Early registration for 2018 Sonot Kkaazoot is open

Early online registration for the 2018 Sonot Kkaazoot events: 50 km classical technique, 50 km freestyle (FS), 40 km FS, and 20 km FS is OPEN. Just click on the “Register” page at the top of the Sonot Kkaazoot website, and you’ll be taken to the Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks secure Wild Apricot site to sign up.

Consider a Sonot Kkaazoot entry as a holiday gift for yourself or your favorite nordic skier. It will be a great motivation to jump start training with the “Ski your age in kilometers” event on December 26, 2017.

Alan Delamere, 82 years young, has already signed up for the 50 km Sonot Kkaazoot. Why haven’t you? Check the “Entries” page for other frugal 2018 Sonot Kkaazoot participants.


Really Awesome Sonot Connector on Sunday

Thanks to the amazing Jeff Skeels, Fort Wainwright groomer, the Sonot Connector had been newly piston bully groomed on Sunday, 3 December 2017. It was so delightful that several of us decided to descend and climb the Sonot Connector twice.

Sonot Connector sm.JPG

Above, Bernardo Hernandez, one of the Sonot Kkaazoot’s woodel makers, leads Dermot Cole up the Sonot Connector. Thanks, Jeff, for the fantastic ski yesterday.

Don’t forget the first of the Buetow Dental and Pangaea Health Distance Races (7.5 and 15 km CL) is scheduled for Saturday, 9 December 2017.  It’s time to start working on getting into condition for the 2018 Sonot Kkaazoot. Sign up here:


Great Tracks and Sunshine on a Subzero Day

The 31st annual Sonot Kkaazoot is only 4 months away. The Jim Whisenhant Cross Country Ski Trails at Birch Hill Recreation Area have been groomed to perfection after our ample November snowfalls. Although temperatures were in the -5 deg F range this morning, the sunshine and piston bully groomed Sunnyside Trail made for an enjoyable training workout.Sunny day on the Sunnyside trail

Don’t forget that these trails are maintained year round by the Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks with costs of labor, fuel, and equipment repair supported through contributions to the Trail fund. Please donate to make sure that this wonderful grooming continues. Here is the URL for the secure site:


The secure site for Sonot Kkaazoot registration will be set up soon. The work associated with the new Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks website has delayed some of the back end functions (like secure purchases) temporarily. However, we’ll let you know when the Sonot Kkaazoot registration is available.


Skiing on Sonot Kkaazoot course is great

Although October was exceptionally wet, temperatures were also unusually warm so snow was late in coming to the Fairbanks area. However, after one false start, the snowpack on the Jim Whisenhant cross country ski trails at Birch Hill Recreation Area and on Fort Wainwright trails is great for both classical and free technique skiing. Thanks to a lot of volunteer brushing work done this fall on the White Bear trail, skate and classical skiing are great. Unfortunately, our fitness isn’t quite in the same shape yet. Here’s what coronary bypass looked like a week ago:

Coronary bypass sm

Yesterday we skied from the Sunnyside Trail to Fort Wainwright, where we found that the Army was busily enhancing snow cover on the alpine ski hill making for unusual skiing conditions up the ski slope to the base of the Sonot Connector. However, the classical tracks on the Sonot Connector and White Bear were awesome.

FWW ski hill at base of Sonot Connector sm

Take a break from snow shoveling and scooping to enjoy the ski trails!

The 31st annual Sonot Kkaazoot just 4 months away.

Thanks for a fabulous 30th annual Sonot Kkaazoot

Under sunny skies, the 30th annual Sonot Kkaazoot was successfully completed by 236 skiers. Participants who ranged in age from 8 to 73 participated in four events ranging in distance from 20 km to 50 km. While most of the skiers were from the Fairbanks North Star Borough, this year the Sonot Kkaazoot welcomed 54 skiers who reside elsewhere in the state or outside Alaska.

The organizers would like to thank our title sponsor, Denali State Bank, who has supported the Sonot Kkaazoot since Bad Bob Baker originated the race in 1988.

We also acknowledge the major contribution of Doyon, Limited, Fairbanks North Star Borough Parks and Recreation, Fort Wainwright, U.S. Army Alaska, Foundation Health Partners, and the Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks in making possible this Nordic ski event that begins in downtown Fairbanks, traverses the Chena River to Fort Wainwright, and then follows Fort Wainwright trails to Birch Hill Recreational Area before returning to the start downtown.

Enthusiastic volunteers provided timing assistance and course work, staffed feed stations, road crossings, bib pick-up and registration, and the post-race awards ceremony (see Volunteers page above). The Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks groomers worked tirelessly to ensure awesome trail conditions.

Thank you to all our sponsors, volunteers, and skiers. We look forward to seeing everyone again next year!


Photo by Margo Klass

Results of Sonot Kkaazoot wax survey

Just one week out from last Saturday’s cold Sonot Kkaazoot, and temperatures yesterday were near 50 deg F!

Below are skiers’ choices on glide and kick waxes last Saturday and their observations on the results. Thanks to all who contributed their efforts.

50 FS skiers

GK: I don’t have a good wax rec, but I just have to say that last year the 30 k at Birch Hill took me 1:41, my training log says. And I skied a better race this year, and that time the middle section took me a full 15 minutes longer, 1:56. So that’s a really long time

re: wax, I had: – cold powder mixed with Toko LF Blue, left on to harden for 24+ hours before scraping; then: Toko LF Black;  Swix HF4BW;  Toko Jetstream Blue block [this ran better than Rex TK-72 in my Friday testing]. No great insights there – just cold, cold cold – but if that helps, there you have it.

NC: On the topic of waxes, I used green glide wax and found it great in the morning on the river and very slow on the shady sections of the course (black hole, outhouse, and tower.) It was also pretty good coming back down the river in the afternoon. I don’t know if there is any way you can control for the temps and shade of the course.
SS: Fred Raymond of Raven XC prepped my skis. He used LF3/HA8 covered with C7 and Jetstream Blue. My skis were moving faster than my body was for most of my tour around the 50 km course. Like BM (below), I found the glide on the bottom of the Black Hole much better than the the upper black loops that were still in the shade. The sun/shade differences were very noticeable. I was faster returning on the river (and my HR was lower) than heading out in the morning even though I took a 3 min break at the Trainor Gate feed station coming home.
50 CL skiers

BM: Here are my observations:1: The snow was indeed quite slow. The river took me about 36 minutes to do starting and about 42 finishing. I have done the same stretch in 31 and 34 in faster conditions. I knew it was going to be a grind by the fact that I did very little double poling on the river. Normally that is about all I do starting, this year I diagonaled pretty much the whole river. I did very little double poling coming back because I was so tired from the rest of the race. Thankfully my back held up and I was able to shuffle along in decent fashion.

2: My wax setup worked beautifully, I was even able to keep about 90% of the wax at the end on skis notorious for stripping. I ironed in a light layer of Chola binder and then while the bases were hot put on a liberal amount of Toko Blue kick. I let them fully cool and then added 3 layers of Toko green over.  I had very solid kick all the way to the finish. The limiting factor was my fatigue rather than loss of kick wax. For glide I opted for Start HF8. I decided not to go with Swix wax because the snow was so dry and had been so cold with no time to warmup before the race. Typically I wax for the finish but this year I felt that it would not warm up as fast and the cold snow would buy time to complete more of the race before I was out of  temp range. I felt that it worked. I had dry spots in the usual spots behind my heels and a little ahead of the kick zone.

3: The tracks were sublime but slow. I love a firm track, it really gives confidence on the descents. The trouble was that they were decidedly slow. Two areas stand out as having outstanding track speed: The lower section of the Black Cross that was not groomed and had old tracks (blistering fast) and the sweetest section of the whole day belonged to the descent on the blue loop. Rocket fast and I was able to glide all the way to the corner as you start to climb back up. It was refreshing to have that familiar rush of acceleration going down that hill (something missing from several hills that should have matched or exceeded that speed). The common denominator for both of these sections was that they were set 48 hours ahead rather than 24.  I think what was telling was that after the comp loops I started to get out of the tracks more and more to not only go best line through turns but also to pick up more speed in the skate lane than the tracks had to offer. This option is somewhat limited by the nature of the trails but it was telling that I was going that route to try and glean more speed from the trail.

JJ: Used two pairs of skiis   The stiffer camber pair to prevent loss of kickwax on the way out. The lighter camber for the last half hoping to have as little kickwax as possible when returning on River.

My initial pair had took green binder with the first of three layers of rode multigrade b/g ironed in.  Cover for the outbound trip was One layer of Nordic.  Great kick all the way to the stadium. Changed out skis before warmup loop. Good kick for the duration with same kickwax as first pair except for the Nordic cover layer

FS:  1) start binder.  This is nasty stuff to work with, but I find it is almost fool-proof (speaking as a foolish person).  I put it on by running my heat gun up and down the kick zone for a short while, then pointing the heat gun right into the wax can, get the wax warm, scoot it onto the ski—not much is needed and that’s the key to using this binder regularly, not to get it too thick.  Then I cork it in with cork in one hand, heat gun in the other to keep the binder moving.  2) Star/Target Top Blue over that. 3) Some Star/target Green on top since it was cold on the river at the start. Easy, effective.  I finished with plenty of kick wax.  Cheap and effective.