From Sonot Kkaazoot race director:
Friday went well on the Chena River. The entire 20 km is flat and fast. We will see what the next two weeks bring weather wise. With the Chena River packed, and cold overnight temps, the ice should get thicker. Today I broke through in two places, very obvious! So, be aware and cautious if you ski on the Chena River. Enjoy, it’s very fast! This afternoon and tonight will be the best skating, before the snowmachines tear it up.
I’ll be back from ski racing in Norway on March 18. And will groom again then.
Chena River grooming on 1 March 2019
20 km Sonot Kkaazoot turnaround
Sonot blogger checking out the trail
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 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 Sonot course
Bad Bob’s technique for removing toe grabbers on the 20 km turnaround trail
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.
Sonot Kkaazoot Race Director, Bad Bob Baker took his drag from Graehl Landing to the 20 km turnaround and back. In that section, the Chena River has lots of thin spots and even a little open water. He did not go further downriver because he thought it was TOO RISKY.
Until further notice, STAY OFF THE CHENA RIVER.
Several of the SCUM (Sonot Kkaazoot organizers) skied from Graehl Park to the Trainor Gate bridge on the Chena River to inspect the Sonot Kkaazoot ski trail after groomers Ken Coe and Bill Husby had brought down the Birch Hill drags to use in tandem with Bad Bob’s special river drag.
Early in our ski we met up with Bad Bob who was drilling the ice to check on ice thickness and reports that he never hit water with his foot long drill bit:
The corduroy was wide enough for two skaters to ski side by side as shown here:
Robert Hannon (Sonot military contact) and Carl Hemming (bib distribution staff) ski on newly groomed Chena River on Wednesday around noon.
However, Robert with his intensely focused journalist’s eyes managed to find an imperfection in the dragged surface that caused him to make a spectacular dive to avoid catching his tip on it.
Although temperatures were still in the single digits as we started out, the bright sunshine made “sliding around in springtime” fun. The trail was great under all three highway bridges where the groomers had harvested snow from the surrounding area and packed it down to cover the icy areas.
Enjoy the Chena River ski trail! The sunshine and easy speed is fantastic!