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,, 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.( Without the partnership with Fort Wainwright, the Sonot Kkaazoot would not be possible.

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.


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:

If you want access to Mark’s photos, email him at 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.

Mark Lindberg photos of Sonot Kkaazoot

Mark Lindberg, sporting events photographer, was out on the race course yesterday.  He took over 500 photographs and 2 videos from the start of the 40/50 and 20 km events.

He has posted 14 edited photos on his Instagram site:

and we have posted 32 here:

If you want access to Mark’s photos, email him at 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.

Ti Donaldson, 17, wins 2018 Sonot Kkaazoot 50 km


Ti Donaldson (bib 620) skis between a sandwich of current Alaska Nanooks (his brother, Max in front, and Logan Mowry behind) —photo by Mark Lindberg Photography (

For the first time in the 31 year history of the Sonot Kkaazoot, a high school student, Ti Donaldson won the 50 km men’s event in a time 2:19:15.0. Ti had previously won the 20 km Sonot Kkaazoot in 2014.

The women’s winner of the 50 km Sonot Kkaazoot was Sarah Freistone of Anchorage with a time of 2:54:42.3

Ari Endestad won the men’s 20 km Sonot Kkaazoot with a time of 51:59.4.

Kendall Kramer won the women’s 20 km Sonot Kkaazoot with a time of 56:04.7

Zanden McMullen of Anchorage, 16, won the men’s 40 km event with a time of 1:54:12.6

Alyeska Daniels, 20, won the women’s 40 km Sonot Kkaazoot in 2:23:18.0

FXC Coach Alasdair Tutt won the men’s 50 CL with a time of 3:24:53.3

Anna Rix won the women’s 50 CL Sonot Kkaazoot in 3:49:57.2

News coverage of the Sonot Kkaazoot in Fairbanks Daily Newsminer:

Final results are now posted (3/26/18):


Awards not retrieved at Awards Banquet

Although woodels (age class awards) are not specific to specific year, the overall first, second, and third place awards in the 20 km, 40 km, 50 km, and 50 CL are specific to the 2018 Sonot Kkaazoot. So we would like to get these individually crafted awards into the hands of the awardees. Please check the provisional overall results and if you won an overall award and didn’t claim it at the Awards Banquet, please contact the Awards Maker, Mike Schmoker at: and he’ll leave your award at the Birch Hill Recreation Area Building for you to retrieve or make other arrangements.

Saturday morning report from Tom Helmers

From Birch Hill head groomer, Tom Helmers: At the River this morning at 2:15 a.m. it was +7 deg F, +10 deg at the Lodge, +15 deg at Sonot Junction. At 5 a.m., it was +7 deg at the 5 km marker on White Bear.

Everything is looking great! The groomers literally were up all night making conditions great for the 31st annual Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot.


Sonot Kkaazoot looks good for Chena River start

At the end of late registration for the 31st annual Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot, we have 306 skiers entered. Of those skiers, 123 are signed up to ski the 40 or 50 km events with the majority of skiers opting for the shorter 20 km course on the Chena River.

Bad Bob Baker, chief-of-course, has drilled ice on the Chena River in all the usual problem areas, and has determined that the race is a go for the traditional Chena River start and finish.

Day-of-race registration, bib pick-up, and Sonot Kkaazoot hat sales will be in the Doyon, Ltd building from 8 to 9 a.m. on Saturday. After 9 a.m., you may pick up your bib on the Chena River from Dan Johnson. He’ll have a table with bibs and bib ties outside near the start. DO NOT DISTURB the timing crew in the visqueen shelter.

You may leave your dry clothes in the Doyon, Ltd. building as a security person will be working until about 4 p.m. Doyon, Ltd. has been a Sonot Kkaazoot sponsor for many years and we really appreciate their contribution to holding this unique spring event.

Sonot Update: Two days out

The temperature at the Sonot Kkaazoot race start this morning was much colder than predicted at -10 deg F. Bad Bob will be out on the river late this afternoon to determine ice thicknesses so that we can report the location of our race start at early bib pick-up tonight at the Doyon, Ltd. building from 5 to 7 p.m.

Bad Bob will drag the Chena River portion of the Sonot Kkaazoot course again this afternoon if you want to personally check it out before or after you pick up your bib.

Still trying to decide whether to sign up? Check out the awesome Sonot Kkaazoot informational flyer designed by Rebecca Heaton that is available for download on the home page.

Here are some photos that Bad Bob took on Wednesday:

Ramp down to Sonot start area sm

Ramp down to the Sonot Kkaazoot start area (all photos by Bad Bob Baker)

Chena River three days out sm

Chena River trail three days out

Chena River trail near Hamilton Acres sm

Sonot Kkaazoot trail near Hamilton Acres

Wild life on the trail 3 days out

Wildlife captured on the trail three days out

River ski trail ALMOST race ready

Several of the SCUM (Sonot Kkaazoot organizers) skied from Graehl Park to the Trainor Gate bridge on the Chena River to inspect the Sonot Kkaazoot ski trail after groomers Ken Coe and Bill Husby had brought down the Birch Hill drags to use in tandem with Bad Bob’s special river drag.

Early in our ski we met up with Bad Bob who was drilling the ice to check on ice thickness and reports that he never hit water with his foot long drill bit:

Bad Bob checking ice thickness sm.JPG

The corduroy was wide enough for two skaters to ski side by side as shown here:

Robert & Carl near Trainor Gate sm

Robert Hannon (Sonot military contact) and Carl Hemming (bib distribution staff) ski on newly groomed Chena River on Wednesday around noon.

However, Robert with his intensely focused journalist’s eyes managed to find an imperfection in the dragged surface that caused him to make a spectacular dive to avoid catching his tip on it.

Robert finds imperfection in grooming

Although temperatures were still in the single digits as we started out, the bright sunshine made “sliding around in springtime” fun. The trail was great under all three highway bridges where the groomers had harvested snow from the surrounding area and packed it down to cover the icy areas.

Enjoy the Chena River ski trail! The sunshine and easy speed is fantastic!