Friday, February 05, 2010

Yukon Quest Sled Dog Race Begins Tomorrow!


We're less than 24-hours away from the start of the Yukon Quest, the annual 1000 mile long sled dog race that runs from Fairbanks, Alaska to Whitehorse, located in Canada’s Yukon Territory. The two week long event gets underway tomorrow morning, with the starting line on the Chena River in downtown Fairbanks. From there, the trail will wander off into the remote wilderness, following an old mail route that was used during the Gold Rush era.

The official list of mushers currently has 24 names on it, including former champ, and sled dog legend, Lance Mackey, who is returning to the race after electing to not run in it last year. Mackey is the three time defending champ of the Iditarod as well, and back in 2007, he came the first person to win both the Yukon Quest and that race, in the same year.

Over the next few weeks, the mushers, and their sled dog teams, will be enduring some challenging conditions. It is notoriously cold in the Yukon, Fairbanks is currently -10ºF and Whitehorse is hovering around 0º as well. Blizzards can strike the region at any time, with high winds causing whiteout conditions. And yet these men, and their amazing dogs, will be out there anyway, doing what they love. You've got to respect that! For a very cool flyover of the Yukon Quest trail, powered by Google Earth, click here.

Should be a great race and a nice prelude to the Iditarod, which gets underway in 28 days.

5 comments:

Ian Beckett said...

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) claim that the Iditarod causes suffering and cruelty to the dogs used to pull the sleds, as quoted below. Do you know whether dogs are injured and killed during the Iditarod race?

"The Iditarod is Alaska's annual dogsled race, which is marked by cruelty, injuries, and death. Every year in the 1,150-plus-mile race, dogs die of hypothermia, gastric ulcers, and "sled dog myopathy"—literally being run to death.

Dogs are forced to run for hours at a time, and rest is a limited luxury. They are subjected to subzero temperatures, biting winds, and blinding snowstorms, and they sometimes fall through the ice into frigid water. Their feet become bruised and bloodied, and they are cut by ice and the frozen ground. Along the seemingly endless stretch, dogs pull muscles, incur stress fractures, or become sick with diarrhea, dehydration, or intestinal viruses."

Adventure Junkie said...

While I respect your opinion, it is, quite frankly off the mark. The mushers care for their dogs very well, and they have been known to drop out of races if they think that they are in danger. On top of that, race officials watch the health of the dogs very closely and there are vets at every checkpoint to ensure that they are being treated well.

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dougquinn said...

Can't wait to see some more pictures! The scenery looks amazing! I can't wait to strap on some Yaktrax and get out in that snow!

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