Monday, October 30, 2006

On the Snow Again!

I just returned from a quick trip from Colorado the other night (sorry to friends that I didn't see; the trip consisted of 3 days of training in Keystone and a couple of days visiting my 79 year old mom so I had no time for any visits), and was kind of disappointed that only an inch or so of new snow had fallen upon the 3 we had received the previous weekend. Bummer, I thought the skiing would be pretty bad.

Surprise-surprise! Went to Birch Hill with the family on Sunday afternoon to find that the most of trails (at least 17k) were groomed and skied in. There are not many places on this great, sometimes white earth, that you can use world class ski trails with only a few inches of snow. Not to mention that we're still in October. For the most part Fairbanks is not rocky, and root systems on the soil surface are not all that common (except in some boggy black spruce areas). The trails overlay several feet of fine silt, capped off with planted grasses, which are mowed during late summer. So it does not take much snow to make them skiable. We still need another 6 to 12 inches to be able to set the grooves for classic tracks. However, the snow that we did have was fast for skating.

I did about 40 minutes with the family and another 35 on my own. Hope to get in at least 20 days by Thanksgiving and my debut at the Turkey Days Relay. So far I haven't done this race, but now the phone is ringing off the hook from locals who want the services of the Cheechako-carpet bagger from the Rockies. (well, actually, only one person has asked and our plans are tentative....).


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