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, March 25, 2023

10 km Mass START at 10:00 a.m.; 30 and 50 km Mass START at 10:15 a.m.

REGISTRATION will be ONLINE only. NO REFUNDS.

Early bib pick-up and late registration on Thursday, March 23 at Birch Hill Ski Center, upstairs, 5-7 p.m. PLEASE PARTICIPATE. Late registration ends at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, March 23, 2023. There will be no race-day registration.

Race day bib pick-up @ Birch Hill in RIkka’s Roadhouse 8:00 to 9:30 a.m.

NO RACE-DAY REGISTRATION.

Awards Ceremony: 6 p.m. Saturday, March 25, 2023 at Birch Hill Ski Center, 101 Wilderness Drive. Soups, bread, and beverages will be served.

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 Competition, 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.

Frank Soos Distance Race #2

Skiers and volunteers still in the finish area when the last skiers finished–photo by David Hayden.

Kent Karns, far left, kneeling, put on a bib and skied 10 km today for his second time on skis this season. Gern, in orange cap, helped Bill Husby set up the course, and then skied with his backcountry skis (the only reason that Dermot and I finished ahead of him–Gern was faster on the uphills, we had far more glide on the downhills and graduals). Tom Helmers, standing in back, far right, groomed fantastic tracks and trails. What a day!

From Frank’s essay “Why Is It That I Do This?”

I cannot stop myself from getting out and living through my body. There is always the recognition, cutting through the satisfaction of doing well or the disappointment of doing poorly, having pushed myself to my limit or beyond it, that after a little rest I will come to see I’ll do it again.

Why is it, then, that I do this? I still can’t say–pleasure comes in many forms, many of them irrational–but I am sure I can do nothing other than hope to continue, getting slower and slower until finally I blink out.

North & South Classical trails offer SCUM a change of pace

Dan and Eric taking a break on Blackhawk–photo by Bill Husby

Comment from groomer Bill Husby, “Today’s ski was definitely a change of pace ski. Burned more energy climbing out of snowbanks after crashing than I did skiing today (6+ falls).”

Bernardo trying to assist two downed SCUM on the North Star–photo by Dan Johnson

When the trail groomer takes off his skis and walks the downhills that he groomed, you realize that you might have made a mistake.

Fata Morgana on Sunnyside (Robert’s belt is causing a belly mirage–really, he’s as slim as Bernardo)

Snow on Dermot’s vest isn’t from any of his tumbles on the North Classics. However, he chose to bail out of the South Classics and do the Sonot Connector to Sunnyside instead.

However, we all made it back to our cars intact, although some of the snow from the trails was still on our ski gear.

SCUM failed to find all 12 LOL Christmas ornaments

The SCUM skiers were too focused on their workouts so were unable to find all 12 of the LOL Christmas ornaments. However, we did find 8 while skiing:

LOL #1--photo by Joanna Fox on 12/26/22 on WB access during Ski Your Age in Kilometers
LOL #3 found on Skadi loop, hanger was separated from ornament–photo by Byron Broda on 12/9/22
Santa Bill with LOL ornament #4 on Roller Coaster on 12/11/22–photo by Dan Johnson
LOL ornament #5 on Medevac on 12/11/22–photo by Dermot Cole
Ornament #6 on White Bear near biathlon on winter solstice--photo by Bill Husby, who spotted it
LOL #7 ornament on White Cub, 12/9/22–photo by Dan Johnson
LOL ornament #8 on Tommy Knocker trail–photo by Joanna Fox
Byron and ornament #11 on Old Tower Loop

Bill Husby saw LOL ornament #12 on Little Bird while grooming, but we never got out there on skis, so we failed to nab that one, too. We thank the LOL for this fun addition to our December skiing and an excuse to take a rest break–a SCUM necessity.

Happy New Year from the SCUM

Happy New Year from the SCUM at Hilltop Junction on the lovely White Bear corduroy–photo by Joanna Fox

Even though the SCUM hadn’t been skating for several weeks because of the the recent cold spell, they took full advantage of the pistenbully groomed trails today and skated 15 km of them in around 2 hours. We took rest breaks once we had crested the uphills as seen above at Hilltop and below the summit of Heartrate Hill.

Giving Bob Moloney the SCUM salute for skiing Heartrate Hill without any rest stops–photo by Dan Johnson

We saluted Bob Moloney, who at 79 years old, skated Heartrate Hill without stopping for any rest breaks. After we finished White Bear, Moilanen Meadows, Big Surprise, and Warm-up, it was Bob, who pointed out that we needed to ski some additional trails to get our 2-hour long overdistance skate ski today. So, peer pressure made sure we did ski our full 2 hours.

We thank the NSCF groomers who made today’s workout possible. We’ve donated to the NSCF trail fund and hope you will join us.

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

SCUM close out 2022 with Birch Bakken

SCUM Birch Bakken skiers on 12-30-22 including Bob, Eric, and Eric (FS), Joanna, Bernardo, Dan, Mike, Dermot, and Susan (CL). Bill took the long way down to the start so missed our group start before sunrise.

To those unfamiliar with the Birch Bakken challenge, it was dreamed up by groomer Bill Husby, who was suffering a chest injury today from his fall skiing the Chinook loop on Thursday after he had set it. The course takes a 4.0 km route from the low point to the high point of the Birch Hill Recreation Area. The red line in this GPS trace is the course:

From the FWW alpine building (point 1 on the map), we headed up Cliffside, at the Cliffside gate, we head up the downhill section of Sunnyside to Section Line junction (this is much steeper than the regular inbound trail shown in blue). We then skied the inbound Sunnyside trail to the Outhouse Loop, then to Relay Return, backwards to the Blue Slot, then back on Relay Return to South Tower to the light pole at the highest point of the Tower Loop (point 2).

Here are the statistics for the oldest and slowest No Y SCUM, who was skiing at “Sonot Kkaazoot pace” and kept her HR within level 2:

Hopefully, finish photos will be added as they become available. The temperature inversion on the BB Challenge was about 20 degrees today. After finishing the BB Challenge, we skied back down the South Tower to look for wayward SCUM.

As promised, action photos by Eric Troyer and Corinne Leistikow. Corinne passed me on the Outhouse after she skied White Bear to Sonot Connector, Blackhawk, Chinook, and the rest of the Sonot Connector. She saw the SCUM gathering at the bottom of the hill so skied by most of us while chasing Eric. The day before Dr. Leistikow told me the importance of recovery days. I guess that only applies to her older patients.

Joanna heading up the Birch Bakken first–until she took a wrong turn at the Cliffside gate–photos by Eric Troyer except where noted otherwise
SCUM chase Joanna up Birch Bakken
Eric Buetow chases Mike Mathers
Mom and Dermot take off last (except for Eric Troyer, photographer)
Mom ahead of Eric Buetow on the South Tower, only because Eric forgot the Blue Slot so had to backtrack before starting South Tower again
Eric finishing strong up the South Tower
Corinne joining the SCUM from the Tower Loop
Finished SCUM
SCUM after Birch Bakken–photo by Corinne Leistikow

Winter solstice skiing

Dermotized SCUM faces on Friday at -8 degrees F–photo by Mike Mathers

The skies have finally cleared after 15.2 inches of snow at the airport this December (and considerably more at Birch Hill). With a 20 deg temperature inversion between the hills and valleys, the SCUM are prepared for a full range of temperature conditions as shown here on Friday when it was actually cold enough for our fleece SCUM hats. However, with two Pistenbullys grooming the trails, the skate platform and the tracks were relatively fast.

Saturday morning, the SCUM headed out to ski in Bad Bob Baker’s Moose Mountain tour. Here’s a glimpse of the skyline as Bad Bob finished grooming:

View from Bad Bob’s house–photo by Bob Baker

Starting from the home of Bad Bob and Sharon Baker at 10:10 a.m. (the SCUM van got lost and were late arriving), the goal was to ski to the top of Moose Mountain ridge to watch the sunrise over the mountains (Mt Hayes, we think). All of us managed to do that.

Here are the speedy SCUM:

Speedy SCUM await sunrise–photo by Joanna Fox

and the entire gang:

The SCUM plus Bad Bob Baker, Sonot Kkaazoot and Moose Mountain tour organizer–photo by Joanna Fox

and the main attraction:

Why we climbed 330 m before dawn–photo by Joanna Fox

Today it was -26 deg F in the valley, but a balmy -5 deg at Birch Hill as the SCUM finished their winter solstice weekend of training.

Here we are at the top of the Tower loop:

SCUM and Christmas tree on Tower Loop–photo by Joanna Fox

and at the Denali viewpoint on the Sunnyside:

SCUM with moon and comet in the skies over Denali

Happy Winter Solstice!

Update from the actual shortest day in Fairbanks:

SCUM on Wednesday, 21 December at biathlon range where it was -18 deg F–photos by Joanna Fox
Proof that it was-38 deg F at airport
Scary faces

“Sophomoric humor” on the day after Frank Soos Distance Race #1

SCUM await the Arctic Force on Cliffside–photos by Joanna Fox

On the day after the Frank Soos Distance Race #1, we decided to ski the military transect starting on the White Bear, going down the Sonot Connector and returning up the Cliffside and Sunnyside trails to the Outhouse and Relay Return. When we got to the bottom of Cliffside, we found we had company, a group of the Arctic Force at Fort Wainwright.

Who’s the skier without white pants? Why it’s Dermot Cole, who wrote a touching tribute to Frank Soos after yesterday’s event: (https://www.dermotcole.com/reportingfromalaska/2022/12/10/mssfuxkl7l8p01ig7rmfpjs3q8obfr)

Today while participating in our sophomoric humor, we came up with a new SCUM acronym to more accurately reflect our current composition. Susan’s Class of Uncoachable Misfits was the new definition. Here’s the SCUM in action on the Cliffside once we got ahead of the Army:

Snow angels by the 70 to 79 age class from yesterday’s Frank Soos Distance Race (and one 69-year-old)–video by Joanna Fox
Snow angel by the wannabe 70-year-old SCUM

We did eventually ski back to the Birch Hill stadium, regrouping when Santa executed a dramatic fall:

We’re looking for some younger recruits to join us. The Sonot Kkaazoot is a little more than 3 months away. Woodels will be awarded this year and the post-race banquet will be held like before the pandemic. Plan to join us. You’ll have to prove that you’re a misfit, though.

Joanna proving she’s a misfit–photo by Dan Johnson

By the way, we have located 4 of the LOL Christmas ornaments. We’ll do a blogpost when we get all 12.

Santa and ornament 4–photo by Dan Johnson

SCUM ski Distance Race #1 course on perfectly groomed trails

With temperatures at Birch Hill in the high 20s and nearly a half foot of new snow this weekend, wayward SCUM like Carl Hemming and Steve Clautice rejoined us today for our ski around the Frank Soos Distance Race #1 course. The entire course had been groomed and tracked last night so tracks were firm and fast. I wish I could say that my body was fast, but such wasn’t the case. However, I got around the 15 km course (plus Moilanen Meadows for some extra credit) in just over 2 hours.

Here are some views from the trails:

Bill Husby leads two SCUM in the tracks on WB —photo by Joanna Fox
Steve Clautice also using the tracks although skating–photo by Joanna Fox
Although Bill was using his skin skis–he claimed a leaf caused him to fall--photo by Dan Johnson
Dan Johnson skating with the fitness acquired chasing his son-in-law–photo by Joanna Fox

After we finished our 15 km ski, we retired to the warm-up hut for coffee and ginger snaps (Frank Soos’ favorite cookie). Carl had been AWOL for so long that he found what he thought was a rat turd in his coffee cup:

Carl and his cup with extra “protein” –photo by Bill Husby

Meanwhile, the ageless Dan Johnson posed next to his framed retirement photo:

Dan Johnson reenacting the photo taken at his retirement–photo by Joanna Fox

We hope that you will join the SCUM in skiing the Frank Soos Distance Race #1 next Saturday starting at 11 a.m. It’s great training for the Sonot Kkaazoot. The grooming crew will make the trails fast, and you’ll have fun with the SCUM.

Brushing volunteers make Blackhawk skiing GREAT

Thanks to the volunteer brushing by Mike Schmoker and David Prusak, the SCUM were able to ski Blackhawk (and Chinook) on set tracks today! The volunteer effort by Mike and Dave not only assisted the Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks in contributing labor match for the club’s RTP grant, but their work also allowed us to ski these classical only trails on machine set tracks in November (with half the normal snowfall to date).

SCUM in Blackhawk–photos and grooming by Bill Husby

As groomer, Bill Husby had the inside information on where the tracks were lifted on downhill corners, so he avoided falling. But he did drop one knee to the trail causing a three-SCUM-pile-up on Chinook.

Groomer caused SCUM pile-up on Chinook corner–photographs by Joanna Fox, who negotiated all the corners in the tracks

However, these skiers didn’t have the quantity of snow on them that others had.

Dermot with evidence of his spectacular face plant on the Chinook trail–photo by Dan Johnson on Sonot Connector

They just had the misfortune of falling when someone had access to their phone. Given the -5 deg F weather, most of us were well dermotized and our phones were zipped into inner pockets. However, one phone was recovered from a Blackhawk tumble when its owner got up too quickly to note its absence.

Enjoy the groomed trails and please contribute to the Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks grooming fund: https://nordicskicluboffairbanks.wildapricot.org/Donate/

Bad Bob skis military tour and Blackhawk with SCUM

Bad Bob joins the SCUM for ski of Sunnyside to Sonot Connector and Blackhawk–photo by Joanna Fox

Bad Bob Baker, Sonot Kkaazoot originator and race organizer, joined the SCUM for a leisurely ski through the newly fallen snow on Sunday.

Bad Bob indicated that registration for the 36th Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot will open in January 2023. There will be woodels for all three courses, and a post-race awards banquet with hot soups and other goodies will be held. Stay tuned.

The man in orange (Bad Bob) waits at the Cliffside gate--photo by Joanna Fox

We waited when Bob Moloney fell on one of the more technical corners on Cliffside. However, when someone falls on the straightaway at the bottom of Cliffside, their miscue is recorded (especially if their flexion is limited by bionic knees).

Did you see that moose divot that caught my ski? —photo by Dan Johnson

Groomer, Bill Husby, was eager to ski the Blackhawk trail even though there hadn’t been enough snow to groom it this season. So Bad Bob, Greg, Dan, and Bill headed into the helicopter trail to check on the brushing work that Mike Schmoker and David Prusak had done this fall.

Bill led the way (after Bad Bob who was back on White Bear by this time) —photo sequence by Dan Johnson
Bill bombing the tracks that Bad Bob set
Greg grinning at Bill in the snow
Greg checking on Bill with his ski pole basket

While the younger SCUM were rolling around the helicopter singletrack trail, the rest of the SCUM continued on the Sonot Connector and White Bear. The new snow was lovely in the low light of a late November morning.

Meanwhile, the older SCUM ski up the Sonot Connector to the White Bear–photo by Joanna Fox

Remember, the 36th Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot is Saturday, 25 March 2023.