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  • Writer's pictureChris Fenlon-MacDonald

So what really is the Arctic Fox Winter Stage Race - Part 2

First off, we'd like to give a huge shout out to everyone who has signed up to race the Arctic Fox - welcome to Rocky Mountain Adventure Racing!! It is amazing to see this community grow and we are excited to put together this fun event for you!


We figured we take some time to go into some more detail about the upcoming Arctic Fox, giving some hints into what you can expect in February and explain how the Arctic Fox parallels the general concepts of Adventure Racing - after all, if this is your first adventure race, we want to see you successful and excited for what we are preparing next for you.


Now typically in an adventure race, you've committed for a given amount of time - 24 hours, 6-9 hours, etc. The Arctic Fox is unique in that you have committed to completing three different stages (or 1 or 2, depending on how many you registered for) within a three week period in February - that's right, when it works for you! Head out and do all three stages in one weekend or spread out your efforts when your schedule allows.


If you've adventure raced before, you also know that you usually have a pretty good idea of which disciplines you'll encounter on race day - what you don't usually know is where those disciplines will take you. This is the same for the Arctic Fox. With the exception of knowing the host site (in this case, hose city), we are keeping the area (urban wilderness) of each race course secret until Racer Package Pick-Up. And as for race disciplines, or the three different stages for the Arctic Fox are running and biking (that's Calgary!) and running, biking and x-c ski (that's Medicine Hat).


Let's fast forward to mid-January when you'll be able to get your race package.

When you pick up your race package, you'll receive a map for each stage/discipline and we'll let you know where that stage/discipline is happening within each host city. Here's the catch - for the most part, those maps will be blank! The types of maps may vary in each host city and. might still be different between each stage/discipline - remember, we are designing adventure races to be inclusive of all adventure racing abilities, so, for the moment, they will be fairly easy to interpret (as you can see in the example above).


Now let's circle back to a typical adventure race. At an adventure race all participants would be given Race Instructions at the same time. Race Instructions usually include your map(s) for the race course (or part of the race course), a list of Check Points (CPs) and Transition Areas (TAs), CP and TA descriptions and, finally, instructions on how to travel between those CPs and TAs. Besides the fact that we've let you know where the race will be happening, we are not going to disclose the CPs, their descriptions and further race instructions until just before the race is officially open. We'll do this for everyone at the same time, through email, on February 1st 2022.


When this email arrives, you'll have an updated map with CPs and the Start and Finish already plotted on it - feel free to print this off or update the race maps you received in your race package. It's important to note that not all of our races will provide this level of support, but we are keen to grow the sport and help you become successful - so for now, we'll provide a bit of assistance.


Below is an example of a map to check out. We figure it would take the average person just over an hour to run/trek from the start to each check point and back to the finish. Remember we are hoping that our stages will be between 3-4 hours in length - so you can expect a wider area and more check points!


If you've done some orienteering in the past, this style of racing will resemble this to a degree - with the exception of a few surprises we may throw in! We may also introduce you to something called a Rogaine - which is racing to collect checkpoints that have been assigned a point value based on how difficult they may be to get to/or find. Everyone has the same amount of time in a Rogaine, but will accumulate a different value of points depending on how many CPs they get to.


The email and the updated race instructions will be clear in that we'll let you know which map is associated with which discipline, the time limit for each race, the description of where CPs are located and any other information we feel is important to know.


The last component that will be included within the racer package and updated race information is instructions on how to share with us that you made it to each check point. The main way that we will do this is through Strava - so it's important that you have a Strava account before you head out and complete each race. If you don't have an account, head over to Strava.com and sign yourself up! In the race package and race instructions, we'll be sure to remind you about this element and give you some suggestions on how best to use Strava if you are not too familiar with it.


The best part of the Arctic Fox, like any race, really, is the after party! We'll be sure to let you know more about that later - just know we are excited to welcome racers to this party in each host city where we'll re-announce the winners, give away some draw prizes and spend some time with the Rocky Mountain Adventure Racing Community!


For now, happy trails!

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