January in Alaska means slowly gaining daylight and plenty of snow for travel, subsistence, and fun. With no roads, that means more and more people are riding snowmachines, both in town and out in the backcountry.
As Western Alaskans know, the knowledge of how to stay safe in varying conditions
saves lives. There are plenty of stories about someone going alone and getting surprised by a storm, or getting a rig stuck in deep snow.
Recently, listeners heard Mike Buck of the Alaska Safe Riders discuss basic snowmachine safety: for example, wearing a helmet. Ahead of this year’s Iron Dog Race, Buck and his team are giving away 450 snowmachine helmets in communities along the trail. Buck also shared some of the safety tools he and his team have compiled, such as leaving a loved one with detailed trip information and a checklist of which emergency items were brought.
Image at top: Nomeite Sarah Richards’ dog team reigned victorious after a friendly eight-mile hometown race put on by the Nome Kennel Club in January. Photo by KJ McElwee, KNOM (2023).