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For A Passionately Curious Traveller

Category: Alaska

Mushers, an Impenetrable Blizzard, and The World’s Hardest Dog Sled Race

It’s not the Iditarod, but about the 1,000-mile long Yukon Quest.

Elisa Shoenberger, writing in Deadspin:

Today, the Quest winds its way up through the Yukon and Alaskan wilderness, passing villages and remote houses along the way. The middle point is historic Dawson City, the capital of the Klondike Gold Rush, filled with casinos, dance halls, hotels, banks, and luxurious shopping back in the day. It was even once called “The Paris of the North.” The first musher to Dawson City wins a few ounces of gold, a nice nod to the city’s heritage.

The first race was won by Sonny Lindner in 12 days and 5 minutes; the fastest finish was by Allen Moore in 2004 in 8 days, 14 hours, 21 minutes. Aliy Zirkle was the first woman to win the race in 2000. The closest finish was in 2012, when Hugh Neff beat Allen Moore by only 26 seconds.

The Yukon Quest is a smaller and younger race than the Iditarod. The latter is better known and is much more commercialized, bringing bigger sponsors and media attention. There’s also a bigger prize for mushers who win or place high enough. It therefore attracts greater numbers of mushers: the Iditarod had 52 mushers participate this year while the Quest had 30. Some feel that the focus on money in the Iditarod has moved it away from the real stars of the show: the dogs and the mushers themselves.

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Video: Denali’s Raven

YETI:

For Leighan Falley, Alaska is more than home — it’s a calling. Leighan spent years as a ski guide and climber on the Alaskan range, focusing much of her energy on Denali. But after becoming a mother, she found herself unwilling to pursue guiding (and the dangers that come with it), instead taking to the skies as mountain pilot. Follow Leighan on the Alaskan adventures that enrich her life and legacy in Denali’s Raven.

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Denali’s Raven

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