After training days when we’ve had hazardous wildfire smoke, winds, or persistent showers, temperatures this morning ranged from 56 to 64 with sunny skies and the Alaska Range clearly in view as we descended the hill. SCUM, of course had perfectly legitimate excuses of why they couldn’t join us: (e.g., “fair booth duty for the League of Women voters”, “moving stuff in Portland and painting a room”, “meeting up with relatives for breakfast”, “doctor’s appointment”, “simple cold although I tested negative but in abundance of caution”, “duty (work) calls “). Two young runners did two ascents while we were ski walking our first two, but I think our fun factor was higher.
We missed our wayward SCUM but they missed a perfect day as the three of us had a great workout before we went home to jack up a sauna, insulate an attic, and mow a lawn.
With predicted daytime highs in the 50s, our record snowpack is going down fast. With the pistenbully down and waiting for a part to be trucked from Reno, Tom Helmers has been grooming icy trails with the Sherpa and drag. Although less effective than the pistenbully, this grooming allows skiers with marginal technique to still enjoy the sunshine and fast trail conditions.
The spring warmth also encourages skiers to seek their own trails through the crust-covered snow, researching stories to inform and educate us.
UAF will be presenting Dermot Cole a Doctor of Humane Letters degree on Friday, 29 April 2022 in the Davis Concert Hall, beginning at 5 p.m.
The National Weather Service Fairbanks posted this graphic on their Facebook page today. It indicates that we have the snowpack for great spring skiing, provided you contribute to the trails fund so that the groomers can continue to buy diesel for the Pistenbully.
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.
The Sonot Connector descent was exhilarating and the views from the FWW alpine hill were stunning.
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.
First Joanna skied toward the avalanche and fell, so Carl attempted to rescue her. but decided against it.
Then Dermot tried to approach the avalanche on foot.
and discovers the SCUM hat belonging to Susan that he propped up on his ski pole:
before discovering how tiring walking in deep snow can be:
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:
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.
Sunday was a noteworthy SCUM ski. We had probably 4 inches of new snow that had been newly groomed and tracked. Temperatures were a balmy 8 deg F above zero. But our injured Creme de la SCUM leader, Bill Husby (aka Poles) was not skiing back and forth at the head of the pack. With his cracked lower rib and nondisplaced fracture of the right ulna, Poles will likely be Pole (singular) when he rejoins us. However, a half-strength Bill Husby will still ski faster and further than the rest of the SCUM.
PLEASE support Bill’s recovery by donating to the trails fund:
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:
And here’s what the White Bear trail beyond Sonot Junction looks like:
Joanna and Norma were feeling adventuresome so took off and skied Moilanen Meadows following these set tracks:
In addition to finding two downed trees on the trail, they found a Winter Trails sign:
Norma led them out of the Meadows and back to the Birch Hill stadium but the chilled SCUM had already headed home.
They’d return for their first ski of 2022 as part of the Ski Your Age in Kilometers event on Saturday.