Tuesday, March 26, 2013


First things first:  Viktor won the Sonot Kkaazoot last weekend in Fairbanks! It's always fun to win the last race of the year.  But it leaves Viktor wondering why the racing season should end now, when there's still so much good skiing to be done.  Congratulations, Viktor! 
2013 Sonot Kkaazoot
20 frigid meters to victory on the Chena River.
Around this time of year, people start talking about "spring skiing".  The races are over and people want to go "crust skiing"; they want to put on their skate skis and explore all those parts of Alaska that are covered in impenetrable brush, alders, and devil's club during the summer and are too dark and cold during the winter to be much fun.  And I start thinking about spring crust skiing too, until I remember that it's only March 26 and the "spring skiing" season is still many weeks away.  Our best spring skiing starts in May and ends in June. For now, it's still winter.

Since we were having a snowstorm this weekend, Sunday seemed a perfect day for a Winner Creek ski tour near Girdwood:

No, the camera is not tilted sideways. We were crossing the bottom of an avalanche runout zone.

I grew up in a rural area of northern New Hampshire, and there weren't any groomed ski trails near my house.  But there were snowmachine trails.  I was too young to drive, so I did most of my skiing on those snowmachine trails.  That trail network covered the entire area of northern New England, so I always had to turn around long before I really got a chance to explore very far down the trail. Every time I had to turn around and ski back home, I was always curious about what was around the next bend on the trail.  Even though the skiing wasn't the greatest on those snowmachine trails (which were always rutted and bumpy) they did leave me with a lasting curiosity about what was "around the next bend".
Thirty years later, I'm still skiing on snowmachine trails.  Yesterday I needed to fly out to Dillingham to look at some houses.  I love working in Dillingham at this time of year because there's always lots of snow and I'm usually "stuck" there for ten hours or so, with only a few hours' worth of work to do.  With no rush to get back to the airport to catch a flight home, I can ski to work.  The network of "sno-go" trails extends for thousands of miles, all around western Alaska.  I only need 20 miles or so.

Pick a direction - any direction - and you can go forever.

The Wood Mountains
I was back in town today.  Lasse invited me skiing at Hillside with himself, Lukas, Marine and Viktor.

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