Akelstad, Sullivan repeat as Arctic Man champs

Tyler Akelstad and Marco Sullivan made it three in a row Friday at the Arctic Man.

Akelstad, a snowmachiner from Palmer, and Sullivan, a three-time Olympic downhiller from Truckee, Calif., won the men's ski title at the annual adrenaline-laced competition in the Hoodoo Mountains near Paxson, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.

Akelstad and Sullivan won the race for the third straight year and the fourth time since 2008.

The popular event draws thousands of spectators who came to ride snowmachines and catch the daredevil races, which are a high-speed combination of snowmachining and either skiing or snowboarding.

Skiers or snowboarders drop 1,700 feet and just less than two miles from the top of a peak, hook up to a snowmachine on the fly for a tow of a little more than two miles to the next summit, and then separate from the snowmachine for another drop of 1,200 feet over the final mile or so.

The event attracts dozens of Alaskans and a handful of world-class skiers, snowboaders and snowmachiners from Outside. Besides Sullivan, who competed in the men's downhill at February's Winter Olympics in Russia, Friday's field included snowboarder Scotty Lago, the 2010 Olympic bronze medalist in the halfpipe; snowboader Nate Holland, a three-time Olympian and seven-time Winter X Games gold medalist in snowboardcross; skier Daron Rahlves, a four-time Olympian who won three World Championship medals in downhill and super-G and snowmachines Levi LaVallee, a Winter X Games gold medalist in speed and style.

LaVallee and Rahlves were partners in the men's ski division Friday, but they failed to finish.

Other winners Friday, according to the News-Miner, included James Scott and Casey Boylan in the men's snowboard division, Carly Brennman and Ashley Nicholi in the women's snowboard division and Shelly Robertson and Ashley Axhelm in the women's ski division.