Arrowhead 135 Race Rules


  1. We will offer the option to race totally unsupported for prior Arrowhead finishers with prior approval from Race Director.  Unsupported racers will check in at checkpoints but will not be allowed food, water, or time to warm up at checkpoints.  Unsupported racers will receive a unique finisher award along with worldwide respect and admiration.  Racers who choose to go unsupported will not be allowed to switch to the “supported” category. They will receive a DNF if unable to continue unsupported.
  2. The foot division will consist of 2 categories, traditional and kick sled/push sled.  If you are kicking your sled, it is a kick sled. Both categories will qualify for the Arrowhead A’trois foot finish, there will not be an Arrowhead Quad award at this time.
  3. We will not dry wet clothes at MelGeorges or Gateway check points. Moisture management should be part of your race strategy.
  4. Sign-in/mandatory gear check Saturday, Jan 23rd from 3PM to 6PM or Sunday Jan 24th from 11 AM to 2PM, in I-Falls at Backus Community Center, 900 5th St., International Falls. (same place as pre-race meeting previous years). Volunteer meeting Sunday at 2:30.
  5. Mandatory Pre-race meeting International Falls, Sunday Jan 24th 4:00PM at Backus Community Center. Free Italian Dinner (for racers/volunteers) at 5:15PM, nominal charge for friends/family.
  6. Race start Monday, 7AM Jan 25th, 2021. Kerry Park Arena center of City of International Falls near Arrowhead/Blue Ox trailhead.
  7. No outside help except other racers or race officials. This means no support crews of any kind, no pacing, and no rides/tows accepted from snowmobilers, trains, planes, automobiles, llamas or other vehicles except of course in emergencies. If you take a ride or enter a nice warm vehicle (or bar) you are disqualified but hopefully still alive. Participants encouraged to help each other. Buddy system good way to race dark and cold. We encourage spectators but no assistance allowed any time, no teams greeting you at every possible spot. No snowmobiles following you, meeting you, or breaking trail for you. Arrowhead is about you, the wilderness, your inner dogged spirit and self-sufficiency. Camera crews not allowed to follow the race on Snowmobile except within 1 mile of checkpoints.  Racers can be penalized due to actions of their camera crews/snowmobile friends/family.  Do not accept hot coffee, food, warm vehicles, clothes etc unless it is from a race official.
  8. No littering. No caching of supplies. Leave no trace. You must finish with gear/clothing you started with and do not get gear from family/friends at any point (even MelGeorges). Use sanitation facilities provided along trail, outhouses next to trail shelters along trail. Bring T P. Porta-Potty at Checkpoint Surly.
  9. If bivying between checkpoints please do so off trail -BUT- still in sight of trail so other racers/race officials can see you. Attach flashing light to bike, ski pole, sled, etc to alert passerby to your presence.
  10. If leaving race course notify race officials that you are dropping out soon as feasible. Short-cutting course basis for disqualification/time docking discretion of Race Director. Stay on course to/from checkpoints.  Do not leave the course unless you are going to DNF.
  11. Gateway General Store on Hwy 53 is 1st required checkpoint – this checkpoint may be indoors if it is really cold.   Water available.  Note: racers allowed to purchase food, goods and services here.
  12. Must check in 2nd Checkpoint MelGeorges Cedar cabin before going elsewhere or taking room at resort. We provide water, food (soup/ munchies/oatmeal/sandwiches/etc) here. There is limited room in our large check cabin for racers. Racers allowed to rent own room/cabin at Melgeorges if overnight likely and you want peace and quiet indoors (you still are not allowed help from friends/family in your private room). Nice restaurant/bar/resort great spot for watching. Spectators are not allowed in Cedar (check point) cabin.
  13. 3rd and final checkpoint: Surly TeePee along trail at about mile 111 ~2 miles before last big WakemUp Mtn. Water, limited cell service, and race volunteers here. Spectators allowed, but do not crowd our tent please. Racers do not plan on spending significant time here unless camped outside.  If you bivy in the tent your race is over.
  14. We provide water at all checkpoints, food at MelGeorge. There is no dependable water available on the course other than the checkpoints or melting the snow, or bring a large ice auger to tap the swamp/lake ice.
  15. Snow machines and dog sleds have absolute right of way. You must pull to right side of the trail and let them pass. Stop at intersections, obey traffic rules. Cars and Sleds are bigger and faster than you and make a messy spot in the snow if they hit you. Listen for them. Keep music stuff out of your ears, listen to Nature, and your own hallucinations.
  16. Racers required to carry/tow all required gear all times on the course and must finish with at least 1 day or 3000 calories of readily edible food and 8 oz. of fuel. Racers may share gear and assist each other; however, each participant must have their own mandatory gear at all times. Gear checks may be performed any time on course or at checkpoints/finish at the discretion of Race Directors. Time compensation for lost time during check will be made, any check failures subject to disqualification or time penalties again discretion of mean/nice/fair Race Directors.
  17. Racers pick race category morning of race. Racers may use snowshoes, however not required and if used you must carry them and all starting gear to finish. Skiers may have second pair skis. Skiers are required to ski more than 90% of the course to record a ski finish.
  18. Race Cutoff times as follows:  Racers must leave checkpoints, say again, leave by following times:

    • Gateway (35 mi)-9PM Monday.
    • MelGeorges (70 mi)-1 PM Tues.
    • Surly Checkpoint 3 (~110 mi)-10 AM Wed.
    • Fortune Bay OFFICIAL FINISH 7 PM Wed

    Race officials may pull racers for safety reasons at any point.  IF YOU DON’T STOP AFTER FAILING TO MEET CHECKPOINT CUTOFF YOU WILL BE  BANNED FROM FUTURE ARROWHEADS. If you miss a cut off your race is over.

  19. MANDATORY GEAR from race start to race finish:
    • Minus-20F degrees sleeping bag or colder rating. Colder than -20F almost all previous races. If you skimp here you are foolish. And we will not allow you to skimp. So do not skimp. Fool. In 2019 we had windchills of -55 Deg F and real temps of -40 Deg F.  Be able to prove your bag is a -20 bag at gear check – this is your job – not the gear checkers job.  Don’t cut off the tags to shave weight.
    • Racers will be required to finish with 1 pair of handwarmers,  insulated mittens, photo ID, and Insurance Card.
    • Insulated sleeping pad – minimum 20″ by 48″
    • Bivy sack or tent (space blankets/tarps do not count).  We don’t like seeing new bivy sacks that have never been tried.
    • Firestarter (matches or lighter).
    • Stove.
    • 8 fl. oz. fuel at ALL times (either gas, alcohol or 2 canisters of propane/butane 100 g. each or 12 Big Esbit tablets). 1 lb propane tanks, white gas, and Heet are available in Int’l Falls – propane/butane and Esbits are available from RD with advance notice.  Please plan accordingly.
    • Pot (min. volume is 1 pint)
    • 2-qt (64 fl. oz.) or just under 2 litres, insulated water container. (Yes, Camelbacks count).  Not freezing your drinks in a cold year is a real challenge.
    • Headlamp or flashlight. Suggest minimum ~100 lumen good for 12 hours/bike or 20 hours on ski/foot.  Bring a spare, the cold eats batteries.
    • Flashing red LED lights (and spare batteries), both on front and back of sled or bike or racer. Don’t show up with single LED key chain lights…bring real safety lights or you will not pass gear check and they may not be available at local stores.  Keep ON 24/7.  HIGHLY IMPORTANT….THIS MAY WELL PREVENT YOU FROM BEING A HOOD ORNAMENT ON LARGE FAST-MOVING SNOWMACHINES. We are tired of crappy blinkies.  If you bring crappy blinkies to gear check please also bring cash and we will sell you some good ones. That is as nice as I can say this.
    • Everyone must have at least 10 square inches of reflective material on front and 10 square inches on the back of the person for this race.  If you don’t want to put holes in your $200 jacket bring a reflective vest.
    • Whistle on string around neck to call for help, because your mouth is too numb to yell.
    • 1-day of readily edible food at ALL times (3000 calories)
    • You will be given 2 bibs.  We must be able to see your bib number on the front of your body (outer layer) at all times!!!  Post the 2nd bib where it is easily visible on your gear so your gear can be returned to your next of kin.
    • In 2018 we had several cases of frost bite, please be prepared to discuss your gear/strategy for frost bite prevention at gear check.  We want you to keep all your body parts happy.


Recommended Gear

  • In the past Trackleaders has made spot trackers available to racers on a voluntary basis at a nominal cost. We strongly encourage the use of spot trackers. Arrowhead 135 Inc. does not offer Spot trackers.  It is your choice to use one. Do not have a friend/family member call us in a panic because your spot stopped moving while you were sleeping or eating.  This will cost you a time penalty.
  • Helmet for bikers
  • Extreme conditions mittens, head gear and outerwear..
  • Down sweater, spare undershirt/socks etc.
  • Over-boots, Gaitors.
  • Duct tape, vasoline, sunglasses, lipbalm, moleskin, ibuprofin, etc.
  • Map/compass/gps.  The maps provided with your racer bag do you no good in you truck.
  • Reflective vest good idea.
  • 5,000-7,000 calories of food, preferably items which remain chewable at way below zero and colder.
  • Sleds or backpack for runners and snowshoers. Assorted tools/waxes as needed – carried from start to finish.
  • VERY IMPORTANT: Improved cell phone coverage especially on course highpoints makes carrying phone smart, preferably off and in a warm spot to so it works, use for emergencies.


  • Each racer allowed 10 lb. see through drop bag at the MelGeorge’s checkpoint including food/drink ONLY and separate Small Fortune Bay bag for small change of disposable clothes and foot coverings at finish line.  Melgeorge’s drop bags will be inspected at gear check.  The Melgeorge’s drop bags will be stored in an unheated porch, your Red Bull will likely be frozen. Melgeorge’s drop bags will not be returned, they will be donated to the food shelf, volunteers, or hospitality suite.  Fortune Bay drop bags not claimed by 7 pm Wed will not be returned.  Feel free to drop off ready to eat food to share at finish line hospitality suite during gear check.
  • Drop bags due International Falls by Sunday, 2:00pm at the gear check.
  • Melgeorges drop bags must be clear plastic and be checked at gear check.
  • Bags must be clearly labeled with racers name and race number, either MelGeorge or Fortune Bay and secured shut.

Cutoff for racers 60 hours, or Wed. 7pm, at the Fortune Bay Casino finish line. There is a secure area to place gear/sleds/bikes.  The race hospitality room will close shortly after 7 pm Wednesday.

Transportation: City Cab is available 24/7.  They can haul up to 15 people and will have a trailer for your gear.  ~$2.25 per mile (cost shared among all riders), we encourage car pooling and ride sharing.  You will need a credit card when you call for a cab.  We will have the contact info in your race packet. 218-283-8635 or 877-664-6222.  Some racers may want to leave a car at Fortune Bay.

Trail users are legally responsible for obeying the rules and regulations provided in Minnesota Rules, State Recreational Trails, 6100.3000 through 6100.4300.

Minnesota DNR State Trail rules

  1. Stay on designated trails.
  2. Keep right so others can pass.
  3. Keep all pets on leash.
  4. Obey traffic signs and rules.
  5. Pack out all garbage and litter.
  6. Respect adjoining landowners rights and privacy.
  7. Warn other trail users when passing by giving an audible signal.
  8. Some horses may be spooked by quiet bikers or in-line skaters. Let them know you are passing.
  9. Overnight camping and campfires are permitted only on designated campsites.
  10. Do not leave campfires unattended.
  11. Enjoy the beauty of wild plants & animals, but leave them undisturbed for all to enjoy.

Trail users are legally responsible for obeying the rules and regulations provided in Minnesota Rules, State Recreational Trails, 6100.3000 through 6100.4300.