Sunday, 15 March 2009

Fairbanks #1, dogs and ice

I have now been in Fairbanks for nearly 2 months, quite a change from Norway! I am working with the people from the geochronology lab here at the university and it is great being able to discuss geochronology again and getting back into this field. Outside work we have been taking a ski mountaineering course, which finished last weekend with a weekend trip up the Castner glacier to practice glacier travel and rescue techniques. Hopefully we will now be able to join some of the Alpine Club weekend trips to get more experience. The last few weeks we have had ice carving competitions in Fairbanks, first the single block competition where teams of 2 people get 2.5 days to make an ice sculpture out of a single large block of ice. Then the multiblock competition where teams of 4 have 6 days to create a sculpture(s) out of 5 large blocks of ice. The results are absolutely amazing, particularly the work by the Japanese teams. I will include a few photos of some of the sculptures below. Another popular activity in Alaska is dogsledding, and very much so here in Fairbanks. In February we watched the first 3 dog teams come in from the Yukon Quest, a ca 1600 km dogsled race from Canada along the Yukon river to Fairbanks. Today, we watched the North American championships, 4, 6, and 8-dog sprint races. These dogs are amazing! On Monday we fly to Nome on the southwest coast of Alaska for a few days. The famous Iditarod sleddog race, some 1800 km from Anchorage (Willow) to Nome, is on its way and we are hoping to see the first teams cross the finish line in Nome.

Iditarod sleddog race:
Nome webcam:
Fairbanks webcam:

And some photos:

The winner of the Yukon Quest, Sebastian Schnuelle.

Number 3 in the Yukon Quest, Jon Little.

View from the university towards the Alaska Range in the south.

Dutch team in the single block ice carving competition.

The Japanese single block sculpture, the kingfisher.

Single block: the muskoxen.

Multiblock competition: Turtle.

Japanese entry in the multiblock, a pack of wolves chasing a caribou. The photo shows only half of the sculpture.

Multiblock entry.

8-dog sprint races in the North American Championships.

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