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:

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.

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.

SCUM and others ski the Virtual Skiathon

(Scroll down to results that we uploaded on 3/11/22)

A large group of SCUM and friends headed out on their Virtual Skiathon today at 10 a.m.

All photos (except where noted otherwise) were taken by Eric Troyer, who warmed up for the Virtual Skiathon by skiing the 26 mile Chena River to Ridge Endurance Race on Saturday. Corrine Leistikow also skied the 26 mile Chena River to Ridge Race.

Virtual Skiathon group at 10 a.m. — photo taken by a wise skier who did not want to be associated with the SCUM

Although “the graveyard” (aka Miller Hill) section of the Skarland Trail hadn’t been groomed, most of the SCUM and others managed to negotiate the ungroomed sections, but none as skillfully as Sam Bishop.

Sam Bishop (on right) stands upright on his skis like he did even on the ungroomed sections of the Skarland Trail
SCUM returning to the official start line of the Skiathon to regroup (a typical SCUM move)

Because this blogger was the course sweep, I am unable to provide captions for the Skiathon photographs so I’ve invented something to cover the Olympus digital camera advertisement that accompanied Eric’s photos.

Skiers pause briefly so Eric can take a photograph
Greg Kahoe skis without groomed tracks
Byron Broda relaxing on Vitual Skiathon Tour —photo by Bill Husby
Corrine Leistikow skis down the Skarland Trail
Don Pendergrast upright before rest stop —photo by Dan Johnson
Don’s reverse squat after rest break—photo by Dan Johnson
Happy Virtual Skiathon finishers
Joanna greets Mike Schmoker as he slows down to finish his virtual Skiathon
Early SCUM finishers celebrate with beer—photo by Dan Johnson

Pole (singular) is back on skis

Bill Husby (aka Poles) is back skiing after his ladder accident

During the Frank Soos Distance Race #3, The Unpleasantry, I was passed by Thomas St. Clair holding a broken pole in one hand and skiing outside the tracks with just one pole. I mentioned to our group of skiers that Bill was perhaps part of a growing trend.

Then today, Bill headed out to Smith Lake to keep him at the top of our Creme de la SCUM team in miles earned for our 2000-mile relay on the Race Across Alaska Winter Challenge. I hope that this didn’t jar any of his fractured ribs and that he will soon join our workouts again.

Minto Ski

Are you getting tired of skiing the same trails here in the Fairbanks area? Scott Brucker would like folks to come try out his ski trails in Minto in hopes that we’ll help promote his trails for future ski events.

He emailed:

I’d like to invite you and some folks for a personalized ski session of my trails. It was about 3 weeks ago I had a ‘jib’ ski and skate skied 14 miles of my trails, it was absolutely glorious. I’m trying to obtain/build better drags and figure out a way to put corduroy in the trail. I exploded my snow drag the other day, which really pissed me off when the hitch failed and caught a tree. I figure if I show people it is a good trail, they will pass that on by word of mouth and might be able to help host a race or get school ski programs to come out this way.

Here’s updated google earth Imagery of my trail system.

Roughly 400+ cords of wood now cut and stacked in the past 7 years. So exciting to see the scars I’ve let on the planet. I added about 1.5 miles to the trail from last year. Here is an image of a 9.5 mi route.

They can be combined with other trails for 24 miles of skiing if I really wanted to, but I’ve found maintaining that much trail is exhausting, time consuming, and costly. Right now I’m maintaining 14.5 mi trail as my longest, and a total of 17 miles of trail. 

A trip to Minto might make a perfect spring break trip.

Contact Scott if you’re interested: email:

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.

Last ski of 2021

After a week of shoveling out from the two recent storms that dowsed the area with snow and rain, the SCUM were delighted to ski in firm PistenBully tracks today. However, the only photos taken were when they ventured off into the ungroomed snow.

Here the SCUM set “old school” tracks on the Old Tower:

Photo by Dan Johnson

And here’s what the White Bear trail beyond Sonot Junction looks like:

Mom, Joanna, and Norma decide against skiing WB--photo by Dan Johnson

Joanna and Norma were feeling adventuresome so took off and skied Moilanen Meadows following these set tracks:

Moilanen Meadow tracks–photo by Joanna Fox

In addition to finding two downed trees on the trail, they found a Winter Trails sign:

Joanna and Norma with Winter Trails sign–photo by Joanna Fox

Norma led them out of the Meadows and back to the Birch Hill stadium but the chilled SCUM had already headed home.

Norma enjoying Moilanen Meadows–photo by Joanna Fox

They’d return for their first ski of 2022 as part of the Ski Your Age in Kilometers event on Saturday.

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: