After two days of delays, the Arctic Man Classic was finally a go Saturday, and the wait was worth it for Daron Rahlves and Levi LaVallee.
Very well worth it.
The all-star duo – skier Rahlves is a four-time Olympian from California and snowmachiner LaVallee is a 10-time Winter X Games medalist from Minnesota -- collected $61,000 for their win Saturday in the 31st annual competition in the Hoodoo Mountains near Summit Lake.
The Arctic Man is an iconic Alaska event, an extreme sports competition that predates the Winter X Games by more than a decade. Thousands gathered for the weeklong celebration of spring and snowmachining that culminated with Saturday's races.
The race begins with a skier or snowboarder atop a 5,800-foot peak. He plunges about 1,700 feet to an open area where he grabs the tow rope of his partner's in-motion snowmachine and is zoomed 2.2 miles up another mountain. At the top, the snowmachiner slingshots the skier or snowboarder, who makes a 1,200-foot descent to the finish line.
It all adds up to 5.5 miles, which means Rahlves and LaVallee earned about $15,000 per minute for their win. They finished in 4 minutes, 2.08 seconds, about 10 seconds off the record of 3:52.7 set in 2013 by Marco Sullivan and Tyler Aklestad.
The prize for the men's ski race was exceptionally big this year because last year's race was called off because of poor conditions, so the purse was rolled over to this year.
Conditions threatened to wipe out the majority of this year's races too.
The women's snowboard race was completed Thursday before poor visibility prompted the postponement of other races, and Friday's conditions were no better. But by Saturday, visibility improved enough to race.
Snowboarder Jayson Hale and snowmachiner Tyson Johnson topped their division with a time of 4:22:21, a victory worth $26,000.
Skier Natalie Van Nostrand and snowmachiner Cortni Brown finished in 4:06.73 to pocket $3,000 for their win in the women's ski division. On Thursday, snowboarder Audrey Hebert and snowmachiner Kelci Boe clocked 4:35:58 to collect a $7,000 first-place prize.
Purses are determined by the number of entries in each division.
Information from the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner was used this report.