About 1.5″ of snow fell overnight Friday in Fairbanks. Added to the 1″-2″ that were already on the ground, it was enough to make Birch Hill skiable. The conditions are definitely “early season” conditions, and grass is sticking up through the snow in places. Nonetheless, it's still pretty good early season skiing.
Overnight temperatures were in the mid 20's F/-5C range, and temperatures today are hovering just below freezing. The wax du jour for classic skiing was hairies, although purple was working satisfactorily as well, and skating wasn't too bad.
The upper parking lot at Birch Hill, which holds about 40-50 cars, was about 3/4 full with the vehicles of eager Fairbanksans of all ages. The Birch Hill Cross Country Ski Center (the “new” building) was not yet open, so skiers were basing out of the “Old Warming Hut”. Skaters outnumbered classic skiers by a substantial margin.
Groomer Tom Helmers, who has been rolling the trails for the past week after the first couple of snowfalls, was out grooming again today. Approximately 10Km of trails have been rolled to some degree, although not all 10Km were freshly rolled as of mid-day today (Saturday).
As of 4PM Saturday afternoon, the snow is still falling lightly. If the temperatures can stay in the normal range for this time of year (below freezing), and we can get a couple of cold nights so the snow will set up, the skiing should be pretty good over the next few days. If a few more “Fairbanks blizzards” of 1″ of snow or so occur every 2-3 days for the next week, conditions could improve to “excellent early season” skiing.
The total snowfall to date at Birch Hill is 3″-4″. Normally, the total snowfall must reach 12″-13″ before tracks can be set. To check out the conditions at Birch Hill, go to:
to check out weather conditions at Birch Hill, go to:
The 2005-2006 SuperTour Series kicks off at Birch Hill in Fairbanks on Saturday, November 5 with a skating sprint, and continues the next day with a skiathlon: 5Km+5Km for women and 7.5Km+7.5Km for men. Information on the races can be found at www.sportalaska.com/noramskiraces/2005-2006/
See you on the trails