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.

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.

Donate to the Trails Fund for great spring skiing

The National Weather Service Fairbanks posted this graphic on their Facebook page today. It indicates that we have the snowpack for great spring skiing, provided you contribute to the trails fund so that the groomers can continue to buy diesel for the Pistenbully.

View from the National Weather Service Fairbanks Office at UAF–photo by NWS Fairbanks

Please donate to the NSCF Trails Fund:

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

End of an era for the SCUM

When the SCUM group started 25 years ago as an uncoachable group of men, mostly over 40 years old, the final exam was to ski the 50 km Sonot Kkaazoot. This year, 25 years older, slower, and perhaps, wiser, none of the SCUM finished the 50 km course yesterday.

The new 50 km Sonot Kkaazoot course had an additional 20 km of hilly Birch Hill trails instead of the flat Chena River. After a La Nina winter of unusually cold weather, abundant snowfall and record rainfall, those of us who remained in Fairbanks all winter, had spent more time shoveling and scooping snow than skate skiing.

Yet, the 35th Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot was held under glorious spring weather so all of us, 10- and 30-km Sonot Kkaazoot skiers and volunteers were sore and exhausted today before our post-Sonot workout.

Still dealing with Sonot Kkaazoot organization duties, I was late for today’s workout and hoped that the group would have left without me. Alas, they were still in the stadium discussing whether predator-prey ratios in the ocean are mathematically determined. Some SCUM don’t understand the meaning of retirement.

I headed off down the White Cub and White Bear toward the Sonot Connector that none of us skied on race day.

SCUM rest on the White Bear on the morning after the Sonot Kkaazoot–photo by Joanna Fox
Joanna falls on White Bear trying to demonstrate how a high school skier tried to slow her down during the Sonot —photo by Bill Husby

The Sonot Connector descent was exhilarating and the views from the FWW alpine hill were stunning.

Dermot, Bill, and Susan look out to the Alaska Range–photo by Joanna Fox

However, the real SCUM antics surfaced when they discovered a new avalanche patch on the Cliffside trail and in their delusional states from yesterday’s Sonot, thought they saw a body near the bottom of the avalanche requiring investigation.

All that remains of some poor SCUM in an avalanche on Cliffside trail–photo by Joanna Fox

First Joanna skied toward the avalanche and fell, so Carl attempted to rescue her. but decided against it.

Carl attempts to rescue Joanna–video by Bill Husby

Then Dermot tried to approach the avalanche on foot.

Dermot attempts to approach avalanche on foot–photo by Joanna Fox

and discovers the SCUM hat belonging to Susan that he propped up on his ski pole:

Susan’s SCUM hat--photo by Bill Husby

before discovering how tiring walking in deep snow can be:

Dermot rescues Susan’s hat–video by Joanna Fox

Sufficiently recovered, the SCUM skied up until they found a snowy patch that they thought might be suitable for snow angels. Robert demonstrates a face down snow angel:

Robert attempts snow angel in early morning crust–video by Joanna Fox

Amazingly, we eventually finished our military transit from White Bear to Sunnyside and back to the stadium in under 2 hours on the morning after the Sonot when trails were icy and fast. All bets are off on whether I would have been found with my hat in the Cliffside avalanche today if I had attempted section 3 of the 50 km Sonot Kkaazoot.

Thanks to everyone who volunteered for or participated in the 35th Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot. The trails were awesome and the spirit of everyone on them was fantastic. Enjoy spring skiing.