Alaska News

People at Arctic Man recover body of Nuiqsut man found dead under snowmachine

Update, 2:45 p.m. Tuesday: In an email on Monday, Alaska State Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said that "there was an avalanche and it appears that the man nearly outran it before being rolled up in it." There were no witnesses to the incident, Peters said.

Original story:

People at Alaska's Arctic Man race have recovered the body of a man who was found dead under a snowmachine Saturday morning, an Alaska State Troopers spokeswoman said.

The man, 31-year-old Clayton Kaigelak of Nuiqsut, was reported missing Friday night when he did not return back to camp from snowmachining, spokeswoman Megan Peters said in an email. No foul play is suspected, she added.

Arctic Man is a race that combines snowmachining with skiing or snowboarding and happens at Summit Lake, near Paxson, in the Interior.

Kaigelak did not trigger an avalanche or get caught in one, said Debra McGhan, director of the Alaska Avalanche Information Center.

"It was really just a guy who went up last night because he was excited, and it was a rental machine. We think it was a machine he wasn't used to," she said. "He went up over some debris and it pitched him over and pinned him under the sled. And he did not have any personal protection on him."

The area where the accident happened is just north of the Arctic Man base camp on a steep south-facing slope, McGhan said.

"This seems kind of like a freak accident," she said.

Troopers said in a dispatch Saturday afternoon that Kaigelak was found at the base of an avalanche.

McGhan and forecasters from the AAIC are at the event to do avalanche forecasting and education. Two forecasters — Kyle Sobek and Trevor Grams — helped recover Kaigelak's body, McGhan said.

Peters did not have information about whether Kaigelak was participating in the race. His body will be sent to the State Medical Examiner Office.

Annie Zak

Annie Zak was a business reporter for the ADN between 2015 and 2019.