Q:How much of a factor is inclement weather?
A:Huge! Racers have reported that storms hit you like a wall without warning, giving you no chance to find shelter and completely removing any visibility. It has been reported that 8 men have failed to be able to set up one two man tent in such storms, this why bivy sacks are so often used. Sleds can be so packed with snow and ice by strong winds during the night that it will fill every cavity under the hood. When the hood is opened in the morning the snow will have taken on the shape of the underside of the hood. The ice has to be chipped out of the engine compartment to be able to steer or even to get air to the engine. Even after that one racer reported it taking 27 pulls to start a fuel injected Arctic Cat. No disrespect to AC. This is just par for the course under these conditions.