What is bad a** honey badger, who has finished up the virtual Sonot Kkaazoot grand slam (20 km, 40 km, and 50 km events–each done in a single day as a single workout), supposed to do when he must shelter in place and social distance from fellow SCUMs?
Merely skate skiing icy trails at Birch Hill wasn’t enough from Bill on Wednesday, no way! If you’re Poles Husby, whose orthopedic surgeon told him “no moguls” with his bionic knees, you decide to be one tough a**,–hot dog–honey badger.
Thanks to Joanna Fox for this video clip.
I’ve been rather slow to reply…but, I skied the typical 30 km at Birch on March 21. I had planned to do all 50 km that day, but the river had other plans. Life didn’t allow time again until Thursday, March 26. I ski low tech, so I’ve got nothing but my word (3 hr for 30 km (which I did with Johnna Underwood)) and about 1:50 for the random 20 km at Birch—cut off some of White Bear and some of the blacks).
I am not looking to have a big write up—or any at all ️—on the website. Just listed on the standings…for no reason other than just because. .
Last year I entered and had to leave town for emergency eye surgery for my then 2 year-old. I was very much looking forward to a normal spring…well, I need to say no more. Skiing makes life feel a little bit normal…I’m sure that’s true for many of us.
Thank you to all of you that have taken the time to make this happen. It has been a fun way to be connected in some way and to see people encourage each other and to be encouraged…thanks to Bad Bob and the MANY others that help—sorry I can’t thank you all by name!!! Enjoy the sun, snow…and whatever is ahead. Be well!!!
Groomer Tom Helmers was correct in thinking March is usually a low snow month in Fairbanks.
As this National Weather Service Fairbanks graphic shows, March 2020 was snowy:
Thus, the Virtual Sonot skiers, who bemoaned the shoveling and scooping toll, were not being whiners. We did exert considerable effort removing this snow from driveways and paths.
The clouds that gave us all that snow kept the temperatures within normal lows but without the daytime sunshine, our highs were cooler than normal:
So enjoy skiing on that ample snow pack in April as the average temperatures rise dramatically. Remember to keep social distancing on the trails and ski within your abilities. Now is not the time for injuries that will increase the health care burden needlessly.
I was able to get out on Saturday and ski about 30 K in 2 hours and 51 minutes. I was able to ski white bear and the meadows in the time I normally ski just white bear. I then dropped into warm up, then the blacks, back around the stadium for a snack and drink. I got my second wind up east ramp into blue, then outhouse and made the turn into sunny side, finished relay and made my way back to my snack stash, climbed tower and med evac’ed out.
With all the terrible news, it was great to have amazing trails and the Virtual Sonot to look forward to. Thank you everyone for keeping the Sonot Kkaazoot alive this season.
Although the virtual Sonot Kkaazoot officially ended on Saturday, we are living through an unprecedented spring. Not only are skiers abiding by a “shelter-in-place” COVID-19 policy, we have been dealing with Fairbanks’ unpredictable weather. March isn’t supposed to be a snowy month, but in 2020, it has been.
As one of the two skiers who has skied every Sonot Kkaazoot, I understand how important is is for some skiers to complete our annual goal. Also, Robert Toth and I were two of several skiers who needed to take an extended detour in 2016 when the Chena River broke during our 50 km Sonot Kkaazoot. Thus, I want to share his story. Not all of us, can consider ourselves “racers”, but we do love the Sonot Kkaazoot and skiers celebrating the return of the sun.
Bob emailed at 11:42 p.m. yesterday:
I know the virtual Sonot ended Saturday but I finished today. No, it wasn’t the dog’s fault but rather the 700 ft of driveway in front of that big girl. We got 9 or 10 more inches up here Wednesday morning, by the time I cleared that and our ancillary 800 ft of trails it was Thursday and I had no legs left. Lucky to slog through that 20 k Friday. Sadly old and decrepit as I have become, every third day ski is really about my max. Managed a full Tour de Birch this evening. Skied the exact same route as last years 30 k Sonot except for the Sunnyside, which I skipped, and the Medivac up/down to the coaster, which I added.
Finished Monday, March 30, 2020 at 8:38 pm in a fairly normal time (for me) for the conditions of 3 hour and 23 minutes.
Just wanted to keep my 50 k or equivalent streak, no matter it didn’t count, and it took two days to do with a whole lot of rest in between. It was gorgeous with our great star glowing red (through my brown glasses) lower and lower the whole trip. Every time I climbed to a high spot coming back on the White Bear, there it was higher than I expected. Gave me a boost. Finally on the Warm Up Loop, it kissed the hills just as I dropped into the first downhill loop—the last bright speck disappeared as headed into the final corner climb back to the stadium. Perfect once again.
Trails were great, thanks to all for all the hard work. So glad the parking lot is open. Don’t expect this to be added to the results but it was fun to write about.
Here’s another (much more imaginative) route I completed on Friday. There’s a river portion and an upland portion.
Greg Kahoe, a newbie SCUM had recently returned to the ski trails after some surgical interventions to contain his inner organs. Thus, he had just resumed SCUM practices when the COVID-19 virus hit. However, Greg skied 20 km with the virtual SCUM on Sunday, 22 March and 10 km on Friday, 27 March 2020 for an official virtual 30 km.
Although not technically part of the virtual Sonot, Greg skied an additional 24 km yesterday (but could not be lured down the ungroomed Tommy Knocker trail). So Greg did a “peaking too late” virtual 54 km Sonot on SCUM time.
It’s good to see your peak form returning, Greg!
In the midst of COVID-19 pandemic, I want to thank all the Sonot Kkaazoot sponsors, who allowed us to safely celebrate spring by sliding our feet over snow.
Although the 33rd Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot was canceled, we were able to conduct a “virtual” Sonot Kkaazoot (over a period of 10 days leading up to and including the scheduled race day), thanks to several of our event sponsors.
Denali State Bank has been the Sonot Kkaazoot title sponsor for 33 years. Their sponsorship allowed us to cover key event expenses again this year.
Fairbanks North Star Borough Parks and Recreation manages the Birch Hill Recreation Area and did so safely during the 2020 Virtual Sonot Kkaazoot. We appreciate their extra cleaning efforts in the warming hut (now closed) and their diligence in safely removing snow from parking lots, walkways, steps, and overhanging roofs.
Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks groomers (Tom Helmers, Bill Husby, and Ken Coe) created awesome trails for virtual Sonot Kkaazoof skiers in spite of gusty winds and record snow. John Estle, NSCF race director, set up the new ChronoTrack registration system for the Sonot Kkaazoot, and provided detailed written instructions that Anna Sorensen helped Frank Soos and me understand. Eric Troyer tallied the virtual Sonot Kkaazoot skiers’ times and distances.
Other Sonot Kkaazoot sponsors were ready and willing to assist (as they have in the past) when we cancelled the event because of COVID-19 safety concerns.
Also, a huge thank you to all skiers who skied during the Virtual Sonot. Seeing so many skiers (safely distanced from others) over the 10 days meant that some of the magic of the Sonot Kkaazoot was retained. Weather and trail conditions on the Sonot Kkaazoot race day (and last day of the ‘virtual” Sonot) couldn’t have been nicer.
For the SCUM training group (and Sonot volunteers), the Sonot Kkaazoot represents our final exam. Normally, on the Sunday after the Sonot Kkaazoot, we still skied to move our seized up muscles and aching joints. Because of the COVID-19 shelter-in-place policies, we can no longer meet as a group this season, but thanks to generous contributions of skiers to the NSCF grooming fund, we should be able to keep skiing as long as our snowpack remains.
Finally, to Sonot Kkaazoot founder and race director, Bad Bob Baker, thank you for dreaming up this amazing ski event and for all your Chena River trail grooming efforts and overall race organizing. It is so much easier to ski this event (even at 70 years old with two bionic knees) than be in the hot seat as race director.
This morning, Joanna Fox took this video of Norma Haubenstock and me enjoying the Outhouse loop—taking care to keep at least 6 feet apart. Thank you, Tom Helmers, for such wonderful tracks.