Dawson City, YK - Brent Sass was the first Yukon Quest musher to arrive today in Dawson City, the halfway point on the Yukon Quest trail.
The 200-mile stretch of trail to Dawson City is the longest between official race checkpoints. Sass’s team overtook Hugh Neff’s when he blew through Pelly Crossing early Monday morning. Sass says he has been looking over his shoulder ever since, especially when overflow slowed his team just outside of Dawson.
“When I got in that overflow I was like 'uh oh, they’re going to catch up to me right here,'" he said, "but it was like 15 minutes and I got through it.”
The 200-mile stretch of trail to Dawson City is the longest between official race checkpoints.
If he crosses the finish line in Fairbanks, Sass will win the Dawson award: four ounces of gold, valued at roughly six thousand dollars.
“Oh the gold, I’m not going to talk about it until the finish line," Sass said, "because I had a little incident last year. But it’s great to be here. But my goal has never been to be here first, my goal has been to be to the finish line first and that’s still to happen and there’s a lot of work to do before then," he said.
There are just over 500 miles of trail ahead, and the Alaska side of the race is known for its extreme weather, tough conditions, as well as three major summits.