Fairbanks Trails: Creators and Preservers

Dec 12, 2017

Crosson Family Image University of Alaska Fairbanks Rasmuson Library
Credit Elmer E. Rasmuson Library Archives

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks. That prompted me to salute Fairbanks trails this episode. The club, and others like Running Club North and Fairbanks Cycling Club put a lot of effort into developing and maintaining world-class trails. Former Lathrop High School coach Jim Whisenhant was instrumental in helping develop the trails at Birch Hill where they are named in his honor. But he also had a hand in improving the trail system Ivan Skarland set in place at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

As the above image from the University of Alaska Fairbanks Elmer E. Rasmuson Library archives reveals, Fairbanks supported a Nordic Ski community in the 1930s. I’ll talk to Jim Whisenhant’s son Greg about the early days of trails and skiing in Fairbanks. I also talk with Stan Justice who organizes a ski race on the UAF trails that hearkens back to the early Whisenhant days.

Also on the show – filmmaker Leonard Kamerling discusses the process of restoring and creating a digital version of the award-winning documentary “The Drums of Winter.” Kamerling is also the curator of film for the University of Alaska Museum of the North.

And Chris Lott of katexic clippings examines how the word “marathon” has stayed the linguistic course.

You can listen to the program here.