Thank you to 33rd Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot sponsors and all the virtual skiers!

In the midst of COVID-19 pandemic, I want to thank all the Sonot Kkaazoot sponsors, who allowed us to safely celebrate spring by sliding our feet over snow.

Although the 33rd Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot was canceled, we were able to conduct a “virtual” Sonot Kkaazoot (over a period of 10 days leading up to and including the scheduled race day), thanks to several of our event sponsors.

Denali State Bank has been the Sonot Kkaazoot title sponsor for 33 years. Their sponsorship allowed us to cover key event expenses again this year.

Fairbanks North Star Borough Parks and Recreation manages the Birch Hill Recreation Area and did so safely during the 2020 Virtual Sonot Kkaazoot. We appreciate their extra cleaning efforts in the warming hut (now closed) and their diligence in safely removing snow from parking lots, walkways, steps, and overhanging roofs.

Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks groomers (Tom Helmers, Bill Husby, and Ken Coe) created awesome trails for virtual Sonot Kkaazoof skiers in spite of gusty winds and record snow. John Estle, NSCF race director, set up the new ChronoTrack registration system for the Sonot Kkaazoot, and provided detailed written instructions that Anna Sorensen helped Frank Soos and me understand. Eric Troyer tallied the virtual Sonot Kkaazoot skiers’ times and distances.

Other Sonot Kkaazoot sponsors were ready and willing to assist (as they have in the past) when we cancelled the event because of COVID-19 safety concerns.

Also, a huge thank you to all skiers who skied during the Virtual Sonot. Seeing so many skiers (safely distanced from others) over the 10 days meant that some of the magic of the Sonot Kkaazoot was retained. Weather and trail conditions on the Sonot Kkaazoot race day (and last day of the ‘virtual” Sonot) couldn’t have been nicer.

For the SCUM training group (and Sonot volunteers), the Sonot Kkaazoot represents our final exam. Normally, on the Sunday after the Sonot Kkaazoot, we still skied to move our seized up muscles and aching joints. Because of the COVID-19 shelter-in-place policies, we can no longer meet as a group this season, but thanks to generous contributions of skiers to the NSCF grooming fund, we should be able to keep skiing as long as our snowpack remains.

Finally, to Sonot Kkaazoot founder and race director, Bad Bob Baker, thank you for dreaming up this amazing ski event and for all your Chena River trail grooming efforts and overall race organizing. It is so much easier to ski this event (even at 70 years old with two bionic knees) than be in the hot seat as race director.

This morning, Joanna Fox took this video of Norma Haubenstock and me enjoying the Outhouse loop—taking care to keep at least 6 feet apart. Thank you, Tom Helmers, for such wonderful tracks.