Snow after snowpack loss

for Sara Eliza Johnson

Before personal computers
and iphones,
White-out concealed
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.

April 15 skiing on Sunnyside Trail

With temperatures dipping to the mid teens early this morning, the Birch Hill groomers were able to groom and track 9 km of trails to complement the 10 km groomed on Saturday. Although we were unable to see Denali from the Sunnyside Trail, there was plenty of sun and blue skies:

Sunnyside SCUM sm

SCUM gather on top of picnic table to approach Frank Soos (far right) in height for last group shot of season.

JE Sunnyside sm

Coach John Estle slows down to join the gathering crowd


Above, Norma Haubenstock, Volunteer Coordinator for Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks competition events, negotiates the damage done to the corduroy by SCUM.

Enjoy the Spring Skiing! Thank you Birch Hill groomers! Today’s ski was a treat! Even 320 m of climb went by quickly.

Sunshine and newly groomed trails await skiers

Over a foot of new snow has fallen on Birch Hill trails this week, but skiers arriving at Birch Hill today will find all the trails (with the exception of White Bear where the Army is currently conducting their Arctic Winter Games) were groomed and tracked this morning. 

The newly fallen and windblown snow has made for difficult grooming conditions on less used trails with tight uphill corners like those on the new Sunnyside trail. Undaunted, after grooming this morning, Bill Husby went out on skis to further refine the trails.

With an overabundance of snow this winter coupled with wind events that make trail maintenance more time intensive, please make an additional contribution to trail fund so we’ll have fabulous trails to enjoy on sunny spring days like today:

If you plan to ski in any of the Sonot Kkaazoot events on March 24, it’s time to put in those training kilometers. The Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks groomers are making it easy for us.

Sonot Kkaazoot organizers relax

Birch Hill trails are wonderful thanks to trail donations and the piston bully work of Tom Helmers. The Sonot Kkaazoot organizers were able to take a relaxing ski on Easter Sunday in preparation for the 2016 event, when our technique and fitness will be much improved.

Here’s Eric Troyer, the head of Sonot Kkaazoot publicity showing the uphill technique he’s learned from Pete Leonard’s FXC Masters class.

???????????????????????????????And following him are Frank Soos, head of Sonot bib pick-up and late registration followed by Eric Buetow, one of our Fort Wainwright road crossing team leaders.

???????????????????????????????Bill Husby (aka Poles) was skating today after a season of grooming at Birch Hill and heading up Sonot Kkaazoot trail snow enhancement and brushing parties.???????????????????????????????Dermot Cole was the SCUM reporter on the course and videotaped the 50 km start as well as the last wave of skiers up the Fort Wainwright alpine hill. Dermot (on right in photo below) was a key snow enhancement worker on the river and on the Sonot Connector in the week leading up to the Sonot Kkaazoot:???????????????????????????????and all the skiers were enjoying the easy ski out of the black loops today:???????????????????????????????Enjoy the wonderful trails while they last. Spring really is right around the corner.

Some of the SCUM who played a major role in the Sonot Kkazoot weren’t skiing on Easter Sunday, so here is a partial group photo taken by Kent Karns on race day.Some SCUMFrom left to right: Steve Clautice (#508) helped set up and serve at the Awards Ceremony; to his right is Robert Hannon who headed up contact with the military and organized the Fort Wainwright road crossing teams; to his right with the ball cap is Mike Schmoker, who with Bernardo Hernandez constructs and distributes Sonot woodels and other awards; #551 is Mom, head Sonot janitor and crisis coach; #96 is Mike Ruckhaus, snow mover and trail enhancer; #550 is Frank Soos, guru in charge of bib distribution, late registration,and swag; Dermot Cole with all the extra clothes was a key snow enhancer on the river and Sonot Connector; and to his right is Chris Puchner, who organized all the feed stations and headed up the set-up and take-down of the finish area on the river.