sled dogs

An international team of explorers returned last week from a grueling 700-mile dog-sled journey from the Arctic Ocean to Eagle, Alaska. They were the first to re-trace the route that legendary explorer Roald Amundsen took in 1905 after his historic transit of the Northwest Passage.

2016 Open North American

Mar 21, 2016
Dan Bross / KUAC

Buddy Streeper won the Open North American Championship sled dog race in Fairbanks over the weekend. The sprint race included twenty mile stages Friday and Saturday and a final 28 mile race Sunday. As KUAC’s Dan Bross reports, the top spots were closely contested.

Fairbanks, AK - Three Yukon Quest sled dog teams crossed the finish line over night. But the three mushers have very different feelings about how the race played out for them this year.

When Ed Hopkins arrived for the start of this year’s Yukon Quest, the quiet, easy going Canadian knew he had a competitive dog team. “I’m going to try and giver her,” he smiled. “ ’m just ready for it. I’ve been ready to go a longtime ago.”

Brent Sass Wins 2015 Yukon Quest

Feb 17, 2015

Fairbanks, AK - The bells of the historic Immaculate Conception Cathedral in downtown Fairbanks rang in honor of legendary musher George Attla who died this week as Eureka musher Brent Sass cruised across the finish line to win this year’s Yukon Quest. As KUAC’s Emily Schwing reports, Sass has been trying to win the Quest for years.  This year, he gave up a ten hour lead to two-time defending champion Allen Moore, who refused to give up easily. 

Emily Schwing / KUAC

  Eagle, AK - There are fewer miles between the top two mushers and the Yukon Quest finish line in Fairbanks than there are between the leaders and the current red lantern team. A few mushers at the back of the pack have become travel companions and there just may be a race for the red lantern brewing.

There’s no question that Kristin Knight-Pace’s sled is huge. “My sled bag is pretty small,” she said. “It’s something I learned a little too late and also all the zippers are broken so it’s being held together with tug lines.”

Pat Kane / Yukon Quest

Mile 101, Steese Hwy, AK - The race for the finish line is on after Brent Sass gave up a 10-hour lead Sunday on Allen Moore’s dog team. The top two Yukon Quest mushers will layover for a mandatory eight hours after they arrive in Two Rivers, the last checkpoint on the trail.

It was early morning when Allen Moore met up with a Yukon Quest trailbreaker as he drove his team down the meandering trail on Birch Creek. “I met him head-on when I was running his morning and he said Brent had a bit of a problem and I would probably catch him because he was till walking,” said Moore.

Two top ten teams are out after hard day on the trail

Feb 14, 2015
Pat Kane / Yukon Quest

Eagle, AK - It was a day of attrition on the Yukon Quest trail Saturday as mushers left the eagle checkpoint and headed for Circle. Two experienced teams unexpectedly returned to Eagle to scratch from the race.

  When Cody Strathe left Eagle early in the morning, his dog team seemed happy to make their way down the trail. But Strathe said he knew better. “The last few days, the dogs have been giving me signs that they had issues,” he said, “but in my head, I keep saying ‘Oh we’re good, if we can get through this, we can just keep going’ and you can only do that so many times.”

Ulsom, Hopkins vie for top five spots

Feb 14, 2015
Julien Schroder / Yukon Quest

  Two teams have been vying for spots in the top five since they left Dawson City, but things change quickly on the Yukon Quest trail. One of those teams is struggling, while the other is carefully picking its way down the trail.

Julien Schroder / Yukon Quest

  Dawson City, YK - There are three Yukon Quest teams currently running among the top ten that did not plan on racing with the front-runners when they left Whitehorse. In fact,  none them were able to complete the race last year, so they returned simply to finish what they started.

When Mike Ellis arrived in Dawson City, he had no idea what his place was. “At the beginning of the race, I said I thought I’d be lucky to be even in the top 15 with the field and the names that this race had,” he said.

Cold forced King to Scratch out of concern for dogs

Feb 12, 2015
Julien Schroder / Yukon Quest

  Dawson City, YK - Jeff King won the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race back in 1989.  He is also well-known on the Iditarod trail, having won Alaska’s other 1000 mile sled dog race four times.  This year, he returned to the Quest, but decided to scratch from the race after only 300 miles.

This year, Jeff King signed up for both of Alaska’s 1000-mile sled dog races.  Over the year’s he says he’s seen other dog teams improve after their first 1000-miler.  “This one wasn’t going to make them stronger, this one was going to need recovery,” he said.