After a two-year hiatus, the Cross-Country Alaska Junior Championships will be returning to the state-wide racing calendar March 26 and 27 and will be the first part of a weekend with family-wide ski racing appeal. The Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks’ season-culminating marathon, the Sonot Kkaazoot, is scheduled to start in downtown Fairbanks on the Chena River the morning of March 28.
The CCAK Junior Championships is an event focused on J2 and younger skiers. This year’s event will be hosted by the NSCF’s FXC program, and take place on the trails at Birch Hill Recreation Area in Fairbanks. The event will feature both a mix of traditional and more modern events, aimed to attract everyone from first-timers from Alaska’s various Jr. Nordic programs to J3 and J2 racers fresh from the Arctic Winter Games and JOs.
The Junior Championships will kick-off with a sprint relay on the evening of March 26 at Fairbanks’ Birch Hill Trails. The late PM start should allow racers around the state ample travel and preparation time as the Anchorage School District has a day off from school and Fairbanks North Star Borough School District is scheduled for a half day.
Saturday will be the main day of the championships, and feature a full slate of events. The first race is an interval start classic technique race with a spectrum of distances under 5 km depending on age group. Near mid-day, attention will be focused on the stadium for a 100m classic sprint event. The final race of the Championships will be a freestyle ski-cross event, featuring small heats on a mostly downhill course with tight turns and lots of action. Saturday will conclude with an evening banquet featuring a prize raffle for participants and awards for top finishers in the four events.
For older skiers there will be various open events throughout the weekend. However, the greatest draw for adults and older juniors (not to mention those younger ones who just can’t get enough) is Sunday’s 23rd annual Sonot Kkaazoot – a separate event from the championships, but another great ski race happening in Fairbanks on the same weekend. The Sonot features 20 km and 50 km events, both of which start on the river in downtown Fairbanks. The 20 km is an out-and-back race entirely on the river, while the 50 km event travels 10 km down the river, climbs Birch Hill and completes nearly the whole Birch Hill trail system, then returns to the river and heads back to the start/finish line at the Cushman Street Bridge.
Regardless of age, if you’re a skier in Alaska the last weekend of March, you don’t want to miss this weekend of racing in Fairbanks. Registration information for both events will be forthcoming as the events draw closer. We’ll see you there!