 1.5″ of rain

After several days of rain in Fairbanks, the SCUM were delighted to find blue skies on Ester Dome. There are no photos of the climb since Bernardo and Bill were moving WAY too fast. Bernardo had just returned from Palm Springs where it had been 109 deg F, so it was 70 deg cooler when we started climbing at 9 a.m from St. Pat’s. Seeing as Bernardo has absolutely no body fat, his “strolling” gait overtook all of us. Meanwhile, Bill was on a mission to get his ascent time under 50 minutes and achieved that by chasing Bernardo.

Bernardo and Bill in shorts had seasonal PRs on their Ester Dome ascents

After Bernardo was duly reprimanded for not using his poles correctly, we asked Robert Hannon to demonstrate good technique. Robert was just returning to action after being on the SCUM disabled list for a painful hip. Here’s his demo with his right leg:

and his not-quite-so perfect left side:

The SCUM were impressed by the cloud formations in the valley below us:

Awesome clouds below

before switching to conversations about state politics. Mom stopped to take photos of our more interesting local surroundings:

Robert urging Mom to hurry up

All of us agreed that the workout was amazing and even for those of us who fell short of making a seasonal PR, the effort, company, and beauty made the effort worthwhile.

The gray cars driven by the gray haired and bearded SCUM

Skiing the White Bear on 23 April

In spite of a couple weeks of daytime temperatures in the 50s and 60s, our deep snowpack is allowing the trails to freeze overnight as the ground is still colder than the air. Thanks to Tom Helmer’s grooming efforts this morning, the remedial SCUM skate skied the White Bear on 23 April, a full 6 months after we started skiing in the fall.

It was 46 deg and sunny when we left the stadium at 9:03 a.m. being urged by Nick Crawford and friend that the optimum skiing time had been at 7:00 a.m. We took off down the White Bear access delighted with the glide accompanied our efforts. In a flash, we were down to the bottom of the White Bear, where we found the big, slow mosquitoes and a temperature of 40 deg.

SCUM at the SCUMometer at 40 deg w/ mosquitoes lurking–all photos by Don Pendergrast

At the base of Heart Rate Hill, we pulled over to let a young shirtless skier and his friend pass us. After our photo documentation, we were prepared to climb slow and steady through the slush and sunshine:

We haven’t started the climb yet, but Don’s windbreaker has already been removed

It is a SCUM ritual that if we climb Heart Rate Hill without stopping for a rest break we get to poke the tree at the top with our ski pole. Even though I was supposed to be doing an easy distance ski, my heart rate slipped briefly into level 4 as the slush made the going tougher than it would have an hour earlier. Being SCUM meant that not stopping took precedence over keeping my heart rate in level 1. This means I have to do a distance ski tomorrow to record as my LOD in FXC Masters virtual training. Just don’t tell Christina.

Only Bernardo still was wearing his hat after Heart Rate Hill

The skate skiing is the best that it has been all season. The mean age of our workout group today was 71 years old and we had a blast! Don’t miss out on the best skiing of the season.

Minus 2 deg F at Birch Hill, no April Fools

I don’t think I’ve ever classic skied on Start Tar green (and had too much kick) in April. The remedial SCUM skied the black loops today (once the regular Sonot route, then the Tommy Knocker so we could do the final hill twice), because we knew the dowhills wouldn’t be frightening. All of us were using chemical handwarmers (commenting on how many cases we’ve used this season) in APRIL and wishing we were more dermotized.

Here are the elder SCUM, all of whom are skiing on classical skis without skins:

SCUM with handwarmers and skis without skins

As we were chatting after finishing up, Dermot was starting out. We were able to convince him to reconsider skate skiing:

Dermot reconsiders skate skiing on a crisp April day

Temperatures had warmed to above zero by the time Dermot switched skis, but I’m sure he wasn’t overheating. No snowpack melting today, and the National Weather Serice is predicting 8 to 12 inches of snow this weekend. My supplemental Trails Fund contribution will be well spent this month.

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 contact@sonotkkaazoot.org 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…

Troyer skis 50+ km virtual Sonot Kkaazoot

Eric Troyer, head media volunteer for the Sonot Kkaazoot, skate skied his 50+ km virtual Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot on Sunday in corrected time of 4:40.22.

Eric writes (at 4:53 p.m.): “I did my 50k Sonot today, completing the Sonot Hat Trick (10, 30 and 50k versions). My time was 5:14:22. That has got to be one of the toughest just-shy-of-50 50k races out there! I was darn happy to see the 48, 49, and 50k signs right there at the Timing Building. Another 3k, especially if it had gone down into the Black Loops would have killed me. I tried to convince myself that the last 10k was flat, just like in the original Sonot, but my legs and lungs argued otherwise. Thanks to everyone for putting this on, especially to those awesome groomers (tracks and trails were outstanding!)!” 

At 5:53 p.m. Eric adds: “Whoops. Corrine pointed out that I screwed up. I did the Black Loops twice! I just checked and I actually did 53.5 kilometers. Corrine checked my stats and says I spent 34 minutes in the Black Loops on the second round, so I guess I’ll take that off my time.” 

Eric never responded in my request that he submit his final official 50 km time so this current English major will do the math for him getting a final adjusted time of 4:40:22.

Eric Troyer is still smiling after skiing the black loops twice during his virtual 50+ km Sonot Kkaazoot