Greg Kahoe skis virtual 54 km “day late” Sonot

Greg Kahoe, a newbie SCUM had recently returned to the ski trails after some surgical interventions to contain his inner organs. Thus, he had just resumed SCUM practices when the COVID-19 virus hit. However, Greg skied 20 km with the virtual SCUM on Sunday, 22 March and 10 km on Friday, 27 March 2020 for an official virtual 30 km.

Although not technically part of the virtual Sonot, Greg skied an additional 24 km yesterday (but could not be lured down the ungroomed Tommy Knocker trail). So Greg did a “peaking too late” virtual 54 km Sonot on SCUM time.

It’s good to see your peak form returning, Greg!



Thank you to 33rd Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot sponsors and all the virtual skiers!

In the midst of COVID-19 pandemic, I want to thank all the Sonot Kkaazoot sponsors, who allowed us to safely celebrate spring by sliding our feet over snow.

Although the 33rd Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot was canceled, we were able to conduct a “virtual” Sonot Kkaazoot (over a period of 10 days leading up to and including the scheduled race day), thanks to several of our event sponsors.

Denali State Bank has been the Sonot Kkaazoot title sponsor for 33 years. Their sponsorship allowed us to cover key event expenses again this year.

Fairbanks North Star Borough Parks and Recreation manages the Birch Hill Recreation Area and did so safely during the 2020 Virtual Sonot Kkaazoot. We appreciate their extra cleaning efforts in the warming hut (now closed) and their diligence in safely removing snow from parking lots, walkways, steps, and overhanging roofs.

Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks groomers (Tom Helmers, Bill Husby, and Ken Coe) created awesome trails for virtual Sonot Kkaazoof skiers in spite of gusty winds and record snow. John Estle, NSCF race director, set up the new ChronoTrack registration system for the Sonot Kkaazoot, and provided detailed written instructions that Anna Sorensen helped Frank Soos and me understand. Eric Troyer tallied the virtual Sonot Kkaazoot skiers’ times and distances.

Other Sonot Kkaazoot sponsors were ready and willing to assist (as they have in the past) when we cancelled the event because of COVID-19 safety concerns.

Also, a huge thank you to all skiers who skied during the Virtual Sonot. Seeing so many skiers (safely distanced from others) over the 10 days meant that some of the magic of the Sonot Kkaazoot was retained. Weather and trail conditions on the Sonot Kkaazoot race day (and last day of the ‘virtual” Sonot) couldn’t have been nicer.

For the SCUM training group (and Sonot volunteers), the Sonot Kkaazoot represents our final exam. Normally, on the Sunday after the Sonot Kkaazoot, we still skied to move our seized up muscles and aching joints. Because of the COVID-19 shelter-in-place policies, we can no longer meet as a group this season, but thanks to generous contributions of skiers to the NSCF grooming fund, we should be able to keep skiing as long as our snowpack remains.

Finally, to Sonot Kkaazoot founder and race director, Bad Bob Baker, thank you for dreaming up this amazing ski event and for all your Chena River trail grooming efforts and overall race organizing. It is so much easier to ski this event (even at 70 years old with two bionic knees) than be in the hot seat as race director.

This morning, Joanna Fox took this video of Norma Haubenstock and me enjoying the Outhouse loop—taking care to keep at least 6 feet apart. Thank you, Tom Helmers, for such wonderful tracks.


JJ Frost’s virtual Sonot ski

JJ writes:

Yesterday March 28 I skied the Birch Hill portion of the 50 k course, in sequence beginning with White Bear. Best I can tell I skied everything, except the Sonot Connector down to Ft. Wainwright. My phone froze up so I don’t have any documentation other than:
start time 3:05 pm
end time 5:20 pm
(2 h 15 min)
This was a great way to spend a sunny afternoon – thanks for promoting the virtual Sonot!

Sam Delamere & Ti Donaldson ski “Tour de Fairbanks” virtual Sonot 100 km

Tour de Fairbanks sm

Sam Delamere and Ti Donaldson did a “Tour de Fairbanks” virtual Sonot.  Starting at Birch Hill, they skied 100 km to UAF via Creamers Field.

This course was completed with 100% classic technique, however, the final 30 km were double pole.  Trace amounts of remaining binder were detected on the skis.

Sam reported good kick for the first 70 km.

PastedGraphic-4  Wow!


Donna DiFolco, Bad Bob and Sharon Baker ski virtual 40 km

Bad Bob writes:

Baker Difolco trio

DiFolco/Baker trio finish virtual Sonot 110 km 

Donna DiFolco, Sharon and BAD BOB  Baker complete the Sonot Kkaazoot 40-K…sort of…  We combined a 15 km Sonot course from yesterday with a 25 km course we skied today to complete the SONOT  KKAAZOOT  40 km Virtual  2020…

Here’s how we did it..Yesterday we skied on our home course here at Moose Mountain, which I had just groomed.  It was 15 kilometers worth of soft, beautifully white snow with an uphill section that would make the regular Sonot course seem tame.  Skiing right from our home, we skied up and over the top of Moose Mountain, then continued up and down, mostly up, to the next summit, did a short loop around that top, then headed back down to home, with one little out & back on the way up.  That took us 2 hours and all in the CLASSIC technique.

Today, we arrived at Birch Hill at noon and found possibly the nicest grooming job of the season!! SUNNY, PERFECT TRACKS, AND TEMPS IN THE TEENS.  We choose the SKATING technique today, and although a bit slow, it was ok, when you compare it to the snow speed we all experienced most of this winter.  We chose a course that would take us around a potentially future course that may be in store for FUTURE Sonots.

Part of our course today involved skiing down SUNNYSIDE and CLIFFSIDE, then up the SONOT CONNECTOR.   What we found was Cliffside had only a moose trail down to the Ft. W/W ski lodge, and once we started up the Sonot  Connector, we had to pull off our skis and walk up to the White Bear, as not a single groomer or skier had been down the Connector since the last snow storm.  The snow was about a FOOT deep. For those 2 kilometers we averaged about a 20 minute per/km pace.

Sonot connector

Trio who hadn’t read our grooming posts head up Sonot Connector

Once back on top, we continued around the White Bear, Moilanen Meadows, finishing back in the stadium.

Our journey was just shy of 24 km, so we continued on around the Medivac loop to put us over the 25 km mark.  Exhausted and satisfied, we decided to add our Moose Mountain course from yesterday to complete our 40 km Virtural SONOT KKAAZOOT.


Da man, Sonot Kkaazoot race director, Bad Bob Baker

Time for today’s 25 km portion was an amazing 3-ish hours.  SO…our official Virtual Sonot Kkaazoot 40 kilometer finishing times was 5  Hours FLAT!   SO….completing the 40 km virtual Sonot  for SHARON  and I , completes our SONOT  KKAAZOOT   TRI !!  We did the 50, 40, and 20 k’s.  That’s 110 Kilometers of VIRTUAL  KKAAZOOT….


Bad Bob and Mark Ross holding the 2020 Sonot Kkaazoot poster

The 2020 Virtual Sonot Kkaazoot Posters (created by Mark Ross) can be found in the Birch Hill Warm-up Hut, throughout the week.  I believe that that are about 75 copies, one per person please.  Trail donations welcome but not required to obtain one of these posters.

Lisa Stuby skates “normal” virtual 20 km

Lisa writes (with blogger’s notes in purple):

This morning (Saturday) I skated a more “normal” 20 km Sonot at Birch Hill.

Lisa had previously skied a virtual 16 km on classical skis and platform snowshoes:

The weather was cool and breezy and the trails a bit slow, but groomed to a fine corduroy.  After 5.5 miles in 1 hr 8 min, I had to stop and warm my cold toes.  I stopped my GPS watch for the approximately 10 minutes and then started it again and was on my way.  When I finished, my watch was not working.

So I’ve had to guesstimate my time based on the pre-toe warming and my finish time.  So, I assume I took 2.5 hours to ski 21 kilometers and did the course of Blue, Outhouse, Tower Loops, Rollercoaster, White Bear and extension with Moilanen Meadows, and Warm up Loop.

Overall a nice ski and day and saw many smiling faces on the trails.  I’ve enjoyed reading the other Sonot posts.

Eric Buetow skis virtual 40 km

repurposed Eric Troyer photo

Repurposed Eric Troyer photo with Eric, Mike, Pat, and Dave (L to R)

On March 18, Eric Buetow and Dave Prusak skied the virtual 20 km Sonot Kkaazoot on the traditional Chena River course that runs in front of the Buetow home.

Today, Eric writes:

Pat Reinhard, Mike Schmoker, Dave Prusak and I did a grand tour—minus Sunnyside—at a proudly SCUM-ish pace with multiple stops for conversation, reveling in the wonderful trail conditions, enjoying virtual feed stations, and waiting for the now 1 1/2-armed Prusak.

They called it a day and I cobbled together another 13-or-so km, encouraged by Jerome Jackson, who was in leisure mode with grand kids and Sarah.
All in all, a great day!

No photos because my phone died, but just wanted to get on the board. Total time for Eric: 4:10.

We’ll put the Eric on the board for 40 km and Pat, Mike, and Dave on for 27 km.