Summit Quest (2021 version of Yukon Quest)

Weekdays during the morning local news reports
  • Hosted by Lex Treinen
  • Local Host Dan Bross

The 2021 Summit Quest 300-mile race begins in Fairbanks on Feb. 13 at 11 a.m. Listen to daily coverage on KUAC FM & follow our social media platforms for photos.

Thanks to our sponsors who support Quest coverage on KUAC FM! 

02-17-21 Summit Quest Wrap Up

Feb 17, 2021
Lex Treinen

The 2021 Summit Quest 300 sled dog race eneded Tuesday in Central. KUAC's Dan Bross and trail reporter Lex Treinen have a race update.

Kaduce Wins Summit Quest

Feb 16, 2021
Lex Treinen

02-15-21 Summit Quest Update

Feb 15, 2021
Lex Treinen

Three mushers are running close together at the front of the Summit Quest 300 sled dog race. Dan Kaduce, Hugh Neff and Deke Naaktgeboren were at the Circle checkpoint this morning (Mon) completing mandatory rest before they could hit the trail back toward Central, where the race will finish. The competition among the top mushers began to play out yesterday (Sun) as they climbed over the trail’s highpoints: Rosebud and Eagle Summits. KUAC’s Lex Treinen reports.

Summits Define Quest Trail and Strategies

Feb 14, 2021
Lex Treinen / KUAC

Overnight, leading mushers made the climb over 3,600-foot Rosebud Summit, positioning themselves for the even bigger challenge: Eagle Summit. Morning hours are typically the best time to make the steady climb and precipitous descent of the often wind-scoured peak. Lead teams rested up at the Steese Highway Mile 101 checkpoint, prior to making the trek over the mountain, which tops out at nearly 3,700 feet. Two-time former Quest champion Hugh Neff of Fairbanks, and past front runner Dan Kaduce of Chatanika were among several mushers in the early lead this morning, as things begin to shake out after yesterday’s start saw 18 teams hit the trail in Two Rivers. Summit Quest 300 rules require rest at checkpoints, and as Lex Treinen reports, that already played into race tactics on day one.

2021 Summit Quest Start Line at Pleasant Valley

Feb 13, 2021
Lex Treinen

Summit Quest 300 Preview

Feb 12, 2021
Lex Treinen / KUAC

There’s no 1,000 mile Yukon Quest race between Fairbanks and Whitehorse this year. That’s of course due to pandemic Alaska-Yukon border crossing restrictions. But race organizers on the Alaska side are putting on the shorter Quest 300, which usually happens outside of the spotlight, but this year, it’s the main event.

Re-branded the Summit Quest 300, the race route runs from Two Rivers over Rosebud and Eagle Summits to Central and Circle, before turning back and finishing in Central. The 300 miler has drawn a field that includes two-time 1,000- mile champion Hugh Neff, a few other veterans, and a lot of rookies looking to gain experience. As Lex Treinen reports, race organizers are making the event happen despite tough financial times and mushers are excited to run it.

Low Key Start Planned for Summit Quest

Feb 11, 2021
Lex Treinen

The Summit Quest 300 sled dog race is set to start Saturday, but it will be going off quietly without the usual downtown Fairbanks fanfare. KUAC Quest reporter Lex Treinen explains.

Neff Ready To Return To Quest Trail

Feb 10, 2021
Lex Treinen / KUAC

It’s been three years since 2-time past champion Hugh Neff last competed in a Yukon Quest race, but he’s signed up to run the Summit Quest 300, which starts Saturday. As Lex Treinen reports, Neff has made a lot of changes in his life over the past few years, but says he’s still the same musher.

02-17-20 Yukon Quest Wrap Up

Feb 17, 2020
Lex Treinen / KUAC

02-17-20 Quest Wrap Up

02-14-20 Yukon Quest Update

Feb 14, 2020
Lex Treinen / KUAC

02-14-20 Quest Update

Lex Treinen, KUAC (Whitehorse, Yukon) Nora Sjalin of Sweden crossed the line in 7th place to take the rookie of the year honor in this year’s Yukon Quest. But if you heard Nora Sjalin’s interview at the finish of the Yukon Quest, you might think the whole race for her was a 12-day long practical joke.

“I didn't read the trail report beforehand, which I should have, so I had to ask all the other mushers just like where's this summit, and what's coming up next.”

Asked what she learned during the Quest - her first 1,000-mile race:

“I need to pack more socks than I thought because I sweat a lot more than haha,” she says.

Sjalin says her last run into Whitehorse ddin't go exactly as planned.

“After the bridge there it was I got a bit off the tail and the sled got stuck and I had a lady in heat and the males got very interested so I sorted that out and then I needed to take the booties off because it was really wet and then they were napping so I'm like, I'm gonna give them forty minutes and some snacks and we did that and then we had a really nice run coming in.”

On the surface, it makes her look like an amateur, but in fact Sjalin is experienced and professional. She’s run the 750-mile Finnmarksloppet, Europe’s longest sled dog race and manages a kennel in Norway. She also ran a great rookie race to finish in seventh. She clearly had kept her dogs in top shape as they eagerly barked to leave the finish chute.

The 31-year-old said she invested thousands of dollars to send her dogs from Sweden four at a time, the maximum allowed by airlines. Earlier in the race, she joked she didn’t want to make a budget because she was too afraid to look at her finances - maybe she’d have a look at the end of the summer, she said. And if her results weren’t enough, 3 time Quest champion Brent Sass seconded the fact that Nora Sjalin is no joke. “Nora has been the best handler I've ever had in all of my time,” said Sass.

Sass says Nora was a handler for him about five years ago.

“She was persistent, she got in touch with me and said I want to come over to Alaska and be a handler and I already had a couple handlers and I didn't know if I needed help and she just kept sending emails and sending emails and finally I was like okay, you can come and it was the best decision I ever made so, yeah,” he said.

Sass said Sjalin helped him achieve his first major victory.

“She's the handler in 2015 for me when we won the first time and you know, she played a huge role in our victory that year. She's the hardest working handler, the best attitude you could possibly have, and I think she showed that out on the Quest trail this year, you know.”

Sass was there to cheer her on as she came through the finish chute. And not only because of his respect for the young musher. He also had lent Sjalin some of his dogs, bringing their connection to a full circle.

“She has a dog that she raised that when she was at my kennel that she got to run in her race this year and now I'm gonna take her on Iditarod, yeah it's awesome,” he said.

And someday, he said he wants to bring that connection full circle in a different way, running the Finnmarksloppet in Sjalin’s home territory.

“I'm definitely gonna go over there and a bunch of other friends that I already have it's definitely one of my goals to run that race,” he said “In the next three years, that’s our goal.”

And in that race, he might have some more competition from Sjalin on her home turf. After all, she is no joke. ###