Ski Ride or Glide this Saturday

Spring has arrived! Celebrate the Ride or Glide this Saturday.

Help local skiers participate in Junior Nationals next year (and future years) when it won’t be held in Fairbanks. The Ride or Glide relays this Saturday support scholarships for local skiers who have qualified for Junior Nationals. You witnessed the excitement in the skiers faces as they skied up the Groomers Ramp and crossed the finish line at Birch Hill.

Help more Team Alaska skiers to have that opportunity next year.

Our FXC Masters Power Lunch class skied the Ride or Glide course today at the same time of day that the race will take place. Make sure you have structure on your skis! Otherwise, your cold bases will “suck” and you’ll struggle for glide. Unless we actually get some new snow, there’s a lot of tree debris (and dog dew) on the trails so wax your skis for “dirty snow.”

However, it’s warm and marvelous out on the trails. Have fun at Ride or Glide.

Data supporting “woodel walk” for the over 70 year skier

Jerome Jackson’s 30-km Sonot effort

Jerome Jackson, second place among M09 men in the 30 km Sonot Kkaazoot (an age group that had only one original equipment knee out of the four skiing), was among the three back-of-the-pack skiers at the top of the South Tower loop along with Dermot Cole and yours truly. He like Dermot was using the “woodel walk” technique. However, unlike Dermot, Jerome woodel walked for 20 km and then decided to skate. The huge spike in heart rate, shown above, resulted from this decision.

In addition to be 70 years old, this is Jerome’s first Sonot Kkaazoot with his bionic knee. Jerome acquired his first total knee replacement this past summer. The rehabilitation is long and arduous after a total joint replacement, but many more years of less painful skiing are possible. More specific skate ski training may be necessary to get one’s heart rate down as low as woodel walking, though. Jerome may be the first documented prove of the value of woodel walking.

SCUM left behind

By definition, SCUM rises to the top, but nowhere does being a SCUM signify possessing speed. Thus, during SCUM workouts, Mom is frequently left far behind, and she subsequently takes unplanned diversions to amuse herself. So today, Bill Husby, decided that I needed to carry an Apple AirTag so that overachieving SCUM could come back and find me. (Aside: 25 years ago, when the SCUM were much younger, Sgt. SCUM, aka Mark Haas, would ski back and find all the lagging SCUM without any electronic gadgets. FWW Army band members were better at tracking than former Lathrop High School teachers, apparently.)

However, out the South Birch Hill Parking Lot, I had multiple Rosie Brennan moments where my left ski was not attached to my left boot.

Mom’s Rosie Brennan moment before workout began–all photos by Dan Johnson

Fortunately, after I had inserted my ski boot to binding a dozen times without successful attachment, Dermot came to my rescue. Seven minutes later and with cold fingers and thumbs, we headed up the stadium ramp without a lot of glide.

Boot and binding aligned and cleared of ice thanks to Dermot

We started out on the newly groomed and tracked trails by skiing the Tower, Medevac, Blue and Outhouse. At the Sunnyside cutoff, Mom and Dermot decided that Sunnyside would be much more enjoyable since the sun was out today, unobstructed by clouds. Since we were headed downhill the extra inch of snow on the trails wouldn’t be a problem.

However, eventually the air tag told Bill that we weren’t following them:

SCUM left behind, Tattletale AirTag

The SCUM caught us as we had decided to go down Cliffside and up the Sonot Connector. Dan and Bill wanted to turn back at the Cliffside gate because Dan’s feet were getting cold and Bill said Sonot Connector wouldn’t be groomed until Friday. When Dermot and I pointed out that it WAS Friday, the SCUM followed us down Cliffside and up the Sonot Connector, where apparently, Bill was pinging the AirTag:

However, I couldn’t hear the pinging because Dermot serenades everyone around him when he skis with a cacophony of groans, moans, and other animal sounds:

Dermot penguin walking with south effects--video by Joanna Fox

Dan, Tim, and Bill waited for us in the sun at the road crossing at the top of the Sonot Connector, wondering why I hadn’t heard the pinging. We finished off the incoming White Bear, where Doyon Utilities had removed a number of trees touching the power lines recently. Much more daylight was seen on the last km of the White Bear as a result. Finishing on the Warmup Loop, Bill and Dan were humored by their IT success before they headed off for the Skiathon on Sunday.

Dermot and I won’t be at the Skiathon as we need to do a several hour skate workout as we prepare for the 50 km Sonot Kkaazoot. We’ve already signed up at the early registration rate, which ends at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday.

SCUM work crew move downed tree on N40

The warmer weather and winds have brought down gobs of snow from trees along the Birch Hill trails. It also brought down a good-sized white spruce on the lower section of the N40 trail.

Here are the SCUM heroes that moved it off the trail. Doing a good deed is easy when you’re still fatigued from the 30 km Frank Soos Distance Race on Sunday.

SCUM trail crew on N40–photo by Dan Johnson

Frank Soos Distance Race #3

Sunday’s Frank Soos Distance Race #3, The Unpleasantry turned out to be a tough tour on trails that were in immaculate condition at 9:00 a.m. before the 2 deg F snow started falling. The 70-year-old SCUM wave started at 10:00 a.m. when the PistenBully corduroy was still visible beneath the fluffy half inch of new snow. The tracks were ghastly slow so the three skiers on classical skis were skiing in the skate platform as were those of us who arrived with skate gear. The snow was absolutely lovely, but we didn’t see any lynx or moose tracks to distract us from our 3-lap tour of the White Cub and White Bear loops. Our tour took the “kid” among us 3:23:44.6, a full 1:34.16 behind FXC coach Jesse Wilkins. I had the opportunity to enjoy almost an hour more time on the White Bear than this “wannabe 70-year-old SCUM”.

A number of skiers didn’t start or finish because of illness, equipment failures, or better judgement than those of us who prevailed. A huge thanks to Chris Puchner, Pam Laker, Anna Sorensen and all the other volunteers who hung in there with smiles and encouragement. We really appreciated you.

Here are the results by distance:

North & South Classical trails offer SCUM a change of pace

Dan and Eric taking a break on Blackhawk–photo by Bill Husby

Comment from groomer Bill Husby, “Today‚Äôs ski was definitely a change of pace ski. Burned more energy climbing out of snowbanks after crashing than I did skiing today (6+ falls).”

Bernardo trying to assist two downed SCUM on the North Star–photo by Dan Johnson

When the trail groomer takes off his skis and walks the downhills that he groomed, you realize that you might have made a mistake.

Fata Morgana on Sunnyside (Robert’s belt is causing a belly mirage–really, he’s as slim as Bernardo)

Snow on Dermot’s vest isn’t from any of his tumbles on the North Classics. However, he chose to bail out of the South Classics and do the Sonot Connector to Sunnyside instead.

However, we all made it back to our cars intact, although some of the snow from the trails was still on our ski gear.

SCUM failed to find all 12 LOL Christmas ornaments

The SCUM skiers were too focused on their workouts so were unable to find all 12 of the LOL Christmas ornaments. However, we did find 8 while skiing:

LOL #1--photo by Joanna Fox on 12/26/22 on WB access during Ski Your Age in Kilometers
LOL #3 found on Skadi loop, hanger was separated from ornament–photo by Byron Broda on 12/9/22
Santa Bill with LOL ornament #4 on Roller Coaster on 12/11/22–photo by Dan Johnson
LOL ornament #5 on Medevac on 12/11/22–photo by Dermot Cole
Ornament #6 on White Bear near biathlon on winter solstice--photo by Bill Husby, who spotted it
LOL #7 ornament on White Cub, 12/9/22–photo by Dan Johnson
LOL ornament #8 on Tommy Knocker trail–photo by Joanna Fox
Byron and ornament #11 on Old Tower Loop

Bill Husby saw LOL ornament #12 on Little Bird while grooming, but we never got out there on skis, so we failed to nab that one, too. We thank the LOL for this fun addition to our December skiing and an excuse to take a rest break–a SCUM necessity.

Happy New Year from the SCUM

Happy New Year from the SCUM at Hilltop Junction on the lovely White Bear corduroy–photo by Joanna Fox

Even though the SCUM hadn’t been skating for several weeks because of the the recent cold spell, they took full advantage of the pistenbully groomed trails today and skated 15 km of them in around 2 hours. We took rest breaks once we had crested the uphills as seen above at Hilltop and below the summit of Heartrate Hill.

Giving Bob Moloney the SCUM salute for skiing Heartrate Hill without any rest stops–photo by Dan Johnson

We saluted Bob Moloney, who at 79 years old, skated Heartrate Hill without stopping for any rest breaks. After we finished White Bear, Moilanen Meadows, Big Surprise, and Warm-up, it was Bob, who pointed out that we needed to ski some additional trails to get our 2-hour long overdistance skate ski today. So, peer pressure made sure we did ski our full 2 hours.

We thank the NSCF groomers who made today’s workout possible. We’ve donated to the NSCF trail fund and hope you will join us.

SCUM close out 2022 with Birch Bakken

SCUM Birch Bakken skiers on 12-30-22 including Bob, Eric, and Eric (FS), Joanna, Bernardo, Dan, Mike, Dermot, and Susan (CL). Bill took the long way down to the start so missed our group start before sunrise.

To those unfamiliar with the Birch Bakken challenge, it was dreamed up by groomer Bill Husby, who was suffering a chest injury today from his fall skiing the Chinook loop on Thursday after he had set it. The course takes a 4.0 km route from the low point to the high point of the Birch Hill Recreation Area. The red line in this GPS trace is the course:

From the FWW alpine building (point 1 on the map), we headed up Cliffside, at the Cliffside gate, we head up the downhill section of Sunnyside to Section Line junction (this is much steeper than the regular inbound trail shown in blue). We then skied the inbound Sunnyside trail to the Outhouse Loop, then to Relay Return, backwards to the Blue Slot, then back on Relay Return to South Tower to the light pole at the highest point of the Tower Loop (point 2).

Here are the statistics for the oldest and slowest No Y SCUM, who was skiing at “Sonot Kkaazoot pace” and kept her HR within level 2:

Hopefully, finish photos will be added as they become available. The temperature inversion on the BB Challenge was about 20 degrees today. After finishing the BB Challenge, we skied back down the South Tower to look for wayward SCUM.

As promised, action photos by Eric Troyer and Corinne Leistikow. Corinne passed me on the Outhouse after she skied White Bear to Sonot Connector, Blackhawk, Chinook, and the rest of the Sonot Connector. She saw the SCUM gathering at the bottom of the hill so skied by most of us while chasing Eric. The day before Dr. Leistikow told me the importance of recovery days. I guess that only applies to her older patients.

Joanna heading up the Birch Bakken first–until she took a wrong turn at the Cliffside gate–photos by Eric Troyer except where noted otherwise
SCUM chase Joanna up Birch Bakken
Eric Buetow chases Mike Mathers
Mom and Dermot take off last (except for Eric Troyer, photographer)
Mom ahead of Eric Buetow on the South Tower, only because Eric forgot the Blue Slot so had to backtrack before starting South Tower again
Eric finishing strong up the South Tower
Corinne joining the SCUM from the Tower Loop
Finished SCUM
SCUM after Birch Bakken–photo by Corinne Leistikow