780 AM | 96.1 FM 

“YOURS FOR WESTERN ALASKA”

(907) 443-5221

2018 Yukon Quest Begins on Saturday

A group of sled dogs dashes over the snow in front of a crowd behind white and yellow barriers.
A dog team leaves the starting chute of the Yukon Quest in Whitehorse, February 9th, 2003. (Photo: Public domain)

Tomorrow is the big day for Yukon Quest race fans. The 2018 international sled dog race is set to begin at 11am in Fairbanks.

The pre-race veterinarian check has been completed; all 26 teams have their starting positions and are ready to run the 1,000 miles into Whitehorse, Yukon.

Cameron Webber, with the Quest’s public relations team, says this year’s vast lineup of mushers is an eclectic mix.

“They’ve got veterans who haven’t done it for 20 years, and the rookies, the family aspect. I’m definitely looking forward to a really strong showing from the female mushers this year. And other rookies like Alex (Buetow) for sure, he’s coming in pretty confident. The people that end up doing it, they love it for the right reasons. It’s competitive, but they always tap into the history of the trail, and the people, the mushers, you know, they’re into it, so it should be a good one!”

Looking at the trail conditions these competitors will be traversing, there appears to be more than enough snow on a good portion of the route. According to a statement from the Yukon Quest, volunteer trail breakers, including Canadian Rangers, have been working to groom the long expanse of trail in both countries.

Quest staff says the trail from Circle to Eagle, Alaska, will be challenging due to deep snow and rough ice crossings with windblown areas along the Yukon river. As such, the trail route will follow along the river to Eagle instead of the Ford Lake Portage way.

Race marshal Doug Harris says one of the big changes along the trail this year will take place at a stretch from Braeburn to Whitehorse, where the almost 1,000-mile race finishes.

“Because south of Braeburn to Whitehorse is extremely icy conditions, the decision was made to still use the checkpoint at Braeburn; run the dogs to Braeburn, backtrack on the same trail they came in on for 17 miles, then turn south, run to Lake Laberge, onto the Takhini River, and then there’s an overland route that we’re using from the Takhini River bridge into Whitehorse to stay off the Yukon River, because it’s very glaciated this year, and there are some open leads in that section.”

Harris has walked that portion of the trail near Whitehorse and says even though the trail will be 15 miles shorter, the route around Lake Laberge is in good condition and probably won’t feel much shorter than usual for the mushers.

Despite this change along the trail, the same eleven official checkpoints on the Yukon Quest route are intact and will mostly follow the Yukon River. Some places have more open water, like the area near Dawson, whereas others, like Crooked Creek, are drier than usual.

Of the 26 mushers competing in this year’s race, six different nationalities are represented in 11 rookies and 15 veterans, three of whom are also past Quest champions. Two Western Alaska mushers, veteran Katherine Keith of Kotzebue and Quest rookie Ike Underwood of Aniak, are also running this year’s race.

Tim Pappas, a rookie from Willow, will be the first to leave the starting line in Fairbanks tomorrow morning at 11am.

Image at top: file photo: a dog team leaves the starting chute of the Yukon Quest on February 9th, 2003. (Photo: Public domain.)

Share this story

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Email

Recent Posts

MS Westerdam Passengers Recall Icy Approach to Nome

Holland America’s MS Westerdam has arrived in Nome. The cruise ship that holds over 1,900 passengers is anchored just off the coast of Nome, too big to dock in the port. Small tenders that hold about 80 passengers each are ferrying visitors to and from the shore throughout the day.

Read More »

First-Ever KNOM Radio Music Fest Draws a Crowd, Drives Donations

Performer Selma Casagranda serenaded audience members with a few of her original songs. Casagranda is from Seward and one of four finalists from KNOM’s 2023 American Idol search. Audience members joined the King Island dance group for an invitational dance. One of KNOM’s 2023 American Idol search finalists, Martin Paul

Read More »

June 20: Rick Thoman’s Climate Highlight for Western Alaska

The following is a transcript from Rick Thoman’s weekly “Climate Highlight for Western Alaska” provided to KNOM Radio. Thoman is a Climate Specialist with the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The largest wildfire on the Seward Peninsula since 2019, the Goldbug Fire,

Read More »

Westerdam: First Visitors Expected Around 8 a.m.

Holland America’s MS Westerdam cruise ship will anchor just outside of the Nome Harbor the morning of June 21, bringing with it a wave of tourists to Nome.  According to City of Nome Harbormaster Lucas Stotts, the ship’s passengers will first arrive by tender around 7:45 a.m. The last tender

Read More »

More

Newsletter:

Work for Us:

Jobs

Contact

Nome:

(907) 443-5221 

Anchorage:

(907) 868-1200 

Land Acknowledgement

We acknowledge that KNOM Radio Mission is located on the customary lands of Indigenous peoples. 

Based in the Bering Strait region, KNOM broadcasts throughout the homelands of the Iñupiaq, Siberian Yup’ik, Cup’ik and Yup’ik peoples.