Raven Romp prepares skiers for the Sonot Kkaazoot

Plenty of natural snow on the White Bear and Sunnyside trails await skiers participating in this Sunday’s Raven Romp, the third Buetow Dental-Pangaea Distance Race. This 30 km classical event (with a 10 km option) starts at 11:00 a.m. Sunday at the Biathlon Range.

Details are available here:


With this week’s snowfall, trails will well-covered with newly fallen snow. As of Friday, all the trails that will be used in Sunday’s event had been packed and tracked at least once this week. The new snow brought down a number of trees that the groomers have been busy removing. If you haven’t done so already, please contribute to the Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks grooming fund that allows us to ski on our fantastic trails. Here’s the secure online form:


With any luck, you’ll see that the Sunnyside Trails are well-named. Here’s the section line turnaround where the Raven Romp course heads back toward the Outhouse Loop.  We needed shades today.

Section Line turnaround sm

Heading back on Sunnyside toward OH sm

Sign up and ski the Raven Romp on Sunday.

Then sign for the Sonot Kkaazoot before Friday, 23 February when early registration ends. Just click the “Register” tab at the top of this website.

Training for the Sonot at the Birkie

If you’ve been sweating what to use for kick wax on the 30 km Distance Race #3 to be held Sunday at Birch Hill Recreation Area, you could be in Wisconsin with 10,000 other skiers worrying about wax for the various Birkie events there tomorrow.

Bad Bob Baker, originator and longtime organizer of the Sonot Kkaazoot, is searching the world (literally) for races that will give him a special edge in the Sonot Kkaazoot. Baker and Dave Edic, former Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks skier, are currently wax testing for tomorrow’s 55 km Classical American Birkebeiner Marathon. Here’s his update on wax testing near the course (that is currently closed to save the snow).

“Today Dave and I tested waxes for tomorrow’s BIRKIE. It was raining fairly hard and 38 degrees. We found that most of the universal Klisters were all working OK, but not great.  Zero’s were worse and slower. We also tested red Klisters, with and without silver and other great sticky stuff. Bottom line is nothing came close to a great kick wax. However, we did manage to get totally soaked while testing and we ran into David Norris, Lex Treinen, Tyler Kornfield and other APU racers, who all got wet testing too. They are all skating tomorrow and gave us a smile as to say, we’re glad we aren’t classic skiing. The BIRKIE course has not been groomed all week, so our testing was in an area sort of near the BIRKIE course. They will groom the race course sometime after midnight, so the actual conditions on race day morning will remain a mystery until we arrive at the start in the AM. Dave and I have now decided to just wax our skis up with a base klister and a universal klister, head to the start with lots of other waxes and a torch and iron and pray that things go well. I will carry some kind of crazy wax with me in case I lose my grip and bonk, just to get me to the finish. Present attitude is …”CAN’T WAIT TILL THIS IS OVER”..  ENJOY your FAIRBANKS ski conditions!  It could be worse.”

Let’s just hope that Bad Bob and Dave Edic manage to stay ahead of this 85 year old skier from Anchorage:


Bad Bob + rain + snow = 45 km CL FUN

Ever wonder about the skier who came up with the idea of the Sonot Kkaazoot almost 3 decades ago, and then made it happen? Bad Bob Baker approaches ski races with the same passion that he embraces grooming the Sonot trail on the Chena River amidst jumbled ice and flowing water.

Today in typical Bad Bob fashion, he had 2 hours and 52 minutes of fun (in mixed rain and snow at 33 deg F) skiing the 45 km mass start classical event at Masters World Cup in Finland. Bad Bob finished 18 of 30 starters in the M6 race (only 26 finished) and was second American behind his former training partner, Dave Edic.

Keep having fun, Bob!

Bad Bob in action sm

Bad Bob Baker at 15 km of 45 km CL Masters World Cup Race (photo by Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks president, Bruce Jamieson)

Besh Cup Races 3 & 4 moved to Birch Hill

The Competition Committee of Cross Country Alaska decided last night to move Besh Cup Races 3 & 4 (scheduled for Soldotna on 17 and 18 January 2015) to Birch Hill. This change of venue was unavoidable because of lack of snow in the Kenai. Besh Cup Races 3 & 4 are both classical technique races (one sprint, one mass start) because the Besh Cup Race 1, held in Anchorage in December, needed to be changed from a classical to freestyle technique sprint format because of lack of snow.

Thus, the Distance Race #2, scheduled for 11 a.m. on 17 January 2015 at Birch Hill will be rescheduled to allow the Birch Hill Recreation Area trails to be used for the two Besh Cup Races.

We’ll post the new time and date when available. You’ll have a little more training time before the 20 km CL test that the Distance Race #2 will provide.

Fairbanks skiers #1 and #2 for M6 men at 2014 National Masters Championships

Dave Edic and Bob Baker helped melt the trails at Kincaid with their performances in the 10 km classical technique race at the 2014 National Masters last night. Dave, who was 12th in a field of 69 men, was first among M6 men with a time of 33:58. Bob Baker, originator and long-time organizer of the Sonot Kkaazoot, was 20th overall and second among M6 men with a time of 35:12.

National Masters continues with relays tonight and finishes with the Tour of Anchorage on Sunday. At least 2 dozen Fairbanks skiers plan to be at one of the various starting lines on Sunday. Good luck to all of them.

Images from the Distance Race #2 on 1/4/14

World Cup quality tracks, temperatures in the high teens (above zero), and a new race course incorporating the “mellowed” black loops awaited participants in Saturday’s Buetow Dental Distance Race #2, the January Jaunt presented by Raven Cross Country. Smiles, grimaces, and deep concentration were captured by photographer Bob Wilkinson on the new downhill section of the blacks and elsewhere. Skiers ranged in age from 12 to 70, many of whom are training for the Sonot Kkaazoot to be held on 29 March 2014.

Distance Race #2 (new course)

If you skied 50 km or more during the Ski Your Age event last Saturday, you probably need a new training challenge. You’ll have one if you ski the Buetow Distance Race #2, presented by Raven Cross Country. This 10 or 20 km classic technique race on Saturday, 4 January 2014, will have a new course this year utilizing some of the Outhouse and the recently “mellowed” upper Black Loops. Geographically challenged racers will want to make sure that they don’t get left behind in the colder regions of the Birch Hill Recreation Area. Here’s a look at the race courses: 20 km Distance Race_2013

Entry forms may be dropped off at Raven Cross Country and Beaver Sports through 5:00 PM Thursday evening. Entry fees are $15 for Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks members and $20 for non-members.  Race day entries will be accepted between 9:45 AM and 10:45 AM Saturday, but will be $5 higher than the early entry fee.