33rd 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 28, 2020

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 is no longer 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)

(2020 Sonot Kkaazoot informational pamphlet will be posted here when available)

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 at 11:00 a.m. FINAL DECISION on race start location will be made by Thursday, 26 March 2020.

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 is 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)

Early registration (must be received by 21 February 2020):

20 km event: $15 for skiers 16 or younger on race day; $30 for those 17 or older (NSCF members); $40 for those 17 or older (non-members)

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

Standard registration from 22 February through 13 March 2020:

20 km events: $25 for skiers 16 or younger; $40 for those 17 or older (NSCF members); $50 for those 17 or older (non-members);

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

Late Registration from 14 March to 26 March:

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)

Early bib pick-up:

5 to 7 p.m., Thursday, 26 March 2020 at the Doyon, Limited, Headquarters, 1 Doyon Place, downtown Fairbanks. Please plan to pick-up your bib early and avoid the race day crowd.

Really Late Registration from 27 March until 9 a.m. on 28 March 2020:

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.

Sonot training at 8 weeks out

With the 33rd annual Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot just 8 weeks out, it is time to be putting the kilometers into the bank. Today with temperatures in the Birch Hill stadium hovering around -16 deg F and snowing, it was an ideal time to do the North Classical trails especially for balance challenged SCUM. On a cold day like today, the only skiers who showed up for our Sunday workout were those old enough to remember skiing at much colder temperatures.

After warming up our 6 decade and older bodies on one circuit of yesterday’s Town Race #3 course, we headed off for the recently groomed North Classical loops. With Frank Soos leading the first part of the Classical Bear, he managed to dump a widow’s maker’s worth of snow onto our youngest SCUM, Sam Bishop.  Sam decided that following the tallest skier among us wasn’t a good idea so he took the lead. At the Aurora Run intersection, we headed out the North Star trail and eventually came to the RSDH Bypass sign. As a faithful reader of the Sonot Kkaazoot blog, you will now know that this acronym stands for “Really Steep Down Hill” on this single track trail. Dermot Cole, photographer of the photo below, has another “S” word that he uses, but we’ve used the official acronym definition.

Really steep downhill bypass sign sm

“Really Steep Down Hill” bypass sign

With the newly fallen -20 below snow, the RSDH was no challenge navigating, which is fortunate because with my down skirt fully zipped on the sides, I couldn’t snowplow. Dermot also took videos of our downhill ski technique so we could improve before temperatures warm up. Today,  no one crashed even though we totally encased with frost from skiing on trails that varied from -15 to -25 deg F.

What does it take to ski at -20 deg F? Two chemical handwarmers in each of your mittens and a set for either side of your phone. And friends to ski with JUST in case something unexpected happens.

It was absolutely beautiful out on the trails today and while we weren’t skiing very quickly, we were getting quite a workout just to keep moving on both the uphills and downhills.

 

Classical races to test your Sonot training

Although Shalene Frost won the women’s 20 km Distance Race #2 last Saturday by skate skiing, the majority of participants were classical skiing as the cold weather has lingered for over a month.

The long range forecasts show a 50 to 70% likelihood that the 8 to 14 day temperature outlooks will be below normal. Thus, most mortals training for the Sonot Kkaazoot should embrace classical skiing and plan to enter some classical races to test your fitness.

814temp.new

The Distance Race #3 will be held on Sunday, 16 February at 11:00 a.m. This event will be held in classical technique over 10 and 30 km courses. You can register for that race here: https://www.nscfairbanks.org/programs/races/distance-series/distance-series-3/

On Sunday, 8 March, the UAF Trails Club will host the 20 km classical Skiathon race and tour on the UAF trails at 11:00 a.m. Information and entry forms can be found here: https://uaftrailsclub.weebly.com/skiathon.html

Entry fees from this race support UAF trails so your $15 entry fee before March 7 ($40 on the day of the race) is a great investment in ski trails on the west end of the borough.

The trails at Birch Hill and UAF have ample snow pack and have been getting regular grooming so conditions are great if somewhat slow. Plan to enter some classical races and you’ll increase your fitness as the Sonot Kkaazoot draws closer.

Ten weeks until the 33rd Sonot Kkaazoot

There is now a flicker of daylight at 5:00 p.m. and although the temperatures are still rather chilly, Spring is quickly approaching. Preparation for the 33rd annual Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot is well underway. With the frigid temperatures that arrived around Winter Solstice and have hung around most of January 2020, ice conditions on the Chena River look more favorable for the Sonot Kkaazoot than they have in many years. Thus, Bad Bob Baker will be looking for a full complement of volunteers to staff the Fort Wainwright road crossings and timing hut on the Chena River on race day. If you don’t plan on skiing the Sonot Kkaazoot, please consider volunteering for this annual spring event. Just drop an email to: contact@sonotkkaazoot.org with your preference in terms of time and task, and we’ll put you on volunteers list.

https://sonotkkaazoot.org/volunteers/

Just because the temperatures are frigid, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be training if you dress appropriately. There’s even time for selfies and fist pumps as the sun rises earlier every day.

Fist pump sm

If you need a little guidance, consider signing up for Kristen Rozell’s Sonot Training Course: https://nordicskicluboffairbanks.wildapricot.org/event-3605979 . She’ll provide weekly workouts on Tuesday evenings that will familiarize you with the trails that you’ll ski during the Sonot Kkaazoot as well as provide you with specific training and pacing techniques that will make the Sonot Kkaazoot more enjoyable.

Cold weather is tough on groomers and grooming equipment so donations to the grooming fund are desperately needed to insure that trails are maintained throughout the long ski season. Here’s the URL to donate today:

http://nordicskicluboffairbanks.wildapricot.org/Donate 

Supporting ski trails is definitely less expensive than hypertension and pre-diabetes medications. Exercise is a lot easier outdoors and with friends.

So why not sign up for the 33rd Sonot Kkaazoot now so that you’ve made the commitment to get out and train regardless of the weather? Just click on the “Register” tab at the top of this website.

Celebrate our recent cold weather

The 200 grit snow that has fallen at Birch Hill at -20 deg F or colder doesn’t support a high glide factor. However, think about the great strength training you’re getting by having to work both uphill and downhill. Also, having the tracks so slow, reduces the windchill factor and the chances of getting your face frostbitten.

The cold start to 2020 has done wonders for the Chena River ice thickness. After having open water in December, the NWS has posted recent ice depths:

ice thicknesses.png

This gets the Chena River up to 79% of the normal ice thickness for this time of year, and increases the likelihood that the 33rd annual Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot will take place on the traditional course starting and ending on the Chena River downtown.

What’s holding you back from registering for the Sonot Kkaazoot? The entry fees will only increase as we get closer to race day.

Sunrise ski on the Blackhawk trail

When we left the Birch Hill stadium around 10:18 a.m., it was +2 deg F with sunrise still almost 40 minutes away. We skied on fast tracks down the White Bear to the Sonot Connector, where Bill Husby, Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks groomer, had dragged and set tracks on the Southside classical trails yesterday.

Acclimated to the record warm winter weather to date, we were dressed as we normally would for double digits BELOW zero weather. We expected to find slow trail conditions. Instead the trails had firmed up so that the tracks were wicked fast. We made it to the high point in the trails a little before a spectacular sunrise (Photo by Bill Husby).

Blackhawk sm.JPG

Look at those deep tracks behind us. We then chased Bill down the challenging downhill corners where one of us fell four times. However, all that was injured was my pride as the trails have plenty of padding this winter.

As this is the season of giving, please consider giving yourself and others the gift of good health. Please contribute to the Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks trail fund so we can continue to enjoy skiing on spectacularly groomed trails.

http://nordicskicluboffairbanks.wildapricot.org/Donate

Happy Winter Solstice!

Resolve to ski the Sonot Kkaazoot in 2020

The trails at Birch Hill are snow covered and conditions are spectacular. Make the commitment and sign up for the 33rd annual Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot.

https://sonotkkaazoot.org/register/

Have you wanted to ski the Sonot Kkaazoot but felt that you weren’t quite ready? Kristin Rozell’s Sonot Kkaazoot training course would be the perfect Christmas gift for you. Just let your special Santa know. Or, make a New Year’s resolution for a fitter, healthier self by having the Sonot Kkaazoot as your end of winter goal. Here’s the URL to register for Kristen’s on-snow class:

https://nordicskicluboffairbanks.wildapricot.org/event-3605979

Kristen will familiarize you with all the trails used in the Sonot Kkaazoot and provide you with valuable pacing and technique insights. Confidence is key to a successful Sonot Kkaazoot, and Kristen’s class that meets weekly from January 14 to March 17 will provide skiers with the skills and practice needed.

Fantastic skiing conditions at Birch Hill

Fairbanks skiers are thankful for our awesome Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks groomers, who have been busy all November as frequent snow storms have blanketed the trails. Please make sure that you contribute to the NSCF trail fund so that they can continue to do their masterful work.

Here’s the URL to the NSCF secure site for making your trails donation:

http://nordicskicluboffairbanks.wildapricot.org/Donate

Today the SCUM (Sonot Kkaazoot organizers) were attempting to ski the Grand Tour (the Birch Hill trails utilized for the Sonot Kkaazoot), and we actually rallied most of them at the top of the Tower loop:SCUM on tower sm.JPG

A few SCUM didn’t make today’s workout, so we’ll have to use photos from earlier skis when they failed to stay on the groomed platform:

Dermot down smRobert down sm

Unlike these guys, the women out skiing today were not picking themselves out of the snow:

Joanna and Norma small

Now that the trails all have a deep firm base, it time for you to make a commitment to ski the 33rd annual Sonot Kkaazoot.

Online registration is available at:  https://sonotkkaazoot.org/register/

This year are using the registration software that John Estle has been using for Running Club North races and the Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks Town and Distance Races. Rather than raising the fees this year, there will be a modest registration fee added when you sign up to cover the cost of the software.

Enjoy the ski trails as you train for the 2020 Sonot Kkaazoot!