Over 13,000 snowmobilers and fans gather together annually in the HooDoo Mountains of Alaska for a week long Spring break. This April 2016 annual gathering is in its 31st year. The Arctic Man is one of the World’s Toughest Downhill Ski races, and an exciting snowmobile race, all in one. In the unique race, skiers or snowboarders start at 5,800 feet and drop 1,700 feet in less than 2 miles. At the bottom of a canyon, racers meet up with snowmobilers in motion, grab a tow rope and travel more than 2 miles uphill — at which point the two racers disconnect, and the skier or snowboarder descends another 1,200 feet to the finish.
“The course is looking good,” Jamaican Ski Team Member and former Olympian Errol Kerr said, adding there’s more snow than when he competed in 2010 where he finished 4th. After months of endurance training, Kerr is making sure he doesn’t tire himself out right before the big day.
“Four-and-a-half minutes is the length of this race. A traditional alpine race is around two minutes. The fatigue level is double the fatigue level of other ski races,” he said. Kerr also stressed the importance of teamwork, “That hookup is really important.” Towing Kerr is Mike Vasser, who said a significant change in temperature made his clutch require significant tuning.
ARCTIC MAN UPDATE – Thursday, April 7: Today’s Arctic Man race was cancelled after running all the men ski competitors except for 6 of them. With weather moving in, the visibility was compromised. Race is rescheduled for Friday. If Friday fails, then Saturday. Kerr’s time was the second fastest, and he had broken the 4 minute mark.