The Montane Lapland Arctic Ultra is Europe’s longest non-stop winter ultra race with a route that passes through Swedish Lapland. Sponsored by Montane, the inaugural race was set for 2021 but was deferred until 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is the sister race of the more established Yukon Arctic Ultra.
Here is our full guide to learning about the event, following it live or even taking part.
Date, start time & live tracking
The 2022 Montane Arctic Lapland Ultra starts at 9.30am local and CET time (0830GMT) on March 6 with competitors having the choice of a 185km or 500km race. The race is un-supported, meaning that no outside help can be given on the trails.
They have four days to complete the 185km and a maximum of ten days to complete the 500km distance. Racers have the choice of competing on mountain bike, cross-country skis or on foot – with the vast majority choosing the on-foot option.
All racers will carry a GPS device, provided by Fjällcom, which will provide two-way communication with the race organisers if required. The device will also allow the progress of each racer to be tracked in real time.
Lapland Arctic Ultra Race Route
The race is broken down into two distances with both races starting and finishing at Överkalix, in the Swedish province of Norbotten.
The 185km racers take a loop north of the town that goes across the Arctic Circle twice. Those on the full 500km race then take an additional 315km loop. Both distances will involve travelling alongside rivers, lakes and through forests.
Facts, Tips & FAQs
The race is organised by Great Outdoors, the company behind the Yukon Arctic Ultra, a 430-mile race along the Yukon Quest trail, the course for the world’s toughest Sled Dog Race. The Yukon Race is billed as the coldest ultra in the world.
For the Lapland Arctic Ultra, temperatures can drop as low as minus 30 degrees Celsius. Competitors who don’t have suitable cold-weather race experience have to attend a training course on the days leading up to the race (February 28 – March 3) to help prepare them for the conditions.
Snowshoes are a mandatory kit item for the race – although they are not needed all the time, there is a strong likelihood of heavy snow falls and when that happens, snowshoes will be essential.
One of the challenges the racers face is carrying sufficient water and preventing it from freezing. Water bladders need to be kept beneath outer clothing layers and the tube and mouthpiece need to be insulated.
How to qualify and enter the Lapland Arctic Ultra
All race entrants must be over 18 years of age and should be experienced winter athletes. Anybody without experience of the extreme weather conditions they could face will need to complete the winter survival course ahead of the race.
Every entrant must have English language speaking skills to a sufficient standard for them to be able to understand the pre-race briefing.
Only experienced winter athletes will be accepted. If you have no prior experience with extreme cold weather conditions, we require you to participate in a winter survival course which will teach you essential skills for the race.
Records and past winners
2022 is the first running of this race so this section will be updated once that race is completed
Montane Arctic Ultra kit list
The tough conditions that will be faced in the Lapland Arctic Ultra require all racers to carry a significant amount of kit. The mandatory kit is listed below. There are penalties for missing or lost mandatory kit ranging from six-hour time penalties through to disqualification, depending on the circumstances.
Head torch – each competitor must carry two head torches
Red flashing light – this should be attached to the back of sled, bike or backpack)
Matches – Two packs of outdoor matches in waterproof container
Fire starter – this can be paste or similar and needs to besuitable to help you start awood fire quickly
Winter sleeping mat
Sleeping bag – rated down to -40 or lower extreme zone (EN 13537)
Expedition down jacket – this should have at least 350 g down fill (size large)
Waterproof jacket and pants
Bivouac bag or tent
Personal first aid kit – this should include blister dressings, space blanket, hot shots, anti-nausea pills, anti-diarrhoea pills, vaseline or similar, anti-bacterial agent dressings for cuts
Multi-stove – An expedition type multi-fuel stove plus suffciient fuel to melt snow and prepare meals throughout the race
Cooking and Eating implements – one pot that can hold at least one litre volume, a cup, bowl and spoon
Food – Sufficient emergency food provisions to last for 48 hours
Vaccuum flasks – insulated stainless steel bottles with total volume of at least three litres
Garmin inReach – this can be rented
Traction/ice grips – devices that can be fitted to shoes to aid traction in icy conditions such as Kahtoola MICROspikes or EXOspikes.