32nd Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot

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

 Saturday, March 23, 2019

50 km freestyle, Mass start at 10:00 a.m. (Chena River, Fort Wainwright, Sonot Connector, all the trails at Birch Hill except Sunnyside and Cliffside)

40 km freestyle, Mass start at 10:00 a.m. (includes all of 50 km course except for Competition, Black Hole, North 40, Blue & Outhouse trails)

20 km freestyle, Mass start at 10:30 a.m. (Chena River only)

NOTE:  There will no longer be a separate 50 km classical event. Classical tracks will be set, but classical skiers will start with the 40 and 50 km freestyle skiers at 10:00 a.m.

All events start and finish on the Chena River at the Centennial Bridge (downtown)

2019 Sonot Kkaazoot Brochure & Map  (Sonot Kkaazoot final-reduced

Feed stations : every 5 to 6 km beginning at 10:00 a.m.

River Breakup: If the Chena River is deemed unsafe, we will start all events at Birch Hill Recreation Area at 11:00 a.m.

Awards Ceremony: 6:00 p.m. at Birch Hill Ski Center. Soups, breads, other tasty items, and drinks.

Secure online registration for the Sonot Kkaazoot on the Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks website will be  available on the REGISTER tab at the top of this site.

Important note for foreign skiers: Because the 40 or 50 km Sonot Kkaazoot course traverses Fort Wainwright land, we need your passport numbers and issuing country to submit to Fort Wainwright before we can issue you a race bib. Thus, no foreign nationals will be allowed to enter the 40 or 50 km Sonot Kkaazoot on day of race.

Entry fees (no refunds–the Sonot Kkaazoot has never been cancelled)

Late Registration and bib pick-up (payment must be received by 7 p.m. on 21 March 2019):

5 to 7 p.m., Thursday, 21 March 2019 at the Doyon, Limited, Headquarters, 1 Doyon Place, downtown Fairbanks

20 km events: $35 for skiers 16 or younger; $50 for those 17 or older (NSCF members); $60 for those 17 or older (non-members)

40 km and 50 km events: $60 (NSCF members); $70 (non-members)

IMPORTANT: Bib pick-up is the last opportunity to change event and/or distance you are entering without paying race day fee.

Day of Race bib pick-up and registration: 8 to 9 a.m. on 23 March 2019:

20 km events: $55 for skiers 16 or younger; $80 for those 17 or older (NSCF members); $90 for those 17 or older (non-members)

40 km and 50 km events: $90 (NSCF members); $100 (non-members)

QUESTIONS:  contact@sonotkkaazoot.org

Sonot 2015 start_sm

Photo of the 2015 start by Chris Hemming

Banner photo courtesy of Retrospection Image.

Chena River looking fluid, 5 days out

With Sonot Kkaazoot race director, Bob Baker still homeward bound from Norway, Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks head groomer, Tom Helmers, made an inspection of the Chena River near where the River opened up during the 2016 Sonot Kkaazoot. With today’s temperatures predicted to be in the high 40s at the airport, current conditions don’t bode well for the traditional start and finish area for the 32nd annual Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot.

River1

Overflow in middle of Bob’s trail where river broke in 2016

River2

To right of trail looking upstream

River3

View closer to upstream bank

All photos were taken by Tom Helmers.

With temperatures at Birch Hill today already at 49.6 deg F shortly after noon, our training tip for Sonot Kkaazoot skiers is to ski on the UAF trails (that were groomed this morning) where temperatures are more seasonal. Alternatively, rest up for tackling a more challenging course than normal on Saturday.

Yes, it’s been warm in March before

Yes, it’s very warm outside today and is forecast to be the same or warmer tomorrow. However, we’ve had warm March temperatures in the past, and still held the Sonot Kkaazoot as it has been for 31 years.

In 2015, March was very warm like this spring and the Sonot Kkaazoot took place on March 28 that year—five days later than this year.

PAFA_201503

Although the Chena River is not looking particularly solid for safe skiing, we have held the Sonot Kkaazoot on the traditional course starting and finishing on the Chena River for the past eight years (2011 to 2018). Before that, we had three consecutive years of alternate Sonot Kkaazoot courses, two years all at Birch Hill (2008 and 2009) and one year all on the Chena River (2010) to balance things out.

Sonot Kkaazoot skiers have to be flexible at times and ski whatever conditions and courses Mother Nature tosses our way.  However, spring skiing in Fairbanks is always a special treat.

Fairbanks Five finish Birkie Norway

Sonot Kkaazoot race director, Bad Bob Baker and 4 other Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks skiers finished the 54 kilometer Classic Birkiebiner in Norway. At one point, they were dead last (averaging 3 km in the first hour) because they spent too much time relaxing, taking photographs, and waiting for their teammates who started in later waves.

Fearing a DQ for not meeting time limits, the group increased their pace to “touring” speed and passed 1000 skiers. They finished in about 6:30 with smiles on their faces. Their strategy is one that skiers attempting their first Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot should remember. Have fun, relax, take photographs, enjoy the scenery during the event, and finish with a smile.

Here is a photo gallery of Bad Bob and Sharon Baker, Bruce Jamieson, Donna DiFolco, and Chris Puchner. This time Bob supplied captions, but this former Sonot director is feeling (a little jealous and) overwhelmed with all the Sonot entries and questions, so any readers of this blog can supply their own.

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Remember that late registration for the Sonot Kkaazoot ends Thursday, 21 March 2019. Please try to pick up your race bib at the Doyon Ltd. Building from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday to avoid the day-of-race confusion. Many of the Sonot Kkaazoot organizers will be skiing the event, too, so please help us out.

For out-of-town skiers who have preregistered, there will be a volunteer to distribute your bibs until at least 30 minutes before your start. Day-of-race entries WILL END AT 9:00 a.m. ADT.

Although we cannot promise blue skies and hard kick wax conditions for the Sonot Kkaazoot (like those encountered by the Fairbanks Five at the Birkie Norway), we will promise that the trails will be groomed to perfection by our ace grooming team. We’ll even have orange kilometer markers like the Birkie Norway.

213 skiers set to start Sonot Kkaazoot, one week out

At the end of regular registration, 213 skiers have signed up for the 32nd annual Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot. 109 skiers have signed up for the 20 km event; 27 for the 40 km; and 77 skiers are set to ski the 50 km course.

Late registration entries will be taken until 7 p.m. on Thursday, 21 March 2019.

Entries after that time will be assessed “day of race” fees.

 

 

Final day of Masters World Cup

Report from Sonot Kkaazoot race director, Bad Bob Baker:

We are all done with the World Masters. Last day was warm and mostly sunny for the skaters to enjoy.  We are now in Oslo, and will bus north at 5:00 am tomorrow to the start of the Norwegian Birkebeiner 54 kilometer Classic ski race. All participants are required to carry an 8 lb pack the entire way.  The five skiers on the Fairbanks travel team plan to TOUR the race together:  Bruce Jamieson, Chris Puchner, Donna DiFolco, and Sharon & Bad Bob Baker. We all plan on taking full advantage of the FEED STATIONS.  The race starts in RENA, and finishes in LILLIEHAMMER, Norway.  It crosses 2 mountain ranges and often has 8 or more side by side classic tracks.  The forecast is calling for mostly sunny skies, and 25 to 35 degree temps.  We sure hope so.  After the race we plan to tourist the town of LILLIEHAMMER, then catch a 2 hour train back to our Oslo Airport Hotel. Be back in Fairbanks Monday night.

Bad Bob

Donna DiFolco as part of USA silver medal relay team

All photos by Bad Bob Baker who didn’t supply captions for his Sonot Kkaazoot organizing underling

Plan for Sonot Kkaazoot if Chena River is unsafe

The 32nd annual Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot will take place on 23 March 2019 but the start and finish will not be determined until Thursday, 21 March 2019.

If the Chena River is deemed unsafe, the Sonot Kkaazoot would be moved to Birch Hill Recreation Area with all starts at 11:00 a.m. All course distances will be shortened to compensate for the loss of the flat terrain that the river provides. 

From Bad Bob, here are the courses IF the Sonot Kkaazoot is moved to Birch Hill (if you have comments/suggestions on the alternate courses contact him at: bobandsharonbaker@gmail.com)

The  50  and 40 km races will become one race competed over a 33.4  km distance. Starting at 11:00 am in the Birch Hill Stadium, skiers go up the West Ramp, then taking a sharp right hand downhill turn onto the end of the Competition loop, and then a sharp downhill left hand turn staying on the Competition loop and heading down onto the North 40.. From this point, the long race will follow the normal Sonot course until it reaches the Sunnyside loop, off the the Outhouse loop.  It will follow the Sunnyside down to the top of Cliffside, and then head left, back up the Sunnyside, and back around, returning to the Outhouse loop.  Racers will take a right back onto Outhouse loop and finish that, then take a hard right onto the Relay Start loop, and continue on it back to the RAMP. Next, racers will head down the Ramp to the bottom and turn right up onto the East Ramp, following it up right into the Tower Loop, around the whole Tower Loop, then onto the Roller Coasters, back to the Stadium, then hard right down onto the White Bear Access, and onto the White Bear.

Skiers will follow the White Bear all the way out to the SONOT CONNECTOR, then a sharp right down onto the SONOT CONNECTOR. Skiers descend most of the Sonot Connector but will do a 180 degree turn above the tubing hill. Skiers will not ski on the actual downhill ski area at all. Skiers will head right back up the SONOT CONNECTOR. The Sonot Connector will be two-way traffic, skiers always keeping to their RIGHT.  There will be a classic track only on the way back up the Sonot Connector. The Sonot Connector comes at the 19 km point, so skiers will be quite spread out. Once you get back to the top of Sonot Connector, you’ll take a hard right, back onto the White Bear, and follow the entire White Bear, then turn right onto Moilanen Meadows, then finally, turn right, back onto the White Bear and finish up with the White Bear Access into the Stadium, and lastly doing the whole Warm-Up Loop and into the FINISH!!   It’s a very tough, hilly 33.4 km course, and with the addition of the SUNNYSIDE LOOP, I think racers will enjoy the  course! 

The 20 km race, if it’s all at Birch Hill, will be way different from the flat Chena River route. The 20 km race will become a distance of 9.5 km.  The distance is much shorter, due to the non-flatness of the course.  Racers will also start at 11:00 am in the middle of the Stadium at Birch Hill, right along side the 50 & 40 km racers.   The  9.5  kilometer course will start straight up the main RAMP and out and around the Relay Start Loop, then a slight right hand turn onto the Roller Coaster By-Pass, and back to the Stadium.  Next, you’ll take a hard right hand turn, down onto the White Bear Access, and onto the White Bear Loop.   You’ll follow the White Bear all the way out to the CORONARY  BY-PASS  Turnaround, which will be just beyond the 5- kilometer point,  then head all the way back to the Stadium at Birch Hill, via  the White Bear and White Bear Access loops.  Once you get to the Stadium, racers will turn hard to the right in the Stadium and ski back behind and around the Main Chalet Building, skiing under the overpass/bridge of the Chalet Building and straight into the FINISH. You will not ski Moilanen Meadows or the Warm-up Loops. 

BUT…. of course, we are planning on the traditional start downtown on the Chena River.   Stay tuned…and get out there and enjoy spring skiing.

Skiers warned to stay off the Chena River

The recent snowfalls and warm temperatures have combined to create overflow and possible open water on the Chena River sections used for the Sonot Kkaazoot. Skiers are strongly advised to STAY OFF the Chena River until groomers can assess the course for safety. 

Sonot Kkaazoot race director, Bad Bob Baker will be back to assess Chena River ski trail safety on Tuesday, 19 March 2019. He will resume grooming IF his drilling and observations indicate ice conditions are safe for skiing.

All skiers should stay off the Chena River until ice conditions can be determined.