As Marco Sullivan zoomed to a record sixth Arctic Man victory this weekend, the duo of Scott Montalbo and former Iron Dog champion Tyson Johnson were runners-up for the second-consecutive year – this time by less than a second.
Victory was worth $30,000 to Sullivan and his snowmachine partner Tyler Aklestad, while Montablo and Johnson took home $13,000. The third-place tandem of Errol Kerr and Eric Quam earned $6,000.
In addition to a close second, Montalbo was able to finish ahead of a former Olympian, Kerr, and the 2001 world champion downhiller, Daron Rahlves (fourth), who dubbed Montalbo "AK Master" in a Saturday Instagram post.
On his Facebook page, Montalbo described a particularly tough part of the 5-mile Arctic Man course in the Hoodoo Mountains. Most racers call it "the whip."
"This is the most exciting and adrenaline filled moment in the race. At 3:15, your legs are burning and you have to gather all your remaining strength coming over the last bump, sled gets light and then it's time to edge your ski and lean against the rope as it whips you at 100 mph past your driver and onto the last leg of the race. The release is followed shortly by 'first aide' jump, which fits perfectly for the possible outcomes if a mistake is made."
The results of the four Arctic Man races:
Finishers of 5-mile race
Men's Ski and Snowmachine
1)Marco Sullivan and Tyler Aklestad, 4:00.65; 2) Scott Montalbo and Tyson Johnson, 4:01:59; 3) Errol Kerr and Eric Quam, 4:04:06; 4) Daron Rahlves and Levi Lavalle, 4:07:58; 5) Eric Heil and Len Story, 4:10:96; 6) Petr Kakes and Larry Levine, 4:19:89; 7) Grant Ketels and Troy Conlon, 4:26:93; 8) Willie Omalley and Trent Larson, 4:37:09; 9) David Duclos and Rick Rodgers, 4:38:15; 10) Johnny Kimbrel and Alex Lemelin, 4:41:43; 11) Samson Shephard and Geoff Crouse, 6:15:21.
Women's Ski and Snowmachine
1)Natalie Van Nostrand and Cortni Brown, 4:59:07.
Men's Snowboard and Snowmachine
1)Jason Hale and Tyson Johnson, 4:31:65; 2) John Cheever and Kyle Connor, 4:47:26; 3) Nate Holland and Tyler Aklestad, 4:56:17; 4) John Hammond and Larry Levine, 4:57:50; 5) Cory Koop and Kevin Kornack, 5:03:56; 6) Will Durdick and Sam Durdick, 5:28:92.
Women's Snowboard and Snowmachine
1)Faye Guillini and Rachel Kidwell, 5:14:45; 2) Mariah Duggan and MoAnna Bradshaw, 5:22:94; 3) Audrey Hebert and Kelci Boe, 7:22:39.
Pair of Anchorage Ducks Unlimited chapters honored
Two Alaska Ducks Unlimited chapters will be honored at the organization's 80th convention in San Antonio for their fundraising prowess.
Chapters that raise $100,000 to $250,000 become members of the organization's President's Elite group, and the Anchorage Spring Bar B Q chapter earned that honor. The Anchorage Fall chapter raised between $65,000 and $100,000 to earn a President's Roll of Honor designation.
Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest nonprofit dedicated to conserving North America's waterfowl habitats.
All together, 75 chapters nationwide earned President's Elite designation. Another 26 chapters raised between $250,000 and $1 million. There are 2,600 chapters in the U.S.
"DU chapters across the country are showing that the future of waterfowl populations and the wetlands that filter our water and protect us from flooding are important to them and to their communities," Ducks Unlimited President Paul Bonderson said in a press release. "The more money we raise, the more habitat we can conserve and the closer we are to preserving our waterfowl hunting heritage."
Hawkwatch weekend ‘spectacle’
Anchorage Audubon is trumpeting its Big Hawkwatch Weekend this Saturday and Sunday as "a spectacle unlike anything in Alaska, and a party unlike any other Hawkwatch in the country."
The site at Mile 118.8 of the Glenn Highway, in the shadow of Gunsight Mountain, is about a two-hour drive from Anchorage. It's known for concentrations of rough-legged hawks, northern harriers, goshawks, bald and golden eagles, and especially large concentrations of Harlan's subspecies of red-tailed hawks.
More than 600 golden eagles have been spotted already, and Harlan's hawks are streaming in, too.
Alaska birder Bob Dittrick will kick off the weekend with a hawk-identification talk. That evening there will be a hawkwatchers' dinner at which Neil Paprocki of Hawkwatch International will speak; the reservation deadline is noon Thursday.
On Sunday, Mat-Su Birders will host their annual potluck at the site; bring a dish.
Bike Denali Park Road with ranger
Denali National Park and Preserve is offering an unusual way to see Denali as it celebrates its 100th birthday this year — on a bike with rangers.
At 1 p.m. Saturday April 15 and on April 22 rangers will lead bike rides on Denali Park Road from the Teklanika rest stop to the beginning of Igloo Canyon, a 10-mile roundtrip. Riders can opt to turn around just past the Teklanika bridge, for a roundtrip of 3 miles.
The usual $10-per-person entry fee will be waived each of the next two weekends. The ride will start at the covered shelter at the Teklanika rest stop, 29 miles into the park. Visitors are asked to leave the park entrance no later than noon to be at Teklanika on time.
As always, the ride depends on road conditions. If the road is closed east of Teklanika due to snow or ice, the bike ride will be rerouted if possible. Check in at the Murie Science and Learning Center for updates on road conditions seven days a week 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m., or call park information at 907-683-6532.