The temperature at the Sonot Kkaazoot race start this morning was much colder than predicted at -10 deg F. Bad Bob will be out on the river late this afternoon to determine ice thicknesses so that we can report the location of our race start at early bib pick-up tonight at the Doyon, Ltd. building from 5 to 7 p.m.
Bad Bob will drag the Chena River portion of the Sonot Kkaazoot course again this afternoon if you want to personally check it out before or after you pick up your bib.
Still trying to decide whether to sign up? Check out the awesome Sonot Kkaazoot informational flyer designed by Rebecca Heaton that is available for download on the home page.
Here are some photos that Bad Bob took on Wednesday:
Ramp down to the Sonot Kkaazoot start area (all photos by Bad Bob Baker)
Chena River trail three days out
Sonot Kkaazoot trail near Hamilton Acres
Wildlife captured on the trail three days out
From Bob Baker, Sonot Kkaazoot Chief of course, yesterday (3/5/18): “I groomed the Chena again today, and even set a rough set of classical tracks on one side. I finished all the brush clearing and widened the 20 km turnaround and it’s ready to go… Ft. Wainwright has groomed out the route from the ski area all the way to, and across the River Road and all along that ditch, too. Looks great! And now, they can even take the big grooming equipment all the way to the River’s edge.
The Chena River has developed some overflow and wet spots on a few places on the edges of where I have groomed. The temperature really shot up today to almost 20 deg. I think when the snow stops and the temps drop back down to the ZERO area over night, things will get much better again. No panic yet, just the Chena being the Chena. Otherwise, the Chena River was groomed with a Classic Track and a good 12′ wide Skate lane the whole 20 km.
Will do more next time the temp drops some more.”
So ski with care and preferably with someone on the Chena River. Do not wander outside the groomed trail. Remember to carry your identification if you plan to ski on Fort Wainwright trails and watch for traffic on road crossings.
From Bad Bob Baker: “All (Chena River trail) groomed 16′ or wider. I put the ramp in at start area too. River looks and feels great. Now is the time to check it out and ski!”
Skiers enjoying the sunshine and newly groomed trail
Ramp to the start area–all photos from Bad Bob Baker
Bad Bob Baker was out grooming the Chena River again today. He reports that it was “very warm, new soft spots” as temperatures rose above freezing in the low lying areas. Skiers should be alert to potential hazards, and conditions could change quickly if the predicted snow storm materializes tomorrow afternoon.
Photos by Bob Baker
From Bad Bob Baker: I skated the river this morning. The Chena is in great shape and fairly fast with decent snow under the bridges. All questionable areas were well frozen and in good shape. Ski with a partner and enjoy the smooth skating. Dress warm! Be safe.
Chena River near the Sonot Kkaazoot start area–Photo by Bob Baker
All photos by Bad Bob Baker during this morning’s ski
Bad Bob, who turned 60 years old last week, groomed the Chena River again today and rerouted the trail in places. He reports that the Chena River is ready for skiing and is much faster but much colder than Birch Hill.
HOWEVER, ALL RIVER TRAVEL ON ICE IS HAZARDOUS SO DON’T SKI ALONE. This is the response of groomer Bob Baker to a comment on an earlier post about unsafe spots on the Chena River:
“Yes..there are still some bad spots on the river. I caused the hole this person mentioned just upriver from the foot bridge…and now, after 3 days…that hole has frozen over pretty well… but nothing is ever for CERTAIN when it come to safety on the Chena River. What the packing and grooming will hopefully do, is break down the insulating snow cover, and help freeze the packed trail thicker. The grooming helps expose some of the bad spots, but it’s not an instant fix for thin ice. We have another 6 1/2 weeks to go before the race, and it’s my hopes that now that the river has been packed, it will help in the freezing process. I did reroute a lot of the course today, only to find some other NEW HOLES…. I will keep grooming, every week or 2 and move the trail as needed. If people choose to ski on the Chena River, they are doing so at their own risk…. The preparation I’m doing now, is hoping to prepare the river for a safe route come late March for the SONOT race start. For the most part, the river is looking better with each passing week. I would strongly suggest that people don’t ski the river at this time, and if they do, to not ski alone, and be very aware of open holes, steam, and soft spots (overflow), and use extreme caution and alertness!!! It should only improve as the days go by, with these nice negative temperatures we are having. REMEMBER…traveling along any river in the winter is always hazardous!! KEEP YOUR GUARD UP.. PAY ATTENTION… STEER CLEAR OF OBVIOUS BAD AREAS and STAY ON THE PACKED TRAIL…. “
There are less than 3 weeks to sign up for the 2018 Sonot Kkaazoot at early registration fees.
Photos by Bad Bob Baker
To help thicken the ice under the section of the Chena River used for the Sonot Kkaazoot, Bad Bob Baker, chief of course, has made the first grooming run on the Chena River.
I groomed out the starting area full width from start to Wendell Street bridge. Then went up the Chena end back, but only a 4 foot groom over the Yukon Quest trail, to not confuse the dog race. I will widen the trail later this week after the Quest gets underway. Also the Sonot trail will be quite a different route on the Chena from the Quest trail.
So if you plan to watch the Yukon Quest start today, you might want to take your skis and check out our/their trail.