Trails and Grooming

The main mission of our Trails Program is to provide great trail grooming during the ski season at Birch Hill Recreation Area. This includes connected trails, such as the White Bear, that are on Fort Wainwright land. But great grooming takes more than just grooming. Here are some other things our groomers do (often with the help of volunteers):

  • Keep the trails relatively smooth during summer. The smoother the trails in summer, the less snow we need to start skiing in winter.
  • Keep the trails cleared of fallen trees.
  • With the borough, maintain the trail lighting system.
  • With the help of volunteers, put up and take down race course marking materials.

We can accomplish this only with your support, so please consider making a trail donation!

Largely because of our vibrant Nordic skiing community, Fairbanks is blessed with abundant trails for all skiing techniques, with trails for novice, intermediate, expert, and elite skiers. Here are links to maps for trail systems you can explore:

Birch Hill Trails Map App

Trailforks QR CodeGet the Trailforks app in your favorite app store (there is a free version). Once installed, search for “Birch Hill Recreation Area” or navigate using the map. Select “Nordic Ski” under activity type dropdown menu. Or use the QR code here to go to the Birch Hill page on

The annual cost of our trails program to the Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks is over $100,000 including the costs of labor, fuel, equipment maintenance and depreciation, equipment rental, etc. That money is NOT government money, but is money raised by the NSCF from its membership and from corporate sponsors and donors. The Nordic Ski Club has approximately 300 memberships annually, accounting for a total somewhere around 800 members (there are normally multiple members in a single family membership). If you do the math, you can see that it is important that our club members make meaningful donations to cover these costs.

Skiers in the lower 48 pay substantial fees for day passes and season passes. You can ski at Birch Hill without having to purchase a day pass or a season pass, or wear a ticket on your clothing. However, if the high-quality trail system is to continue to exist, and if the superb grooming we have all come to expect is to go on into the future, those things have to get paid for.

Below are the donation amounts suggested by the NSCF Board of Directors. These donations are based on the actual costs of operating our trails program. A survey of what people pay at commercial and club trail operations in the Lower 48 and Canada where fees are charged confirms that these amounts are typical, or even on the low end, for a ski center the size and quality of Birch Hill. Keep in mind that for most operations outside of Alaska, the ski season is 1/2 to 2/3 the length of a typical Fairbanks ski season. The cost of our grooming operations is a direct function of the length of our season:

  • Individual Season Pass / Youth (younger than high school) – $90
  • Individual Season Pass / Junior-Student (high school or college student – $150
  • Individual Season Pass / Adult – $200
  • Couples Season Pass / Adult – $300
  • Family Season Pass (includes children through high school) – $400

Sustaining donor levels:

  • Tracksetter – $500
  • Trailblazer – $1000

As you are making your donation decision, please keep these numbers in mind . . . so that we can keep enjoying the great trails and grooming for which Birch Hill is justifiably renowned.

Please donate today!

Birch Hill Trail Updates

Birch Hill Area Trails Report – 05/20/2024

Birch Hill Trails are Ready for Use! Birch Hill Area trail report from Lead Groomer Tom Helmers — 05/20/24: Trails have dried out nicely over the last week. When out on the White Bear please avoid the Wigwam Creek seasonal swamp below the Biathlon Range by detouring...

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Birch Hill Trail Conditions

NameDate Last GroomedConditionSkillDistance
Lighted Loops
Warm-Up04/21/2024Groomed Easier1.5 km
Relay Start04/21/2024Groomed Easy750 meters
Tower LoopDifficult2.3 km
Old TowerEasy250 meters
Roller CoasterMore Difficult900 meters
White Bear Access

04/21/2024GroomedDifficult900 meters
South TowerDifficult400 meters
Tower Direct04/21/2024Groomed Difficult150 meters
MedivacMost Difficult400 meters
Green DotEasy300 meters
Blue Loops
Blue LoopDifficult1.2 km
Outhouse LoopDifficult2.5 km
Sunnyside & Cliffside
Very Difficult3.6 km
Black Loops
Competition LoopMost Difficult1.1 km
North Forty (N40)Most Difficult2.5 km
Black HoleMost Difficult2.5 km
Tommy KnockerDifficult0.2 km
Tommy Knocker ExtensionDifficult100 m
Black Funk/Black BaronDifficult0.25 km
White Bear Loops
White Bear
Difficult9.9 km
Moilanen Meadows
Difficult1.5 km
North  Side  Classical
Difficult6 km
White Cub
Easier1 km
South Side Classics
Blackhawk & Chinook SAP PERMIT REQUIEDDifficult5.6 km
Sonot Connector
Difficult2 km

The NSCF Trails are sponsored by…