Search This Blog

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Aspen, Birch and Snow

During my last ski in Fairbanks I found the good stuff.  At Birch Hill I generally skate ski and stick to the wide, groomed boulevards.  But on this trip the snow has been cold, and the gliding slow so I switched to classic gear.

On my last ski the temperatures were below zero, and thinking it might be warmer I tried the 'sunnyside' trail again.  But this time I climbed up out of the valley on a different trail - the 'Sonot Connector'.  The Sonot Kkaazoot is 50K skate ski race that happens every March on the Fairbanks trails, and I competed in the race way back in 1999.  The 'Sonot connector' links the Chena River trial with those of Birch Hill, and I vaguely remembered the climb.

About half way up I noticed a little narrow 'classic only' trail leading away from the main trail into the woods.  And on a whim I decided to follow it.  Boy was I glad I did - it was beautiful!

I had no idea where the trail went and it was quite long.  It meandered up and down and all around through the aspen and birch trees on the sunnyside of Birch Hill.  The aspen and birch are so tall and straight, and I could see a long way through the trees.  Long dark shadows mirrored the trees on the snow. The trail was very narrow and intimate, and I could tell that very few people use it.

Here and there I saw long deep ruts in the snow by the trail where a moose had bulled through the deep snow.  But I never saw the moose.

I know where I'll be skiing next time I go to Fairbanks!  Patrick

A skate ski 'boulevard'

Classic 'only' trail through the woods on the sunnyside


  1. I went skiing this afternoon. It is -20*F. Its a slog skiing in cold, dry snow.

  2. And I went skate skiing today too - it was around 25 degree ABOVE zero which is freezing by Kodiak standards. Fast and furious conditions, and oh so warm. I appreciate it now! Patrick