Chena River grooming for 2018 Sonot begins

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.

2 thoughts on “Chena River grooming for 2018 Sonot begins

  1. I was out skiing on the river today and noticed several areas of thin ice within the freshly groomed track. One area collapsed after being groomed just upstream of the foot bridge and another open hole that was steaming just downstream from the Steese Hwy. There is some bad sections through town this winter apparently related to groundwater. I went through the ice near the foot bridge just two weeks ago on a section that was previously solid earlier in the winter. Be careful.

    • Wes, Groomer, Bob Baker replied to your comment, “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…. “

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