Final day of Masters World Cup

Report from Sonot Kkaazoot race director, Bad Bob Baker:

We are all done with the World Masters. Last day was warm and mostly sunny for the skaters to enjoy.  We are now in Oslo, and will bus north at 5:00 am tomorrow to the start of the Norwegian Birkebeiner 54 kilometer Classic ski race. All participants are required to carry an 8 lb pack the entire way.  The five skiers on the Fairbanks travel team plan to TOUR the race together:  Bruce Jamieson, Chris Puchner, Donna DiFolco, and Sharon & Bad Bob Baker. We all plan on taking full advantage of the FEED STATIONS.  The race starts in RENA, and finishes in LILLIEHAMMER, Norway.  It crosses 2 mountain ranges and often has 8 or more side by side classic tracks.  The forecast is calling for mostly sunny skies, and 25 to 35 degree temps.  We sure hope so.  After the race we plan to tourist the town of LILLIEHAMMER, then catch a 2 hour train back to our Oslo Airport Hotel. Be back in Fairbanks Monday night.

Bad Bob

Donna DiFolco as part of USA silver medal relay team

All photos by Bad Bob Baker who didn’t supply captions for his Sonot Kkaazoot organizing underling

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

pond-after.jpg

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.

Bob Baker’s last grooming report until 18 March

From Sonot Kkaazoot race director:

Friday went well on the Chena River.   The entire 20 km is flat and fast.   We will see what the next two weeks bring weather wise.  With the Chena River packed, and cold overnight temps, the ice should get thicker.  Today I broke through in two places, very obvious!  So, be aware and cautious if you ski on the Chena River. Enjoy, it’s very fast! This afternoon and tonight will be the best skating, before the snowmachines tear it up.

I’ll be back from ski racing in Norway on March 18. And will groom again then.
–Bad Bob
Chena River cordoroy.jpg

Chena River corduroy

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Chena River grooming on 1 March 2019

20 km turnaround on 1 March sm

20 km Sonot Kkaazoot turnaround

Sonot volunteer skiing home

Sonot blogger checking out the trail

Awesome Chena River skiing today

1 March 2019: It was +16 deg F and sunny at Denali State Bank at 11 a.m. as I headed out on the 20 km Sonot Kkaazoot course from start to turnaround. Groomers Bad Bob Baker and Bill Poles Husby had been out since 8 a.m. Skiing was awesome including under the highway bridges where Bob had dragged snow earlier and through repeated dragging had ground up the jumble ice. No need to use rock skis today! Today will be Bad Bob’s last grooming of the Sonot course until he returns from Norway on the Tuesday before the Sonot Kkaazoot.

Bad Bob and his drag on Chena River_1 Mar 2019sm.JPG

Bad Bob and his drag on his pass toward town as I headed out around 11:15 a.m. today

Below are some photos I took during my 20 km ski. I was way overdressed and by the end, I was skiing without a hat. Bad Bob made an additional pass on the trail after I skied out, leaving the trail much wider and more level. On my return to the start, it was virtually an all V2 ski.

Only climb on the 20 km course sm

Only climb on the 20 km Sonot course

Bad Bob removing toe grabbers on 20 km turnaround sm

Bad Bob’s technique for removing toe grabbers on the 20 km turnaround trail

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Bad Bob adds a kick as he grooms the 20 km turnaround

Bob and Sharon Baker will be out skiing the 20 km Sonot Kkaazoot course this afternoon. I highly recommend that you do the same. It will top off your Vitamin D stores and will definitely encourage you to sign up for the 32nd annual Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot today.

March skiing in Fairbanks is simply unbeatable.

“So Not” Chena River Update 2-20-19

From Sonot Kkaazoot Race Director, Bad Bob Baker:

11 am Wednesday Feb 20.  I  just got off the Chena River, temp on the River at 8:30 am was just below zero.  This morning I was bound and determined to start at the Cushman bridge and travel the entire 20 km route.  Success!  My Ski Doo Scandic SWT and I made it from start to finish without ending up below the Chena River ice. That said, the Chena River is still far from being a safe place to ski, walk, snowmachine or check out. 

As seen in these photos on the Chena River at the downtown starting area, I churned up slush and water for the entire first 800 meters.

Sonot start landscape 2-20-19

Photos of Sonot Kkaazoot start area on Chena River taken by Bad Bob Baker on 2-20-19

Sonot start area 2-20-19

Sonot start area 2 on 2-20-19

Had I stopped in a few spots, I felt that I would have broken through, or at the very least, been hopelessly stuck.  Countless other spots along the entire river portion of the Sonot produced similar results.  Needless to say. I did not attempt to pull my drag/groomer.

This year the Chena River is playing a game that I have yet to experience in my 32 years of grooming for the Sonot Kkaazoot.  I’m not calling it quits yet for a traditional downtown river start.  We’re still over 4 weeks from race day.  Late March is always a great time to ski in Fairbanks. No matter where you’re skiing, it’s always an awesome experience.

I head over to Norway on March 3rd.  I will give at least one more Chena River update before I leave, and will also will announce the race courses if the Sonot ends up all at Birch Hill.  We should have a final decision by the early bib pick-up at the Doyon building on Thursday March 21.  Until then, get yourself signed up for this year’s Sonot!  Whatever the course, it will be a great day to be out on your skis!!

Bad Bob

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.