The colder weather will allow the ski trails to set up nicely. Take a break from the pre-holiday rush to get out and enjoy the fantastic skiing that Birch Hill, UAF, and other local areas offer.
Online registration for the 32nd annual Sonot Kkaazoot will open soon. By registering then, you will be assured the least expensive entry fee, and will have the incentive to start training in earnest.
If you need additional motivation, Kristen Rozell will once again be offering a 2-month long Sonot Training Course that includes technique refinement as well as training and pacing needed for long events. For the skier who wants to successfully ski the 40 or 50 km Sonot Kkaazoot for the first time, this class is for you. Draw on the experience of a successful Sonot Kkaazoot skier who has helped many others train for the Sonot Kkaazoot in the 11 years that she has been offering this class.
Lock in your slot among the 15 lucky skiers:
If you have any questions, you can contain Kristen by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bad Bob Baker finished regrooming the 20 km Sonot Kkaazoot course this morning at midnight. The course has been groomed 20 feet wide including the 20 km turnaround area. Up and down the Chena River, the course is as much as 40 feet wide. Because Bob was grooming in the dark, he wasn’t able to see if there were areas with dirt or rocks showing.
Ken Coe and Bill Husby hauled two loads of manmade snow down to the Fort Wainwright bridge and combined with river bank snow. Here are some photos from Tuesday morning taken by Bill after their work and that of Bob last night. The Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks groomers plan to groom the river tomorrow so we’ll get an updated report. However, as of now, it looks like no snow enhancement work party will be needed.
ENJOY the fantastic spring skiing! Urge your friends to sign up for the Sonot Kkaazoot now.
This year’s conditions are perfect for those skiing their first Sonot Kkaazoot. Please note that on race day, classical tracks WILL BE SET on both sides of the skate platform.
Also, remember grooming doesn’t come free. Please donate to the Birch Hill trails fund:
We also are looking for more race volunteers so if you would like to support the Sonot Kkaazoot and the efforts made to groom the Chena River, please sign up at: email@example.com
Work on your spring time tan by skiing on the Chena River. Sonot Kkaazoot 20 km course has been groomed by Bad Bob Baker to perfection. Here’s his first hand report submitted yesterday afternoon:
What a nice day to ski the Chena River, as I just finished grooming it at 3:00 pm today. I groomed the start/finish area right up to the centennial bridge and it turned out much better than I thought it would, very flat and plenty wide for a SONOT START. I also roughed in the 20 km turnaround, The whole CHENA RIVER is groomed at least 16 FOOT WIDE, and wider in some places. It’s very safe for skiing right now, as long as one skis atop the grooming. There is bad gravel and ice under the STEESE HIGHWAY BRIDGE and the FT. WAINWRIGHT BRIDGE. Taking you skis off for both of these are a must. SO, Please, everyone get out on the CHENA RIVER and test out the SONOT KKAAZOOT course!
To help the first time participant in the Sonot Kkaazoot, here are a few videos of the 40 and 50 km events taken by Dermot Cole in 2015. The first clip is the mass start for the 40 and 50 km freestyle events:
Here is the climb up the Fort Wainwright alpine ski hill to the base of the Sonot Connector:
and 28 km later coming down the same hill:
Remember, if you smile, it’s no big deal.
Here’s Robert Hannon, Sonot military contact AND coordinator for FWW road crossings finishing:
Sign up now for the lowest entry fees. Early registration ends in less than two weeks on 26 February 2016.
Although it’s been almost a month since Fairbanks has received any significant snowfall, thanks to the fantastic work of Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks (NSCF) groomers, all the trails at Birch Hill, and the section of the Chena River used for the Sonot Kkaazoot have been groomed, so skiing conditions are awesome. Nothing can be finer than sunshine and fresh corduroy for a nordic skier. That’s exactly what we encountered today.
Even without the sun, the temperatures have been moderate (but below freezing) so last Sunday, the SCUM (Sonot organizers) skied the Grand Tour (all the trails at Birch Hill with frequent rest stops.
If you aren’t enjoying Hawaiian beaches or competing in crosscountry races in Europe, skiing in Fairbanks is pretty close to perfect right now for either classical or skate skiing.
Remember to donate to the NSCF Trails fund since the NSCF (not the borough) does all the grooming at Birch Hill (and on the Chena River for the Sonot).
Kristen Bartecchi Rozell is teaching a 9-week long class at Birch Hill specifically designed for skiers preparing for the Sonot Kkaazoot. This Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks class involves skate technique and interval training as well as video analysis and an opportunity to have a guided session on the Sonot Kkaazoot connector trail to the Chena River. The class meets Tuesday evenings from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. beginning tomorrow, 26 January 2016.
To register, see:
This class is highly recommended for the skier hoping to ski the 50 km Sonot Kkaazoot for the first time.
The winter of 2015-2016 is a huge El Nino one, so the mild weather in Interior Alaska makes is much easier to train for the 50 km Sonot Kkaazoot. Unlike many ski marathons, the 50 km field in the Sonot tends to be dominated by the 50 and older crowd. In fact, this year, the Sonot Kkaazoot may have our first finisher in the 80 and over category. Can you pick him out of this photo from our first SCUM workout of 2016?
Everyone in this photo has done the 50 km Sonot Kkaazoot multiple times. Everyone is older than 56; two have totally bionic knees, one has had multiple heart valves replaced, one has had 8 concussions. If we can train for and complete the Sonot Kkaazoot, why not you?
Here are some suggestions for finishing your first 50 km Sonot Kkaazoot with a smile from a 66-year old skier who has done 28 of them while working 50 to 60 hours a week at a desk job.
- Make a generous donation to the Birch Hill trails fund. The groomers make it possible for you to train after snowstorms, windstorms, and huge swings in temperature. The groomers also serve as trail sweeps during races, including the Sonot Kkaazoot, so thank them for their efforts by contributing as much as you can to the Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks trail fund: https://nordicskicluboffairbanks.wildapricot.org/Donate/
- Register for the Sonot Kkaazoot 50 km event. Skiing 50 km is at least 50% mental. Make a public commitment to do the event. https://sonotkkaazoot.org/register/
- Ski the black loops before the Sonot Kkaazoot. These loops are much less intimidating once you know where to expect the corners.
- Ski the Sonot Connector (both directions) going down as far at the Fort Wainwright alpine hut.
- Ski the “Grand Tour” (all 26 km of the Birch Hill trails) or the 30 km Distance Race #3. Test out your hydration and feed strategy for a long distance effort.