Thank you to all the volunteers at the Sonot Kkaazoot race. I have never enjoyed pain as much as enduring the Black Hole. The teenagers at the stadium had zest and encouraged me to turn right at the 40k-50k intersection. I feared the reality of the BLACKHOLE, already spent on my 190 cm skis with scales. Repeating over and over on the climbs, the letters: sonot,kk,aa, zoot. More loops with climbs between 30k -35K. Thankfully I did not know my first 50K was the hardest in our country.The volunteers and Bob Baker all standing alone at their stations with beautiful energy as I came slugging by. I promise to buy faster skis for my caboose role next year. Hooray! Thank, Thank You, Thank you for an inspiring event to celebrate another Alaskan winter. Thank you girls by the stadium, and mom with cookies.
Article by Danny Martin, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner w/ photos including female and male winners of 50 km and 20 km freestyle events
Present or former Nanooks swept the Men’s 50 km Sonot Kkaazoot podium:
2. Alex Morris 2:22.42.9
Women’s 50 km Sonot Kkaazoot leaders were:
1. Rebecca Konieczny 2:33.38.7
2. Shalane Frost 2:37.47.6
3. Melissa Lewis 2:48.46.2
Men’s 50 km CL winners
1. Pete Leonard 3:00.58.4
2. Scott Jerome 3:19.42.0
(See: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=651789528222342 for photo)
3. David Apperson 3:29.4.4
Women’s 50 km CL
2. Jessie Turner 5:44.01.0
3. Liz Pawelko 5:47.07.2
Men’s 20 km event winners
1. Ti Donaldson 50:21.6
2. Kevin Brune 50:37.6
3. Benjamin Koenig 50:37.8
Women’s 20 km event winners
1. Jenna DiFolco 56:46.0
2. Kriya Dunlap 1:05.01.2
3. Christine Broda 1:08.21.2
Men’s 40 km winners
1. Mark Ross 2:31.08.8
2. Patrick Druckenmiller 2:35.11.9
3. Patrik Sartz 2;37.18.3
Women’s 40 km winners
1. Kristan Kelly 2:38.11.1
2. Robbin Garber-Slaght 3:10.09.2
3. Maria Berger 3:37.35.0
Photos by Sam Lamont, lead road crossing volunteer
From Bill Husby, NSCF deputy groomer:
“Spent the morning grooming the river and it continues to look great. Only a few very short sections that will require double poling in the tracks. Encourage folks to wear sunscreen.”
Six hardy volunteers (aged 56 to 71) moved large quantities of snow last night to prevent Sonot Kkaazoot skiers from damaging their ski bottoms on highway gravel embedded into the icy surface of the Chena River underneath highway bridges. Huge thanks go out to Bill Husby, Chris Puchner, Donovan Granger, Mike Schmoker, Owen Hanley, and Carol Kleckner, who worked for three hours to make the river even better skiing.
As of 6 p.m. on 3/27/14, Bad Bob (chief of course) is now 99% sure the race will be on the river!
Snow haulers and shovelers needed tonight to move snow onto icy sections of the Sonot Kkaazoot trail on the Chena River under the Wendell Street and Steese Hwy Bridges. There is highway gravel embedded in the ice that needs to be well-covered with snow. Park at Graehl Park (#26 on the map below) and bring snow shovels starting at 5:30 p.m. tonight. Groomers will have large sleds for moving snow to where it is needed.
From Bad Bob Baker:
I just skied the entire 20 km, and the river is in great shape. Even with these warm afternoons, the condition is pretty much the same at it was last Friday. I’m guessing a 95-100% chance of the Sonot starting and finishing on the River this year. But, we’ll know for sure on Saturday Morning!
If the Sonot Kkaazoot were to be held today, river ski conditions would be awesome. The Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks groomers were out today with drags and Ginzu. After their work, skiing on the river is fantastic:
Unfortunately, there is a narrow spot on the river near Fort Wainwright in the center of the river channel, which the groomers will monitor on a day-to-day basis. Thus, the Sonot Kkaazoot organizers still hope to safely conduct the race on Saturday using the Chena River. However, we cannot control the weather. So, as indicated on the entry form, if the race is unsafe on Saturday morning, we will move to Birch Hill and delay the start until 10:30 a.m.
Groomers will go out again Wednesday morning and if the river still appears solid, we will have a snow shoveling work party Wednesday evening to put snow under the highway bridges where there is currently ice and gravel.
The groomers have dragged the ditch on Fort Wainwright, and it’s ready if the river is:
Sorry that we can’t control the weather and river break-up. However, skiers are a resilient bunch. The 2014 Sonot Kkaazoot will take place this Saturday, however, the course will need to remain in the “to be determined” status until Saturday morning around 6:30 a.m. when groomers set the classical tracks on the river.
The Arctic Winter Games are over and the secret is out: the best skiing of the season at Birch Hill Recreation Area is now. Today at 11:00 a.m. ADT, it was 24 deg F and sunny at Birch Hill but air temperatures had risen above freezing by 1:00 p.m. However, with low temperatures near zero predicted for the river this week, the Sonot Kkaazoot should be able to safely start and finish on the Chena River near the Cushman Street bridge. The plan is for the groomers to head out on Tuesday to look over the length of the river and ditch course sections, and then if they deem the course safe, will groom on Wednesday. Thus, a final decision on the course will be made before bib pick-up, to be held from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, 27 March 2014 at the Doyon, Ltd., Headquarters Building in downtown Fairbanks.
All 50 km of trails will look this wonderful on Saturday, too.
Registration via the U.S. mail or via drop-off at Beaver Sports, Goldstream Sports, and Raven Cross Country will end on Friday, 21 March 2014 at 5 p.m. Electronic registration prices will go up to “late registration” levels at 12:00 a.m. on 22 March 2014 and will close at 11:59.59 p.m. on Wednesday, 26 March 2014.
Bib pick-up will be 27 March 2014 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Doyon Limited Building, and late registrations will be taken then.
Save by registering for the Sonot Kkaazoot now. We have a great snow pack and it will cost you more to decide at bib pick-up or a lot more on the day-of-the-race.