Although we are firmly in new record territory for the late arrival of Fairbanks’ first snowfall at the airport, we have had brown Octobers previously. In his blog post from October 2013, Richard James from the National Weather Service notes that the ground was bare and the temperature in Fairbanks had reached 51 deg F on 28 October 2013:
Yet, the 2014 Sonot Kkaazoot had excellent spring skiing conditions as noted by Dermot Cole’s Alaska Dispatch column:
I agree that it is very frustrating to not be skiing in October, but the snow will come. The Birch Hill trails that have been mowed and summer trail work will make grooming easier. Groomers have been busy working on the new terrain garden so the late arrival of snow has avoided their early season burnout.
Bad Bob has developed the schedule for the 32nd annual Sonot Kkaazoot, which is a mere 5 months away.
Check the main Sonot Kkaazoot page for all the details. https://sonotkkaazoot.org/
Registration fees will be the same as last year. All registration will be online except at bib pick-up on Thursday, 21 March 2019, and from 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. on race day. In person registration will be at late- and day-of-race entry fee levels.
The main change for the 32nd annual Sonot Kkaazoot is that there will no longer be a separate 50 km classical event. Classical tracks will be set for the entire 50 km course, but classical skiers will start and compete with the 50 km freestyle skiers for overall and age-class awards.
The online registration page will be live soon.
Corrections have been made in provisional results, and thus official 2018 Sonot Kkaazoot results have been posted:
At 6:20 a.m.: “River looks great. Everything is frozen hard. Minus 3 on the river, plus 3 up on the bank. Clear skies.”
Remember that 50 km classical wave starts at 9:30 a.m. on the river, 40/50 freestyle at 10:00 a.m., and 20 km freestyle at 10:30 a.m. Wear your shades and sunscreen.
In case the Birch Hill weather station gets overloaded with hits, the temperature at the Birch Hill stadium at 6:00 a.m. was +15.4 deg F and calm.
Over a foot of new snow has fallen on Birch Hill trails this week, but skiers arriving at Birch Hill today will find all the trails (with the exception of White Bear where the Army is currently conducting their Arctic Winter Games) were groomed and tracked this morning.
The newly fallen and windblown snow has made for difficult grooming conditions on less used trails with tight uphill corners like those on the new Sunnyside trail. Undaunted, after grooming this morning, Bill Husby went out on skis to further refine the trails.
With an overabundance of snow this winter coupled with wind events that make trail maintenance more time intensive, please make an additional contribution to trail fund so we’ll have fabulous trails to enjoy on sunny spring days like today:
If you plan to ski in any of the Sonot Kkaazoot events on March 24, it’s time to put in those training kilometers. The Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks groomers are making it easy for us.
Results from today’s 15/30/45 km classical races at the Masters World Cup were delayed as officials revised courses to work around a train that parked on the tracks blocking the intended race course. Only two Interior Alaska skiers participated, Bob Baker was 12th in the revised 40 km CL event for the M6 age category with a time of 2:30:09, and Owen Hanley, was 18th in the 30 km CL event for M9 skiers with a time of 1:50:06. Congratulations to both of you.
Here’s the FasterSkier.com story of the train snafu complete with photo and quote from Bob Baker:
From Sharon Baker, “Here is Bob at the high point of the course for the 3rd time. Looking strong.”
All photos by Sharon Baker
“Descending from the high point,”
nearing the bottom to complete his 3rd lap. One more to go.
Had great kick the whole way.”
With the 31st Sonot Kkaazoot only 2 months away, skiers not on the World Masters travel team, needed to ski today. Although the North Classical trails had been groomed and set on Monday, steady flurries of 80 grit snow (falling at temperatures from the mid negative teens to the -25 deg F) made for a lovely specific strength workout.
Lots of low hanging limbs and branches after the freezing rain followed by a foot of snow this week
Finally sunshine reaching through the black spruce. —Photo by Bill Husby
Bill Husby, expert groomer and classical skier shows how to get it done.
Dermot emerging from the end of the Classical Bear Trail near the end of our ski.
We had a lovely ski (and Dermot took some videos that we hope to post later). We saw only 3 civilian skiers during our hour and 45 minute outing. A group of Army skiers on their white rockets were gathered near the stadium, but most of the tracks observed were animal made.
For skiers contemplating doing the 50 km classical Sonot Kkaazoot, be forewarned, this year will likely be the last time a separate classical Sonot event is offered. You can always classical ski, but starting in 2019, you’ll start and be timed together with all the other skiers. So if you’re a classical skier, sign up for the 50 km classical Sonot Kkaazoot soon.
As mentioned earlier, conditions at World Masters yesterday were beyond challenging. They got 10″ of snow within 12 hours–much of it during the 7.5 km FS race.
Here are some photos of Bruce Jamieson, Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks (NSCF) board member and Sonot Kkaazoot volunteer, taken by former NSCF skier, Dave Edic,
Photos by Dave Edic
Older Masters skiers suffered longer in the blizzard than the younger, faster skiers. We salute the great ski performances of all the Fairbanks skiers yesterday. Enjoy your rest day.