Volunteers and organizers ready for 2012 Mountain Man Hill Climb
The Valdez Snowmachine Club hosted its vaunted Mayor’s Cup snowmachine race Saturday, attracting racers from across Alaska to rip through the best snow in the state in a 200 mile endurance challenge.
Tyler Aklestad of Palmer – who has won the race several times in the past – won the men’s pro division with a time of 3:54:31 in the nine-lap race. Carly Davis, another well-known participant, took first place in the women’s division with a time of 1:47:55 in the women’s four-lap division.
The race attracted 29 entrants despite the fact the race date had been moved late in the game due to other conflicting events in the state according to the club’s new president, Ron Ruff.
“We’re going to do everything we can to ensure participation next year,” Ruff said after the race.
Ruff took over the presidency after Joe Frietag moved on after serving eight years in the volunteer position.
The group did not schedule snow-cross races this year due to waning outside interest from younger racers – and volunteers- in the fast paced races.
“The participants just haven’t been there,” Ruff said, “For the younger kids, you got to have money.”
Ruff said competition to attract racers has been stiff, with experienced – and well-heeled - competitors opting for events such as the Iron Dog.
“We know the Mayor’s Cup is solid,” Ruff said, “and so is the Mountain Man Hill Climb.”
This year’s Mountain Man, a three-day extravaganza on Thompson Pass, is slated to occur April 15-17.
“The weather should be a lot more cooperative,” Ruff said, encouraging racers and volunteers to check out the club’s offerings and to participate in the rebuilding of the organization.