Alaska Dispatch News on Galena ski team

Here’s the URL to Dermot Cole’s column in the Alaska Dispatch News, “In Galena, Alaska, it takes a village (and a mayor) to train a ski team”

The 20 km race wasn’t enough for the Galena ski team, so they went up to Birch Hill in the afternoon.

Oldest 2016 Sonot Kkaazoot 50 km finisher

If you thought trail conditions were a little challenging on Saturday, here’s a finish line photo of Alan Delamere, the oldest finisher of the 50 km Sonot Kkaazoot and woodel winner for the men’s M10 age category (80 and over).

Alan edged out Dermot Cole, 18 years younger and not wearing a lycra speed suit. The Delamere family in the 2016 Sonot Kkaazoot included Alan, son Peter (top skier in Men’s M4 category for the 50 km), and granddaughter Hannah (top skier in U12 girls in the 20 km event).

As Sharon Baker (who co-founded and organized the Sonot Kkaazoot for many years with her husband, Bad Bob) said at the Sonot Kkaazoot awards ceremony, Alan is our role model and why we HAVE to keep skiing the 50 km Sonot Kkaazoot.

Congratulations, Alan!

Dermot & Alan at Sonot 50 finish

Dermot Cole (left) and Alan Delamere (right) finishing the 50 km Sonot —photo by Susie Frei

Kudos to out-of-town youth ski teams

The 2016 Sonot Kkaazoot ski conditions required ski experiences that most local skiers haven’t had.

The soft slushy snow conditions are more common to the Anchorage bowl area so the skiers from Dimond and West Anchorage High Schools that Kyle Whisenhant brought to the Sonot Kkaazoot had an advantage there.

Here  is a team shot taken by Kyle of his team on the Cushman Street bridge:Dimond High team at Sonot Start

Jon Korta, ski coach (and mayor) of Galena, has some first hand experience dealing with flooding when his Yukon River community was inundated during a rapid break-up in spring 2013. He brought a large team from Galena, who skied through water as well as over snow.

Galena team at 2016 Sonot_sm

photo by Dan Johnson

Thank you for coming to Fairbanks and to the 2016 Sonot Kkaazoot. We hope that you will return for our 30th annual Sonot Kkaazoot in 2017.

SCUM also rises on Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday for the Sonot Kkaazoot organizers felt like a resurrection after we watched winter melt away during our event Saturday that from start to finish took barely 6 hours. Seeing as none of us wanted to ski out onto the Chena River today, we decided to examine the largest south facing slope whose melting snow helped feed the river flow as yesterday unfolded. The Sonot Connector is south facing and by mid afternoon it was a combination of deep slush and bare ground. This morning, it was icy and the trail rattled beneath our skis. Don missed one of the curves and face planted a foot shy of a tree:

Close-up on Don after head first fall on Sonot Connector

Don was fine and we progressed downhill to where the Sonot Connector joins the Fort Wainwright alpine hill. A slush pond had formed there and Poles (the Eddie Haskell of the SCUM) tried to splash those of us nearby and ended up cooling off in the slush pond.

Poles down on Easter off Sonot Connector

Notice how no one is offering to assist him. However, demonstrating the flexibility of his bionic knees, Bill rises:

Poles demonstrating flexion in his bionic knees

and joins us for a group photo:

Up and ready to head up alpine hill

and a trek up the alpine hill (the way the Sonot Kkaazoot used to go).

SCUM rises

Happy Easter! I hope that you got a solid chocolate Easter bunny in your basket after your great efforts yesterday.


Please send us any photos of the Sonot Kkaazoot you’d like to share.

Media reports on the 2016 Sonot Kkaazoot

Stories with photographs from Fairbanks Daily News-Miner:


Chena River breaks up during 2016 Sonot Kkaazoot

Having completed all 29 of the 50 km Sonot Kkaazoot events to date, the 2016 one was definitely the most exciting. It had a little of everything including a break-up of the Chena River during the event.

Sonot detour

Sonot skiers on detour after Chena River breaks up on trail. Photo by Stella Wisner

Huge thanks to David Frey, nordic ski coach at Tanana Middle School who alerted Sonot Kkaazoot officials of the major disruption of the Sonot Kkaazoot trail on the river and provided standby guides around the hazardous area until Sonot volunteers could set up an alternative course.

Congratulations to all 285 skiers who finished the event that they entered! You’ve  finished one of the harder ones that Mother Nature has given us.

Huge kudos to our groomers and volunteers who made for a safe 2016 Sonot Kkaazoot.

Unofficial results are posted on the results page. Let me know if you see any problems.

Also, if anyone has a photograph of the course break-up, please share it with us.