33rd Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot

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

 Save the date: Saturday, 28 March 2020

50 and 20 km freestyle events starting and ending on the Chena River.

More information will be provided in the fall.

 

Thanks to all the skiers and volunteers who made the 32nd Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot a huge success.

Congratulations to our 30 km and 10 km winners, all of whom traveled 50 miles or more  on race day:

30 km 

Eric Packer, 28, Anchorage,   1:12:12.9

Marine Dusser, 30, Anchorage, 1:22:53.7

9.5 km

Andrew Stringfellow, 16, Nenana,  24:36.5

Georgianna Fischer, 16, Bozeman, MT, 28:27.8

QUESTIONS:  contact@sonotkkaazoot.org

Sonot 2015 start_sm

Photo of the 2015 start by Chris Hemming

Banner photo courtesy of Retrospection Image.

Brush cutting on far end of White Bear

Today on a beautiful autumn day at Birch Hill Recreation Area, we cut brush and overhanging branches back on both sides of the trail beyond Coronary Bypass (7 km cutoff), and cleaned up afterwards. The brush cutting party was organized by groomer Bill Husby (shown below in photo by Dan Johnson):

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assisted by Dan Johnson, Dave Prusak, Dermot Cole (shown in another photo by Dan Johnson, working hard or hardly working):

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Bernardo Hernandez, Owen Hanley, Pat Reinhard, Carl Hemming, and Susan Sugai. Once the White Bear trail is mowed, this 3 km section will ready for snow.

Surprisingly, one of the brushcutters who worked for the entire 4+ hours, is a younger SCUM, who had to return to his regular work today after his Birch Hill mini-vacation. Not to be outdone by the pup, two of the brush cutters/tossers will be in the M9 and M10 age classes in the 33rd annual Sonot Kkaazoot.

There are areas that still need brushing on White Bear from about the 4.5 km cutoff to the 7.0 km cutoff where were started today. Bill Husby also mentioned that the bottom of the Black Hole is another trail needing brushing before winter.

Birch Hill Trail Reconnaissance

Much volunteer work takes place in the summer months to ensure that Birch Hill trail conditions will be great when the snow falls. Braving the mud and mosquitoes, we followed our fearless groomer today.

Two Sonot Kkaazoot organizers led by Bill Husby, trail groomer, surveyed the trails for areas needing summer brushing. To get us warmed up, Bill directed us out the White Bear backwards from the stadium, and we soon found ourselves in a mosquito-infested bog. We almost lost Robert in Moilanen Meadows.

Moilanen Meadows on 6-26-19 sm.JPG

Robert at the entrance to Moilanen Meadows

After fleeing the aerial hoards, we cut over to the White Bear just beyond the biathlon range heading toward the Fort Wainwright ski area.

Trail groomer leading us out of the White Bear bog.JPG

Bill Husby, groomer leads Robert Hannon in his fancy safety pants up the trail near the biathlon range.

In the sunshine at the base of the Fort Wainwright alpine hill, the mosquitoes dispersed, so Robert modeled his matching safety outfit purchased at Value Village.

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Robert Hannon and his matching safety outfit.

After climbing Cliffside and Sunnyside to the Outhouse Trail, we finished up on the Roller Coasters that were still wide and inviting in late June.

Roller coasters sm

Robert and Bill on the Roller Coasters on 6-26-19

Preparing for the 2019-2020 ski season at Birch Hill Recreation Area is well underway. Training for 33rd Annual Sonot Kkaazoot ramps up as the daylight hours shorten. Hill intervals start next week.

Snow after snowpack loss

for Sara Eliza Johnson

Before personal computers
and iphones,
White-out concealed
literary debris like this
wallowing in Spring mud.

After the shortest snow season
in 84 years,
today’s wasted white
betrays unkept promises.

Sliding on roadways,
Blizzaks and studs swapped
for summer tires,
we cling to old memories
splashing through break-up.

 

Select prior season:

2013:

Today’s snow teases
Trails steeped with yesterday’s warmth
No glide anywhere.

2014: 

Smith Lake still frozen
Holds ski possibilities
Atop uncertain ice.

2019 was the warmest March on record

As reported by the National Weather Service, March 2019 was the warmest on record in Fairbanks::

Capture

Temperatures reached 52 deg F at the airport on the day the Sonot Kkaazoot was held. This graph from the Alaska Climate Research Center show just how warm March was:

Fairbanks_2019March_thumb

So there were extreme weather conditions leading to this year’s shortened course.

Photo gallery from 32nd Sonot Kkaazoot

Photographer Jana Herzogova has generously shared over 250 photographs that she took of the 32nd Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot.

Below is a random collection of her photos from warmest and shortest Sonot Kkaazoot in 32 years.

All photos from https://www.janaherzogphoto.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jana.herzogova.5 ; Instagram: @janaherzogphoto

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Capture

Jana emailed Bob Baker (and all Sonot participants):

Pictures are located under 2019 events, free code is Sonotfree. It is good for 2 free pictures, watermark will automatically disappear after they clear it through the cart.
I hope I was able to create some good memories for you all. It was a lovely day.
Thanks again,
Jana
.
The Sonot Kkaazoot thanks Jana for use of her fantastic photographs. Please make sure to credit her.