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:

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!

Weekly Grooming Plan - Week of 2/7/2021

SundaySpring Grooming, Check the trail report to see what was groom each morning.
MondaySpring Grooming, Check the trail report to see what was groom each morning.
TuesdaySpring Grooming, Check the trail report to see what was groom each morning.
WednesdaySpring Grooming, Check the trail report to see what was groom each morning.
ThursdaySpring Grooming, Check the trail report to see what was groom each morning.
FridaySpring Grooming, Check the trail report to see what was groom each morning.
SaturdaySpring Grooming, Check the trail report to see what was groom each morning.
SundaySpring Grooming, Check the trail report to see what was groom each morning.

Birch Hill Trail Updates

Word from the Groomers

Well, I misjudged conditions this morning. Really thought that after 3 days with temperatures in the 40's at night and above that the snow would not have set up in the morning. I did groom for about 45 mins. So the later skiers scored this morning. Short of rain...

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Word from the Groomers

NOTICE: Effective April 17 gates on Sonot Connector are closed to mitigate vehicular impacts.  Skiers are still welcome to use the trail.  As of early this afternoon, the snow is still over a foot thick on Sonot Connector trail surface, but the annual brown river has...

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Word from the Groomers

Groomed the Warm-up, Relay Start, Tower Direct, Upper Loop of the North 40, Comp Loop, White Cub   and  the White Bear  to Sonot Jct.    If the temperature at Birch is above +34F at 5am Sunday we will not groom.  

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Birch Hill Trail Conditions

NameDate Last GroomedConditionSkillDistance
Lighted Loops
Warm-Up04/17/2021Groomed and trackedEasy1.5 km
Relay Start04/17/2021Groomed and trackedEasy750 meters
Tower Loop04/16/2021Groomed and trackedDifficult2.3 km
Old TowerEasy250 meters
Roller Coaster04/16/2021Groomed and trackedMore Difficult900 meters
White Bear Access

04/16/2021Groomed and trackedDifficult900 meters
South Tower04/14/2021Groomed and trackedDifficult400 meters
Tower Direct04/17/2021Groomed and trackedDifficult150 meters
Medivac04/16/2021Groomed and trackedMost Difficult400 meters
Green Dot04/12/2021Groomed and trackedEasy300 meters
Blue Loops
Blue Loop04/16/2021Groomed and trackedDifficult1.2 km
Outhouse Loop04/16/2021Groomed and tracked
Difficult2.5 km
Sunnyside & CliffsideVery Difficult3.6 km
Black Loops
Competition Loop04/17/2021Groomed and TrackedMost Difficult1.1 km
North Forty (N40)04/17/2021Upper Loop only
Groomed and Tracked.
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 Bear04/16/2021Groomed to the Sonot Jct. one pass only.

Difficult9.9 km
Moilanen MeadowsDifficult1.5 km
North  Side  ClassicalDifficult6 km
White Cub04/10/2021Groomed and TrackedEasy1 km
South Side Classics
Blackhawk & ChinookDifficult5.6 km
Sonot ConnectorDifficult2 km

The NSCF Trails are sponsored by…

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