After learning how the choke works, I was able to shut it off, bring the engine idle adjustment down, and readjust the pilot air screw. Was running well, but still hard to start, but this was apparently solved by replacing the spark plug. There was an old Tech Service Bulletin describing a fix for poor starting in cold weather. It involved a carb kit, part number 0437-0088, it is NLA, and the dealer I spoke to does not know what it contained. He speculated it involved resizing of jets, and said re-jetting with an aftermarket kit might be a comparable change. The second thing recomended was changing the spark plug to a new number, 0217-632, this crosses to an NGK CR6E. The plug that was in my motor was a CR8E, and that is what NGK's online cross reference says to use, but I suspect the cross reference is going on the original data supplied by Arctic cat. So what's the difference between a CR6E, and CR8E? For starters, the gap. The CR6E is gapped .028 vs. .030 for the CR8E. but the reason I believe they called for the change is the heat range of the plug. The CR6E is a "hotter" plug. I'm not going to go into the tech detail about what this means, suffice to say this plug "runs hotter". NGK has a great section on their website explaining sparkplug heat range, and other great info. Here is a link:
NGK Spark Plugs USA
It is also interesting to note that the Cat 500 that replaced the 454 in 1998 still used the CR8E, but in 1999 changed over to the CR6E.
Here is the latest video showing my 454 running with the new plug installed:
OH, I almost forgot, the third part to the recommended changes to improve cold weather starting was adjusting the intake/exhaust valve clearance. Sorry I do not have those specs, but if I decide to try it at some point, I'll post the info.