Arctic Man, the wildest, fastest race in Alaska, canceled in ’24 due to state bureaucratic slowdown

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Snow machine competitor at Arctic Man goes airborne. Photo credit: Caleb Lawhorne, https://www.akphotovideo.net

“Go fast or go home” is the motto of Arctic Man. This year, the race is staying home. The delays and jacked up costs from the Department of Natural Resources became so unreasonable for Arctic Man, a ski, snowboard, and snow machine race that has taken place for decades, that the race has been canceled this year, organizers said.

It’s been canceled before, due to weather and one year because of the Covid pandemic, but this time it was because by the time DNR came up with the promised five-year permit structure, the cost was a surprising $100,000 a year, and the organizers said they couldn’t do it — there was too little time left to raise the money.

DNR disputes that characterization. In a note, the agency said, “The first renewal option was exactly the same as previous permits (annual $6,480 multi-day commercial land use permit plus $4 fee for each registered event participant. In 2019 the total cost for permitting the 4-day event on State of Alaska land was $6,640). The second permit option could reach $10,000 annually based on the number of attendees ($1,440 multi-day commercial land use permit plus $4 visitor day use fees for each registered parking spot and each registered event participant).”

The race is a much-loved event for extreme sports enthusiasts all over the world. Skiers or snowboarders begin at 5,800 feet and dropping 1,700 feet to a canyon where they meet up with their snow machine partner-driver and catch a tow rope while on the go, pulling the skier 2.4 miles up hill at speeds of up to 86 mph. Then the skier drops over the side of a second mount and skis down 1,200 feet to the finish line.

When organizers couldn’t get DNR to act on their permit fast enough, they eventually went straight to Gov. Mike Dunleavy.

“He and his team were fantastic and they got it all straightened out,” said one of the organizers. But by then, it was too late. The organizers have to have everything coming together for the big gathering no later than December; the event is in April.

Thousands of people converge on the race area for the event each year. In 2022, there were 13,000 spectators, who camp and party for a few days in the Hoo-Doo Mountains at Summit Lake, near Paxson, which is about 3 or 4 hours south of Fairbanks down the Richardson Highway.

“The area the race is held is some the of the best snowmachine riding country in the world. The snowcapped peaks and beauty make this spring event one that you will treasure for a lifetime,” Arctic Man’s website states.

But all is not lost.

“We’ll resurrect it in 2025,” said Jeremy Wise, one of the event organizers. “But for this year, it’s shot.”

Watch this 2016 documentary of Australians as they tackle the world’s craziest race:

28 COMMENTS

  1. Yes Tom. Too much and too big government. A full pfd has never been a problem nor risk. It’s the size of Alaska’s government and departments including non profits who have the audacity to think they are so special it deserves government handouts. The state legislators should tell the non profits go survive on its donations like churches survive on tithes from its attendees or church partnerships.

  2. And I bet they lean left as majority outdoor enthusiasts do left or are moderates or non politically affiliated meaning they have no say while this country self destructs. They’ll getting an understanding what democrat bureaucracy they passively allow and tolerate.

    • Not true,all my buddies that attend this every year are all conservatives plus there are a lot of military folks there as well. Labeling people that love the outdoors leftists or liberals without first knowing the facts isn’t helping things either.

  3. Those leaders why can’t they just cut the state government. I wish I could do it for them. I’d be meaner than Donna Auduin. Because I wouldn’t care I’d only care about saving money. I’d thin out the government so thin my reasonableness be questionable.

  4. If the employees at the DNR are like the BLM employees there attitude is the land belongs to them with there Green Agenda so keep our.

  5. The bureaucrats who slow walked this event need to be identified and fired. Who were the individuals and who proposed the $100,000/yr fee? Fire them and apply their salaries to pay for the fee. Bureaucrats never seem to be held accountable for the things they prevent by inaction and/or procedural sabotage.

  6. WHEN(?) … Will a majority of Alaskans discover that the real ‘Enemy Within’ is really the Bureaucratic Guv’ment Complex, and all of those slugs live amongst us, all of those slugs are conniving against us, and all of those slugs will diminish our lives // livelihoods … Unless we put them in-check!!!

  7. I like how they say “ State of Alaska” land. Well then, it’s ours. Idk when Government decided they “ owned” things but they don’t own shit and it’s time they are reminded of that.

  8. No PFD , no fun, foreign agents own DC. Alaskan companies mandating the death jabs . Why do we tolerate this bs? Let’s just ignore the government and have a race anyway.:)

    • Ignore the government? Not a bad idea.

      That happened in 1980 during the Great Denali Trespass of 1979 under Carter. Hundreds, maybe even a few thousand Alaskans ignored the BLM and the NPS and camped, snow machined, landed Cubs, fire guns, and took part in other, now prohibited, activities in the newly created federal park and wilderness areas. It was sort of a local Boston Tea Party. There were too many to arrest and the Feds, showing uncommon wisdom, decided to ignore the protest rather than bring more attention to it.

  9. Alaska is a very political state . Who you know and who rub elbows with determines your wealth and position in our great state . That’s the problem with politics and dealing with politicians . If you lay with dogs , your gonna get flees ? Careful Howie !

    I learned the political thing as a teenager . My Father was a Democrat . Lots of pull in sixties and seventies . Get any thing done . A lot of it was for the good of the people . Bill Egan was one of Alaska’s best politicians and loved the people and was adored by most everyone . I was in Nome with him one time , it was the one craziest things ever saw . This drunk at bar could barely stand and peeing at bar . I think it was the board of trade . Bill walked up and knew him and his entire family . Called them all by name . Not realizing the old guy had urinated at standing towards the bar .

    Too bad things are so screwed up now . Turned our whole country upside down . Thank God for this paper . We can still say what we want ! Love it .

  10. All such events will be canceled until morale improves. If you find an activity that is fun or profitable keep it a secret. The Anchorage assembly must have a long reach.

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