SUMMIT LAKE, AK-The headline for the 29th Arctic Man was the field as a series of world class athletes competed like Daron Rahlves, the most decorated downhill in U.S. skiing and Levi LaVallee who is a World Cup and X-Games champion. North Pole's James Scott would actually win ahead over athletes of this stature.
But first Lavellee lost a cylinder in the debut of the world-class duo of himself and Rahlves ending their run. But he was in good spirts. "It's really cool to be able to participate you know, I can't believe how many people are out here. Everyone's having a great time-the racers, everyone's having fun. Obviously it's nerve racking. I feel bad for skiers and snowboarders getting whipped around behind a sled," Lavellee said. In the adaptive class a nice finish as Kurt Oatway wins by one second 5:18 to Kevin Brambnles 5:19. Unfortunately, Ira Edwards broke his femur near the start and was med-evaced.
But it wasn't all doom and gloom. North Pole's James Scott and Casey Boylan from Anchorage win men's snowboard in 4:35. It's Scott's first win since 2000. He credits race director Howie Thies for making a stacked field that brought out the best in him. "It's awesome. You know Howard puts together this great show, brings up world class competition from all over and you know let's a local guy from North Pole a chance to compete against those guys," Scott said. "I've been racing this race since I was 16. You know, it's part of what I do every year and it means a lot to me to win this race." On Friday the legend continues for Tyler Ackelstad and Marco Sullivan who won their fifth men's ski title in 3:56 just two seconds better than Erik Fisher and Tyson Johnson even after a slight mishap. "Fortunately, after that bobble we really-it was a minute issue and then we really nailed it beyond that point. We definitely just you know stuck every corner. I did my part and obviously Marco did his part and that's what it takes-a team effort," Ackelstad said. "We have a good bond together you know we both done this together six times now," Sullivan added. "We just know that when I get behind the sled I can feel what he's doing and he knows that he can go as hard as he can possibly go and I'm going to back there holding on." How about the ladies from KMM racing making a splash this year sweeping the women's snowboard and ski events. Sheilly Robertson and Ashley Axhelm took women's ski in 4:41 while Carle Brenneman and Ashley Nicolai won snowboard in 5:07. Not bad for Brenneman and Nicolai-they're rookies. "It was great race! We about lost it on the first corner but luckily she [carle brenneman] pulled us back to together. Other than that we we're full throttle coming out of the canyon. I think we we're 76 [miles per hour] at the top," Nicolai said. "This year we definitely had no pressure it was just kind of like, see what we could do," Brenneman said. "But it's kind of cool to see that we we're fast even just coming in here our first time so next year I think we'll have the confidence coming in and racing as well so it'll be good."