The Quest will go on.
Officials with the Yukon Quest 1,000 Mile International Sled Dog Race confirmed in a Feb. 24 announcement that the race is being planned for 2022 after a hiatus this year due to COVID-19. It was the first time since the Quest was first run in 1984 that it hadn’t been held.
The long-distance race from Fairbanks, Alaska to Whitehorse is planned for Feb. 5, 2022.
“In the past few years the race usually started in Fairbanks in even years, and Whitehorse in uneven years — generally on the first Saturday in February. We’re happy to continue with this tradition despite not having the race start in Whitehorse this year,” Josi Leideritz, executive director in the Whitehorse Quest office, said Feb. 24.
In an interview, Leideritz said both the Yukon and Alaska board discussed which city would be best to start in, given that the Whitehorse start was missed this year, ultimately deciding to stick with Fairbanks for the even years and Whitehorse for the uneven years. That means the next Yukon Quest to depart from Whitehorse would happen in 2023.
Planning for the 2022 race will be a year-long process and while it’s impossible to know what the future might hold and the impact COVID might have, Leideritz noted with the current rollout of the COVID vaccine, officials are hopeful the border will be open next year. Officials are planning the race on the basis that it will reopen, knowing that regulations could change.
While the 1,000 mile Yukon Quest didn’t happen in 2021, the shorter 300 mile Summit Quest run by the Quest organization was able to go ahead on the Alaska side with Dan Kaduce winning that race on Feb. 17.
“After the success of our race here in Alaska this winter, the 2021 Summit Quest 300, we’re excited to now begin planning next year’s Yukon Quest 1,000 Mile International Sled Dog Race,” Doug Grilliot, secretary and musher representative of the board of directors in Alaska, said in a statement.
Leideritz said the Yukon and Alaska boards will meet virtually next month to begin planning for the 2022 edition of the race and part of that will include looking at how the Summit Quest went and what was learned from that race that could be used in planning the next longer Quest.
Further updates on plans for the 2022 race will be shared throughout the year, Leideritz said.
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