Thanks to Sonot Kkaazoot sponsors and volunteers

The 31st Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot took place under fantastic sunny skies and nearly perfect temperatures for skiing. This year 285 skiers aged 8 to 72 successfully finished their events.

We are extremely grateful to the support of Denali State Bank, who has been our title sponsor from our modest start in 1988 when 21 skiers crossed the finish line for the 50 km and 8 for the 20 km. Other sponsors key to organizing this event include: Doyon, Ltd, Fort Wainwright, U.S. Army Alaska, Fairbanks North Star Borough, Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks, Advanced Physical Therapy, Foundation Health Partners, and Subway.

The Sonot Kkaazoot remains a community ski event organized by volunteers who this year numbered over 105. Many individuals served multiple roles in the Sonot Kkaazoot and were essential to our success. Enthusiastic and helpful volunteers kept skiers fueled, safe, and ensured an accurate time. The volunteers page on the Sonot Kkaazoot website lists all volunteers that we identified: https://sonotkkaazoot.org/volunteers/

We absolutely could not have done this without the groomers who worked for days to make the trails absolutely first rate. Over 110 man hours were spent trail clearing and/or grooming for the 2018 Sonot Kkaazoot.

The feed stations had drinks and feeds ready for 5 to 6 hours. They fed and encouraged those of us in the back of the pack when we really needed a boost. Watershed School was a new addition to the Sonot Kkaazoot this year, and staffed the White Bear feed station. Watershed principal, Jarrod Decker generously redirected their feed station honorarium to the Birch Hill Trail Fund because their students benefit from the groomed trails when they take field trips to Birch Hill during the winter. Thank you, Jarrod and Watershed School.

The road crossing teams were especially welcome with concurrent activities going on at the Birch Hill Ski and Snowboard Area. They kept Sonot Kkaazoot skiers safe on the Fort Wainwright Trails when the road crossings had vehicular traffic.

The timers and finish line announcer were working until the last skier crossed. Thank you for demonstrating that every skier’s race is important to them.

After 6 years attempting to be Bad Bob Baker’s sabbatical replacement as Sonot Kkaazoot organizer, I’m happy to be just SCUM again.

Enjoy the spring sunshine! I’ll see you on the ski (or fat bike) trails.

fat bike 2 sm

“I think I’ll stick to skiing”–Photo by Dan Johnson

Best ever conditions at Fort Wainwright Road Crossings

Thanks to Robert Hannon, Sonot Fort Wainwright liaison, and Dani O’Donnell, Fort Wainwright Community Engagement and Media Relations staff person, a crew of 17 Fort Wainwright volunteers were recruited to help Eric Troyer and Bill Chedister in staffing the road crossings on River and Ski Roads.

As shown below (all photos by Eric Troyer, https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.2012647878765322.1073741843.106945789335550&type=1&l=a4233c29a2), these volunteers directed vehicular and skier traffic, shoveled snow on the roadway, and encouraged 40 and 50 km skiers in the early and late stages of their Sonot Kkaazoot journeys.

These Fort Wainwright personnel greatly enhanced the partnership with Fort Wainwright that has existed for all 31 years that the Sonot Kkaazoot taken place.

We urge skiers to thank their neighbors and Fort Wainwright personnel for their additional commitment to the greater Fairbanks North Star Borough community.(https://sonotkkaazoot.org/volunteers/). Without the partnership with Fort Wainwright, the Sonot Kkaazoot would not be possible.

Meet the Sonot Kkaazoot media lead

Putting on the Sonot Kkaazoot requires an army of volunteers who contribute many talents. Eric Troyer, a SCUM noted for his unconventional race suits, has been the Sonot Kkaazoot media lead (and NSCF Facebook guru) and a Fort Wainwright road crossing guard (and photographer) for several years. This year he has assembled the Sonot Kkaazoos, who will perform at the Sonot Kkaazoot Awards Ceremony.

Eric is one of the younger SCUM, and his wife put together this UTube video in honor of Eric’s 58th birthday.

Enjoy Corrine’s creative efforts, and be sure to wish Eric a belated happy birthday!

Chasing the Sun on Moose Mountain

Have you ever wondered how Sonot Kkaazoot creator and long-time organizer, Bad Bob Baker was able to set up the Sonot Kkaazoot course and then ski the race? Grooming and  skiing are part of his life on Moose Mountain. On Saturday, 23 December 2017, Bob shared his “home trail” with us when he organized a Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks Tour that began and ended at his house.

First, he headed off and groomed the 10 mile long, out-and-back trail to eight foot width, returning home as just a hint of predawn light was visible from his deck:

Still dark when Bob finished grooming

He put away his grooming equipment and then began directing vehicles around his parking area so that none of the 16 vehicles would be blocked by another. His years at H&S Warehouse were evident as Bob packed the cars with care, precision, and only inches of clearance between them.

Around 10 a.m., we headed out the trail and soon began the long climb:

And the uphill begins

where smiles were seen on skiers like Sharon Baker and Norma Haubenstock, who opted to stride up the trail:

Sharon & Norma striding up MM

while your blogger, who opted to skate, was struggling to make forward progress. A little snowball of a dog couldn’t figure out why I needed the entire width of the trail as she ran between me and her skier behind me.

Bad Bob, photographer for this post, passed us and skated up to the ridge before sunrise. Here is one of his photos of charred black spruce from the May 2011 forest fire in the foreground and the Alaska Range in the distance.

Sunrise on MM with Blk Spruce skeletal remains

Eventually,  the sun illuminated the windy summits and the valley below:

View of wind on Alaska Range

All photographs in this post were taken by Bad Bob Baker

It was a fantastic day with temperatures in the 20 deg F range while the Fairbanks airport stayed below zero. Descending from the ridge, the low-angled solstice sun glared in our faces, resulting in a few falls on the groomer-created moguls. However, the landings were soft, and soon we were back at the Baker’s house to refuel with Karla Taylor Welch’s chili, Gina Chythlook’s pie, and numerous other baked treats.

Happy Holidays from all the Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks volunteers who organize the Sonot Kkaazoot. Give yourself the gift of good health in 2018. Register for the Sonot Kkaazoot during early registration. Just click on the “Register” tab at the top of this post. Bad Bob and Sharon Baker are signed up. Why aren’t you?

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.

Thanks for a fabulous 30th annual Sonot Kkaazoot

Under sunny skies, the 30th annual Sonot Kkaazoot was successfully completed by 236 skiers. Participants who ranged in age from 8 to 73 participated in four events ranging in distance from 20 km to 50 km. While most of the skiers were from the Fairbanks North Star Borough, this year the Sonot Kkaazoot welcomed 54 skiers who reside elsewhere in the state or outside Alaska.

The organizers would like to thank our title sponsor, Denali State Bank, who has supported the Sonot Kkaazoot since Bad Bob Baker originated the race in 1988.

We also acknowledge the major contribution of Doyon, Limited, Fairbanks North Star Borough Parks and Recreation, Fort Wainwright, U.S. Army Alaska, Foundation Health Partners, and the Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks in making possible this Nordic ski event that begins in downtown Fairbanks, traverses the Chena River to Fort Wainwright, and then follows Fort Wainwright trails to Birch Hill Recreational Area before returning to the start downtown.

Enthusiastic volunteers provided timing assistance and course work, staffed feed stations, road crossings, bib pick-up and registration, and the post-race awards ceremony (see Volunteers page above). The Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks groomers worked tirelessly to ensure awesome trail conditions.

Thank you to all our sponsors, volunteers, and skiers. We look forward to seeing everyone again next year!

Cake

Photo by Margo Klass

Sonot Kkaazoot volunteers at 20 km turnaround

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

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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