The Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks has been in existence for more than 50 years. Initially much of the clubs activity, and most of the cross country skiing in Fairbanks, took place in the area surrounding the University, where Ivar Skarland developed a trail system that now wends its way through several subdivisions and neighborhoods north of the UAF campus.
Since the mid-1970's the focus of much of the clubs efforts has been Birch Hill. The Birch Hill trails were originally created by the late Jim Whisenhant and the Lathrop High School Ski Team (of which he was coach). These trails were the site of the 1977 USSA Junior National Championships, the first major national event held in Fairbanks.
With funding from the Fairbanks North Star Borough, there was a major upgrade to the facility in preparation for the 1982 Arctic Winter Games, during which time the trail system underwent a major reconfiguration. Floyd Reishus, former Eielson HS Ski Coach and former UAF Assistant Ski Coach is the person who designed and laid out the new trail system.
In 1984, the US Ski Association awarded the NSC Fairbanks the Paul Bacon Award, emblematic of exellence in race organization, to recognize their effort in organizing a highly successful FIS World Cup event on only two weeks notice. The switch in venues from Waterville Valley, New Hampshire was necessitated by a lack of snow in that location.
The trail system was further modified following the 1984 World Cup, incorporating a cloverleaf design which has made Birch Hill one of the most spectator-friendly trail systems in the world. The first trail lighting project began at Birch Hill that same year, with about six kilometers illuminated. Since that initial project, an additional five kilometers of trails, both at the Birch Hill Recreation Area and on the White Bear Trail on Fort Wainwright, have been lighted, bringing the total of trails available for night skiing to 11.
The Nordic Ski Club has helped host a number of national and international events including the 1995 and 2003 Junior Olympics (for which the NSCF was again awarded the USSA's Paul Bacon award), as well as several highly successful of Nor-Am and Super Tour events.
The tremendous progress that has been made, not just at Birch Hill, but in all aspects of the ski program in the Interior has been possible only through the hard work of many volunteers. Although it would be impossible to thank all the thousands of individuals who have contributed to the effort over the years, here is a list of recent club presidents:
- 2012-2013: Pat Reinhard and Bruce Jamieson
- 2010-2012: Mike O'Brien
- 2009-2010: Mike Ruckhaus
- 2008-2009: Dan Johnson
- 2005-2008: Nick Nugent
- 2004-2005: Byron Broda
- 2003-2004: Jim Mery
- 1999-2003: Steve Sorensen
- 1998-1999: Kent Karns
- 1997-1998: Kent Slaughter
- 1996-1997: Peter Delamere
- 1995-1996: Donna Hawkins
- 1994-1995: Mary Lou Luebke
Through the efforts of many people, the NSC Fairbanks, since its inception, has played the leading role in creating a large and strong cross country ski community in Interior Alaska.