Strategies for enjoying the new snow

The lovely snowfall that was squeezed out of our 0.39″ of precipitation earlier this week at Fairbanks International Airport, made for lovely conditions today at Birch Hill. However, with many of us suffering from job- or family-related stresses, early winter viruses, and seasonal affective disorder as we rapidly approach the winter solstice, we spent more time resting and/or rewaxing than actually skiing. The skate skiers spent time resting:

SCUM resting

while the classic skiers disguised their rest stops as waxing efforts. (Both photos above were taken by Chris Broda).

With the winter solstice approaching in only 2 weeks, the 2015 Sonot Kkaazoot is just 3.5 months away. The time to train is now. The first race of the Buetow Dental Distance Race series will be held at Birch Hill on Saturday, December 13 at 11:00 a.m. In this event, you have your choice of 7.5 or 15 km distances in freestyle technique. You can early register until Thursday. Here’s the URL to the registration form with information for all three distance races:

http://skiraces.sportalaska.com/2014-2015/99-entryforms/entry_form_distance_series.pdf

and the race course map:

http://skiraces.sportalaska.com/2014-2015/12-12-dist1/15-map-course.pdf

You can also early register for the Sonot Kkaazoot using the comprehensive race entry form:

http://skiraces.sportalaska.com/2014-2015/99-entryforms/entry_form_comprehensive.pdf

Rest is good. But to prepare for racing requires some race efforts and the Distance Race series is a low-key way to ramp up the intensity of your ski efforts. At least, now there is some padding on the ground when you fall for those of us who are balance-challenged.

Training for the Sonot Kkaazoot in the cold

Unlike Sochi, where the Olympic cross country skiers are dealing with tropical conditions and deep slush, we will have firm trails with deep natural snow for Sunday’s third Buetow Dental Distance Race, the Raven Run. Anticipating rather cold temperatures, John Estle, Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks Competition Director, has selected the warmest, flattest course possible at Birch Hill Recreation Area. The 4-lap course gives skiers a 14 or 30 km option.

Here’s a map of the course:

15-map-course (5)

In spite of the flatter course, classical skiing may be a faster option than skating for most skiers given the possibility of some delightful hoarfrost snow before or during this event. However, this final race in this season’s Distance Series will be a good endurance workout with the Sonot Kkaazoot a little over 6 weeks away.  Also, you need to race to be eligible for the post-race drawing of valuable ski equipment and supplies from Raven Cross Country.

Reminder to the procrastinators out there, the Sonot Kkaazoot early registration ends in two weeks. Make the commitment now and save some money to use on the post-race celebration.

Images from the Distance Race #2 on 1/4/14

World Cup quality tracks, temperatures in the high teens (above zero), and a new race course incorporating the “mellowed” black loops awaited participants in Saturday’s Buetow Dental Distance Race #2, the January Jaunt presented by Raven Cross Country. Smiles, grimaces, and deep concentration were captured by photographer Bob Wilkinson on the new downhill section of the blacks and elsewhere. Skiers ranged in age from 12 to 70, many of whom are training for the Sonot Kkaazoot to be held on 29 March 2014.

Distance Race #2 (new course)

If you skied 50 km or more during the Ski Your Age event last Saturday, you probably need a new training challenge. You’ll have one if you ski the Buetow Distance Race #2, presented by Raven Cross Country. This 10 or 20 km classic technique race on Saturday, 4 January 2014, will have a new course this year utilizing some of the Outhouse and the recently “mellowed” upper Black Loops. Geographically challenged racers will want to make sure that they don’t get left behind in the colder regions of the Birch Hill Recreation Area. Here’s a look at the race courses: 20 km Distance Race_2013

Entry forms may be dropped off at Raven Cross Country and Beaver Sports through 5:00 PM Thursday evening. Entry fees are $15 for Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks members and $20 for non-members.  Race day entries will be accepted between 9:45 AM and 10:45 AM Saturday, but will be $5 higher than the early entry fee.