Touring News

Cleary-to-Chatanika Lodge via Fairbanks-Circle Trail & “ZEUS” set for March 11 

When: Saturday, March 11, 2023

Where: Meet at Skiland Road DOTPF (highway dept.) pullout just off the Steese Highway at 11 AM.

Tour Description: Advanced level ski, 3.5-4.5 hours. Car shuttle to Old FE Lodge at Chatanika (bring shovels to dig parking spots) then back to start at Fairbanks/Fish Creek Roads intersection.

Rolling terrain out at Cleary-Summit following the unplowed (but snowmobiled) Fairbanks Creek Road leading to the old Fairbanks-Circle Trail. We shall continue NE on this trail out past Monkey Rock then turn N off the trail to Champagne Rock for several long, sometimes fast, descents through the 2004 & 5 burn areas.

Great views of the Alaska Range, the White Mountains and Chena Domes. We stop for a snack enroute. The final descent to the Davidson Ditch is fast and curvy, spitting one out like a thunderbolt, hence its name “Zeus”. This section can be walked. Finish with a pleasant forest ski past Leonard Seppala’s cabin at Chatanika.

If group so inclined, can adjourn to the nearby Chatanika Lodge for sustenance.

No temperature cut-off.


Leader: Philip S. Marshall (H:457-3895, or, or Jan Lokken Marshall at Cleary: 389-2449).

ALPA-C Trail Ski Tour at Cleary-Summit set for February 26

This ski tour in the Cleary Summit area has nice views. Skins are recommended.

When: Sunday, 26 February 2023

Where: Meet at Fox General Store parking lot at 11 AM. Carpool to start off the Ft. Knox/Kinross Rd, where we may have to shovel out parking spot.

Tour Description: Intermediate/advanced-level backcountry ski, ~ 4-hour, out and back on occasionally snowmobiled ALPA [Alaska Long Phase Array]-C trail on ridge with fine views of the Chena Dome.

One or two big hills probably not walkable this season due to deep snow. Skins can be very useful to reascend, if you have them.

Usually warmer up here as the sun returns. High Gateway to the Fairbanks Creek gold workings.

No temperature cut-off.

Dogs welcomed

Leader: PS Marshall (907-457-3895 or <>)

Skarland 12-Mile Ski Tour Report

Report from the Skarland 12-Mile Ski Tour on February 11 by leader Joel Young

Great day to tour the full Skarland loop! There were 7 of us total. Stan groomed the course the evening before and temps were just right for superb classic ski conditions. Three of the crew hit the trail with good speed and once past Pearl Creek made a good push to stay ahead for the rest of the tour.

The rest of us took our time and soaked up the scenery and sunshine. Everyone made it down Thrill Hill and the Moose’s Schuss without a tumble, which is not always the case, but again conditions were just right!

Thanks to everyone who came out and look forward to leading again next year!

Note: There are new signs along the route that make the trail easier to follow if you want to explore independently! Check the Skarland & Pearl Creek Trail Users page on Facebook for grooming updates and support your local groomers!

Skarland & Pearl Creek Trail Users FB page

Pearl Creek Nordic Park webpage

Skarland 12-Mile on Trail Forks

“Norsk” Ridge Ski Tour Report

Tour report from leader Philip Marshall:

Had three dogs and eight people for the 5-hr tour on Norsk Ridge in perfect conditions. Tons of traffic: 1 dogmusher, 3 fat-tire bikers, 1 snowmobiler, 3 skiers! Never seen so many and it was Super Bowl Sunday, usually the slowest day of the year for outings. No trash. Group compatible, experienced, well-equipped, all acceptable speeds. Almost all ages. Two people skied on skinny skis with no skins! Conditions superb so that they could herringbone back up.

Ski Tour: “Norsk Ridge” Loop at Haystack on Feb 12

When: Sunday, 12 February 2023

Where: Meet at Fox General Store at 10 AM; carpool out Elliott to north side of Haystack Mountain.

Tour Description: Backcountry tour is intermediate-to-advanced level; 5-6 hours duration.

Ski north over an old fire break, then a steep, 400′, curvy descent on narrow trapper trail (can remove skis and walk). Gently reascend north on a large fire break to gain classic “Norsk Ridge” that maintains high elevation with superb views in all directions. Enjoyable “old-style” mushing trail winds amongst the spruce that protect from the winds. If you never get to Norway, this trail is for you as it resembles those above Lillehammer, Norway, used on the Birkebeiner Rennet!

This trail eventually connects with the White Mountain Trail that leads to Moose Creek Cabin. We’ll ski most of the way out there then return the same way for a total loop of about fourteen miles. Skins are helpful, if you have them, to climb back up Haystack.

Temperature cut-off: No temperature cut-off.


Leader: PS Marshall (457-3895 or <>)

Tour reports: Rosie Creek and Bear Creek Descent-Ascent of Chuck Johnson Trail

We had only a few takers for our two tours this weekend, but the participants had a great time anyway. Perhaps others were out at the Yukon Quest or doing other things.

Rosie Creek Ramble

Report from leader Steven Hansen:
There was a small turnout this time, just two other skiers. But we had a good time of it nonetheless, doing the full loop in just under two hours in perfect snow conditions. Temperature was right around 0 at the beaver pond and probably rose 15 degrees where we topped out on the ridge.

Bear Creek Descent-Ascent of Chuck Johnson Trail

Report from leader Philip Marshall:
Attached 3 pics of yesterday’s ski. 2 attendees; 2 dogs. Perfect weather & conditions: ~3′ snow; ~5 deg F topside; ~-8 deg F valley floor. Maybe 2 mph wind. 3 hrs. Bright sun as it returns on a clear day! Skins mandatory. No animals; moose tracks. Full moon circled overhead later. Cosmic.

Skinning up start of Chucks Bear Cr Trail

Start on Fairbanks Cr Rd to Bear Creek

View down Bear Cr Road to Bear Cr Valley

Ski Tour of Skarland 12-Mile Set for February 11

What: Skarland 12-Mile Loop Tour

When: Saturday, February 11 2023

Start time and place: 10AM at the UAF Ski Hut

Estimated tour time: 4 hours

Short description: Complete Skarland loop 12-mile classic ski tour. A fun moderate ski tour requiring intermediate to advanced classic ski ability.

Starting at the UAF Ski Hut we’ll head past Ballaine Lake to connect to the Pearl Creek trail system. From there we’ll climb up and around the hills above Ballaine Road, following the Equinox trail system back to UAF via the Musk Ox Farm.

Expect moderate climbs and descents, hopefully on groomed tracked trails. There will be several road crossings. Be prepared for variable waxing temperatures and bring sufficient water and snacks.

Temperature cut off will be -15 at the Fairbanks International Airport (NWS website

No dogs please. We’ll be skiing on groomed trails, through residential areas, and crossing roads

Leader: Joel Young, 460-4367

Bear Creek Descent-Ascent of Chuck Johnson Trail Tour this Sunday

We are offering an advanced-skill tour this Sunday near Cleary Summit.

When: Sunday, 5 February 2023 Where: Meet at Skiland Road pullout just off the Steese Highway at 11 am.

Tour Description: Loop tour is 2.5-3.5 hours; ~6 miles. Advanced-level skiing; skins required.

We shall ski up the power line cut past “Janheim” to the nordic ski trails Chuck Johnson (and others) has maintained for fifty years with his snowgo and Fisher Snowcat. We’ll continue out on to the Fairbanks Creek Road (unplowed) for about a mile before descending into the Bear Creek Valley. It is one of our more technical ski descents, ie steep, and depending on conditions (snow depth, snowmobiled, bushes, etc.) difficult, but is relatively straight. Two steep short sections can be descended with a Mongolian ski brake or walked, but if conditions are amenable, half a snowplow works.

At the valley floor we shall turn on to the new trail Chuck cut. It can be bushy and some overflow. After winding about on the valley floor for about a mile, it climbs steeply (skins mandatory) back up through handsome woods. It regains lower angle terrain beneath the old Fish Creek/Ft. Knox road. Skiing this old road loops us back onto the trails we started out on. We stop for snacks enroute.

And skiers are welcome to return to Janheim for hot drinks.

Temperature cut-off: No temperature cut-off.


Leaders: Philip Marshall (H: 907 457-3895) and Jan Lokken Marshall (Cleary: 907 389-2449)