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Weather

 

Click here to go to the Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks Weather web page and see current conditions in the Birch Hill Ski Stadium.

 

I have always found the Weather Underground forecast for Fairbanks to be as reliable as any.

Other choices for Fairbanks:

 

A note about Fairbanks “famous” climate

 

Fairbanks is located at 64 degrees 50 minutes north latitude, approximately 100 nautical miles south of the Arctic Circle (66’33” north).  Fairbanks normally has about six months of skiable winter, beginning in mid-to-late October and running through mid-to-late April.  Although the “normal” snowfall total is not overwhelming (65″-70″ / 160-170cm), a normal winter in Fairbanks does not include the freeze-thaw cycles which are so common in lower latitudes.

 

In a “normal” winter we ski on the same snowflakes throughout the winter.  In the winter of 2015-2016 the total snowfall from December 1 through March 15 was a record low 2.5″.  Despite that miniscule snowfall during a 14-15 week period, the skiing was excellent over that entire stretch.  We certainly hope that we get more snow that that between December 2016 and March 2017, but what transpired last year should give you some indication that Fairbanks has pretty reliable snow conditions.

 

On the Vernal Equinox (March 20) all points on earth have (theoretically) 12 hours between sunup and sundown.  Fairbanks’ days, due to the quirks are actually just slightly longer than that.  Also, at that time of year each successive Fairbanks day is nearly seven minutes longer than the prior day.  For those of you who will be in Fairbanks for 10 days during the SuperTour Finals/Distance National Championships, the sun will be up on the last day of your stay more than one hour longer than it was up the day you arrived.

 

Long-term average temperatures in Fairbanks for March 27, the day of the first race, are a high of 30F and a low of +7F.  Sunset on that day comes at 20:27PM, and civil twilight extends through 21:20PM.  On the last day of racing, April 2, the average high is 35F and the average low is +11F.  Sunset on April 2 will be at 20:48PM and civil twilight lasts until 21:41PM.  So, the late afternoon start times for the first three races will be no problem – you can race in daylight, no trail lights needed, past 20:00PM.  More detail on daylight hours below.

 

Environment / Atmospheric Conditions

 

You may have read about air pollution problems in Fairbanks.  Here is some information about that issue.

 

Portions of the Fairbanks area are subject to some air pollution problems in the form of PM2.5 particulates, mostly when there are what as known as inversion conditions – cold air down in town, warmer air in the hills.  The pollution is concentrated in the colder air at lower elevations. The most affected areas are in the most low-lying parts of the Fairbanks North Star Borough, particularly the North Pole area (13 miles SE of Fairbanks). Higher elevations in the hills around the city are mostly unaffected by PM2.5 pollution.  Luckily, the competition venue is located between 300′ (90m) and 600′ (180m) higher than town.  Air pollution has never been a problem for ski races at Birch Hill.

 

Daylight

You may have noticed the late-afternoon/early evening start times for the weekday races.  Don’t worry about having enough light for those events!  One reason we have daylight well into the evening is that we are west of where we “should be” for our time zone.  Our daylight hours are skewed late – “high noon” sun time is around 1PM.  The other reason is that because of our latitude the sun moves on a relatively flat arc, which makes for much more usuable light before sunup and after sundown.  On top of that, our days increase in length by about seven minutes per day.

Below are listed the times for sunset for the dates of the Distance National Championships, as well as the times that “civil twilight” (basically this means functional daylight) ends each day.

  • March 27/Skiathlon – sundown:  20:30PM – civil twighlight 21:20PM
  • March 28 – sundown:  20:33PM – civil twighlight 21:24PM
  • March 29/Sprint – sundown:  20:36PM – civil twighlight 21:27PM
  • March 30 – sundown:  20:39PM – civil twighlight 21:30PM
  • March 31/Relay – sundown:  20:42PM – civil twighlight 21:34PM
  • April 1 – sundown:  20:345PM – civil twighlight 21:37PM
  • April 2/30K & 50K – sundown:  20:48PM – civil twighlight 21:41PM

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