Today on a beautiful autumn day at Birch Hill Recreation Area, we cut brush and overhanging branches back on both sides of the trail beyond Coronary Bypass (7 km cutoff), and cleaned up afterwards. The brush cutting party was organized by groomer Bill Husby (shown below in photo by Dan Johnson):
assisted by Dan Johnson, Dave Prusak, Dermot Cole (shown in another photo by Dan Johnson, working hard or hardly working):
Bernardo Hernandez, Owen Hanley, Pat Reinhard, Carl Hemming, and Susan Sugai. Once the White Bear trail is mowed, this 3 km section will ready for snow.
Surprisingly, one of the brushcutters who worked for the entire 4+ hours, is a younger SCUM, who had to return to his regular work today after his Birch Hill mini-vacation. Not to be outdone by the pup, two of the brush cutters/tossers will be in the M9 and M10 age classes in the 33rd annual Sonot Kkaazoot.
There are areas that still need brushing on White Bear from about the 4.5 km cutoff to the 7.0 km cutoff where were started today. Bill Husby also mentioned that the bottom of the Black Hole is another trail needing brushing before winter.
Much volunteer work takes place in the summer months to ensure that Birch Hill trail conditions will be great when the snow falls. Braving the mud and mosquitoes, we followed our fearless groomer today.
Two Sonot Kkaazoot organizers led by Bill Husby, trail groomer, surveyed the trails for areas needing summer brushing. To get us warmed up, Bill directed us out the White Bear backwards from the stadium, and we soon found ourselves in a mosquito-infested bog. We almost lost Robert in Moilanen Meadows.
Robert at the entrance to Moilanen Meadows
After fleeing the aerial hoards, we cut over to the White Bear just beyond the biathlon range heading toward the Fort Wainwright ski area.
Bill Husby, groomer leads Robert Hannon in his fancy safety pants up the trail near the biathlon range.
In the sunshine at the base of the Fort Wainwright alpine hill, the mosquitoes dispersed, so Robert modeled his matching safety outfit purchased at Value Village.
Robert Hannon and his matching safety outfit.
After climbing Cliffside and Sunnyside to the Outhouse Trail, we finished up on the Roller Coasters that were still wide and inviting in late June.
Robert and Bill on the Roller Coasters on 6-26-19
Preparing for the 2019-2020 ski season at Birch Hill Recreation Area is well underway. Training for 33rd Annual Sonot Kkaazoot ramps up as the daylight hours shorten. Hill intervals start next week.
for Sara Eliza Johnson
Before personal computers
literary debris like this
wallowing in Spring mud.
After the shortest snow season
in 84 years,
today’s wasted white
betrays unkept promises.
Sliding on roadways,
Blizzaks and studs swapped
for summer tires,
we cling to old memories
splashing through break-up.
Select prior season:
Today’s snow teases
Trails steeped with yesterday’s warmth
No glide anywhere.
Smith Lake still frozen
Holds ski possibilities
Atop uncertain ice.
Thanks to all our groomers who let us ski for most of that short snowpack season.
As reported by the National Weather Service, March 2019 was the warmest on record in Fairbanks::
Temperatures reached 52 deg F at the airport on the day the Sonot Kkaazoot was held. This graph from the Alaska Climate Research Center show just how warm March was:
So there were extreme weather conditions leading to this year’s shortened course.
Photographer Jana Herzogova has generously shared over 250 photographs that she took of the 32nd Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot.
Below is a random collection of her photos from warmest and shortest Sonot Kkaazoot in 32 years.
All photos from https://www.janaherzogphoto.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jana.herzogova.5 ; Instagram: @janaherzogphoto
Jana emailed Bob Baker (and all Sonot participants):
Pictures are located under 2019 events, free code is Sonotfree. It is good for 2 free pictures, watermark will automatically disappear after they clear it through the cart.
I hope I was able to create some good memories for you all. It was a lovely day.
The Sonot Kkaazoot thanks Jana for use of her fantastic photographs. Please make sure to credit her.
Dimond High School skiers, who traveled north from Anchorage to participate in the 10 and 30 km Sonot Kkaazoot, sent along these photographs of the team enjoying the sunshine, warmth, and friendly competition on Saturday:
Thank you for participating in the 32nd Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot.