The first time Dennis told me about Arctic Man, I thought he was joking. Right. A skier zooms straight down a mountain, gets towed by a snowmachine up another mountain at 80 mph or so, and then skis straight down it.
Somehow, I envisioned hills, not actual mountains. The first time we attended was in 1991. It was fun and exciting. We immediately noticed that nobody had snowmachines as old as ours were.
The race begins on top of a 5,800-foot peak. Skiers drop 1,700 feet in less than two miles. At the bottom of the first mountain, a snowmachining partner hands the skier a rope and tows him up another mountain at 80 mph+. The fastest part of the race is the uphill section! The skier is released at the top, then schusses another 1,200 feet to the finish line. The course is 5.5 miles long. The 4-minute barrier was broken by three teams in 2013, and the record now stands at 3:52.
Dennis went to Arctic Man again in 1992 and we both went in 1993. Summit Lake Lodge burned in the mid-1990s. In 2002, we flew over the new parking pad and took photos from the air. So many people! As many as 13,000 people come to enjoy great snow and great fun for a week in the middle of nowhere. Arctic Man's parking pad becomes the 4th largest city in the state for a few days every spring!
We read Jack Stout's story about Arctic Man and in 2012 we decided to head up there and try to find him. We never caught him at "home" (his motor home) but we saw the race, watched the Hillcross, and returned the next day to see Snowcross, drag races and a freestyle exhibition. It was fun and we enjoyed exploring the area. Wonderful spring snow and lots of people having lots of fun. Quintessentially American.
To learn more about Arctic Man, check out their website.
Source: www.SusanCAnthony.com, ©Susan C. Anthony