FAQ, updated 10/5/2015
* How do I reserve a spot? We'll hold one based on an e-mail or phone call, but need an entry form and deposit quickly. I don't care if half the information says "tba", send an entry form!
* How are starting numbers assigned? In general, early entries get better numbers. Past winners start first, past entrants before novices, and exceptions may be made for press. Final numbers will be assigned a few weeks ahead, but the web list is roughly in start order. (Minor adjustments may be made to keep teams closer).
* What are the risks? We haven't had an injury accident in 28 years of winter events, but a few cars have been badly damaged. 30 entries means nearly 150,000 vehicle miles in serious winter conditions, so safe & sensible driving is expected of everyone.
* How much help can I expect? Our first concern is everyone's personal safety, equipment is secondary. What this means in practice is that radios, planning, a "buddy system", prepared teams, and experienced staff make fast response the rule, but we may not have enough resources at any time and place to spend hours helping a broken or badly "stuffed" vehicle. At a minimum you should expect transport to the nearest warm place where commercial help is available. We do our best to help with vehicle repair or extraction, but not if this would create additional hazard or limit resources needed for safety of others.
* Can you carry gear if we have 3 people in an Impreza? Yes. Officials won't carry your tires or safety equipment, but will transport one 40# bag per "small" vehicle (be sure it's not essential overnight gear as officials could be hours behind).
* What vehicle do you recommend? You might have more fun in an Audi or Subaru, but a full size 4x4 truck or SUV has best reserve capability. We love big trucks for sweep but personal favorites have been a Dodge D50 diesel (30 mpg), Audi 5000 Quattro (20+ MPG), Ford Excursion (13-14 mpg with 44 gallon tank), and Volvo XC70 (25 mpg). We also like Subaru Foresters but range is less. We have seen teams in rental vehicles. Not recommended, but this isn't a race so as long as insurance covers you in Canada this could do with winter tires.
* What vehicle if we're really serious about winning? Few will win rallycrosses in a truck, so maybe a solid SUV. These offer space, ground clearance and reasonable handling, plus extra capability if weather turns ugly. An AWD sedan is also nice, but haven't proven faster in rallycross sections. Some small SUV's are great and others not, but try for 300+ mile driving range (in 2004 the driving range of certain factory SUV's fell to 230 miles under load, while a gas Excursion that got 1 mpg less did 500+ miles).
* What do you NOT recommend?
Avoid 2wd unless you want a challenge. Same story for a short-wheelbase
SUV or truck: a long wheelbase is more stable, short
is nimble but demands skill and attention. Do NOT add a lift, and
be wary of automatic 4x4 hubs: No Ford Ranger or Explorer has finished
a winter Alcan with 4wd still functioning. Two examples (others involve
1) Paris-Dakar veteran Siegfried Lucka bought a new Ranger for 1990 Alcan but 4WD quickly failed, he "would have picked his Caravan" if he expected 2WD.
2) The '95 Ranger +cab I bought for '96 Alcan Winter broke a front hub on day 3 and spent 3000 miles in 2WD.
* How about winter tires? See discussion at http://www.alcan5000.com/Fouse.htm
* What's a "rallycross"? Basically an autocross on ice or snow, run 1 car at a time. Venues have included 1/4 mile oval tracks, snowmobile courses on frozen lakes & rivers, and Anchorage Sports Car Club road course on Big Lake. (We called them "Solo II" in 80's before dropping SCCA sanction).
* When is the next Alcan event? The next Alcan Winter Rally is 2016, then 2020. The next summer Alcan will be August 2018.
* Why is your web site so basic? To make information quickly & easily available (we don't like frames or Wordpress).