Skiing on Sonot Kkaazoot course is great

Although October was exceptionally wet, temperatures were also unusually warm so snow was late in coming to the Fairbanks area. However, after one false start, the snowpack on the Jim Whisenhant cross country ski trails at Birch Hill Recreation Area and on Fort Wainwright trails is great for both classical and free technique skiing. Thanks to a lot of volunteer brushing work done this fall on the White Bear trail, skate and classical skiing are great. Unfortunately, our fitness isn’t quite in the same shape yet. Here’s what coronary bypass looked like a week ago:

Coronary bypass sm

Yesterday we skied from the Sunnyside Trail to Fort Wainwright, where we found that the Army was busily enhancing snow cover on the alpine ski hill making for unusual skiing conditions up the ski slope to the base of the Sonot Connector. However, the classical tracks on the Sonot Connector and White Bear were awesome.

FWW ski hill at base of Sonot Connector sm

Take a break from snow shoveling and scooping to enjoy the ski trails!

The 31st annual Sonot Kkaazoot just 4 months away.

Sonot Kkaazoot volunteers at 20 km turnaround

The photos below show some of the road crossing volunteers on race day: OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA




And the photos below show some key Sonot Kkaazoot organizers participating in the 30th annual Sonot Kkaazoot.

Frank Soos, guru of bibs and 50% of the team (with his wife, Margo Klass) that designed the fantastic Sonot Kkaazoot hats:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Chris Puchner, organizer of feed stations and the Sonot Kkaazoot start and finish area, skis his longest Sonot Kkaazoot (thanks to pneumonia, work, and out-of-state family issues):OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Bill Husby, one of the key NSCF groomers, before he broke his ski pole and skied 12 km with just one:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Mike Schmoker, master of the woodel construction and award presentations:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Bruce Jamieson, NSCF president and World Masters skier:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Robert Hannon, Fort Wainwright contact and media mogul:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

All photos by Eric Troyer

Sonot trails on Fort Wainwright are fantastic

Today we skied from Birch Hill to the Chena River on the trails that will be used Saturday for the 2016 Sonot Kkaazoot. The preliminary grooming has already created a wide trail on the west side of Ski Road on Fort Wainwright that will allow skate skiers to easily overtake and pass slower skiers on the skate platform. There will still be two road crossings that skiers will traverse but these places will be staffed by volunteers with snow shovels and stop signs.

Here are photos from the trail on the west side of Ski Road today:

Trail on West Side of Ski Road

Pat on West Ski Road trail

Eric on West Ski Road trail

Eric on West Ski Road trail

And here are Pat and Eric skiing up the base of the alpine hill after looking longingly at the rope tow to the left of them:

Pat & Eric on Lower Sonot Connector thinking about rope tow

Pat and Eric on lower end of Sonot Connector

The new snow has really brightened up the ski trails on the Chena River, Fort Wainwright, and at Birch Hill. Skiing is awesome and temperatures are predicted to be springlike. What are you waiting for?  Sign up now.

and thank our great groomers again:

2016 Sonot Kkaazoot Course Updates

New for the 2016 Sonot Kkaazoot: If you are a foreign national and have signed up for the 40 or 50 km Sonot Kkaazoot, we need to give the Fort Wainwright authorities your passport number. If you are already registered for the 40 or 50 km events, please send your name, country, and passport number at your earliest convenience. If we do not have this information by bib pick-up, we will be unable to give you a race bib.

We apologize for the inconvenience. Because of increased security on Fort Wainwright, we must provide them in advance a list of non-US skiers and their passport numbers because the 40 and 50 km Sonot Kkaazoot courses traverse Army land.

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After a several month drought, several inches of snow fell over the Fairbanks area yesterday. Today the hoarfrost and snow crystals were glistening on the newly groomed trails at Birch Hill!

WB on St Pat Day

White Bear Trail on St. Pat’s Day (photo by Bill Husby)

All the snow shoveling that we did last week to cover areas where debris or ground was showing now lies beneath a blanket of fresh white snow. For those of you who might have been considering doing the 50 km classical Sonot Kkaazoot, the abrasive ground ice in the tracks is now covered. You will no longer need multiple pairs of skis to finish the 50 km course.

What are you waiting for? Trails look fantastic and the Chena River is still holding solid. Remember that regular registration for the Sonot Kkaazoot ends tomorrow.  Join the 207 skiers who had already registered by this morning at:


2016 Sonot trail on WEST side of River Rd

If you have ventured out on the Sonot Kkaazoot trail from the Chena River to the Fort Wainwright Alpine area, you may have noticed that the ditch on the east side of the road where we’ve skied for the past 2 years, was far from ideal. This year the Fort Wainwright Birch Hill Ski and Snowboard area will be closing before the Sonot Kkaazoot weekend. Thus, the Sonot Kkaazoot trail will be on the west side of River Road over the pond to Ski Lodge parking lot. Then the trail will ascend the lower part of Alpine Ski hill before joining up with the Sonot Connector Trail.

With the wonderful new snow, the trails should be absolutely awesome.

Remember, regular registration for the Sonot Kkaazoot ends on Friday, 18 March 2016.

Visualize Skiing the Sonot Kkaazoot


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.