30 km Sonot Kkaazoot course profile

John Estle, Race Coordinator, Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks, has provided this 30 km course profile that he feels all Sonot racers will find informative. He wrote in his email to Bob Baker:

I have a high degree of confidence in the accuracy of the profile.
Elevations were taken from a digital elevation model, and lat/long
coordinates for the path were taken from sat photos.

Average climb is 34.5 m/km, which is right in the middle of FIS specs. It is
on the low end compared to most World Cup courses, which are in the
35-40 m/km range, but it is plenty challenging for a citizen race.

Sonot 2019 Proflie-Short_red

The profile is available as a downloadable PDF file below:

Sonot 2019 Proflie-Short_print

Sonot Kkaazoot courses (20 March 2019)

Today is the first day of spring, and the record warm temperatures have forced a change in the revised Sonot Kkaazoot long courses. Race director, Bad Bob Baker has removed the Sonot Connector from this year’s 40 and 50 km courses. This will make the long courses only 30 km.

The  50  and 40 km races will become one race competed over a 30  km distance. Starting at 11:00 am in the Birch Hill Stadium, skiers go up the West Ramp, then taking a sharp right hand downhill turn onto the end of the Competition loop, and then a sharp downhill left hand turn staying on the Competition loop and heading down onto the North 40.. From this point, the long race will follow the normal Sonot course until it reaches the Sunnyside loop, off the the Outhouse loop.  It will follow the Sunnyside down to the top of Cliffside, and then head left, back up the Sunnyside, and back around, returning to the Outhouse loop.  Racers will take a right back onto Outhouse loop and finish that, then take a hard right onto the Relay Start loop, and continue on it back to the RAMP. Next, racers will head down the Ramp to the bottom and turn right up onto the East Ramp, following it up right into the Tower Loop, around the whole Tower Loop, then onto the Roller Coasters, back to the Stadium, then hard right down onto the White Bear Access, and onto the White Bear.

Skiers will ski the entire White Bear, then turn right into Moilanen Meadows, then finally, turn right, back onto the White Bear and finish up with the White Bear Access into the Stadium, and lastly doing the whole Warm-Up Loop and into the FINISH!!   It’s a very tough, hilly 30 km course, and with the addition of the SUNNYSIDE LOOP, I think racers will enjoy the  course!


Artwork by Bad Bob Baker, who will be at early bib pick-up to explain his maps.

Because 40 km racers will be skiing the same course as the 50 km skiers, they are eligible for woodels this year.

The 20 km race,course is 9.5 km The distance is much shorter, due to the non-flatness of the course.  Racers will also start at 11:00 am in the middle of the Stadium at Birch Hill, right along side the 50 & 40 km racers.   The  9.5  kilometer course will start straight up the main RAMP and out and around the Relay Start Loop, then a slight right hand turn onto the Roller Coaster By-Pass, and back to the Stadium.  Next, you’ll take a hard right hand turn, down onto the White Bear Access, and onto the White Bear Loop.   You’ll follow the White Bear all the way out to the CORONARY  BY-PASS  Turnaround, which will be just beyond the 5- kilometer point,  then head all the way back to the Stadium at Birch Hill, via  the White Bear and White Bear Access loops.  Once you get to the Stadium, racers will turn hard to the right in the Stadium and ski back behind and around the Main Chalet Building, skiing under the overpass/bridge of the Chalet Building and straight into the FINISH. You will not ski Moilanen Meadows or the Warm-up Loops.


Green outlined trails are the 9.5 km course, artwork by Bad Bob Baker


Sonot Kkaazoot will be all at Birch Hill

From Bad Bob Baker, Sonot Kkaazoot race director:

The 32nd Running of the SONOT  KKAAZOOT, to be held this Saturday, March 23, 2019, will completely take place at BIRCH  HILL

Below are 4 pictures i took this morning (Tuesday) of the Chena River.  It was very overcast and 29 degrees at 10:00 am, by noon it was right at 32 and rising. We are predicted to receive temps near 50 for the next 2 days. Although the river was stable this morning with the lower temps, I have no doubt that conditions will only get worse, skiing wise.  I drilled all around the first kilometer, up to the Steese Hwy Bridge and found several spots as thin as 3 inches right in the middle of our course. This is too thin, especially when water was flowing on each side of these thin spots.  Another problem is the amount of ICE along the River. This would make it nearly impossible to set down a decent set of TRACKS, which tells participants where the safe boundaries are, while on the Chena River. With the forecast for temps in the high 40’s and overnight lows in the mid 20’s, I can make the official call now!  0319191132asm0319191148sm0319191158sm


All photos taken by Bad Bob Baker on 3/19/19

The 32nd Denali State Bank SONOT  KKAAZOOT, to be held this Saturday, March 23, 2019, will completely take place at BIRCH  HILL. Start and Finish will be in the main stadium, and all races will start at 11:00am this Saturday.

The early bib pick-up and late registration will still take place this Thursday, March 21 at the DOYON  building  from 5:00pm – 7:00pm.

Final bib pick-up and registration will occur at BIRCH  HILL on race morning from 8:30am-10:30am.  It’s best to attend the early bib pick-up at DOYON on Thursday.

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.


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


To right of trail looking upstream


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.

Yes, it’s been warm in March before

Yes, it’s very warm outside today and is forecast to be the same or warmer tomorrow. However, we’ve had warm March temperatures in the past, and still held the Sonot Kkaazoot as it has been for 31 years.

In 2015, March was very warm like this spring and the Sonot Kkaazoot took place on March 28 that year—five days later than this year.


Although the Chena River is not looking particularly solid for safe skiing, we have held the Sonot Kkaazoot on the traditional course starting and finishing on the Chena River for the past eight years (2011 to 2018). Before that, we had three consecutive years of alternate Sonot Kkaazoot courses, two years all at Birch Hill (2008 and 2009) and one year all on the Chena River (2010) to balance things out.

Sonot Kkaazoot skiers have to be flexible at times and ski whatever conditions and courses Mother Nature tosses our way.  However, spring skiing in Fairbanks is always a special treat.

Fairbanks Five finish Birkie Norway

Sonot Kkaazoot race director, Bad Bob Baker and 4 other Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks skiers finished the 54 kilometer Classic Birkiebiner in Norway. At one point, they were dead last (averaging 3 km in the first hour) because they spent too much time relaxing, taking photographs, and waiting for their teammates who started in later waves.

Fearing a DQ for not meeting time limits, the group increased their pace to “touring” speed and passed 1000 skiers. They finished in about 6:30 with smiles on their faces. Their strategy is one that skiers attempting their first Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot should remember. Have fun, relax, take photographs, enjoy the scenery during the event, and finish with a smile.

Here is a photo gallery of Bad Bob and Sharon Baker, Bruce Jamieson, Donna DiFolco, and Chris Puchner. This time Bob supplied captions, but this former Sonot director is feeling (a little jealous and) overwhelmed with all the Sonot entries and questions, so any readers of this blog can supply their own.

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Remember that late registration for the Sonot Kkaazoot ends Thursday, 21 March 2019. Please try to pick up your race bib at the Doyon Ltd. Building from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday to avoid the day-of-race confusion. Many of the Sonot Kkaazoot organizers will be skiing the event, too, so please help us out.

For out-of-town skiers who have preregistered, there will be a volunteer to distribute your bibs until at least 30 minutes before your start. Day-of-race entries WILL END AT 9:00 a.m. ADT.

Although we cannot promise blue skies and hard kick wax conditions for the Sonot Kkaazoot (like those encountered by the Fairbanks Five at the Birkie Norway), we will promise that the trails will be groomed to perfection by our ace grooming team. We’ll even have orange kilometer markers like the Birkie Norway.

213 skiers set to start Sonot Kkaazoot, one week out

At the end of regular registration, 213 skiers have signed up for the 32nd annual Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot. 109 skiers have signed up for the 20 km event; 27 for the 40 km; and 77 skiers are set to ski the 50 km course.

Late registration entries will be taken until 7 p.m. on Thursday, 21 March 2019.

Entries after that time will be assessed “day of race” fees.