Registration for the Yukon Quest opened on Aug. 21 and saw many mushers sign up for one of the four races available.
In the Yukon, mushers had the option to register for a 100- or 300-mile race. Alaska has a 200-mile and a 550-mile race.
Mushers could register for any of the distances they wish. Dog teams that signed up for races in both the Yukon and Alaska will be eligible for the Yukon Cup.
The Yukon Cup will be awarded using a point system, but mushers need to race in Whitehorse and Alaska.
In the Yukon, the 100- and 300-mile races will begin on Feb. 19. The 550-mile race will start in Tok, Alaska on Feb. 5 while the 200-mile race will start on Feb. 7 from Circle.
Both races in the territory will begin in Whitehorse. The 100-mile distance will end at Braeburn. The 300-mile race will take mushers to Pelly Crossing. From Pelly, they will go to Stepping Stone before turning back to Pelly.
As of Aug. 30, the 100-mile race had eight mushers register and more keep signing up. The 300 mile had six register.
Bonnie Michaudville, executive director, Yukon Quest Canadian side, said even more are expected to join.
“We got a good turnout to start,” said Michaudville. “We’re really happy with it.”
It was announced in June that there would be no 1,000-mile race in 2022. Instead, the boards decided to hold two shorter races.
Part of the reason for holding four races was to bring more mushers into the fold, said Michaudville.
“It makes it more accessible for mushers that aren’t 1,000 mile racers,” said Michaudville. “It keeps the spirit of the sport growing and maybe someday they will turn into 1,000 mile mushers.”
In Alaska, the 200-mile race has one musher, so far, and the 550 has nine.
Michaudville said in the Yukon and Alaska they are still expecting more mushers to register for races.
Currently, there are only two mushers eligible for the Yukon Cup – Brent Sass, the 2019 and 2020 Quest Champion and Michelle Phillips, the 2020 runner-up.
Michaudville said it’s expected more mushers will join the Yukon Cup fold but at the moment, she’s happy that mushers have registered for the races closer to their residence.
“It’s still pretty early; our intent is that more will cross over,” said Michaudville.
Contact John Tonin at firstname.lastname@example.org