Fantastic photos by Max Kaufman

Max Kaufman, photographer and skier, took all the above photos of the 20 km skiers on the Chena River from under the Old Steese Bridge, of 40 and 50 km skiers in the Birch Hill stadium, and a few skiers at the finish.

You can view and download full resolution digital images of 229 photos from the slideshow at the Awards Ceremony on Max’s Picaso album:

https://picasaweb.google.com/102182157666674406929/Sonot2016?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCOmOl_y0ptnGwQE&feat=directlink

https://picasaweb.google.com/102182157666674406929/Sonot2016?authkey=Gv1sRgCOmOl_y0ptnGwQE

In exchange, please make a donation on Max’s behalf to either the Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks trail fund:

https://nordicskicluboffairbanks.wildapricot.org/Donate/

or to FXC, the NSCF youth training program, at the upcoming Spring Gala on April 16, 2016.

Thank you, Max! Your generosity will help appease the out-of-town skiers who were disappointed that we didn’t have swag to sell this year.

 

2016 Sonot Kkaazoot story on FasterSkier.com

Gavin Kentch, who won the first place woodel in the M1 male category for the 50 km Sonot Kkaazoot, has a detailed article in FasterSkier.com, illustrated with Max Kaufman’s excellent photographs of the leading skiers.

http://fasterskier.com/blog/article/skiers-battle-warming-temps-melting-river-ice-in-fairbanks-sonot-kkaazoot/

Oldest 2016 Sonot Kkaazoot 50 km finisher

If you thought trail conditions were a little challenging on Saturday, here’s a finish line photo of Alan Delamere, the oldest finisher of the 50 km Sonot Kkaazoot and woodel winner for the men’s M10 age category (80 and over).

Alan edged out Dermot Cole, 18 years younger and not wearing a lycra speed suit. The Delamere family in the 2016 Sonot Kkaazoot included Alan, son Peter (top skier in Men’s M4 category for the 50 km), and granddaughter Hannah (top skier in U12 girls in the 20 km event).

As Sharon Baker (who co-founded and organized the Sonot Kkaazoot for many years with her husband, Bad Bob) said at the Sonot Kkaazoot awards ceremony, Alan is our role model and why we HAVE to keep skiing the 50 km Sonot Kkaazoot.

Congratulations, Alan!

Dermot & Alan at Sonot 50 finish

Dermot Cole (left) and Alan Delamere (right) finishing the 50 km Sonot —photo by Susie Frei

Visualize Skiing the Sonot Kkaazoot

Video

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.

Sonot Training Class Starts January 26, 2016

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:

http://nscfairbanks.net/index.php/adult-lessons/956-mid-winter-adult-lessons-registration-open-now

This class is highly recommended for the skier hoping to ski the 50 km Sonot Kkaazoot for the first time.

El Nino, Global Change, and the Sonot Kkaazoot

An extraordinarily strong El Nino is influencing weather patterns throughout the northern hemisphere and Interior Alaska is no exception. An early snow storm in late September led to downed trees and widespread power outages. Much warmer temperatures than normal in October melted most of the early winter snowpack but allowed trail clean-up and powerline repairs.

Robert practicing his doublepole

Robert practicing his doublepoling under trail light post on White Bear in late October

A snowy November provided Birch Hill groomers with daily challenges but gave us the needed snowpack when chinooks in December and January brought winds, above freezing temperatures, and no additional precipitation.  These conditions again brought significant grooming challenges in the form of downed trees, debris, and globs of ice. However, thanks to our groomers whose tools include chain saws and rakes, we have the luxury of skiing on world class trails. However, donations to the Trail Fund are well below last season, so please consider an additional donation at:

https://nordicskicluboffairbanks.wildapricot.org/Donate/

Saturday’s 20 km Buetow Distance Race #2 featured a course including sections of the North 40, Black Hole, Blue, Outhouse, and Tower loops with deep, beautiful classical tracks (amazingly free of leaf debris) and a firm skate platform that was an absolute delight to ski. This event was a perfect training workout for the Sonot Kkaazoot and yet another reminder of the value of grooming and volunteers in the Nordic Ski community.

So, Alaska Nordic Skiers take note, we are skiing in Fairbanks and have been since early November. The Sonot Kkaazoot has never been canceled so make a commitment now to ski 20, 40 or 50 km on Saturday, 26 March 2016. The organization for the Sonot Kkaazoot is entirely volunteer so significant proceeds can go toward the grooming necessary to make the event (and training for the event) possible. Thus, we need your help. If you plan to ski the Sonot Kkaazoot, please sign up early.

https://sonotkkaazoot.org/register/

Not only will the registration fees be lower, you will assist us in planning for the event.

If you do not plan to ski, please consider volunteering to help out on race day as many of the Sonot Kkaazoot participants are the volunteers staffing the Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks events so this is their one event to race. We especially need people who can help with timing (an “inside” job) or staffing the various road and alpine hill crossings on Fort Wainwright. We also have other volunteer tasks that racers can do as well. See the “Volunteers” page on the Sonot Kkaazoot webpage for specifics or to sign up:

https://sonotkkaazoot.org/volunteers/

Enjoy the wonderful ski trails.

Ski the 50 km Sonot Kkaazoot in 2016

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?

New Yeark at SCUM corner sm

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.

  1. 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/
  2. 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/
  3. Ski the black loops before the Sonot Kkaazoot. These loops are much less intimidating once you know where to expect the corners.
  4. Ski the Sonot Connector (both directions) going down as far at the Fort Wainwright alpine hut.
  5. 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.