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:

https://zone4.ca/race/2023-02-19/647504b0/results

Frank Soos Distance Race #2

Skiers and volunteers still in the finish area when the last skiers finished–photo by David Hayden.

Kent Karns, far left, kneeling, put on a bib and skied 10 km today for his second time on skis this season. Gern, in orange cap, helped Bill Husby set up the course, and then skied with his backcountry skis (the only reason that Dermot and I finished ahead of him–Gern was faster on the uphills, we had far more glide on the downhills and graduals). Tom Helmers, standing in back, far right, groomed fantastic tracks and trails. What a day!

From Frank’s essay “Why Is It That I Do This?”

I cannot stop myself from getting out and living through my body. There is always the recognition, cutting through the satisfaction of doing well or the disappointment of doing poorly, having pushed myself to my limit or beyond it, that after a little rest I will come to see I’ll do it again.

Why is it, then, that I do this? I still can’t say–pleasure comes in many forms, many of them irrational–but I am sure I can do nothing other than hope to continue, getting slower and slower until finally I blink out.

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.

https://nordicskicluboffairbanks.wildapricot.org/Donate/

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

Winter solstice skiing

Dermotized SCUM faces on Friday at -8 degrees F–photo by Mike Mathers

The skies have finally cleared after 15.2 inches of snow at the airport this December (and considerably more at Birch Hill). With a 20 deg temperature inversion between the hills and valleys, the SCUM are prepared for a full range of temperature conditions as shown here on Friday when it was actually cold enough for our fleece SCUM hats. However, with two Pistenbullys grooming the trails, the skate platform and the tracks were relatively fast.

Saturday morning, the SCUM headed out to ski in Bad Bob Baker’s Moose Mountain tour. Here’s a glimpse of the skyline as Bad Bob finished grooming:

View from Bad Bob’s house–photo by Bob Baker

Starting from the home of Bad Bob and Sharon Baker at 10:10 a.m. (the SCUM van got lost and were late arriving), the goal was to ski to the top of Moose Mountain ridge to watch the sunrise over the mountains (Mt Hayes, we think). All of us managed to do that.

Here are the speedy SCUM:

Speedy SCUM await sunrise–photo by Joanna Fox

and the entire gang:

The SCUM plus Bad Bob Baker, Sonot Kkaazoot and Moose Mountain tour organizer–photo by Joanna Fox

and the main attraction:

Why we climbed 330 m before dawn–photo by Joanna Fox

Today it was -26 deg F in the valley, but a balmy -5 deg at Birch Hill as the SCUM finished their winter solstice weekend of training.

Here we are at the top of the Tower loop:

SCUM and Christmas tree on Tower Loop–photo by Joanna Fox

and at the Denali viewpoint on the Sunnyside:

SCUM with moon and comet in the skies over Denali

Happy Winter Solstice!

Update from the actual shortest day in Fairbanks:

SCUM on Wednesday, 21 December at biathlon range where it was -18 deg F–photos by Joanna Fox
Proof that it was-38 deg F at airport
Scary faces

“Sophomoric humor” on the day after Frank Soos Distance Race #1

SCUM await the Arctic Force on Cliffside–photos by Joanna Fox

On the day after the Frank Soos Distance Race #1, we decided to ski the military transect starting on the White Bear, going down the Sonot Connector and returning up the Cliffside and Sunnyside trails to the Outhouse and Relay Return. When we got to the bottom of Cliffside, we found we had company, a group of the Arctic Force at Fort Wainwright.

Who’s the skier without white pants? Why it’s Dermot Cole, who wrote a touching tribute to Frank Soos after yesterday’s event: (https://www.dermotcole.com/reportingfromalaska/2022/12/10/mssfuxkl7l8p01ig7rmfpjs3q8obfr)

Today while participating in our sophomoric humor, we came up with a new SCUM acronym to more accurately reflect our current composition. Susan’s Class of Uncoachable Misfits was the new definition. Here’s the SCUM in action on the Cliffside once we got ahead of the Army:

Snow angels by the 70 to 79 age class from yesterday’s Frank Soos Distance Race (and one 69-year-old)–video by Joanna Fox
Snow angel by the wannabe 70-year-old SCUM

We did eventually ski back to the Birch Hill stadium, regrouping when Santa executed a dramatic fall:

We’re looking for some younger recruits to join us. The Sonot Kkaazoot is a little more than 3 months away. Woodels will be awarded this year and the post-race banquet will be held like before the pandemic. Plan to join us. You’ll have to prove that you’re a misfit, though.

Joanna proving she’s a misfit–photo by Dan Johnson

By the way, we have located 4 of the LOL Christmas ornaments. We’ll do a blogpost when we get all 12.

Santa and ornament 4–photo by Dan Johnson

SCUM ski Distance Race #1 course on perfectly groomed trails

With temperatures at Birch Hill in the high 20s and nearly a half foot of new snow this weekend, wayward SCUM like Carl Hemming and Steve Clautice rejoined us today for our ski around the Frank Soos Distance Race #1 course. The entire course had been groomed and tracked last night so tracks were firm and fast. I wish I could say that my body was fast, but such wasn’t the case. However, I got around the 15 km course (plus Moilanen Meadows for some extra credit) in just over 2 hours.

Here are some views from the trails:

Bill Husby leads two SCUM in the tracks on WB —photo by Joanna Fox
Steve Clautice also using the tracks although skating–photo by Joanna Fox
Although Bill was using his skin skis–he claimed a leaf caused him to fall--photo by Dan Johnson
Dan Johnson skating with the fitness acquired chasing his son-in-law–photo by Joanna Fox

After we finished our 15 km ski, we retired to the warm-up hut for coffee and ginger snaps (Frank Soos’ favorite cookie). Carl had been AWOL for so long that he found what he thought was a rat turd in his coffee cup:

Carl and his cup with extra “protein” –photo by Bill Husby

Meanwhile, the ageless Dan Johnson posed next to his framed retirement photo:

Dan Johnson reenacting the photo taken at his retirement–photo by Joanna Fox

We hope that you will join the SCUM in skiing the Frank Soos Distance Race #1 next Saturday starting at 11 a.m. It’s great training for the Sonot Kkaazoot. The grooming crew will make the trails fast, and you’ll have fun with the SCUM.