Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas in a Winter Wonderland

Christmas Day: -8F with light snow. It was a winter wonderland in interior Alaska as usual with cool temps, snow, and dim daylight from about 10am-3pm. A great day for skiing, eating, and sleeping. I hung out with Trevor and opened up gifts from friends and family. We also snowshoed and skied on the trail that leads down from the house into Goldstream valley. Its been snowing for a few days now so we are finally making up for the dry Oct and Nov.

The house on Christmas

The Charlie Brown tree that I cut from the trail in the back yard

Trevor skis the trail that goes from the house down into Goldstream Valley

My plan is to install thermometers all along the trail--the temp is deceiving since I just pulled it out of my pocket. Says +20F but it was really -10F.

I got another season of South Park on DVD

Lindsay sent a Trader Joes care package--sweet!!

The pumpkins from Halloween celebrate x-mas on the deck

Kiss my Ass soap was a gift from Lisa

Sunday, December 24, 2006

X-mas Eve Bonfire

Christmas eve was totally relaxing and all I did was eat and socialize. My friend Liz had dinner and a bonfire at her cabin. It was a huge fire that kept us quite warm even in the subzero temperatures.
Merry christmas from me!

Mike the smokejumper lights the fire -- Jim brader observes...

The raging fire is taller than one of Liz's cabins

The heat from the fire was intense

Jim and Liz enjoy the warmth of the fire

Dan's sister in law Brenda and his alien nephews

A closer look at Tony's inverted eyelids--he's lucky they didnt freeze in that position

Dan sports his Antarctic gear at the fire

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Ski your age

Today was the annual "ski your age in km" fundraiser at the Birch Hill x-country area. There was a pretty good turn out even though there was a fresh layer of cold, wickedly slow snow that fell when the temp was -10F...and it didnt warm up much more than that during the day. My goal was to ski for about 4 hrs and I wasnt too concerned about the distance. Due to the slow snow, I would estimate that the amount of energy it took to go 1km today was probably equivalent to 2km on a warm day when the snow was bullet fast. I was able to go about 42km but this is nothing compared to the older hard core folks out there. My friend "super" Norma skied 50km...and another guy named Andy did 60km! I could only dream of being that fit at that age. Sorry no pics from this event...

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Winter Solstice

Sunrise: 10:58 AM, Sunset: 2:40 PM, Length of Day: 3hr 42min

Time lapse photo of the sun as it makes a low arc across the southern horizon on Dec 21st over Fairbanks, Alaska. Each photo was taken about every 30 minutes. (Courtesy Todd Paris)

Its hard to believe winter solstice is here. This day always makes me a little sad because it feels like we will be climbing our way out of winter from this point on. The days will be getting longer tomorrow and in a little over 4 months there will be continuous twilight lighting up the northern horizon. Not long after that it will be light all night long and summer will be here. I will definitely make the most of these dark cozy days before they are gone...

me depressed that we are gaining light and headed out of winter

Flash doesnt care about anything but sleeping

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Eleazars Cabin Ski Trip

I skied out into the White Mtns (about 30 miles north of Fairbanks) with some friends this weekend. Brian and I left the hilltop cafe after eating some fattening burgers Fri evening and made it to the trailhead around 10pm. We skied the 12 miles to Eleazars cabin in fresh snow and a nearly full moon lighting our way--what a beautiful night to be out after a few weeks of subzero weather and no fresh snow. We arrived around 12:30am and had a few drinks and then crashed.

We woke up at the crack of dawn (about 10:30am) to see a spectacular sunrise over the AK Range and temps around 20F--above that is!

Brian and Josie at Eleazars: check out those stylish down pants...Cabela's next poster boy?

Brian headed back to the road later that day and I attempted to skate ski down the valley towards the Borealis Cabin. The trail deteriorated rapidly after Eleazars and was in desparate need of snow--I guess I am going to have to freeze my ass off and do some type of naked snow dance to entice mother nature this year. It was also about -5F along the valley bottom and with the fresh snow was painfully slow. The undisturbed snow cover did allow me see numerous wolf tracks which was cool. The trees were also covered with delicate hoar frost crystals...very beautiful.

On the way back to Eleazars the sky was filled will pastel pink and purple as a full moon rose about the horizon. Man...there is nothing quite like the winter sky in Dec...I dont see how people can head south this time of year.

Dan, John, and Tina skied in Sat night. We celebrated Tina's b-day with halibut and a totally mouth watering ice cream cake that John had hidden in his sled. The ski out on Sun was soooo sweet because it was warm and fast--what a treat!

John had the dogs pull the sled (but I didnt get them in the pic)

Dan's ready to hit the trail

Lumberjack John

Tina is happy because it finally warmed up above zero

Sunday, November 26, 2006

White Mtns Ski Day

One of the driest and coldest Nov's in Fairbanks has left the trails in town a bit rough. So Brian and I headed to the White Mtns trail system in hopes that there would be a bit more snow. We were in luck--the trails were not only better--they were great shape and the scenery was outstanding. We are planning to get a group together next weekend to ski farther out to one of the public use cabins.
White Mtns trail junction
Brian and his hairy daughter Josie
Thats me rejoicing that the trails are fast and fun!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Turkey Day Relay

Dan, Martin and I were team "Estles Angels" in the annual Turkey Day relay. Estle is our ski trainer/coach guy. This is a 3 x 5km ski race at Birch Hill the day after Thanksgiving. It was cool that afternoon (10 below) but there was a good turnout. Even with the below zero temps the snow was still fast since it was packed rock hard.

Dan sizes up some of the competition--a bunch of punk highschool kids and UAF skiers...
Dan kicked ass and gave us a good lead and we were able to squeeze into the top 10 out of 50 teams. Here are the "official" results:

Monday, November 13, 2006

Tolovona Hot Springs Ski

The first trip of the season into Tolovona Hot Springs was fun as usual. Me, Ted, John, Sharon, Lars, and Tina skied/walked/sledded the steep 12 miles in on Fri morning. It was wickedly windy at the trailhead but fortunately for us the temp was above zero so the wind chill wasnt so biting. Julie, Brader, Brian and Bernie arrived at 3am Sat morning with a dazzling display of northern lights brightening their trip in. Heidi and Chris strolled in Sat afternoon. It was between 5 and 20 below when we skied out on Sun but light winds made it a pleasant trip. Fortunately all the cars started right up and we didnt need to heat them up with the propane weed burner.
Here comes Ted is making the final push up the dome

Chris enjoys the beautiful music I am producing

Trevor keeps cranking out the tunes

Sharon with a big beautiful smile!!

Drunken Brader, Bernie and Brian getting friendly

It was so steamy in the cabin that we eventually ended up w/our own naked chef

Heidi--the best cure for a hangover is to keep drinking!!

The guys in the tub---where did all the chicks go??

Frosty eyelashes, self portrait

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Visit to Boulder, CO

I flew down to Boulder and Nederland to visit with the family. I got to get into the regular routine and walk my niece Katie to school and also went to watch both nephews play in jr high and highschool football games. The fall colors were peaking up at my brothers house in the mountains so I got to have a second fall season, after our nice one in mid-Sept in Fairbanks.

Katie and Megan looking very cute

Cool statue at the Butterly Pavilion in Broomfield

Exotic butterflies at the Butterfly Pavilion

Timothy executing a front flip into the pool

Katie likes spider and bugs just like her crazy cousin Mark

Mark E and my lovely sister in law Monica at the Ned football game