Relay day at Masters World Cup in Finland

Today was the 4 x 5 km relay day at the Masters World Cup in Finland. Bad Bob Baker scrambled for the USA M4 team (the kids needed the M6 experience) that was the second place USA team (and 5th among nations in the M4 category) at 59:05, 10:14 behind the M1 team from Russia that won the gold. Chris Puchner and Bruce Jamieson skied the first two legs of the USA M7 team that finished 5th among the USA teams (8th among M7 teams).

Keep skiing fast!

 

Preparing for the Sonot Kkaazoot in Finland

Several Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks skiers are currently in Finland participating in the Masters World Cup 2016. Bad Bob Baker reports that conditions 2 hours before race time were 35 deg F and raining.

In the 10 km classical event, Bad Bob’s time was 36:07 (32 of 41 among the M6 men). Chris Puchner was 41:35. In the 10 km freestyle event, Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks Board President, Bruce Jamieson was 42:16. Congratulations, guys!

Have fun and we’ll see you when you return.

Despite snow drought, trails are fantastic!

Although it’s been almost a month since Fairbanks has received any significant snowfall, thanks to the fantastic work of Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks (NSCF) groomers, all the trails at Birch Hill, and the section of the Chena River used for the Sonot Kkaazoot have been groomed, so skiing conditions are awesome. Nothing can be finer than sunshine and fresh corduroy for a nordic skier. That’s exactly what we encountered today.

Blue skies and frest corduroy.jpg

Even without the sun, the temperatures have been moderate (but below freezing) so last Sunday, the SCUM (Sonot organizers) skied the Grand Tour (all the trails at Birch Hill with frequent rest stops.

SCUM resting

If you aren’t enjoying Hawaiian beaches or competing in crosscountry races in Europe, skiing in Fairbanks is pretty close to perfect right now for either classical or skate skiing.

Remember to donate to the NSCF Trails fund since the NSCF (not the borough) does all the grooming at Birch Hill (and on the Chena River for the Sonot).

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

Sonot Training Class Starts January 26, 2016

Kristen Bartecchi Rozell is teaching a 9-week long class at Birch Hill specifically designed for skiers preparing for the Sonot Kkaazoot. This Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks class involves skate technique and interval training as well as video analysis and an opportunity to have a guided session on the Sonot Kkaazoot connector trail to the Chena River. The class meets Tuesday evenings from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. beginning tomorrow, 26 January 2016.

To register, see:

http://nscfairbanks.net/index.php/adult-lessons/956-mid-winter-adult-lessons-registration-open-now

This class is highly recommended for the skier hoping to ski the 50 km Sonot Kkaazoot for the first time.

El Nino, Global Change, and the Sonot Kkaazoot

An extraordinarily strong El Nino is influencing weather patterns throughout the northern hemisphere and Interior Alaska is no exception. An early snow storm in late September led to downed trees and widespread power outages. Much warmer temperatures than normal in October melted most of the early winter snowpack but allowed trail clean-up and powerline repairs.

Robert practicing his doublepole

Robert practicing his doublepoling under trail light post on White Bear in late October

A snowy November provided Birch Hill groomers with daily challenges but gave us the needed snowpack when chinooks in December and January brought winds, above freezing temperatures, and no additional precipitation.  These conditions again brought significant grooming challenges in the form of downed trees, debris, and globs of ice. However, thanks to our groomers whose tools include chain saws and rakes, we have the luxury of skiing on world class trails. However, donations to the Trail Fund are well below last season, so please consider an additional donation at:

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

Saturday’s 20 km Buetow Distance Race #2 featured a course including sections of the North 40, Black Hole, Blue, Outhouse, and Tower loops with deep, beautiful classical tracks (amazingly free of leaf debris) and a firm skate platform that was an absolute delight to ski. This event was a perfect training workout for the Sonot Kkaazoot and yet another reminder of the value of grooming and volunteers in the Nordic Ski community.

So, Alaska Nordic Skiers take note, we are skiing in Fairbanks and have been since early November. The Sonot Kkaazoot has never been canceled so make a commitment now to ski 20, 40 or 50 km on Saturday, 26 March 2016. The organization for the Sonot Kkaazoot is entirely volunteer so significant proceeds can go toward the grooming necessary to make the event (and training for the event) possible. Thus, we need your help. If you plan to ski the Sonot Kkaazoot, please sign up early.

https://sonotkkaazoot.org/register/

Not only will the registration fees be lower, you will assist us in planning for the event.

If you do not plan to ski, please consider volunteering to help out on race day as many of the Sonot Kkaazoot participants are the volunteers staffing the Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks events so this is their one event to race. We especially need people who can help with timing (an “inside” job) or staffing the various road and alpine hill crossings on Fort Wainwright. We also have other volunteer tasks that racers can do as well. See the “Volunteers” page on the Sonot Kkaazoot webpage for specifics or to sign up:

https://sonotkkaazoot.org/volunteers/

Enjoy the wonderful ski trails.

Distance Race # 2 Postponed

After a record warm winter so far in Interior Alaska, when the temperature was colder than -20 deg F this morning with wonderful hoarfrost snow still condensing from the skies, Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks Race Coordinator, John Estle, postponed Distance Race #2. However, with the course already groomed (but not marked with “V” board and pin flags), race-ready skiers ventured out onto the trails to take advantage of the opportunity to do their own time trial. As it turned out, they also got an opportunity to do their own course because of late changes only the groomers had seen:

New course

Like little vegetable and flower starts that have spent the winter in a greenhouse, our training session today was like the “hardening” sessions that transplants get before moving outside to garden plots.

Thanks to Dermot Cole (cold weather photographer), here’s an action shot of two skiers on the course:

Action shot

 

and one of them at the end of the “race”, sufficiently “hardened” to thrive in the race when it is rescheduled.

IMG_2293

 

Stay tuned for the new race date.

 

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.