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 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 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)

Early registration (must be received by 5 p.m. A.S.T. on 22 February 2019):

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)

Second deadline (must be received by 5 p.m. A.D.T. on 15 March 2019):

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 and bib pick-up (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.

Finally, on snow!

Snow has finally arrived in the greater Fairbanks area, and the groomers are busy packing the trails at Birch Hill.

On Sunday, Bill, one of the groomers led a group of three other Sonot organizers on our first on-snow ski adventure. Bill had already skied 100 km this month, so he enjoyed watching the rest of us fall and take rest breaks.

First 2018 ski.JPG

Photo by Robert Hannon, ace KUAC journalist and director of Northern Soundings.

First Town Race is this Saturday. Get out and enjoy the snow. The Sonot Kkaazoot is just 4 months away!

 

No Fairbanks snow in late October isn’t unique

Although we are firmly in new record territory for the late arrival of Fairbanks’ first snowfall at the airport, we have had brown Octobers previously. In his blog post from  October 2013, Richard James from the National Weather Service notes that the ground was bare and the temperature in Fairbanks had reached 51 deg F on 28 October 2013:

http://ak-wx.blogspot.com/2013/10/record-warmth-again.html

Yet, the 2014 Sonot Kkaazoot had excellent spring skiing conditions as noted by Dermot Cole’s Alaska Dispatch column:

https://www.adn.com/sports/article/excellent-spring-skiing-fairbanks-draws-hundreds-trails/2014/03/31/

I agree that it is very frustrating to not be skiing in October, but the snow will come. The Birch Hill trails that have been mowed and summer trail work will make grooming easier. Groomers have been busy working on the new terrain garden so the late arrival of snow has avoided their early season burnout.

 

Just 5 months until the 32nd annual Sonot Kkaazoot

Bad Bob has developed the schedule for the 32nd annual Sonot Kkaazoot, which is a mere 5 months away.

Bad Bob_cropped

Check the main Sonot Kkaazoot page for all the details. https://sonotkkaazoot.org/

Registration fees will be the same as last year. All registration will be online except at bib pick-up on Thursday, 21 March 2019, and from 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. on race day.  In person registration will be at late- and day-of-race entry fee levels.

The main change for the 32nd annual Sonot Kkaazoot is that there will no longer be a separate 50 km classical event. Classical tracks will be set for the entire 50 km course, but classical skiers will start and compete with the 50 km freestyle skiers for overall and age-class awards.

The online registration page will be live soon.

April 15 skiing on Sunnyside Trail

With temperatures dipping to the mid teens early this morning, the Birch Hill groomers were able to groom and track 9 km of trails to complement the 10 km groomed on Saturday. Although we were unable to see Denali from the Sunnyside Trail, there was plenty of sun and blue skies:

Sunnyside SCUM sm

SCUM gather on top of picnic table to approach Frank Soos (far right) in height for last group shot of season.

JE Sunnyside sm

Coach John Estle slows down to join the gathering crowd

 

Above, Norma Haubenstock, Volunteer Coordinator for Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks competition events, negotiates the damage done to the corduroy by SCUM.

Enjoy the Spring Skiing! Thank you Birch Hill groomers! Today’s ski was a treat! Even 320 m of climb went by quickly.

Thanks to Sonot Kkaazoot sponsors and volunteers

The 31st Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot took place under fantastic sunny skies and nearly perfect temperatures for skiing. This year 285 skiers aged 8 to 72 successfully finished their events.

We are extremely grateful to the support of Denali State Bank, who has been our title sponsor from our modest start in 1988 when 21 skiers crossed the finish line for the 50 km and 8 for the 20 km. Other sponsors key to organizing this event include: Doyon, Ltd, Fort Wainwright, U.S. Army Alaska, Fairbanks North Star Borough, Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks, Advanced Physical Therapy, Foundation Health Partners, and Subway.

The Sonot Kkaazoot remains a community ski event organized by volunteers who this year numbered over 105. Many individuals served multiple roles in the Sonot Kkaazoot and were essential to our success. Enthusiastic and helpful volunteers kept skiers fueled, safe, and ensured an accurate time. The volunteers page on the Sonot Kkaazoot website lists all volunteers that we identified: https://sonotkkaazoot.org/volunteers/

We absolutely could not have done this without the groomers who worked for days to make the trails absolutely first rate. Over 110 man hours were spent trail clearing and/or grooming for the 2018 Sonot Kkaazoot.

The feed stations had drinks and feeds ready for 5 to 6 hours. They fed and encouraged those of us in the back of the pack when we really needed a boost. Watershed School was a new addition to the Sonot Kkaazoot this year, and staffed the White Bear feed station. Watershed principal, Jarrod Decker generously redirected their feed station honorarium to the Birch Hill Trail Fund because their students benefit from the groomed trails when they take field trips to Birch Hill during the winter. Thank you, Jarrod and Watershed School.

The road crossing teams were especially welcome with concurrent activities going on at the Birch Hill Ski and Snowboard Area. They kept Sonot Kkaazoot skiers safe on the Fort Wainwright Trails when the road crossings had vehicular traffic.

The timers and finish line announcer were working until the last skier crossed. Thank you for demonstrating that every skier’s race is important to them.

After 6 years attempting to be Bad Bob Baker’s sabbatical replacement as Sonot Kkaazoot organizer, I’m happy to be just SCUM again.

Enjoy the spring sunshine! I’ll see you on the ski (or fat bike) trails.

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“I think I’ll stick to skiing”–Photo by Dan Johnson