Touring News

Muskrat Ponds Tour Report – 02/18/2024

Report from Tour Leader Stan Justice:

We had great weather for the Muskrat Ponds tour. Sunny and 10 to 20 above. 18 people signed in but we picked up a few strays along the way. We checked out a moose carcass left by bow hunters. The ravens had worked it over and also lots of evidence of ravens taking a snow bath or just trying to cool off.

If you missed the tour, Stan has written up a nice guide HERE.

 

Ski Tour of Skarland 12-Mile Set for February 24

Join in on this popular tour of one of Fairbanks’ oldest ski trails!

What: Skarland 12-Mile Loop Tour

When: Saturday, February 24, 2024

Start time and place: 9 AM 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 and across Ballaine Rd. to connect to the Pearl Creek trail system. From there we’ll climb up and around the hills above Wolverine and Red Fox roads. Next we’ll cross at the top of Ballaine Rd and eventually follow 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 -20 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, 907 460-4367

Grooming Donations: If you enjoy these nicely groomed trails, please consider making a donation. You can make a donation through PayPay (instructions below) or you can mail a check to Tako Raynolds, 1819 Muskox Trail, Fairbanks, AK 99709-6626. Donations help volunteer groomers keep the Skarland, Pearl Creek Nordic Park, Fairbanks Golf Course, and Muskrat Ponds trails groomed.

PayPal Donation Instructions

1) Log into PayPal by your preferred method, or Scan the QR CODE with your mobile phone camera
2) Click “SEND” button
3) Enter “Pearl Creektrails” (yep it is spelled & spaced just like that).
4) Enter amount you want to donate
5) Enter how you want to pay
6) Select “Friends and Family” (do not select goods & services – that incurs a fee to Pearl Creek Fund)
7) Click “send” and you are done.

In-Person Muskrat Ponds Tour to be held February 18

Stan Justice’s Muskrat Ponds Tour is back as an in-person event! The ski tour takes in some muskrat ponds in the wetlands between Farmer’s Loop and College Road. Then feel free to grab a snack at Greens Bar and Grill afterward.

Start time and place: February 18 at 11am, Fairbanks Golf Course parking lot – near Ballaine and Farmers Loop intersection

Estimated tour time: 2-3 hours

Short description: This tour follows a 7-mile loop partly on dog mushing trails and partly on set classic tracks. It is mostly flat with some sharp drops and climbs at pond edges. Greens Bar and Grill, at the golf course, will be open when the tour is done.

Cancel temperature: -15F (NWS airport temp)

Dogs allowed? Dog free please.

Leaders: Stan Justice (907-479-5017) and Barb O’Donnell

Grooming Donations: If you enjoy these nicely groomed trails, please consider making a donation. You can make a donation through PayPay (instructions below) or you can mail a check to Tako Raynolds, 1819 Muskox Trail, Fairbanks, AK 99709-6626. Donations help volunteer groomers keep the Skarland, Pearl Creek Nordic Park, Fairbanks Golf Course, and Muskrat Ponds trails groomed.

PayPal Donation Instructions

1) Log into PayPal by your preferred method, or Scan the QR CODE with your mobile phone camera
2) Click “SEND” button
3) Enter “Pearl Creektrails” (yep it is spelled & spaced just like that).
4) Enter amount you want to donate
5) Enter how you want to pay
6) Select “Friends and Family” (do not select goods & services – that incurs a fee to Pearl Creek Fund)
7) Click “send” and you are done.

Moose Mountain Sunrise Tour Sees Sun, Biggest Ever Turnout

The 7th Annual Moose Mountain Sunrise Ski Tour celebrated its seventh anniversary with the largest turnout of skiers in its history.

Skiing toward the sunrise!

The tour, which took place on Saturday December 23, had 40 Skiers set off that morning with +20F degree temperatures. The trail grooming was perfect, until these 40 skiers turned the beautiful combed trail surface into a wonderfully ski marked surface with herringbone, skate, sidestep, telemark turn, and an occasional face and body plant depressions all along the route.

About 18 West Valley skiers skied along with one 8-year-old, while the remaining group were made up of folks ranging from 18 years old to folks in their 70’s. Two doggies also tagged along.

All were greeted with the bright SUNRISE just after 11:00 a.m. For the next hour or so, all skied and enjoyed the changing sunrise colors and formations. Although it was not a clear morning, they could see the mountains, and the sunrise was blinding at times.

Skiers arrived back at the Bakers home from 1:30-2:30 in the afternoon and were all treated to hot drinks and MANY amazing TREATS brought by many of the participants.

 

Just 8 years old and already skiing the Moose Mountain Tour!

Sunlight through the trees

The sun peeks through just below the clouds

Skiers gather at the sunrise lookout spot

The sunrise adds color to the black and white of burned trees and snow

7th Annual Moose Mountain Sunrise Ski Tour Set for December 23

Once again Bad Bob and Sharon Baker are offering their Moose Mountain Sunrise Ski Tour in December.

The Moose Mountain Sunrise tour offers cross-country skiers a hilly course on which to greet the winter sun. This tour follows an out-and-back course that goes to the top of Moose Mountain and beyond (but only if you want to go that far).

When: Saturday, December 23

Bad Bob invites you to see the sunrise during a ski outing!

Start time and place: Tour begins at 10 a.m. SHARP! Be waxed, dressed ,and ready to ski! Meet at the BAKERS home @ 3020 Moose Mountain Rd. There will be a large sign at the driveway. It’s 2.2 miles up Moose Mtn. Rd. from Spinach Creek Rd. on the left side. (Google Maps link HERE).

Parking: You’re welcome to arrive early. Parking could be tight depending on number of participants. Don’t be late or you’ll mess up the parking system. Try to carpool if you can.

Estimated tour time: 2-4 hours, 2-10 miles

Description: The tour is an out-and-back affair, beginning from the Baker home. The goal is to arrive at the ridgeline by SUNRISE @ 11 a.m. and to ski along the top, enjoying the view of the sunrise and the Alaska Range with the vast Tanana Valley in the foreground. Then return back to the Baker home.

This tour is not for beginners. The first two kilometers of the tour is all uphill, then it’s large rolling up and downs with plenty of room for snowplowing. Steepest part is the first 1/4 mile. If it’s clear out, the ridge offers wonderful views of the valleys and Fairbanks as well as the Alaska Range.

The trail is wide enough to skate if you choose, but classic is much less effort, though there are no classic tracks. After you hit the top of Moose Mountain, the trail follows the ridge with long ups and downs. The course will be freshly groomed and combed that morning.

Tour participants can follow the trail until they feel the need to turn around and head back down. The plan is to turn around and be back to the start by 1:00 p.m., where there will be hot drinks and treats inside the Baker home. All are encouraged to bring a TREAT, which can be in any form: desserts, soups, breads etc.

There is no cut-off temperature, and often the temperatures up on Moose Mountain can be 30 degrees warmer than in Fairbanks. Bring a shell in case of windy conditions. Please R.S.V.P. with Bob and Sharon as parking is limited. You can call again the morning of the tour to check on the temperature if you’d like to know. If you decide not to participate after you’ve signed up, please call and cancel.

Dogs: Dogs are welcome, as long as they are controllable.

Leaders: Bob and Sharon Baker @ 907/455-6689

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.

ANY AND ALL CANINES ARE MOST WELCOME.

Leader: Philip S. Marshall (H:457-3895, or pmarshall@acetekk.com., 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 <pmarshall@acetekk.com>)

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