This is the strangest race you’ve never heard of

Levi LaVallee and Daron Rahlves take on a race where snowmobiles drag skiers at up to 90mph.
By Anthony Sansotta

Never heard of Arctic Man Classic? Don’t worry, you’re not the only one. Every April, thousands of snowmobile enthusiasts from around the world converge on Paxson, Alaska, for five days of camping, partying and riding. Think spring break, Burning Man and an adventure trail riding trip, wrapped into one experience in the Alaskan backcountry. The week-long event's built around a ski and snowmobile team race that started with a drunken bet over 30 years ago.

Levi Lavallee and Daron Rahlves on their sleds at Arctic Man Alaska 2017
Teamwork makes the dream work © Anthony Sansotta / Red Bull Content Pool

The concept for the racing's pretty simple. A skier or snowboarder starts at the top of mountain number one and descends into a canyon where they grab a tow rope fixed to the back of their team-mate's snowmobile. From there, they get pulled up mountain number two and race across a plateau, reaching speeds up to 90mph (145kph). The skier/snowboarder then slingshots themselves off the plateau and down the final descent to the finish line: fastest time wins. See for yourself as team-mates Levi Lavallee and Daron Rahlves explain in the video at the top of this page.

While the racing is great, a majority of the people on site aren’t actually participating in the race, so the action off the course is the big draw. Hundreds of acres of riding area surround the makeshift campground, offering the opportunity to cash in on hours of riding right from your camper door. After the sun goes down, a decent-sized crowd gathers in a massive tent, complete with a bar and DJ, to shares stories from the day's rides.

Daron Rahlves prepares to drop into the course at Arctic Man Alaska 2017
Daron Rahlves prepares to drop into the course © Anthony Sansotta / Red Bull Content Pool

Whether you love to ride, love to camp or are just looking for a different way to have a good time in early April, Arctic Man delivers on all of the above and then some.

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