Sunday, March 23, 2008

Alaska: Fairbanks Skiing

I remember Fairbanks having a lot of snow when I was growing up. By a lot, I mean enough to build igloos in the front yard. Maybe it was because my dad would dump all the snow off the roof into a huge pile in the front yard. I think the snow accumulation has dropped in the past 10 years. This year was fairly sparse in the snow category and last week there just an icy snow crust with brown twiggs and leaves peaking through. Nevertheless there was enough snow to ski. I now realize that I was incredibly spoiled to be able to hit some slough trails just 3 blocks from my parent's house, though there are many more good ski locations within 30 minutes or less of downtown Fairbanks. Here are my favorite places to ski in Fairbanks, Alaska:

1. Birch Hill Recreation Area - on the hilly side but perfectly groomed trails about 20 minutes from downtown. classic and skate skiing.

2. University of Alaska, Fairbanks Ski Trails (West Ridge) - mix of hills and flats, about 10 minutes from downtown. classic and skate skiing

3. Creamer's Field - I access these trails mostly from Creamer's Field off of College Road but there are numerous access points on this network of ~80 km of trails. I like these trails because they are wide enough to skate ski and have only gentle knolls, i.e. no hills. You definitely need a map of these trails otherwise you might find yourself on a much longer ski than you intended (click on the link above and download the ADMA trails map). skate skiing, trails not groomed for classic.

photo credit: TEB 12.30.07 Birch Hill Ski Lodge with 3 pm sunset on the reflective glass.

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