Fairbanks Five finish Birkie Norway

Sonot Kkaazoot race director, Bad Bob Baker and 4 other Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks skiers finished the 54 kilometer Classic Birkiebiner in Norway. At one point, they were dead last (averaging 3 km in the first hour) because they spent too much time relaxing, taking photographs, and waiting for their teammates who started in later waves.

Fearing a DQ for not meeting time limits, the group increased their pace to “touring” speed and passed 1000 skiers. They finished in about 6:30 with smiles on their faces. Their strategy is one that skiers attempting their first Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot should remember. Have fun, relax, take photographs, enjoy the scenery during the event, and finish with a smile.

Here is a photo gallery of Bad Bob and Sharon Baker, Bruce Jamieson, Donna DiFolco, and Chris Puchner. This time Bob supplied captions, but this former Sonot director is feeling (a little jealous and) overwhelmed with all the Sonot entries and questions, so any readers of this blog can supply their own.

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Remember that late registration for the Sonot Kkaazoot ends Thursday, 21 March 2019. Please try to pick up your race bib at the Doyon Ltd. Building from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday to avoid the day-of-race confusion. Many of the Sonot Kkaazoot organizers will be skiing the event, too, so please help us out.

For out-of-town skiers who have preregistered, there will be a volunteer to distribute your bibs until at least 30 minutes before your start. Day-of-race entries WILL END AT 9:00 a.m. ADT.

Although we cannot promise blue skies and hard kick wax conditions for the Sonot Kkaazoot (like those encountered by the Fairbanks Five at the Birkie Norway), we will promise that the trails will be groomed to perfection by our ace grooming team. We’ll even have orange kilometer markers like the Birkie Norway.

213 skiers set to start Sonot Kkaazoot, one week out

At the end of regular registration, 213 skiers have signed up for the 32nd annual Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot. 109 skiers have signed up for the 20 km event; 27 for the 40 km; and 77 skiers are set to ski the 50 km course.

Late registration entries will be taken until 7 p.m. on Thursday, 21 March 2019.

Entries after that time will be assessed “day of race” fees.

 

 

Plan for Sonot Kkaazoot if Chena River is unsafe (updated 3-20-19)

The 32nd annual Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot will take place on 23 March 2019 but will take place all at Birch Hill Recreation Area with mass start at 11:00 a.m.

All course distances have been shortened to compensate for the loss of the flat terrain that the river provides. 

From Bad Bob, here are the courses: 

The  50  and 40 km races will become one race competed over a 30  km distance. Starting at 11:00 am in the Birch Hill Stadium, skiers go up the West Ramp, then taking a sharp right hand downhill turn onto the end of the Competition loop, and then a sharp downhill left hand turn staying on the Competition loop and heading down onto the North 40.. From this point, the long race will follow the normal Sonot course until it reaches the Sunnyside loop, off the the Outhouse loop.  It will follow the Sunnyside down to the top of Cliffside, and then head left, back up the Sunnyside, and back around, returning to the Outhouse loop.  Racers will take a right back onto Outhouse loop and finish that, then take a hard right onto the Relay Start loop, and continue on it back to the RAMP. Next, racers will head down the Ramp to the bottom and turn right up onto the East Ramp, following it up right into the Tower Loop, around the whole Tower Loop, then onto the Roller Coasters, back to the Stadium, then hard right down onto the White Bear Access, and onto the White Bear.

Skiers will ski the entire White Bear, then turn right into Moilanen Meadows, then finally, turn right, back onto the White Bear and finish up with the White Bear Access into the Stadium, and lastly doing the whole Warm-Up Loop and into the FINISH!!   It’s a very tough, hilly 30 km course, and with the addition of the SUNNYSIDE LOOP, I think racers will enjoy the  course!

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Map artwork by Bad Bob Baker who will be at early bib pick-up to explain courses

Because 40 km racers will be skiing the same course as the 50 km skiers, they are eligible for woodels this year.

The 20 km race,course is 9.5 km The distance is much shorter, due to the non-flatness of the course.  Racers will also start at 11:00 am in the middle of the Stadium at Birch Hill, right along side the 50 & 40 km racers.   The  9.5  kilometer course will start straight up the main RAMP and out and around the Relay Start Loop, then a slight right hand turn onto the Roller Coaster By-Pass, and back to the Stadium.  Next, you’ll take a hard right hand turn, down onto the White Bear Access, and onto the White Bear Loop.   You’ll follow the White Bear all the way out to the CORONARY  BY-PASS  Turnaround, which will be just beyond the 5- kilometer point,  then head all the way back to the Stadium at Birch Hill, via  the White Bear and White Bear Access loops.  Once you get to the Stadium, racers will turn hard to the right in the Stadium and ski back behind and around the Main Chalet Building, skiing under the overpass/bridge of the Chalet Building and straight into the FINISH. You will not ski Moilanen Meadows or the Warm-up Loops.

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Green highlighted trails are the 9.5 km course. Artwork by Bob Baker.

BUT…. of course, we tried to hold the Sonot Kkaazoot on the traditional start downtown on the Chena River.skiing.  (We really tried, but it’s just not safe this year!)

Skiers warned to stay off the Chena River

The recent snowfalls and warm temperatures have combined to create overflow and possible open water on the Chena River sections used for the Sonot Kkaazoot. Skiers are strongly advised to STAY OFF the Chena River until groomers can assess the course for safety. 

Sonot Kkaazoot race director, Bad Bob Baker will be back to assess Chena River ski trail safety on Tuesday, 19 March 2019. He will resume grooming IF his drilling and observations indicate ice conditions are safe for skiing.

All skiers should stay off the Chena River until ice conditions can be determined.

170 Sonot entries, 10 days out

With just 10 days remaining before the 32nd annual Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot, here’s the breakdown on paid entries received to date.

87 skiers are signed up for the 20 km race

20 skiers for 40 km

63 skiers for the signature 50 km race

82% of skiers are from the Fairbanks North Star Borough

6% are from out-of-state

13% are from other Alaska locations

Remember, regular registration ends tomorrow, 15 March 2019. There is no better way to celebrate Spring than by skiing in the last ski marathon of the season in Interior Alaska.

Entire 50 km Sonot course ready to ski

All the trails that are utilized for the three Sonot Kkaazoot events were brushed and groomed for the first time last week in preparation for the 32nd annual Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot. Thus, the courses are available for skier training.

MAKE SURE THAT YOU CARRY YOUR GOVERNMENT IDENTIFICATION WITH YOU AT ALL TIMES WHEN YOU SKI TRAILS ON FORT WAINWRIGHT. You could be detained if you do not have appropriate identification with you. Last year, we were informed that a skier was detained and questioned for 20 minutes after being unable to produce appropriate identification. Remember, we are guests on the FWW trails and we need to abide by the rules of a U.S. Army facility.

After my last posting, Bill Husby did additional brushing in the pond area below the Fort Wainwright ski area, so the SCUM checked out the Fort Wainwright trails and the Chena River on Sunday.

SCUM on pond smSonot skiers and volunteers on pond sm

Ski conditions on the river Sunday were quite good. Donovan Granger skied the entire 20 km river section of the Sonot Kkaazoot course Sunday (after skiing the White Bear) and found no overflow or open water except for the obvious areas seen on Friday. However, be cautious if you ski on the river and it’s a good idea not to ski alone.

Of course, if you want snow in Fairbanks, you need to send your groomers to Hawaii and Norway, where they can’t help skiers when snow falls overnight. More snow is forecast for later this week, so EXERCISE EXTRA CAUTION IF YOU SKI ON THE RIVER after any new snow. The weight of the snow can cause more overflow.

Don’t worry, Tom and Bob will return before the Sonot Kkaazoot to groom everything to perfection. In the meantime, Bill and Ken will be grooming at Birch Hill using “old school” equipment (snowmachines pulling rollers, drags, or track sled) until Tom returns to pilot the piston bully. The Chena River and FWW trails will be skier groomed for the next couple of weeks.

Enjoy our long March days and make your commitment today to ski the 32nd annual Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot. https://sonotkkaazoot.org/register/

Grooming Fort Wainwright Ditch & Pond

Bill Husby and Bob Baker also worked on grooming the Fort Wainwright Ditch and Pond that form the trail system that 40 and 50 km Sonot Kkaazoot skiers traverse between the Chena River and Birch Hill Recreation Area.

All photos in this post were taken by Bill Husby, who points out that a lot of whips and brush still need to be removed from the pond and ditch. So take some clippers with you on your ski to the river from Birch Hill.  Bill plans to attack the brush with chain saw and loppers soon. Remember to have your government identification with you.

Pond before

Pond before grooming on 1 March 2019

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Pond after trimming whips and brush then grooming.

Newly rolled ditch

Newly rolled ditch

Ditch groomed

Bill is hoping that the rolled trails set up overnight so that he can run a small drag over the ditch. Today the snow pack was quite soft when two SCUM skied on the ditch trail.