April 15 skiing on Sunnyside Trail

With temperatures dipping to the mid teens early this morning, the Birch Hill groomers were able to groom and track 9 km of trails to complement the 10 km groomed on Saturday. Although we were unable to see Denali from the Sunnyside Trail, there was plenty of sun and blue skies:

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SCUM gather on top of picnic table to approach Frank Soos (far right) in height for last group shot of season.

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Coach John Estle slows down to join the gathering crowd

 

Above, Norma Haubenstock, Volunteer Coordinator for Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks competition events, negotiates the damage done to the corduroy by SCUM.

Enjoy the Spring Skiing! Thank you Birch Hill groomers! Today’s ski was a treat! Even 320 m of climb went by quickly.

Thanks to Sonot Kkaazoot sponsors and volunteers

The 31st Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot took place under fantastic sunny skies and nearly perfect temperatures for skiing. This year 285 skiers aged 8 to 72 successfully finished their events.

We are extremely grateful to the support of Denali State Bank, who has been our title sponsor from our modest start in 1988 when 21 skiers crossed the finish line for the 50 km and 8 for the 20 km. Other sponsors key to organizing this event include: Doyon, Ltd, Fort Wainwright, U.S. Army Alaska, Fairbanks North Star Borough, Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks, Advanced Physical Therapy, Foundation Health Partners, and Subway.

The Sonot Kkaazoot remains a community ski event organized by volunteers who this year numbered over 105. Many individuals served multiple roles in the Sonot Kkaazoot and were essential to our success. Enthusiastic and helpful volunteers kept skiers fueled, safe, and ensured an accurate time. The volunteers page on the Sonot Kkaazoot website lists all volunteers that we identified: https://sonotkkaazoot.org/volunteers/

We absolutely could not have done this without the groomers who worked for days to make the trails absolutely first rate. Over 110 man hours were spent trail clearing and/or grooming for the 2018 Sonot Kkaazoot.

The feed stations had drinks and feeds ready for 5 to 6 hours. They fed and encouraged those of us in the back of the pack when we really needed a boost. Watershed School was a new addition to the Sonot Kkaazoot this year, and staffed the White Bear feed station. Watershed principal, Jarrod Decker generously redirected their feed station honorarium to the Birch Hill Trail Fund because their students benefit from the groomed trails when they take field trips to Birch Hill during the winter. Thank you, Jarrod and Watershed School.

The road crossing teams were especially welcome with concurrent activities going on at the Birch Hill Ski and Snowboard Area. They kept Sonot Kkaazoot skiers safe on the Fort Wainwright Trails when the road crossings had vehicular traffic.

The timers and finish line announcer were working until the last skier crossed. Thank you for demonstrating that every skier’s race is important to them.

After 6 years attempting to be Bad Bob Baker’s sabbatical replacement as Sonot Kkaazoot organizer, I’m happy to be just SCUM again.

Enjoy the spring sunshine! I’ll see you on the ski (or fat bike) trails.

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“I think I’ll stick to skiing”–Photo by Dan Johnson

Best ever conditions at Fort Wainwright Road Crossings

Thanks to Robert Hannon, Sonot Fort Wainwright liaison, and Dani O’Donnell, Fort Wainwright Community Engagement and Media Relations staff person, a crew of 17 Fort Wainwright volunteers were recruited to help Eric Troyer and Bill Chedister in staffing the road crossings on River and Ski Roads.

As shown below (all photos by Eric Troyer, https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.2012647878765322.1073741843.106945789335550&type=1&l=a4233c29a2), these volunteers directed vehicular and skier traffic, shoveled snow on the roadway, and encouraged 40 and 50 km skiers in the early and late stages of their Sonot Kkaazoot journeys.

These Fort Wainwright personnel greatly enhanced the partnership with Fort Wainwright that has existed for all 31 years that the Sonot Kkaazoot taken place.

We urge skiers to thank their neighbors and Fort Wainwright personnel for their additional commitment to the greater Fairbanks North Star Borough community.(https://sonotkkaazoot.org/volunteers/). Without the partnership with Fort Wainwright, the Sonot Kkaazoot would not be possible.

Visiting ski teams at 31st Sonot Kkaazoot

We thank the coaches, skiers, and chaperones from Galena School and Anchorage’s Dimond High School for participating in the 31st annual Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot. You are great ambassadors for your ski teams and communities.

Galena team on snow

Galena Ski Team–Photo by Martin Hornfischer

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Dimond High School Ski Team–photo by Kyle Whisenhant

 

Photos by Martin Hornfischer (left, Galena team huddle) and Kyle Whisenhant (right)

We hope that you return next year.

For some skiers, the Sonot Kkaazoot isn’t challenging enough

Everyone who does the Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot is amazing, but for some people the challenge of the Sonot is apparently not enough. The Sonot took place on Saturday. The next morning at 8 a.m. saw the start of the White Mountains 100, a 100-mile multi-sport race in the White Mountains National Recreation Area just north of Fairbanks.

Three people who skied in the Sonot also competed in the White Mountains 100, which is truly amazing!

Melissa Lewis (from Fairbanks), who has won the 50 km Sonot Kkaazoot SIX TIMES (1993, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2011)

Sonot Kkaazoot 50K: 3 hours, 3 minutes (third place overall female, first in her age division)

WM100: 21 hours, 54 minutes (third place skier overall, second place female skier)

Forest Wagner (originally from Fairbanks and now from Auke Bay near Juneau)

Sonot Kkaazoot 20K: 1 hour, 13 minutes (22nd place male overall, first in his age division)

WM100: 30 hours, 59 minutes (ninth overall skier, sixth male skier)

Peter Delamere (from Fairbanks; deserves a Special Dad award!)

Sonot Kkaazoot 20K: 1 hour, 9 minutes (14th male overall, second in his age division; while skiing with daughter Hannah, who finished seventh female overall and first in her age division!)

WM100: 18 hours, 23 minutes (26th biker overall, 24th male biker; biked with son Sam, who finished 25th and at 17 years old is the youngest finisher in the WM100!)

And one member of the Sonot Kkaazoot timing crew, who was on her feet a lot longer than it would take her to ski 20 km,
Tracie Curry, from Fairbanks, skied the WM100 in 26 hours, 39 minutes (seventh skier overall, third place female skier).
Thank you, Tracie.
Congratulations to Melissa, Forest, Peter, and Tracie!

Glorious moments from 31st Sonot captured by Mark Lindberg

Relive some of the glorious moments of the 31st annual Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot captured by Mark Lindberg from the Chena River and from the warm-up loop at Birch Hill. I selected 32 that highlight the Sonot Kkaazoot course and some of the skiers who enjoyed the spectacular Birch Hill trails on Saturday. Many skiers tackling the 40 and 50 km Sonot Kkaazoot really look young to me. After 31 years, Bad Bob and I see a new generation of Sonot Kkaazoot 50 km skiers.

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Mark took over 500 photographs during Saturday’s event. Many awesome photographs focus in on the faces of skiers. The original photographs are extremely high resolution.

His instagram site is: https://www.instagram.com/marklindbergphotography/?hl=en

If you want access to Mark’s photos, email him at mslindberg1@gmail.com and he can provide a google drive link.  These photos are slightly lower resolution than the originals and they are free to everyone.  He just asks that folks acknowledge his site if they use these photos.  If anyone wants to work with Mark on post processing and printing any original photos they should contact him about pricing.

Mark was extremely generous in providing me with the images that I have posted here in a form that this website could accommodate. It was hard to select a manageable collection from all the fantastic photos he took.