36th Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot

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

Saturday, 25 March 2023

Save the date. Details will be available here in the fall.

A huge thank you for all our 2022 Sonot Kkaazoot volunteers and for the skiers enjoying the sunshine and well-groomed trails.

Congratulations to the top three skiers in each of the new 35th Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot distances:

Men’s 50 km: Galen Johnston with a time of 2:35:05.8; Wells Wappett, 2:36:30.2; and Alex Morris, 2:39:12.4.

Women’s 50 km: Rosie Fordham with a time of 2:43:15.8; Kendall Kramer, 2:48:08.3; and Alison Arians, 2:49:55.5.

Women’s 30 km: Meredith Schwartz, 1:53:00.5; Mallory Presler, 1:58:11.4, and Inga Peterson, 2:52:35.9.

Men’s 30 km: Kieran Kaufman, 1:37:05.8, Owen Wooller, 1:40:10.1, and Thomas St. Clair, 1:42:06.6.

Men’s 10 km: Elias Engman, 32:38.0, Peter Delamere, 33:59.0, and Reid Merrill, 35:41.2.

Women’s 10 km: Hannah Delamere, 41:55.1, Lilli Bond, 41:55.5, and Ellie Abrahamson, 43:02.2.

Sonot Kkaazoot Race Courses: All three races will have the same route for the first 2 km, which starts in the stadium, up the main ramp, out Relay Start Loop, onto the South Tower to the top and back down to the end of Tower, then onto Roller Coaster Bypass to stadium.

10 km course:   After the above start route, the 10 km will head down the White Bear access and out onto the White Bear.  Will follow the White Bear to the Beacon Cutoff, then return via the White Bear, skipping Moilanen Meadows, back to the White Bear Access, finishing the White Bear Access to the stadium, then a hard right following the east side of the stadium and then ski the whole Warm-Up Loop and into the FINISH.

10 km Sonot Kkaazoot course with profile

30 km course:  After the start route as the racers come into the stadium from the Roller Coaster Bypass, they will ski directly across the stadium and down onto the Competition, then out onto the entire North Forty back to the Competition, then down onto the entire Back Hole back to the Competition then finishing the remaining Competition and back into the stadium. Skiers then proceed up the west side of the main ramp and down and around the Blue Loop, then down onto the Outhouse Loop to the Sunnyside. Ski the entire Sunnyside trail (not Cliffside), and back to the Outhouse Loop. Finish the Outhouse Loop then turn left onto the Relay Return to the top of the ramp. Turn right onto the Tower Loop, ski entire Tower Loop followed by Medevac and finishing the Roller Coaster. Ski right down onto the White Bear Access then right onto the White Bear, all of the White Bear including Moilanen Meadows, and the White Bear Access back to the stadium. Turn right and ski along the east side of the stadium, and the entire Warm-Up Loop, and into the FINISH.


Section 1 of 30 and 50 km Sonot Kkaazoot courses with profile
Section 2 for 30 and 50 km Sonot Kkaazoot courses with profile

50 km course:   Ski the 30 km course but after skiing under the bridge, the 2nd lap for the 50 km course will lap around the finish and take a right down on the Competition, then onto the North Forty for a little over a kilometer, then skiers will take the cut-off back onto the Cmpetition, by-passing the Black hole, continuing up the Competition keeping straight and left back to the stadium, then right up the west side of the main ramp, and down the Blue loop, then the Outhouse loop, then  down the Sunnyside and Cliffside, across the base of the Ft. Wainwright Ski Hill just in front of the Ft. Wainwright Ski Lodge, and then turn left up the Sonot Connector all the way back to the White Bear. Turn right onto the outbound White Bear, then ski the rest of the White Bear and Moilanen Meadows and the White Bear Access to the stadium. Turn right and ski along the east side of the stadium. Ski the entire Warm-Up loop then under the bridge and into the FINISH!!!

Section 3 of 50 km Sonot Kkaazoot course with profile

PDF versions of the course maps can be downloaded at the Courses tab above.

QUESTIONS:  contact@sonotkkaazoot.org

Sonot 2015 start_sm

Photo of the 2015 start by Chris Hemming

Banner photo courtesy of Retrospection Image.

Mikes and Mom ski walk FWW alpine hill under blue skies

Mikes and Mom on Fort Wainwright alpine hill before our third ascent–photo by Mike Mathers

After training days when we’ve had hazardous wildfire smoke, winds, or persistent showers, temperatures this morning ranged from 56 to 64 with sunny skies and the Alaska Range clearly in view as we descended the hill. SCUM, of course had perfectly legitimate excuses of why they couldn’t join us: (e.g., “fair booth duty for the League of Women voters”, “moving stuff in Portland and painting a room”, “meeting up with relatives for breakfast”, “doctor’s appointment”, “simple cold although I tested negative but in abundance of caution”, “duty (work) calls “). Two young runners did two ascents while we were ski walking our first two, but I think our fun factor was higher.

We missed our wayward SCUM but they missed a perfect day as the three of us had a great workout before we went home to jack up a sauna, insulate an attic, and mow a lawn.

Life is good for the retired SCUM.

Heartrate monitor data showing we actually did three ascents

Gang of nine ski walk Ester Dome

Eight ski walkers on Ester Dome (Jill is not shown because our photographer, Joanna Fox had to rush back to work)

With blue skies and cooler temperatures, 9 SCUM (and friends) showed up to ski walk up Ester Dome yesterday. One month past the summer solstice, we can feel the approaching ski season. Some of us have been training through the unhealthy smoke, but I felt it wasn’t good to encourage others to follow our example:

Dan and Bill halfway through their 4 FWW ascents for the 4th of July

However, some of us had to be out in the smoke, regardless, and we had company:

Moose don’t need ski poles

Just 8 months to train for the 36th Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot. I’m determined to have at least one SCUM finish the 50 km event in 2023.

I think Tim Woster is our best prospect because he’s been doing both weekly SCUM workouts and Christina Turman’s FXC Masters interval workouts this summer. Also, Tim has wisely chosen not to carry rocks up the FWW alpine hill.

Nine ski walkers climb FWW alpine hill today

With the Birch Hill trails officially open for the “dryland” season, the SCUM and friends gathered at 10 a.m. today for our inaugural climbs of the Fort Wainwright (FWW) alpine hill. On a 60 deg morning, this was by far the largest training group to date. I tried to assemble a group photo, but it was only of the early arrivals:

Early arrivals at Birch Hill

because Dermot Cole pulled into the south Birch Hill parking lot exactly at 10 a.m. Thus, Poles took a second group photo of all nine ski walkers:

Nine ski walkers with poles (except for Dermot) —photo by Bill Husby

And we were off, up the Tower Direct trail to Beacon Road. The FWW alpine hill still had some remnant manmade snow from some of the halfpipe jumps. The hill seemed steeper than it was in September, but most of our group did two ascents in just over 12 minutes a climb. We’ll start increasing the repeats so that we do four hill climbs by the 4th of July.

Part of our group finishing their first ascent past the remnant snow from the halfpipe jumps.

It was a glorious day to be outside. We saw Alaska Fire crew and others on the FWW alpine hill and a large group of hikers on the Birch Hill trails as we were returning to the stadium on the Tower Direct. Some of the trails are still wet in places but it’s pretty easy to avoid them.

Crust skiing at Birch Hill on 27 April 2022

Here are a few photographs from our “adventure” ski at Birch Hill this morning. We were treated to a red fox on the Tower Direct, but the only other skiers we saw were Nanooks.

With temperatures dropping just into the low 40s overnight, the crust is not overly firm so light poling and flat skis were essential.

April sunshine on the White Bear–all photos by Joanna Fox
Water damage on the South Tower with bare spot to negotiate without skis

Taking off our skis at the bottom of South Tower was worth the effort, because the climb had remarkable glide, making for a fast ascent.

White Bear has one major water hazard outbound from the Sonot Connector junction but skiing to Hilltop was fun as long as you didn’t bury your poles.

Sonot Junction creek– will need a culvert to divert water from the road before next season
Dermot near Hilltop Junction
Happy SCUM, who all stayed on top of their skis for 7 km of fun this morning

Snowpack & SCUM going down fast

With predicted daytime highs in the 50s, our record snowpack is going down fast. With the pistenbully down and waiting for a part to be trucked from Reno, Tom Helmers has been grooming icy trails with the Sherpa and drag. Although less effective than the pistenbully, this grooming allows skiers with marginal technique to still enjoy the sunshine and fast trail conditions.

Tucking on a downhill (shorter distance to fall) —photo by Dan Johnson
Joanna–photo by Dan Johnson
Bernardo–photo by Dan Johnson
Dr. Dermot Cole (upright and confident) —photo by Dan Johnson

The spring warmth also encourages skiers to seek their own trails through the crust-covered snow, researching stories to inform and educate us.

Dr. Cole investigating a trail less traveled
Why Dermot was missing from the group SCUM photo—photo by Dan Johnson

UAF will be presenting Dermot Cole a Doctor of Humane Letters degree on
Friday, 29 April 2022 in the Davis Concert Hall, beginning at 5 p.m.

Congratulations, Dermot!

Only one original SCUM left in Fairbanks

SCUM before the 35th Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot–photo by Eric Engman

When the SCUM gathered for the start of the 35th Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot several weeks ago, no one was out warming up for the 50 km version. Only two had signed up for the 50 course, and neither finished it.

For comparison, just 22 years earlier, a dozen SCUM finished the 50 km Sonot Kkaazoot including Carl Hemming, the only remaining primordial SCUM in Fairbanks. Thumper, as Carl is better known, has been training with the SCUM for all 25 ski seasons:

Poles and Thumper after Sonot Kkaazoot--photo by Joanna Fox

Carl skied the 30 km event this year. Early in his SCUM career, Thumper finished the 50 km Sonot Kkaazoot by skating the Chena River portion and classical skiing up the Fort Wainwright alpine hill and all the Birch Hill trails. Carl strategically changed ski gear at FWW, figuring that even considering the time it took to change ski boots, he would end up ahead.

Here’s a photo taken of the Y2K SCUM during a Sunday workout. How many can you recognize?

Y2K SCUM–photo taken with Susan’s 35mm film camera by mystery photographer

Only Poles, Thumper, and Susan are part of both photographs taken 22 years apart. However, both Poles and Mom no longer are skiing on the original equipment knees.

Some of the SCUM reappear only for Springtime skiing as yesterday Kent and Mike joined us for Sunnyside adventures:

Springtime SCUM–photo by Kent Karns

Springtime skiing is the best for skiing and socializing. Make sure you’ve donated to the Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks grooming fund so that we can continue skiing on our record snowpack:

https://nordicskicluboffairbanks.wildapricot.org/Donate/

Troyer displaces me as Sonot Kkaazoot caboose

Eric Troyer displaced me as Sonot Kkaazoot caboose this year, and now I think he’d be a perfect replacement for me as the Sonot Kkaazoot blogger. He’s a far superior storyteller and makes me seriously question why I am working on an MFA in creative writing.

Here’s the URL to Eric’s 35th Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot, alternative 50 km:

https://notquiteoverthehillcorrineanderic.blogspot.com/2022/03/when-is-30k-race-not-30k-race-when-you.html

Owen Hanley named to U.S. Masters Team

Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks skier, ski instructor, supporter, and volunteer, Owen Hanley has been named to the U.S. Masters team based on his performances at the 2022 Masters World Cup Races in Canmore.

https://xcskiworld.com/us-masters-team

See our previous post on his efforts in Canmore:

Congratulations, Owen!

Award winning skiers on new Sonot Kkaazoot courses

Congratulations to the top three skiers in each of the new Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot distances:

Men’s 50 km: Galen Johnston with a time of 2:35:05.8; Wells Wappett, 2:36:30.2; and Alex Morris, 2:39:12.4.

Women’s 50 km: Rosie Fordham with a time of 2:43:15.8; Kendall Kramer, 2:48:08.3; and Alison Arians, 2:49:55.5.

Women’s 30 km: Meredith Schwartz, 1:53:00.5; Mallory Presler, 1:58:11.4, and Inga Peterson, 2:52:35.9.

Men’s 30 km: Kieran Kaufman, 1:37:05.8, Owen Wooller, 1:40:10.1, and Thomas St. Clair, 1:42:06.6.

Men’s 10 km: Elias Engman, 32:38.0, Peter Delamere, 33:59.0, and Reid Merrill, 35:41.2.

Women’s 10 km: Hannah Delamere, 41:55.1, Lilli Bond, 41:55.5, and Ellie Abrahamson, 43:02.2.