34th Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot


Athabaskan: Sonot (pronounced “SAW NOT”, “springtime”) Kkaazoot (“to slide your feet across the snow”)

Saturday, 27 March 2021 (Details this winter)

Meanwhile, check out Eric Troyer’s summary and compilation of results from the 2021 Virtual Sonot Kkaazoot:


Scroll down on this website for individual skier and/or group stories.

QUESTIONS:  contact@sonotkkaazoot.org

Sonot 2015 start_sm

Photo of the 2015 start by Chris Hemming

Banner photo courtesy of Retrospection Image.

4th of July celebration under COVID-19

During summer, the Friday morning workout for the remedial SCUM is ski walking up the Fort Wainwright alpine hill under the chair lift. Today to celebrate the 4th of July while taking COVID-19 precautions, we decided to do four ascents of the FWW alpine hill, a first for all of us. The day’s motto was “4 for the 4th!”

It was sunny when we arrived at the top of the alpine hill and dropped down to the start. Joanna, who ended up following Bill Husby up ascent #1, was already channeling her inner Eeoye as we walked back down. However, she found herself drawn up the hill three more times by one bionic kneed SCUM and pushed by the other,

From 2 to 4 looks like this

I can’t believe I climbed that alpine hill 4 times!

and she had the data to prove that she had done it.


While our fellow SCUM play in Denali or Homer, we celebrated our 4 on the 4th on the top of the hill

Celebrating the 4th under COVID

4 FWW hills for 4th

and in the Birch Hill parking lot:

Celebrating the 4th

Joanna had thoughtfully brought an entire case of Hawaiian beer expecting that our “definitely maybe” SCUM would join us. Because we had our hearts set on salty, greasy foods after our 705 m of climb today, the beer will still be in her van next week if you run out of excuses and decide to train with us.

SCUM hill training rocks

The COVID-19 has kept the SCUM close to home this summer. To keep us from going stark crazy, we’ve been hill training in preparation for crushing whatever mountain is put in our path.

Masked and social distanced while prepping for workout

Masked and social distanced in the Birch Hill parking lot, we discussed the workout objective: ski walking three times up the Fort Wainwright alpine hill (on the trail under the chair lift). For extra challenge (and bragging rights), a SCUM could carry a 30 pound rock down and back up the ski hill (a trick we learned from Allen Doyle last summer).

We accessed the Fort Wainwright alpine hill from the Tower Direct trail so we had a 1 mile warm-up before we descended  0.84 km to our first hill climb start. Bill Husby carried the rock down from the bench at the top (where it has been stashed since last summer), and then demonstrated on the proper carrying technique up.

On hill repeat #2, Robert decided to carry the rock. He tried to use gravity to roll the rock down the hill. However, having been a philosophy not physics major, Robert and the rock disappeared into the nearby woods.

Robert did eventually retrieve the rock and carried it on hill repeat #2 being paced by Carl and Dan.Carl & Dan pace Robert w rock on hill repeat 2

and finished hill realizing that gravity still ruled.

Robert and rock on repeat 2

Carl was supposed to carry the rock on hill repeat #3 (Dan was exempt because he recently had shoulder surgery), but forgot his pack frame. So all the guys did hill repeat #3 with just their poles:

Hill repeat 3 wo rock

This 8.0 km workout had 625 m of ascent (and descent) under beautiful blue skies and a light breeze. During those hill repeats, we were temporarily relieved from the stress of grim national and state news, and concentrated on just putting one foot in front of the other without tripping. Even the mosquitoes seemed to ignore us on the FWW alpine hill.

We’ll do it again next Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. if you want to join us. The groans and sighs at the end will be the best of the entire day.

Hot Dog Honey Badger

What is bad a** honey badger, who has finished up the virtual Sonot Kkaazoot grand slam (20 km, 40 km, and 50 km events–each done in a single day as a single workout), supposed to do when he must shelter in place and social distance from fellow SCUMs?

Merely skate skiing icy trails at Birch Hill wasn’t enough from Bill on Wednesday, no way! If you’re Poles Husby, whose orthopedic surgeon told him “no moguls” with his bionic knees, you decide to be one tough a**,–hot dog–honey badger.

Thanks to Joanna Fox for this video clip. 

Colleen Personett skis virtual 50 km Sonot Kkaazoot

She writes:

I’ve been rather slow to reply…but, I skied the typical 30 km at Birch on March 21.  I had planned to do all 50 km that day, but the river had other plans.  Life didn’t allow time again until Thursday, March 26. I ski low tech, so I’ve got nothing but my word (3 hr for 30 km (which I did with Johnna Underwood)) and about 1:50 for the random 20 km at Birch—cut off some of White Bear and some of the blacks).

I am not looking to have a big write up—or any at all ☺️—on the website.  Just listed on the standings…for no reason other than just because. 😊.

Last year I entered and had to leave town for emergency eye surgery for my then 2 year-old.  I was very much looking forward to a normal spring…well, I need to say no more.  Skiing makes life feel a little bit normal…I’m sure that’s true for many of us.

Thank you to all of you that have taken the time to make this happen. It has been a fun way to be connected in some way and to see people encourage each other and to be encouraged…thanks to Bad Bob and the MANY others that help—sorry I can’t thank you all by name!!!  Enjoy the sun, snow…and whatever is ahead.  Be well!!!

Yes, Tom, March 2020 was snowy

Groomer Tom Helmers was correct in thinking March is usually a low snow month in Fairbanks.

As this National Weather Service Fairbanks graphic shows, March 2020 was snowy:

March snow

Thus, the Virtual Sonot skiers, who bemoaned the shoveling and scooping toll, were not being whiners. We did exert considerable effort removing this snow from driveways and paths.

The clouds that gave us all that snow kept the temperatures within normal lows but without the daytime sunshine, our highs were cooler than normal:

March temps

So enjoy skiing on that ample snow pack in April as the average temperatures rise dramatically. Remember to keep social distancing on the trails and ski within your abilities. Now is not the time for injuries that will increase the health care burden needlessly.

Jon Denton skis virtual 30 km Sonot

He writes:

I was able to get out on Saturday and ski about 30 K in 2 hours and 51 minutes.  I was able to ski white bear and the meadows in the time I normally ski just white bear.  I then dropped into warm up, then the blacks, back around the stadium for a snack and drink. I got my second wind up east ramp into blue, then outhouse and made the turn into sunny side, finished relay and made my way back to my snack stash, climbed tower and med evac’ed out.

Trail highlights:

  1. Seeing folks out skiing with smiles in the sun.
  2. The stretch between hilltop cutoff and the bottom of white bear was crispy corduroy, I was able to keep good balance free skating and V2.
  3. The s curves into black hole were super fun.  My skis sounded like a rocket ship chattering around the corners.  Plus I did not wipe out this year.
  4. Powder turns down sunnyside!

With all the terrible news, it was great to have amazing trails and the Virtual Sonot to look forward to.  Thank you everyone for keeping the Sonot Kkaazoot alive this season.

Bob Toth finishes his snow-delayed virtual 50 km

Although the virtual Sonot Kkaazoot officially ended on Saturday, we are living through an unprecedented spring. Not only are skiers abiding by a “shelter-in-place” COVID-19 policy, we have been dealing with Fairbanks’ unpredictable weather. March isn’t supposed to be a snowy month, but in 2020, it has been.

As one of the two skiers who has skied every Sonot Kkaazoot, I understand how important is is for some skiers to complete our annual goal. Also, Robert Toth and I were two of several skiers who needed to take an extended detour in 2016 when the Chena River broke during our 50 km Sonot Kkaazoot. Thus, I want to share his story. Not all of us, can consider ourselves “racers”, but we do love the Sonot Kkaazoot and skiers celebrating the return of the sun.

Bob emailed at 11:42 p.m. yesterday:


I know the virtual Sonot ended Saturday but I finished today. No, it wasn’t the dog’s fault but rather the 700 ft of driveway in front of that big girl. We got 9 or 10 more inches up here Wednesday morning, by the time I cleared that and our ancillary 800 ft of trails it was Thursday and I had no legs left. Lucky to slog through that 20 k Friday. Sadly old and decrepit as I have become, every third day ski is really about my max. Managed a full Tour de Birch this evening. Skied the exact same route as last years 30 k Sonot except for the Sunnyside, which I skipped, and the Medivac up/down to the coaster, which I added.

Finished  Monday, March 30, 2020 at 8:38 pm in a fairly normal time (for me) for the conditions of 3 hour and 23 minutes.

Just wanted to keep my 50 k or equivalent streak, no matter it didn’t count, and it took two days to do with a whole lot of rest in between. It was gorgeous with our great star glowing red (through my brown glasses) lower and lower the whole trip. Every time I climbed to a high spot coming back on the White Bear, there it was higher than I expected. Gave me a boost. Finally on the Warm Up Loop, it kissed the hills just as I dropped into the first downhill loop—the last bright speck disappeared as headed into the final corner climb back to the stadium. Perfect once again.

 Trails were great, thanks to all for all the hard work. So glad the parking lot is open. Don’t expect this to be added to the results but it was fun to write about.