Athabaskan: Sonot (pronounced “SAW NOT”, “springtime”) Kkaazoot (“to slide your feet across the snow”)
Saturday, March 28, 2015
We did it! The 28th Annual Sonot Kkaazoot is in the books. Thanks to Bad Bob Baker and Jeff Skeels, who watched the Sonot Kkaazoot trail wash away but were not deterred. Thanks to Bad Bob for not sleeping but making sure that the course would be safe for us all. Thanks to Jeff who made us a trail on the Fort Wainwright bunny hill. Thanks to Tom Helmers and Ken Coe who groomed day and night to make all the Birch Hill trails and the river absolutely perfect.
Thanks to all the volunteers who allowed the Sonot Kkaazoot to take place. You are the real heroes of the day!
Photo of the 2015 start by Chris Hemming
Banner photo courtesy of Retrospection Image.
One down on Smith Lake (with witnesses),another on the T-field notch for no obvious reason.Poles tests the waters at the base of the T-field and shows how he stays on the top of this game, while
Robert finds his own way to wash the mud off his warm-ups from when he took the muddy path down from the top of the T-field instead of the icy one.
End of the season ski and swim scheduled from Wednesday, 22 April 2015 beginning at 11:00 a.m. ADT on Smith Lake. Come join the fun. Bring skis. shades, and sunscreen. For the gullible, a snorkel might be handy.
The Spring Gala, put on by NSCF-FXC, will be held this Saturday, April 18 from 8 to 11 p.m. Music will be provided by Steve Brown and the Bailers, an acoustic trio, and the floor will be open for dancing. Refreshments will be provided by HooDoo Brewery. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the door or from an FXC skier.
A silent auction will be held throughout the evening, and a dessert auction will also be held. The silent auction has many items. Some are ski-related, but many are not. All proceeds of the event go to FXC, the junior race-training program of the Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks.
Traditionally some of the best skiing of the year happens after the Sonot Kkaazoot. However, with the overall winter being warm and low snowfall with a record loading of birch seed and spruce cones, the ski season at Birch Hill for 2014 to 2015 is drawing to a close. In addition to the Ski for Women participants, we enjoyed the wonderfully groomed ski trails today and some unexpected sunshine.
We close out the ski season at Birch Hill with this rare shirtless photo shoot.
Skiing at West Ridge is still feasible for at least another week so we may post some photos from our annual Smith Lake biathlon (ski, swim) event that will likely be no earlier than late April.
Birch Hill trails are wonderful thanks to trail donations and the piston bully work of Tom Helmers. The Sonot Kkaazoot organizers were able to take a relaxing ski on Easter Sunday in preparation for the 2016 event, when our technique and fitness will be much improved.
Here’s Eric Troyer, the head of Sonot Kkaazoot publicity showing the uphill technique he’s learned from Pete Leonard’s FXC Masters class.
And following him are Frank Soos, head of Sonot bib pick-up and late registration followed by Eric Buetow, one of our Fort Wainwright road crossing team leaders.
Bill Husby (aka Poles) was skating today after a season of grooming at Birch Hill and heading up Sonot Kkaazoot trail snow enhancement and brushing parties.Dermot Cole was the SCUM reporter on the course and videotaped the 50 km start as well as the last wave of skiers up the Fort Wainwright alpine hill. Dermot (on right in photo below) was a key snow enhancement worker on the river and on the Sonot Connector in the week leading up to the Sonot Kkaazoot:and all the skiers were enjoying the easy ski out of the black loops today:Enjoy the wonderful trails while they last. Spring really is right around the corner.
Some of the SCUM who played a major role in the Sonot Kkazoot weren’t skiing on Easter Sunday, so here is a partial group photo taken by Kent Karns on race day.From left to right: Steve Clautice (#508) helped set up and serve at the Awards Ceremony; to his right is Robert Hannon who headed up contact with the military and organized the Fort Wainwright road crossing teams; to his right with the ball cap is Mike Schmoker, who with Bernardo Hernandez constructs and distributes Sonot woodels and other awards; #551 is Mom, head Sonot janitor and crisis coach; #96 is Mike Ruckhaus, snow mover and trail enhancer; #550 is Frank Soos, guru in charge of bib distribution, late registration,and swag; Dermot Cole with all the extra clothes was a key snow enhancer on the river and Sonot Connector; and to his right is Chris Puchner, who organized all the feed stations and headed up the set-up and take-down of the finish area on the river.
Reports from Sonot Kkaazoot participants (both local and from Anchorage) were that the trail conditions were fantastic in spite of the record heat during the week prior to the 28th annual Sonot Kkaazoot. Here are some photos of the heroes behind those trails at work and the final results of their efforts:
Although most skiers were too tired when they got to the crest of the bunny hill to look up at the slope that had melted away as a river of water on Friday, Sonot Kkaazoot skiers really owe their great day to Jeff Skeels who bulldozed this alternate route for them.
All photos by Chris Broda, Fort Wainwright alpine hill crossing volunteer and leader of Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks “Ladies of Leisure”
Fast snow conditions led to fast times in the 2015 Sonot Kkaazoot.
Rebecca Konieczny set a new record time for the Women’s 50 km freestyle Sonot Kkaazoot. Her time 2:23:40.6 took 7:32 off the previous record finish time held by Melissa Lewis from 2005. In addition, the Sonot Connector was added to the Sonot Kkaazoot course in 2012, so Rebecca skied a couple of km further than the old “50 km” course when skiers accessed Birch Hill Recreation Area via the Fort Wainwright alpine hill.
Likewise, Peter Leonard, also improved upon the previous record time for the Men’s 20 km Sonot Kkaazoot set in 2005 by Marius Korthauer. Pete’s time of 45:56.3 bettered the Men’s record time by about 58 seconds.