SUMMIT LAKE, Alaska — The 26th annual Tesoro Arctic Man Classic, originally scheduled for today, has been postponed until Saturday, and weather is to blame.
After getting six inches of snow last week, race director Howie Thies said the trails were in good condition after his staff got them properly groomed. However, Thursday’s storm dumped more snow on the race track at Summit Lake, and the high gusts of wind created drifts and low visibility throughout the day. More snow was expected to fall early this morning.
“No matter what, we won’t be racing (today),” Thies said. “We’re going out to groom the trails (today) and (tonight), but it’s impossible for us to have it ready for the start.”
The race has been moved to 1 p.m. Saturday, but Thies said the start could be moved up or pushed back, depending on what the weather does and how the grooming goes.
Forty-five teams are signed up for Saturday’s race. There are two women’s ski teams and three women’s snowboard teams. The winner of the ski race will take home $3,000, and the snowboard race winner will leave with $2,000. The times for the women’s snowboard teams will be counted in both the men and the women’s snowboard division.
There are 24 men’s ski teams signed up and 16 men’s snowboard teams. All racers received their bibs on Thursday.
Other events are scheduled throughout the Arctic Man weekend, and with the race being pushed back a day, those have been affected a bit, too. The drag races will remain at their original time Saturday, but the snowcross and jumping events have been moved to 1 p.m. today. The hillcross event will follow the Arctic Man race, taking off immediately after the last racer’s finish.
Thies thanked everyone Thursday night for being flexible and understanding.
“We’ll have time to get the grooming done, and you guys all get another day to train,” he said, adding that it’s important that the racers and fans not make a bigger mess of the snow with their snowmachines than Mother Nature already has.
Despite the stall, racers are still excited for things to get under way.
Charlie Potter, who has been coming to the event for about 10 years, said a little setback is no big deal for all the racers and fans that have flooded Summit Lake this week.
“It’s awesome so far, and I know that race will be awesome, too,” he said. “It always is.”
Contact staff writer Renee Thony at 459-7583.