Meet the Board introduces the Board of Directors of the Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks to NSCF members and the general public. This Q and A article features Dan Darrow, who joined the board earlier this season. Dan is serving as a member-at-large.
Where did you grow up?
I was born in Indiana but grew up mostly in Madera, California. Twenty miles north of the “No.” (That’s Fresno for those not from California.)
When and why did you move to Fairbanks? What do you like about living in Fairbanks?
I didn’t choose Fairbanks as my home, the U.S. Army did that for me in 1993. But I found that Fairbanks is nothing short of awesome. I stayed here after my time in the service because I love the entire Fairbanks community and found that it has been a wonderful place to build a home and raise a family.
How long have you been a cross-country skier? What do you remember about first learning to ski?
My first experience cross-country skiing was on those “white rockets” in bunny boots. After many miles and copious blisters, I decided I hated it. Luckily, my wife (then my girlfriend) introduced me to skinny skiing and I was immediately hooked.
One of my first experiences skiing was a ski “march” with my company from the Chena River Lakes Flood Control to Fort Wainwright. At two in the morning, everyone in front of me turned purple. I thought I was hallucinating, but when the entire company stopped skiing and looked up, I realized it was the northern lights reflecting off their overwhites. This was also the first time I saw the lights in a different color than greenish.
What do you like about cross-country skiing?
Cross-country skiing is a great way to get out and explore the trails around Fairbanks! It’s always best/more motivating for me to ski with my family or buddies.
One thing I have become particularly obsessed with is waxing. A good wax job can make all the difference. (Er, that didn’t come out right). I started this obsession by volunteering with the “wax dads” for FXC and moved on to waxing for Team Alaska for the World Junior Trials in biathlon, for the West Valley Ski Team, for Team Alaska for the National Guard biathlon, for village teams competing in our regional biathlon races, and for anyone who needs a hand making their skis super fly.
Where do you like to cross-country ski and why?
My favorite place to ski is the UAF ski trails because I work there and it’s easy to get out for a lunch break or right after work. Birch Hill is world class. I also enjoy exploring the mushing trails around Fairbanks (like the Rosie Creek trail system), but after breaking a few pairs of skis and poles on these trails, I took up fatbiking for exploring those more under-developed venues.
Why did you choose to serve on the NSCF Board of Directors?
I served on the Alaska Biathlon Association’s Board of Directors and when my time was up there, a position opened with NSCF BOD. I was asked to take this role and agreed. I’m still very new at this and still don’t know what I got myself into.
What do you do in your non-NSCF life?
I work at the University of Alaska Fairbanks as a term instructor for Spanish, volunteer at the Literacy Council of Alaska, and with the Latin community through Enlaces, an advocacy group for Latinos and Hispanics in the North (https://enlacesak.org/).
In the winter beside getting out for some skiing or fatbiking, I help with local ski races, the Fairbanks Biathlon Club as an RSO (range safety officer), and help set up biathlon races as a Level 2 official (USBA). I try to use the summer to recharge my batteries (visit the cabin we built in the Bush, garden, canoe, play outside, hike, camp, fish, sketch, etc).
On top of all this, I love to travel abroad to see new places and meet people. I have been to Costa Rica, Mexico, Spain, Morocco, Portugal, Canada (Quebec and along the Alaska and Cassiar highways), France, Germany, Austria, Iceland, Scotland and all over the U.S.