It’s been a great week so far in Fairbanks, AK. The week started out relatively warm, being about 30-32 degrees Fahrenheit on our first day of skiing. However, its gotten much colder since. It was about 5 degrees this morning while skiing. The skiing was very, very slow this morning with such cold snow. I would almost have been satisfied with the kick I was getting for a classic race even though I was on my skate skis. All the same, it was fun. I really like Birch Hill as a ski area. The pitching, turning trails are really fun and exciting.
We’ve been doing a lot of fun activities here as well. This afternoon we visited the Permafrost Cave. It was built during the Cold War by the US Army testing and experimenting for how to build tunnels in Greenland. The tunnel itself goes to a depth of about 90 feet underground. In there, there are frozen (not fossilized) bones of all sorts of Pleistocene mammals such as wooly rhinoceros and mammoths. There are also areas where plants and other roots come down through the ceiling of the tunnel. the permafrost itself is permanently frozen ground, which makes a loud metallic sound if you tap on it. To keep it from thawing because of people doing work in there, the entrance has been blocked off and the tunnel has basically been turned into a giant refrigerator.
The flag battle with PNSA has been much lower key than last year. They stole our flag on Sunday by telling the front desk that they were Patrick and getting a room key, and then storming his room with the entire team. I stole their flag from them on Tuesday by just grabbing it out the hands of one of them.