Copyright: Charlie Smith
You are thinking about doing an Arctic Ultra for the first time and you are wondering about the kind of budget you need and how you can be cost efficient? Here is some advise that will hopefully help:
- Sign up early. No matter if it’s for our race in the Yukon or in Sweden, entry fees do go up in a first step after the end of June and in a second step after the end of August. So, if you know for sure, you want to participate, sign up early. It will also give your motivation for training a real boost!
- Find out, when it is usually the cheapest to book your flights. One thing is for sure, getting your flight tickets last minute hardly ever is a good idea.
- Gear is a big one. If you already are into winter sports or adventures, you are lucky and will have most items you need. If you are new to this, it can cost a lot of money. One thing to consider is if you already know this will be a one-off. Should that be the case, it definitely makes sense to rent things like the sleeping bag, pulk sled and winter sleeping mat. If your plan is to spend several years participating in winter ultras, it’s easy to do the math on rental versus purchase. Although, there is one more aspect to look into, which the cost of extra luggage, i.e. if you travel with two or three pieces of luggage, how will this affect your travel cost each time you go? If you buy gear, there are a few things you can do to save money:
- Buy when it’s SALE season. On Racelite.de you will find a lot of winter products discounted at the moment.
- Athletes who sign up, get a 20% discount from Montane.
- Look into getting used products, especially on items like a tent, pulk or other kit that is often sold used but still in excellent condition. Feel free to use our MYAU facebook group or our private MLAU athlete group (exclusive to MLAU athletes on the race roster – past and present) if you want to offer or buy used gear! Another facebook group that is useful when it comes to everything gear related, is Terra Glacialis.
- Get quality products. Yes, this may mean spending more money on the initial purchase but in the end, the quality of a brand like Montane, SOTO or Kahtoola, will make you spend less.
- Related to gear is the challenge of getting the overall weight right. On the one hand, you want to and need to be safe out there. On the other hand you, too much weight will make things very difficult, if not impossible. You may have done everything right but simply put too much weight in your sled and you had to scratch because of it. For those of you with no or little experience, the training course will give vital input on that topic. Also, please feel free to ask me (Robert Pollhammer) any time you have questions on equipment. And, again, please use our facebook groups. Many race veterans are more than happy to share their insight.
- If you know you want to do winter ultras for more than one winter, start with a short distance like the 100 miles in the Yukon or 185 km in Sweden. Yes, it is possible to go straight for the longer ones and succeed but often it does not work out. Even with very good preparation, you will make some mistakes. If you have a DNF in your first winter race, not only will it take a toll on your motivation but also, it means you literally pay more for the lessons you learn.
- This next one may sound a bit “funny” … but read the rules and make sure you follow the updates on the race in the months leading up to the start. It is kind of obvious but each year we have some participants who forget to or do not take the time to do something as basic as reading the rules. Again, this may lead to a DNF and more money being spent in order to reach your ultimate goal of finishing an Arctic Ultra.