Chena River looking fluid, 5 days out

With Sonot Kkaazoot race director, Bob Baker still homeward bound from Norway, Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks head groomer, Tom Helmers, made an inspection of the Chena River near where the River opened up during the 2016 Sonot Kkaazoot. With today’s temperatures predicted to be in the high 40s at the airport, current conditions don’t bode well for the traditional start and finish area for the 32nd annual Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot.

River1

Overflow in middle of Bob’s trail where river broke in 2016

River2

To right of trail looking upstream

River3

View closer to upstream bank

All photos were taken by Tom Helmers.

With temperatures at Birch Hill today already at 49.6 deg F shortly after noon, our training tip for Sonot Kkaazoot skiers is to ski on the UAF trails (that were groomed this morning) where temperatures are more seasonal. Alternatively, rest up for tackling a more challenging course than normal on Saturday.

Sonot Kkaazoot training tip

Sonot Kkaazoot Training Tip for Friday, March 8, 2019: Ski the Sonot Connector, a section of the Fort Wainwright Trails that 40 and 50 km skiers traverse twice. If you don’t pace yourself on the uphill, you may find yourself struggling by the time you return 26 km later.

Sonot connector sm.JPG

Photo by Bill Husby 3-8-19

Enjoy the spring skiing in Fairbanks during Spring Break for Fairbanks North Star Borough and UAF schools.

Support UAF ski trails–Ski the Skiathon

If you haven’t left town for Spring Break, here’s a training tip for the 32nd annual Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot: Ski the Skiathon this Sunday and help support UAF Trails.

This 20 km classical technique race and tour begins at 11:00 ADT on Sunday at the UAF West Ridge Ski Trails Practice Area.

Here’s information on the event:

https://www.facebook.com/events/384107735470813/

and here’s an electronic application and map:

https://uaftrailsclub.weebly.com/skiathon.html

Remember to set clocks ahead for Daylight Savings Time before you go to bed Saturday night or you’ll miss the start.

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

Bad Bob grooming turnaround sm

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.

Improved Chena River Course Conditions 2-27-19

From Sonot Kkaazoot Race Director, Bad Bob Baker:

I groomed the entire 20 km Sonot Kkaazoot course this morning. Temperature was -5 degrees F with NO OVERFLOW or OPEN WATER. It’s roughed in, and even quite smooth in places. The Chena River is now SKIABLE.

I will be back down on the River early FRIDAY, and meeting up with Bill Husby (Poles), and will escort him up and down the Chena River. The forecast is for clear days with daytime temperatures in the 20’s and overnight lows around zero through next week. Now that the Chena River portion of the Sonot Kkaazoot is packed and groomed…it should freeze thicker over the next week.

BUT…as we all know…March is just around the corner…and if we get a lot of new snow or extreme high temperatures, it will become a day-to-day call as we approach race day.  But, for now, things are looking quite good….amazing how just a week’s time can change conditions so much. If you do choose to ski on the RIVER, please use common sense, and stay away from anything that looks questionable. The Chena River is continuously changing, and what’s good today, may not be tomorrow. Right now it’s been groomed 12′  to 30′ wide…a little rough in spots, but should be much smoother after Friday’s  grooming.

27 March 2019_Sonot Chena River TrailChena River Trail 2-27-19Chena River Trail 2-27-19b

Sunny ski training for the Sonot

Now that the 2018-2019 race season for the Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks has finished up  with the exception of the Sonot Kkaazoot, it is time to enjoy those long spring skis. The sunshine was out in abundance this morning as the SCUM (Sonot Kkaazoot organizers) were out enjoying the black loops.

Red jackets on blacks smSCUM on blacks sm

Sunny skies, piston bully groomed corduroy, and deep classical tracks–what more could a skier want?

Don’t forget to donate to the grooming fund. http://nordicskicluboffairbanks.wildapricot.org/Donate

Also, it is time to make your commitment to skiing the 32nd annual Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot. The longer you wait, the more you’ll pay in entry fees. Just follow the “register” tab at the top of this page. The event on March 23, 2019 is less than a month away.

30 km test this Sunday

With the 32nd annual Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot less than 5 weeks away, the Buetow Dental-Pangaea Health Distance Race #3 will be great test of your preparation. The freestyle race is a three lap course so you have 10 or 30 km options. The race starts at 11 a.m. and finishes in the Birch Hill Recreation Area stadium this Sunday.

Register online here:

https://register.chronotrack.com/r/42672

With the recent snows and winds, this will be a great opportunity to get a long workout in on spectacularly groomed trails.

Here’s the course as described by NSCF race director, John Estle:

Start goes up the Ramp, out Relay Alley, descend Outhouse, then turn left on
Upper House cutoff.

Turn onto Sunnyside, then turn back at Section Line cutoff and return to
Outhouse on Sunnyside

Back on Outhouse, finish the loop, then turn right and finish Relay Loop.

Returning to stadium, go down Roller Coaster Bypass, then White Cub, through Biathlon Range. Take White Bear to Hilltop cutoff.

Turn left and return to the stadium, then take a LEFT and proceed up East Ramp.

Finish:  On the last lap, skiers will go up the E Ramp and down the W Ramp, then into the finish from the South.

Proceeds from the race support the Lathrop XC ski team.

DIST3-map-course-sat-photo