Over a foot of new snow has fallen on Birch Hill trails this week, but skiers arriving at Birch Hill today will find all the trails (with the exception of White Bear where the Army is currently conducting their Arctic Winter Games) were groomed and tracked this morning.
The newly fallen and windblown snow has made for difficult grooming conditions on less used trails with tight uphill corners like those on the new Sunnyside trail. Undaunted, after grooming this morning, Bill Husby went out on skis to further refine the trails.
With an overabundance of snow this winter coupled with wind events that make trail maintenance more time intensive, please make an additional contribution to trail fund so we’ll have fabulous trails to enjoy on sunny spring days like today:
If you plan to ski in any of the Sonot Kkaazoot events on March 24, it’s time to put in those training kilometers. The Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks groomers are making it easy for us.
The 31st annual Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot is scheduled for a month from today. Currently, 119 skiers have registered and paid their entry fees. As of Saturday afternoon, 69 skiers have signed up for the 20 km event, 9 for the 40, 3 for the 50 CL, and 38 for the 50 km freestyle event.
Please check on the “Entries” page to make sure your registration information is current. If your name doesn’t appear, please check to see that you received an email from the Wild Apricot system with a paid invoice. We cannot enter you in the race until you have submitted valid payment. If you have difficulties, for example, one skier had issues last year with her internationally issued credit card being rejected, please send an email to: email@example.com and we will try to work out something.
Only 52 skiers are currently signed up for the 2018 Sonot Kkaazoot although there is over 2 feet of snow on the ground at the Fairbanks International Airport, and much more at Birch Hill.
The Dimond High School ski team from Anchorage is currently participating in the Alaska State High School Championship Races. The team has signed up to come back in a month to ski the Sonot Kkaazoot. Shouldn’t you join them?
Early registration ends tomorrow. It will never be cheaper to register for the 2018 Sonot Kkaazoot than during early registration. Registration is easy online using the Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks Wild Apricot Secure Site. Just click on the “Register” page at the top of this website.
For school ski teams, contact Rebecca Heaton at: firstname.lastname@example.org and she’ll arrange for signing up your entire team with one credit card charge.
Bad Bob Baker was out grooming the Chena River again today. He reports that it was “very warm, new soft spots” as temperatures rose above freezing in the low lying areas. Skiers should be alert to potential hazards, and conditions could change quickly if the predicted snow storm materializes tomorrow afternoon.
Photos by Bob Baker
Plenty of natural snow on the White Bear and Sunnyside trails await skiers participating in this Sunday’s Raven Romp, the third Buetow Dental-Pangaea Distance Race. This 30 km classical event (with a 10 km option) starts at 11:00 a.m. Sunday at the Biathlon Range.
Details are available here:
With this week’s snowfall, trails will well-covered with newly fallen snow. As of Friday, all the trails that will be used in Sunday’s event had been packed and tracked at least once this week. The new snow brought down a number of trees that the groomers have been busy removing. If you haven’t done so already, please contribute to the Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks grooming fund that allows us to ski on our fantastic trails. Here’s the secure online form:
With any luck, you’ll see that the Sunnyside Trails are well-named. Here’s the section line turnaround where the Raven Romp course heads back toward the Outhouse Loop. We needed shades today.
Sign up and ski the Raven Romp on Sunday.
Then sign for the Sonot Kkaazoot before Friday, 23 February when early registration ends. Just click the “Register” tab at the top of this website.
The recent extended cold spell (in relative terms) has limited most skiers to shorter classical workouts. However, the 10 and 30 km Distance Race is scheduled for this Sunday, 18 February starting at 11 a.m. and will be a classical technique race. The Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks race coordinator says the course will be the same as in 2017. That course is shown below:
According to my notes, the course started at the biathlon and went out White Bear to the Hilltop turnaround, back on White Bear, East Ramp, Relay Loop to Outhouse, first cutoff to Sunnyside, turnaround at Section Line Cutoff (as we did on Distance Race #2), rest of Outhouse, Relay, Roller Coaster Bypass, and White Cub to biathlon for each 10 km loop.
Sign up here: https://register.chronotrack.com/r/35560
While you have your credit card handy, why not sign up your valentine for the 31st annual Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot? What better gift than good health and fitness. Remember early registration ends on 23 February so it’ll never be a better bargain than now. https://sonotkkaazoot.org/register/
This is the likely the last year for staggered starts and the non-marquee events like the 50 km CL and 40 km designed to encourage the more recreational skiers. So if you have been training toward participating in the 50 km classical or 40 km events, it’s time to register because we haven’t gotten the number of participants in these events to justify the time and expense to continue them.
From Bad Bob Baker: I skated the river this morning. The Chena is in great shape and fairly fast with decent snow under the bridges. All questionable areas were well frozen and in good shape. Ski with a partner and enjoy the smooth skating. Dress warm! Be safe.
Chena River near the Sonot Kkaazoot start area–Photo by Bob Baker
All photos by Bad Bob Baker during this morning’s ski
Bad Bob, who turned 60 years old last week, groomed the Chena River again today and rerouted the trail in places. He reports that the Chena River is ready for skiing and is much faster but much colder than Birch Hill.
HOWEVER, ALL RIVER TRAVEL ON ICE IS HAZARDOUS SO DON’T SKI ALONE. This is the response of groomer Bob Baker to a comment on an earlier post about unsafe spots on the Chena River:
“Yes..there are still some bad spots on the river. I caused the hole this person mentioned just upriver from the foot bridge…and now, after 3 days…that hole has frozen over pretty well… but nothing is ever for CERTAIN when it come to safety on the Chena River. What the packing and grooming will hopefully do, is break down the insulating snow cover, and help freeze the packed trail thicker. The grooming helps expose some of the bad spots, but it’s not an instant fix for thin ice. We have another 6 1/2 weeks to go before the race, and it’s my hopes that now that the river has been packed, it will help in the freezing process. I did reroute a lot of the course today, only to find some other NEW HOLES…. I will keep grooming, every week or 2 and move the trail as needed. If people choose to ski on the Chena River, they are doing so at their own risk…. The preparation I’m doing now, is hoping to prepare the river for a safe route come late March for the SONOT race start. For the most part, the river is looking better with each passing week. I would strongly suggest that people don’t ski the river at this time, and if they do, to not ski alone, and be very aware of open holes, steam, and soft spots (overflow), and use extreme caution and alertness!!! It should only improve as the days go by, with these nice negative temperatures we are having. REMEMBER…traveling along any river in the winter is always hazardous!! KEEP YOUR GUARD UP.. PAY ATTENTION… STEER CLEAR OF OBVIOUS BAD AREAS and STAY ON THE PACKED TRAIL…. “
There are less than 3 weeks to sign up for the 2018 Sonot Kkaazoot at early registration fees.
Photos by Bad Bob Baker
To help thicken the ice under the section of the Chena River used for the Sonot Kkaazoot, Bad Bob Baker, chief of course, has made the first grooming run on the Chena River.
I groomed out the starting area full width from start to Wendell Street bridge. Then went up the Chena end back, but only a 4 foot groom over the Yukon Quest trail, to not confuse the dog race. I will widen the trail later this week after the Quest gets underway. Also the Sonot trail will be quite a different route on the Chena from the Quest trail.
So if you plan to watch the Yukon Quest start today, you might want to take your skis and check out our/their trail.