Not pretty, but Birch Hill is open for skiing

Unlike last year when the November chinook came with wind and rain, this unusually warm early winter in Fairbanks has been arid with no significant snow in over a month. Skiers are left wishing for even hoarfrost that might cover a month’s worth of birch seed and leaves that litter the Birch Hill trails or provide some structure on the ice-covered Smith Lake.

Trails in some areas of Birch Hill are approaching 100% organic, but, other trails are much better.

S Tower

In fact, trails look better at night or slightly out-of-focus, like this photo taken today on the South Tower loop.

But, we are skiing on snow. At Hatcher Pass, the ground is brown not dirty white:

So enjoy the ski trails that we have, and do some cross training. As Pete Leonard pointed out to his FXC Masters Group, most Masters skiers would make significant improvements in their skiing by adding regular strength training. Here are some links to Swedish and Russian Cross Country skiers doing strength training that might motivate you to do the same while snow conditions are less than ideal.

More than 2600 kilometers skied at 2013 Ski Your Age Event!

by Eric Troyer

More than 120 people skied just over 2,600 kilometers on Saturday at the Ski Your Age in Kilometers. The event, presented by Banner Health / Fairbanks Memorial Hospital (FMH), drew more than 120 people to Birch Hill Recreation Area ranging in ages from 78 to 7.

Josie Adasiak and Lucie Meyer, both 7, were the youngest participants who signed up. Carol DeVoe, 78, was the oldest. DeVoe and her grandson, Eric DiFolco, were the only grandparent / grandchild pair in the family category. They skied a combined total of 30 kilometers.

An impressive number of people under 20 skied their age or more. Nearly 40 young skiers, some skiing twice their age or more, reached either the Platinum (top) or Gold (second) achievement levels. Just fewer than 40 skiers of all ages reached the Platinum level, while 26 reached the Gold level, 27 reached the Silver level, and 19 reached the Bronze level.

This was the tenth year of Ski Your Age, which is organized by Fairbanks Cross Country (FXC), the junior race-training program of the Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks (NSCF). The event serves as a fundraising for FXC and this year raised just over $2,000.

“We really appreciate the support of Banner Health and Fairbanks Memorial Hospital for this great community event,” said Eric Troyer, FXC parent and event organizer. “After being cold all week, the temperatures warmed enough on Saturday to make it a lot of fun to be out on skis. It was awesome to look outside and see the trails full of skiers all day.”

The Birch Hill Cross Country Ski Center, owned and operated by the Fairbanks North Star Borough, was open for the event. People brought in food to share and the center was the focal point of the day.

“The skiers, especially those skiing their age or more, really appreciated the hot food and desserts,” Troyer said. “Many thanks to those who contributed and to all the volunteers.”

Bill Husby, a longtime NSCF member and trail groomer, skied the most kilometers for an individual. He skied his age of 61 and added 1 more for good measure, for a total of 62 kilometers. Corrine Leistikow skied the most for a woman, skiing her age of 54 plus 1 more for a total of 55 kilometers.

Five people met the 50-50 Challenge by being 50 or more years old and skiing 50 or more kilometers. Nine skiers met the Century Challenge, in which their age and kilometers skied equaled at least 100.

Max Kaufman was the only person to meet the Sunup-Sundown Challenge, which requires a skier to ski at least 50 kilometers between the official sunrise at 10:57 am and sundown at 2:49 pm. Kaufman skied 51 kilometers.

In the couples category, Corrine Leistikow and Eric Troyer skied the most kilometers at 109. They were also the only couple to reach a Double Century, in which the total age in years plus the kilometers skied equals at least 200. Leistikow and Troyer had a combined total of 216. (To be available as organizer of the event, Troyer skied on Friday.)

The family category the achievements were gained by several families. The Rueters (Jose, Helena, Gabe and Adela) had the most kilometers for a family of 4 or more with 124. The Leistikow-Troyers had the most by a family of 3 with 115 kilometers. The Rueters also took the father/son subcategory with 82 kilometers. The father / daughter subcategory went to Dan and Tjarn Bross with 73 kilometers. Leistikow and Montana Troyer took the mother / daughter subcategory with 61 kilometers. Donna and Eric DiFolco took the mother / son category with 76 kilometers. Eric DiFolco also joined with his grandmother, Carol DeVoe, to ski 30 kilometers, the most by a grandparent and grandchild.

Longtime ski club members and volunteers Chris and Byron Broda created their own category by each skiing 20.5 kilometers, which combined equals the 41 years they have been married.

Full results as PDF can be found here: 2013 Ski Your Age Results & Story


More Sonot Kkaazoot training opportunities

Saturday, 28 December 2013 is the 10th annual Ski Your Age (in kilometers) event and a great opportunity to burn off some of those extra holiday kcal that will be consumed. Right now the long-range forecast calls for warmer weather conditions  than those faced by Distance Race #1 participants. The Ski Your Age event is not a race but rather an opportunity to share leftovers and our wonderful Birch Hill trails with all your visiting friends and family members. There is no entry fee for the Ski Your Age but the event is a fundraiser for Fairbanks Cross-Country (FXC), the junior race program of the Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks. Friends of FXC organize the event that officially runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with sign-up and food in the Birch Hill Cross-Country Ski Center (large new building).

On the following Saturday, 4 January 2014, the Buetow Dental Distance Race #2 will be held starting at 11 a.m. This race will be classical technique and gives participants the choice of 10 or 20 km distances. Raven Cross-Country provides door prizes to race participants whose names are drawn during the event. This is a good way to start off the New Year.