Arctic Man: Epic Rides and Wild Nights At America’s Most Extreme Ski Race What do you get when you combine a week long party in the snow, ski races and snowmobiles, crazy slednecks, lots of adrenaline, an insanely good time, and pretty much the antithesis of Burning Man? Arctic Man, that’s what. The remote area […]Arctic Man 2020
What do you get when you combine a week long party in the snow, ski races and snowmobiles, crazy slednecks, lots of adrenaline, an insanely good time, and pretty much the antithesis of Burning Man? Arctic Man, that’s what. The remote area of the Hoodoo Mountains in Alaska, USA literally turns into a city during the week-long event, filled with as many as 13,0000 people.
The highlight of the entire event is the race, recognized as one of the World’s Toughest Downhill Ski Races. It starts at a ridiculous elevation of 5,800 feet high then drops 1,700 feet in under 2 miles, where skiers are then joined by their snowmobiling partner.
Go fast or you go home is the motto here, and the excitement that surrounds the races are so palpable you better be sure you’re holding a drink. The participants aren’t just in it for the fun; there’s some cool cash (to the tune of thousands of dollars) that await the winners; which makes it attract pro athletes and even Olympians.
Once you’ve been here, we guarantee you’ll come back year after year. Or at least wish you could. You don’t even have to join the races to experience the fun of Arctic Man.
Everyone is welcome: there’ll be grilled sausages, campfires, cool people, outdoor pool tables, and hot parties. It’s been going on for well over 30 years now, and this Alaskan tradition stays true to the American spirit. You’ll be meeting some interesting characters along the way, but just keep an open mind because it’s all about a grand time for everyone.
‘Arctic Man 2020 is an insane weeklong, booze filled Sledneck Revival that takes the cake as the world’s craziest ski race.’
This ultimate ski-bash is part party, part snowmobile race and an overall seasonal send-off into winter. If you are an adrenaline seeker, day drinker or mix of both this is a winter event that can’t be missed. The event is a gathering of snowmobiles, RVs, four-wheelers, bonfires and kegs of beer in the middle of absolutely nowhere.
Think of it as Burning Man’s cold-ass brother. When you aren’t watching high-octane racing action you can enjoy reindeer on a stick or pulled pork sandwiches for a late night snack. Don’t be surprised when strangers walk up to your campfire looking to start a drunken conversation or share a cheeseburger.
The party environment is something else as well. When the sun goes down, dozens of people will pull up to the beer tent on ATV’s wearing crazy-colored ski jackets and costumes while the DJ pumps out jams all night long. Once the sun rises, spectators and racers descend upon the treacherous mountains and valleys that could erupt in an avalanche at any moment. It’s the perfect mix of a winter party with heavy flow’ adrenaline.
The base of the course will probably be the best way to catch the action in person. The vantage point gives you a full view of the races coming down the mountain. Radio station KZND-FM 94.7 will be announcing times and places to the crowd via Arctic Man’s on-site station 107.5 FM, and also will send race updates and online communications beyond the race venue via social media, including Facebook and Twitter.
Wearing layers is the most important piece of advice. Be sure to have an insulated system to your outfits that let the natural warmth of your body counteract the cold air.
Preparation for this event for both competitors and spectators is crucial. The Hoodoo Mountains are a very remote area where there are very few stores. It is a backcountry type of event so people rely on each other heavily.
That being said make sure to pack arctic quality clothes that you can layer up with. Long sleeves, thermals, sweaters and active pants are all necessities. Waterproof clothing and prepping for wind-chill factor are key as well.
The event itself is free of charge but you will likely need to pay for a parking pad for your camper or RV. The cost before March 15th is $150 and will increase there after, so get on it early! Campsites include plowed parking, outhouses, garbage dumpster and access to the medical tent.
PeaPod run to Maclren
Side by Side, Drags and Vintage Races
Ski Race and Hill Cross
DJ and live music will be played on both Friday and Saturday
Stock up on fuel: Propane is not available at the event so plan accordingly
Bring wood or be ready to buy: Bring a couch or a bunch of chairs to sit around the fire
The Arctic Man Festival began with a simple bar over 30 years ago. Race director and founder, Howard Thies, bet a couple buddies $100 that he could beat them down the hill. After his victory, he decided to continue the tradition as a fundraiser for the Fairbanks Alpine ski team.
Since the first race, This has been the backbone of the festival’s organization. To this day he takes care of camping registration, sets stakes in the ground for the course and recruits athletes from around the world. Today, the event has gained tremendous notroatrity as Winter X champs and Olympians join the 2,000 ft. downhill race.
Since you’re here, you might as well try to get a glimpse of the Northern Lights. Local tour companies offer northern light packages, since the viewings are possible until around April 20th.
Spring snow temperatures are still freezing, but warm up at the Chena Hot Springs, a historic place where you can also see some really cool ice sculptures and even try your hand at dog sledding.
If you’re still hungry for more adventure, why not explore the interior and arctic zones of Alaska? Tours are available during the snow seasons with local travel companies.
Head to Fairbanks to experience the nightlife, the Alaskan way. It can be as laid back as you want, or it can also be an adventurous night out. From swanky lounges to chilled-out pubs, local watering holes offer plenty of booze to keep you warm.
Unless you bring your own food, you will be left with the choices on site which aren’t bad at all. Most folks bring their share of protein, from sausages, steaks and jerky but be sure to check out the different food vendors on site. They will include BBQ plates, salmon dishes and the Hoodoo Brewing Co. for ice cold beers to wash it all down.
From Anchorage, follow the Glenn Highway to its intersection with with the Richardson Highway, at Glennallen. Turn left (north) on the Richardson for approximately 82.5 miles. From Fairbanks follow the Richardson south. Follow the Richardson for another 62.5 miles past Delta Junction.
General GPS coordinates for the Arctic Man campground are 63°12’7.21”N, 145°30’35.30”W.
Many festival goers bring their own or rent mobile homes or RVs for Arctic Man. You can also opt to stay in one of the many lodges and cabins nearby, there are lots to choose from to cater to every budget. Just be sure to book ahead of time because this remote area of Alaska tends to swell up around the time of Arctic Man.
Your best bet to transportation in the snow is to bring, or at least rent, a 4×4 vehicle or other type of snowmobile. After the festival, it would be handy to have your own car, but you can also use the local bus system known as the MACS Transit.
Do you enjoy being outside? Read more about Bozeman Ice Festival, a festival to celebrate and educate ice climbers on the niche sport in Montana and the Okoboji Winter Games, a scintillating event held by the fictional University of Okoboji in Iowa.
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Rad Season is providing you with hotels and Airbnbs at the lowest prices available online. Book your stay for Arctic Man 2020 using the map below!